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Action week ‘538 for War Child’

War Child’s fundraising strategy for 2013 included the implementation of a large integrated fundraising campaign in which several of War Child’s fundraising teams would unite their fundraising activities. Meeting this goal took shape in the ‘538 for War Child’ action week.

In 2011, War Child and Radio 538, a large national radio station in the Netherlands, started a partnership called ‘538 for War Child’ in which the two organisations worked together to facilitate an action week to raise money for War Child. In 2013, a mobile radio station based out of a truck, and DJ’s from Radio 538 toured the Netherlands from the 22nd to the 29th of March with the goal of raising as much money as possible. In eight days, the truck stopped in Groningen Heerenveen, Alkmaar, Gouda, Bergen op Zoom, Veenendaal, Arnhem and ‘s Hertogenbosch.

Unlike other years, the 2013 event focused on leveraging the potential of the third party events and kids and schools segments, and worked to actively mobilise schools, clubs and companies to organise events to raise money for War Child. Municipalities were also asked to mobilise their communities and organise events as part of the action week.


The action week raised € 1.2 million significantly more than the € 0.7 million raised in 2012. The number of events organised by third parties during the week numbered five hundred, almost double the number of events organised in 2012 (261), raising a total of almost € 700,000. The average event raised € 1,400, an increase from the € 1,200 raised per event raised in 2012.

In addition to the money raised, the action week was also a useful learning experience in terms of practical experience in efficient organisation and capitalising on opportunities offered by an integrated fundraising campaign. Unfortunately, after three successful ‘538 for War Child’ years, Radio 538 decided not continue the collaboration beyond 2013, choosing instead to explore other opportunities to support charities. Research also revealed that 538 listeners did not feel connected enough to War Child to become a Friend or make an individual donation.

Lessons learnt

The ‘538 for War Child’ action week involved almost all of War Child’s fundraising staff. Although the action week successfully generated substantial income, considering the number of staff working on the project and the number of suppliers asked to participate, it was also very time consuming. It was also very difficult to raise funds from the Radio 538 listening audience; the largest part of the income raised through the action week was generated by third party events rather than one-off donations.

The income generated from activities organised by schools, in particular, was higher than expected, showing potential for future fundraising. The income raised per municipality depended largely on the time and effort they invested. In addition, attracting large corporate partners to action weeks like these requires a lot of preparation and account management time. Overall, organising an action week demands well-organised project management to keep all staff involved and on track.

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