3.1 Fundraising


Users of this online learning resource are responsible for connecting with government and local organizations to ensure access to relevant information on refugee sponsorship in their community.



Fundraising Strategies



Depending on the country, sponsorship groups may or may not be required to contribute financially to the sponsorship. There may also be laws and regulations for fundraising that sponsorship group members should be aware.

Some fundraising ideas:
Many are also useful for finding group members

1. Set a goal
Determine how much money you will need to fundraise so you can measure your progress and be financially prepared for refugee sponsorship. Your group may wish to create a rough draft of the refugee newcomers’ budget to determine how much you will need to fundraise.

2. Make a plan
Be clear why you are asking people to donate to your cause. Make sure donors know who the money will benefit and how it will be used. 

3. Use blogs and social media effectively 
Create an online presence using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms that are popular in your country. These establish your legitimacy and provide you with a place to solicit online donations and update donors on your progress. They also give the outside world a way to contact your sponsorship group.

If your group is using social media, ask your fellow group members to engage their own networks to share their posts to reach new audiences.  Give clear instructions on how to donate. Keep repeating your ask and share updates when you reach certain thresholds. 

Privacy and Confidentiality

As your group considers fundraising, keep in mind the refugee newcomers’ right to privacy, and the need to have informed consent before sharing any information about them.

Considering Power

Acknowledge that refugee newcomers may not be in a position to tell your group not to share their stories with others for the purpose of fundraising.

4. Create an online fundraising page
There are websites where your group can set up a fundraising page and collect donations. Make sure to check the terms and conditions of any website you use to see that you are happy with them. Add the link to your fundraising page to all your social media accounts and posts.

5. Share your ask with your personal networks 
Ask your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues, other community groups, and family to donate to your sponsorship effort. Make sure they are aware of why your group needs this money. You are very likely to find generous people. Do not forget to ask members of your own group to donate as well.

6. Share your ask beyond your personal networks
Local businesses, institutions, or places of worship in your community may wish to contribute. Write to or visit them to explain what you are doing. They may be able to donate money, skills, time, or expertise.

 7. Be clear about what you are asking those you approach
It is easier to say ‘yes’ to a specific ask. Are you asking a local business to promote your activity to their staff and customers, or are you asking it for a monetary donation? Make it easy for those you approach to decide if they would like to support you.

8. Sell merchandise and products
For example, groups may decide to hold bake sales, or sell badges, cards, and t-shirts they have designed. Be creative and explain that the proceeds will go towards refugee sponsorship.

9. Set and advertise a fundraising challenge
Some of your group members might be up for a fundraising challenge such as running, walking, or cycling. Make it interesting, fun, and safe. Plan the challenge over a period of days so it reaches as many people as possible (e.g. cycling 10 miles for 10 days) and solicit pledges. Keep your audience updated with your progress on the challenge. Invite others to join you in your fundraising challenge to increase awareness of your case.

10. Distribute leaflets in your area
Use Google Maps to divide your neighborhood into sections and ask members of your group to distribute leaflets asking for donations on specific streets. Ask your library and local shops if they would be willing to display these leaflets. Leaflets should state clearly how people can donate.

11. Organize a fundraising appeal
Organize an event in your area to tell people what you are doing. Ask your local places of worship, sports clubs, universities, and community centers to host you. Organize activities such as selling old books, a wine tasting, a musical performance, or bake sales. Be creative and explain to attendees that the proceeds will go towards refugee sponsorship.

12. Engage in community funding
Look for locally available funding. You may be able to apply for funding through your local supermarket, community projects, or larger charities.

To explore fundraising strategies in practice, click on the content below for some examples!



Fundraising Examples



The following is an example of an online fundraising post. Read it and make a note of anything you would change, if at all. In this case, the group has identified itself (Rainbow Alliance), its fundraising goal, and its purpose. In this example, the group gives a name of a sponsored refugee. However, the group decided not to use the person’s real name in order to protect their privacy. By giving another name, however, the group felt it personalized the pitch for funds.

Example Fundraising Post 1:

I am part of a group of 10 people (Rainbow Alliance) which is fundraising to resettle a young gay refugee, André, to Edmonton to escape persecution and dangerous living conditions. Please donate what you can! Our target is to raise $20,000 to pay to support his settlement in whatever way we can for a full year. Donations can be made online through the charity Rainbow Refugee Society at CanadaHelps.org

Here is another example. Compared to the previous posting, this one shares a bit more information (the refugees’ country of origin and country asylum, the death of the father), but still does not reveal their names. The post also explains the sponsorship process and the purpose of the funds in more detail. 

Example Fundraising Post 2:

We will be raising funds for a young mother and her newborn baby to come to Canada and have a better life. Right now, this mother and her 7-month old child have taken refuge in Lebanon, after escaping war-torn Syria, where the baby’s father was killed.

In December, we made an application to sponsor a family as part of a refugee sponsorship program designed to resettle refugees identified by the UNHCR. We have connected with a local organization who helped us with the application forms and provided information about the support this family will need.  Our application was recently approved by the immigration office and the family is expected to arrive in one to three months. Mother and child will be given plane tickets, and they will arrive in Canada, where their new life can begin – thanks to all of you. 

We have paired up with a charity (Refugee Charity) who will be holding the full amount we raise, in trust for this family’s first year in Canada. The charity will also assist them in getting the family accustomed to life in Canada. We will also be helping out in every way we can.

Settling down in a new country is expensive. Our sponsorship group must raise enough money to pay for the family’s basic needs (rent, food, clothes, and other necessities) for six months, and the government covers the other six months. We have calculated that a suitable amount would be $8,000.  However, we’re only 5 people, and we need your help.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help a family that is living in the most terrible conditions imaginable. We are all privileged to be living in a place where we are free to do what we want, and to live our lives without fear. 

We want you to have a chance to help us change these two lives, forever. We encourage you to give generously to this cause, and we are thankful in advance. Click here to learn more about us (the sponsorship group) and why we want to make a difference in this family’s lives with your help. 

Here is a link to Refugee Charity to make a donation. Thank you!

How else does this post compare to the first, and what would you do differently? 



Check In: Fundraising



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