Fundraising Blog – Work to your strengths by Anna Eaton

Fundraising for Challenges Worldwide ICS

I started thinking about fundraising by applying a concept that I’ve come across through some of my work with public and community services. It’s an asset-based approach, which means focusing on what you do have and your strengths, rather than identifying problems and becoming too focused on what you don’t have. I was reminded of the talented, creative people that I work with on a daily basis, from printers to illustrators and graphic designers. I started thinking about how I could tap into this resource to help me raise money.

Do what you know


A year ago I set up Eaton & Watson, a communications and campaigns consultancy, with a friend.  We’ve got good at bringing in creatives to help produce beautifully designed materials and delivering successful campaigns, often with limited budgets! I applied these experiences to my fundraising and aimed to spend as little as possible while bringing people together to support the fundraising campaign.

I also wanted to channel the spirit of Challenges Worldwide and do something entrepreneurial. I’ve seen that if people are getting something in return for their donations, then they’re more likely to engage with you. I wanted to make something useful to give back to people as a memento of the project; a reminder of how they helped support me, Challenges Worldwide and International Citizen Service (ICS). I made bespoke tote bags, postcards and posters all with a Ugandan theme to remind my kind supporters that their money is ultimately going to help the communities of Kampala.

Phase one


I started by purchasing 40 tote bags from eBay and then asked creative contacts for advice about producing images to print onto them. After seeking advice on ink printing and a talented friend kindly agreed to create some Ugandan animal illustrations, I purchased some carve rubber for handmade block prints and decided to use only the colours of the Ugandan flag – black, yellow and red – and letters from the word ‘Uganda’. With some help from YouTube and an evening with a couple of friends who helped me print in exchange for food and wine, I finished hand-printing the bags, each with a bespoke design. I documented my progress on a blog in the hope it would inspire more donations as people could see the research and work that went into each stage.

Phase two


With the tote bags running out and £200 still left to raise, I wanted to make another set of creative gifts: postcards and posters. I reached out to a couple of graphic designers I knew to see if they would be willing to donate some of their time and some of them came back with beautiful work in a matter of hours! It was great to hear that they enjoyed having a different sort of project to work on with an open brief, giving them a chance to experiment and flex their skills. They also said it made them feel good to donate time as sometimes this was easier and more rewarding than donating money.

I asked a printer who I’ve been working with for years if he would print the designs for me at a discount as it was a charity project. He very kindly agreed and did them for free! I have almost met my target of £800 and I’m glad this project has given me the opportunity to tap into the generous people around me and make the most of my network. It has been a heart-warming experience.

Stay up to date

To keep us with Anna’s fundraising activities you can follow her on her blog, twitter or donate via JustGiving. Keep following our blog to find out how Anna gets on leading a team of volunteers in Kampala, Uganda.

Anna’s placement starts at the end of February.  If you would like to take part in a Challenges Worldwide ICS placement we are currently recruiting for June – September placements. Apply today and challenge yourself to change your world.