Nether­land Lep­rosy Relief Foun­da­tion: Diwali cam­paign. Sup­port a child’s edu­ca­tion for one year

Exhibited by
Rajshri Sen, Fundraising officer, NLR.
June 20, 2013
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
October, 2011

SOFII’s view

A well-planned and crafted emailing together with a venture into fundraising through Facebook made sure that the Netherland Leprosy Relief Foundation more than reached their targets. Most of all we applaud the member of the team who gave up three months' salary for the cause. This is surely someone with true commitment.

Creator / originator

Rajshri Sen.

Summary / objectives

To raise Indian rupees 200,000 (about USD 3,800) from family and friends to support the education of a hundred children from families affected by leprosy.


Netherland Leprosy Relief Foundation (NLR) provides technical and logistical support to the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) of the Government of India for efficient delivery of leprosy services. It also provides medical and socio-economic rehabilitation to people affected by leprosy and their families in six states of the country. The programme areas include health, education support, promotion of productive livelihoods and infrastructure support to leprosy colonies.

NLR has recently started fundraising in India and, as the fundraiser, I face the following challenges.

  1. Limited name recall: NLR enjoys a good reputation and is well known within national and state government circles due to its work in the NLEP. However, the public at large is unaware of NLR and its activities.
  2. A forgotten cause: since leprosy is not a major threat to life and has a lower profile compared to other diseases like HIV, cancer, etc, it has limited visibility in the public eye and most people believe that it has ceased to exist.
  3. International name: NLR is an international NGO with headquarters in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The common perception, therefore, is that there is no shortage of international donors and hence local funds aren't necessary. The reality is that the needs are huge and more funds can always have a positive impact on lots more lives..

The timing of the campaign was very important. We launched it during the two weeks before Diwali because we wanted to take advantage of the festive spirit of giving and sharing. Our emphasis was to bring light to a child's life by giving a gift of education.

An email campaign was launched on 10 October 2011 and a Facebook page was created at the same time. Updates were posted on Facebook every two days to encourage donor involvement. A second email was sent a week later to thank donors for their contribution, give them an update and to ask them to spread the word so that we could reach 25 more children. The second email also served as a reminder and call to action for people who had pledged support but had actually forgotten to make the donation.

Special characteristics

  1. A strong personalised message from a friend or person they knew and trusted (see copy of mail below).
  2. An easy-to-give donation amount.
  3. A call to action: time-bound campaign, spreading cheer during the festival of giving.
  4. Regular campaign updates with a very personalised message: 'help me fulfil my dream of educating a hundred children from families affected by leprosy this Diwali, with your support'.
  5. Offering multiple and simple payment options: cheque, wire transfer and bank details given in the first mailing.
  6. The sacrifice of three months' salary by a member of staff.

Influence / impact

  1. The campaign raised INR 208,000 in two weeks.
  2. Sixty-two donors pledged support for 104 children for one year.
  3. Two enquiries for a corporate partnership.
  4. Awareness of NLR as an organisation and its work, among over 750 new prospects.
  5. Facebook posts are still soliciting enquiries about donations.


No financial outgoings. The only cost was the fundraiser's time.


The campaign more than achieved its objectives.


The idea and its execution were simple and the results were great. The highlights of the campaign are:

  • Strong personal message.
  • First individual fundraising campaign for NLR using new media. Email was the primary channel and Facebook the secondary. This helped the message go viral.
  • No financial investment.
  • A conversion rate of 29.5 per cent.
  • NLR acquired 62 new donors in the very short span of two weeks from a completely new donor segment.
  • Awareness of NLR and its projects among 750+ new prospects.