Best Practices: Darfur United Using Social Media for Successful Fundraising

At the Darfur United Soccer Academy, they’re currently fundraising for child sponsorships to their Academy.

$10 provides one refugee child with a one-year membership.

A $10 donation is a good target for a fundraising campaign involving sponsorships. Many can afford this and feel good about making a positive contribution to a worthwhile cause.

This tweet from Darfur United highlights the affordability of this campaign:


Besides paying for a membership, the sponsorship will also pay for:

1. Training of DUSA refugees coaches and their salaries

2. Soccer equipment including soccer balls, cones and other gear

3. Organized in-camp tournaments between DUSA participants

4. Connecting DUSA with communities in the U.S. and the world

Obviously, besides providing for the above, participation in the Academy ensures refugee youth can be free to be kids and play soccer while having fun learning about leadership, teamwork, peace-building, and healthy living.

Besides being a terrific campaign to contribute to (I made my $10 donation in July), I love how Darfur United is using beautiful photos and strong positive messages to help facilitate their fundraising.

When I opened Facebook earlier, I was greeted with this photo and message that really resonated with me:


“Girls can and will play! The Darfur United Soccer Academy will train refugee women coaches, and girls will fully participate. Just $10 pays for a full year at the Academy for one girl. Please sponsor, and be a part of this amazing journey!”

This photo brought back memories of the time I spent working for a month in rural Uganda. While spending time at an school for AIDS orphans, I saw firsthand both the need for and the importance of supporting young girls.

While this type of connection won’t necessarily occur for everyone seeing this photo, there’s another reason this is a powerful photo for a fundraising campaign.

This young girl doesn’t look sad or pathetic here. A person viewing this shouldn’t feel pity for her. Rather, at least to me, this young girl looks proud, stoic even. She looks strong. She looks like a future leader. A teacher maybe or a soccer coach. Someone with a promising future because of the help and support of Darfur United.

No doubt as a refugee of the Darfur crisis, she has likely seen horrific things. She has experienced pain, suffering, and the kind of terrible loss most of us can’t even imagine.

It would be easy for Darfur United to show pictures of poor, sad little children. I have yet to see a photo though on their website or social media sites that doesn’t have beautiful children smiling and enjoying life.

Why does this matter?

Well it matters for two reasons.

One, guilting someone into making a donation out of pity guarantees that person will likely only be a one-time donor to your organization.

Two, showing the humanity of the people you’re trying to help and trying to get donors to relate and connect with your cause based on the power and success behind your interventions and efforts can ensure donors come back again and again to provide support when they are asked for it.

I applaud Darfur United for showing the strength of this young girl and not the “poverty porn” seen from other campaigns on late night television commercials.

As of August 3rd, the Darfur United Soccer Academy had 429 sponsorships amounting to $4,290. You can make your contribution online at:

For more information about Darfur United, please visit their website or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.


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