How to Fundraise without Social Media


When I initially decided to be a Dressember advocate for the first time, I assumed that social media would be the best, and not to mention, easiest way to fundraise and spread awareness. I could share the link for my donation page on Facebook, post pictures with informative captions on Instagram, and share facts about the anti-trafficking movement on Twitter. It seemed like the ideal way to raise collective consciousness about trafficking, share about my journey as an advocate and invite others to take part in the movement. I spent very little time reflecting upon alternative ways to fundraise...without social media.

Fundraising has inarguably been transformed by the growing legion of social media platforms in the past ten years. Innovations in the tech world have shaped the sum of our interactions, as it becomes the norm in the developed world to have a smartphone and to be constantly traceable on the web. We can’t deny how vital social media has become to non-profit organizations and those who fundraise for them. We must acknowledge the way by which social media helps non-governmental organizations (NGO's) interact with donors, gives advocates the possibility to deliver their message, and allows for both activists and supporters to track progress in a campaign. However, a common trend in advocacy seems to be the assumption that social media is the only way to fundraise.

Today, we’ll be sharing some ways you can fundraise outside of social media. An exciting thing about participating in the Dressember campaign is that advocates can contribute to the cause creatively and from different angles. Here are a few ways you can switch up your fundraising game!


Sometimes in the age of digital communication, we forget that conversation can occur face-to-face, not just through a screen! But the truth is that discussions with family around a dinner table, on the bus with fellow students, or during lunch break with coworkers, are all great ways to spread the word about your campaign and entice those in your circle to take part in the cause. Unlike on social media, they can’t just keep scrolling, and your words can’t get lost in the smorgasbord of posts and pictures online when they are shared in person. I have found that hearing directly from someone about why a cause is important to them personally moves us tremendously. Create a safe place where people can ask questions and partake in dialogue about trafficking. Tell people about the cause, your campaign, and explain the different ways they can get involved. These conversations can be a motivational force for donors in your fundraising efforts!


Events are a creative, interactive way to raise funds for a cause. They can come in all sizes and forms: from an annual dinner event hosting hundreds of people, or a weekly flea market that donates revenues to your campaign. From my own experience in the non-profit world, I have found that people are generally hesitant to invest in a cause when they know little about it. Events offer a great platform to share about your campaign in an approachable, interesting way! Auctions, gala dinners and 5K races are all great ways to invite our communities to support causes that we hold dear to our hearts, whilst giving them the opportunity to have fun. In the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to help plan a car wash, golf tournament, bake sales and local garage sales- and they were undeniably effective ways to meet people, spread awareness and fundraise!


To many millennials, emails may seem obsolete and ancient, but they are actually an incredibly effective and low cost way to fundraise. By emailing, you can reach a selected group of potential supporters. The most impactful way to reach people and tell them about your cause is to make personalized emails. A mass email may seem easier, but readers are most likely to feel moved to invest in your campaign when they see some form of personal investment in your email, whether that be to ask them how they are doing, or alluding to a memory you share. This will probably keep them reading!


Sending out letters may be pricier than social media, but a compelling and personal text from you to potential donors is a great way to successfully engage people in your fundraising efforts. Spell out what your cause is, and why it is important to you. Give details, and explain why their collaboration is needed. Include pictures which can help people get a visual idea of where their support is going. When written with personality and genuineness, letters have a tremendous potential to strike an emotional chord with readers who might further the cause. Read more about fundraising letter writing HERE.


People like visuals. Approach school officials or local businesses, and ask if you can place flyers on their bulletin boards, or on counters, tabletops and windows! An aesthetic flyer pertaining to your campaign may be the trigger people need to get involved. Provide key information on the cause, and how potential supporters can take action and donate.


Make a call to your local media station or newspaper, and share your story and cause.  Next thing you know, your cause may be publicized on camera or in a local publication! This is a great way to reach your social circle, and a vast array of people in your locality. Keep it short, clear and compelling. Read more on getting local media to cover your fundraiser HERE.

Your fundraiser doesn’t need to depend on social media. Believe it or not, there is an ‘old school’ way to fundraise because social media actually hasn’t always existed (crazy!). It may seem simpler to just type up a Facebook status and click “post," but let’s not forget the myriad of other ways we as advocates can effectively further the cause of the anti-trafficking movement. Be creative, and it will strengthen your efforts and broaden your impact.


This year, do something different. Take on the Dressember style challenge and pledge to wear a dress or tie every day in December. You'll challenge yourself, learn more about the issue of human trafficking and have a viable impact on those trapped in slavery around the world.

Registration opens October 1st, 2018


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About the Author

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Jessica Debanne, a proud Montrealer, is an International Development major at McGill University, minoring in Communications and World Religions. You can find her reading a book in a coffee shop, planning a trip to a new city or laughing with her loved ones. Her passion for social justice issues has inspired her work in nonprofit organizations both at home and in the developing world.