Inter­ac­tive fundraising

Written by
Lucy Innophoria
February 22, 2011

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all doing great and are back into the swing of things for 2011. I’ve taken some time to look back over my first four articles for and although I touched on it briefly last month when I talked about some of my favourite campaigns and programmes from 2010, I really feel that interactive programmes deserve more than just a mention.

I believe it is so important to involve supporters and potential supporters in our work as more than just mere observers. In my last blog I showed you Pathway to Housing’s great interactive projection of a homeless man on the streets of New York last winter and UNICEF’s dirty water vending machine, but I think we can take this even further. So I’ve put together a few more ideas on some of the innovative ways this can be achieved to really give you something to think about.

Some of my favourite examples of interactive campaigns come from the commercial sector, in particular Volkswagen who have done some really remarkable things. Their website,, openly confesses to being, ‘dedicated to the thought that something simple and fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better.’ And I couldn’t agree more. Here they showcase some of the things they’ve been up to, proving that this is exactly the way to motivate people to do something different.

Some of my favourite fun theory campaigns include an interactive bottle bank, designed to function like an arcade game to encourage more people to recycle. Another great campaign involved disguising a flight of stairs in a subway station in Stockholm as a piano in order to promote a healthier lifestyle and encourage more people to take the stairs. Innovation aside, the best thing about the fun theory campaigns was that they actually worked. Sixty-six per cent more people decided to take the stairs rather than the escalator in the subway station. Almost 100 people decided to go and recycle their used bottles in the bottle bank arcade in just one evening. A standard old bottle bank nearby was used just twice over the same time period.

Interactive bottle bank

Stairs in a subway station in Stockholm.

Although was designed to raise awareness rather than fundraise for a particular organisation, the idea of involving supporters in a cause, in a fun way, is something worth keeping in mind when implementing a fundraising campaign.

‘In the digital era people want to be involved (and instantly rewarded for their involvement) in the work of an organisation before deciding whether or not to go and make a financial commitment’, says Marcelo Iniarra, Tribe Chief of the consultancy.‘Our supporters are the new social heroes. We really are entering a new fundraising era.’

Another more recent interactive campaign that I really enjoyed was developed by the US organisation, Serving the Underserved. Rather than run a conventional holiday gift campaign last Christmas the organisation decided to put the cardboard from its usual gift drive to a much more innovative use and built an entire, furnished apartment in the middle of Times Square, New York. The aim of the cardboard apartment was to show the general public the sort of thing that the 3,500 people who benefit from the organisation’s programmes really need for Christmas. This enabled potential donors to see exactly where their money was going, in a fun and interactive way. After investigating the cardboard apartment, people were then invited to text a $10 donation that would be put towards a gift for a resident in need.

The third example that I wanted to highlight comes from In order to raise awareness of the importance of clean drinking water, this UK-based campaign persuaded Transport for London to allow them to redesign the London underground map. The aim was to encourage people to walk from destinations starting with the letter H, to destinations starting with the letter O, in recognition of the chemical symbol for water – H20, and to raise money for charities involved in water projects in Africa.

As part of the campaign the organisation provided the public with further information about the sponsored walks, the issues surrounding water and sustainability and a list of charities involved in water projects to whom they could donate the money they raised. As far as I am concerned, the most innovative aspect of the campaign was that people who wanted to get involved were encouraged to donate to whichever charity they wanted to.

Cool or what?

Well, I’ll leave it there for now, but I’d be really interested to find out about any other interactive campaigns that you might have come across in recent months. Just paste the links into the comments section. It’d be great to start a discussion about the best ones.

I’ve also got some other great news...I recently started working freelance for Innophoria Labs, the innovative branch of If you haven’t signed up already, Innophoria Labs has just launched a new trend-spotting platform for the social sector, Innophoric Watch. The second edition is coming soon and it’s a great way to find out all the latest developments from the social sector and beyond.

If you’d like to find out more about my work, why not check out my Facebook page and now that I’m working with Innophoria Labs, I should probably give you all my new email address too – it’s Feel free to drop me an email or any ideas you’d like me to check out.

Talk to you all soon

Lucy xx

© Lucy Innophoria, 2011

About the author: Lucy Innophoria

Some of you might already know me from Innophoria or my Facebook page. Innophoria is a new online game that aims to help charitable organisations all over the world to become more innovative. The word refers to that ecstatic feeling that happens when you’re on the verge of discovering an idea that could really rock the world. I’m always getting them, which is why my colleagues nicknamed me Lucy Innophoria.

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