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Article by Alessandra Ceresa

The Evolution of Fundraising

Fundraising is an art. Not only is it an art, but an art that comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether you are selling product, putting on dinner events, or, in our case, planning a Fun Run, fundraising plays a critical role in raising money for a good cause. But, where did fundraising begin? Just like every great idea has roots and an evolution, so does fundraising. 

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Modern Day Fundraising

Fundraising as we know it today was first introduced in the early 1900s. Face-to-face fundraising, events, PR campaigns, etc were all new techniques used to raise money for a cause. However, one of the first vastly successful campaigns began within an organization we still know today, the YMCA.  The men behind the magic, Frank Pierce and Charles Ward, were the first to not only execute a fruitful publicity strategy, but also perfected the art of the face-to-face fundraising method. Their creative advertising campaigns, their knack for selling a cause, and, of course, their good cause, were able to raise $4 million dollars for the New York City YMCA alone!

Once local universities and charities caught wind of the tremendous success and the amount of money that Ward and Pierce were able to raise, the fundraising trend took off.

Over the years charities, schools, and causes everywhere have developed creative ways to raise money. Traditionally, selling product, or asking for money door-to-door or over the phone, have dominated the techniques used for collecting funds. Today, organizations everywhere are coming up with innovative and inspired methods that not only raise money, but promote other lifestyle changes as well. Instead of just shelling out dollars for a cause, people everywhere are jumping up and becoming far more involved in the process. Along with this more active engagement in fundraising, new media has made it easier than ever for organizations to publicize their fundraising campaigns. 

Fundraising & the Power of Media

Media, especially social media, plays a huge part in getting donors and participants to rally around the cause, and spread the word to a larger audience than was available in the past.

twitterblogOf course, national PR campaigns had this reach, but were not nearly as cost-effective and efficient in reaching people as social media is today. Social media in fundraising is a great way to involve people that may not be able to participate in the actual event, as well as expose the cause to those that may not have been able to view it in the past. It also gives people a way to stay connected with the cause and see the effects of their contribution. 

More engaging fundraising, and encouraging people to participate via social media has changed the way people view that art of raising money. Inspiring people to get involved and ultimately make change to their lifestyles, is not only beneficial for the cause, but drastically changes the lives of those that participate.


The Get Movin’ Crew is an example of creative fundraising that utilizes the power of social media, while encouraging an active lifestyle to raise money for schools and teams across the country.

If you are interested in getting involved, and staying connected with our efforts, please contact us, or connect with us via Facebook and Twitter!


(Sources: Philanthropy Roundtable)