Industries Gender and inequality
Services Campaigns, Content

Crowdfunding for people seeking asylum

The Humanitarian Group

The Humanitarian Group (THG) is a not-for-profit Community Legal Centre that provides migration assistance, legal advice and education for people new to Australia. When the Federal Government stopped providing funded legal assistance for most people seeking asylum in Australia, THG stepped up to help those seeking asylum in WA by opening a free legal clinic.  

Their Challenge

When THG’s free legal clinic was in danger of closing, two members from their community stepped up to raise the funding that was cut by government. Caroline Fleay and Libby Williams, longtime volunteers at the organisation, were tasked to raise an urgent cash injection of A$80,000 to prevent the prospect of hundreds of refugees in WA being returned to countries they had fled persecution from.

During this time, THG recommended Libby and Caroline to work alongside the DrawHistory team to create a crowdfunding campaign in 60 days. Both Libby and Caroline had no prior experience in crowdfunding.

Our Strategy

We had the privilege of collaborating alongside Libby and Caroline during this process. They were open to ideas we recommended, such as leveraging the Thunderclap platform to broadcast a message on social media, extending the campaign’s original brand with supporting visuals, and creating two key collaterals to secure financial pledges before the campaign was launched (so that they could be injected during the campaign to carry momentum).

We held workshops with Libby and Caroline to quickly establish tactics. These included:

  • Creating an impact story for Chuffed.
  • Leveraging Thunderclap to broadcast a message on social media (giving the campaign a social reach of over 60K).
  • Extending the campaign’s original brand with supporting identity visuals.
  • Securing PR coverage in Western Australia’s largest circulating publication.
  • Creating key collaterals to secure financial pledges before the campaign launch, so that they could be injected during the campaign for momentum.

By the end, we helped launch WA’s largest crowdfund to provide legal assistance for people seeking asylum and raised over A$90,000.

Project Leads

Jeffrey Effendi

Founder & Chief of Innovation, DrawHistory
Building a supporter base

Before launching the campaign, Libby and Caroline went through their networks and identified about 50 people who they knew cared about the cause. We also helped identify a number of key individuals who could either help them reach more people or access bigger donations.

All of these personal approaches were designed to get two things: pre-commitments of funds, and people who could help with social media outreach. Following each meeting, Libby and Caroline would send a follow-up email to thank them for their time, attaching sign up flyers we had helped design, and asking their contacts explicitly to either become a Financial Supporter or a Social Media Ambassador.

Raising the fund

Libby and Caroline knew that Launch Day had to be big, ideally raising 20-30% of the target in the first few days. To make it a success, we helped set up their Thunderclap campaign to get more reach for the campaign’s launch. Thunderclap is a platform that lets people sign up and commit to post a message that you write on Twitter and Facebook on a certain time and day. Signing up supporters on Thunderclap gave the campaign a social reach of over 60,000 on the day.

Both the Thunderclap and Chuffed campaigns were launched during an event at Curtin University, where Caroline is Deputy Director. We knew the event was likely to be well attended as The Hon. Michael Kirby, former High Court Judge, would be speaking about Australian refugee policies.

There were 500 people in the audience, many of who were interested in supporting the campaign and helped raise over A$10,000 on Day 1 of the campaign, setting the stage for the rest of the campaign funding that was secured.

The outcome

We raised over A$90,000 with 366 supporters and 330 reshares, one of the largest crowdfund for refugees in Australia that time. Building Libby and Caroline’s capacity was a success, as they were featured on Chuffed for the campaign.

Libby Williams Campaign Co-Manager, Seeking Refuge WA

"The empathy DrawHistory consistently displayed toward our messaging drove our crowdfunding campaign forward. Your compassionate and thoughtful contributions allowed us to trust that you would represent our vision appropriately in the campaign. We couldn't have done it without you!"


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