Local fundraising example:
Wish tree - be our Santa

Main characteristics

Fundraising method
Festival / fair, Volunteer contribution


Net fin result (€)


Time investment
Around 4 weeks.  

Wish tree - a child's wish on each petal
Thank you card for donors
A flash mob to catch the public's attention
SuitabilitySlightly experienced
Funding needed forEnrichment of primary education and scholarships
Period of action24, 25, 26 December 2015
In-kind donations raisedLots of new clothes for children (around 500 outfits), 5 bicycles, games, sporting equipment, books. Many new volunteers got registered.
Types of donationsCash and cheques to a value of around INR 150.000. A student's mother needed surgery; the full amount was raised. A big hospital offered two surgeries per year for free.
Types of donorsYouth, higher middleclass women and tourists.


In its day to day work in the slums, Samvedana comes across many children and women with unfulfilled wishes. That is why they decided to put up a wish tree at a huge carnival in the city, called 'Weekend Window'. The wish tree is full of petals with wishes waiting to be fulfilled. It could be as simple as getting a football or a new dress this Christmas, or as sensitive as a walking stick for grandma or medicines for mother, or fees for an aspiring student, or supporting a teacher at a slum school. Samvedana volunteers were present, explaining the concept and inviting visitors to be a ‘Santa this Xmas”, pick up a wish and put it in the  wish pot. The donor has to fill in his/her contact details on the backside of the chosen petal, before putting it in the wish pot. The volunteer team follows up the next day and collects whatever the donation is.

Tips and lessons learned

1. A lot of thought goes into creatively designing the tree and petals. Samvedana asked classes of kids to tell them the needs they would like Santa to fulfil and based on that created the petal list.
2. Proper orientation of volunteers standing near the installation is crucial. It is after all a tiring job to be standing for 6 hours and talking about the same thing enthusiastically over and over again.
3. There is a lot of distraction at the carnival. So Samvedana made schedules and divided teams. They also prepared a couple of flash mobs. This catches the attention of the crowd, as well as charging the energy of the young volunteers.

Review by Wilde Ganzen Foundation

This is an excellent example of how to use a large yearly festival to raise funds for your cause. Samvedana realised the importance of standing out among the other exhibitors and very creatively designed a beautiful wish tree to attract the attention of the visitors. Moreover they organised a couple of flash mobs, in order to pull more visitors in the direction of their stall. The role of volunteers is indispensable, both during the event and for the follow-up.


Short description of the organisation the funds were raised for
Samvedana is a nonprofit working for the integrated development of slums with a focus on education, nutrition and skill development of socially and economically deprived children, youth and women. Their main projects are in 24 underprivileged communities and rural areas around the city of Ahmedabad, India. Through its different projects, over the past 14 years 125.000 lives have benefited.
1. Samvedana has public private partnerships with 2 government primary schools with special modules in English, Math and computer studies with exposure through volunteer inclusion. They plan to scale up to 10 more schools in the coming five years.
2. Samvedana's merit scholarship project has success stories with student pursuing Engineering and Architecture, and placements in air force and hospitals. They plan to scale this up to 200 students.
3. Vocational skill initiative for adolescent girls and women. Here, skills training, market linkages and workshops on gender sensitisation are offered. They aim to reach out to 2000 women this year. 4.Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is an Indian Government welfare programme which provides food, preschool education, and primary healthcare to children under 6 years of age and their mothers. These services are provided from Anganwadi centres established mainly in rural areas and staffed with frontline workers. In addition to fighting malnutrition and ill health, the programme is also intended to combat gender inequality by providing girls the same resources as boys. Samvedana trust is associated with ICDS in 76 Anganwadi’s where the main focus is on malnourishment and education.

Short description of the project or programme the funds were raised for
1. Mission Education programme for children with municipal school primary education ‘AKSHARA’. The aim of Akshara is to have a strong education foundation amongst the municipal school children. By giving quality education at the foundation, Samvedana aspires to create smart students with developed critical and analytical thinking abilities, who can compete with more privileged peers when they reach high school and thus have higher chances of employability.
2.’EKLAVYA´ Scholarship Project. Eklavya is offering educational scholarships to meritorious students to achieve their career goals. Based on their age and development factor Samvedana works with the children, adapting their support to the changing needs of their pupils. Since 2005, Samvedana has been identifying deserving students from the community and working towards nurturing their potential.

1. To sensitise the mainstream common men and create awareness of Samvedana's work. To create a platform for all to participate and do their bit in the spirit of Christmas. 
2. To acquire personal needs like bicycles, books, medicines, sports equipment, new clothes, etc., for kids whose parents cannot afford those items.
3. To raise monetary donations towards nutrition, scholarship fees and more for Samvedana's education project.
4. To attract new volunteers.

Targeted donors
1. Youth.
2. Higher middle class and rich women who come for shopping in such carnivals.
3. In the month of December many Indians living abroad come home for the holidays. They like to visit these shopping feasts.


Cost/benefitNational currency (INR)Euro
Total amount raised150,0002,075
(-) Total amount invested30,000415
Net amount raised120,0001,660

Accounting details
Samvedana only spent some money for the tree, paper petals, stationary and petty expenses.
They did not need to pay for the space at the carnival.

Result comments
Samvedana was very successful in creating awareness of their work. Several people left their company cards and asked to be connected to Samvedana's annual fundraiser 'Cricket for a Cause'.

Description of preparatory work
1. Booking the installation at the carnival.
2. Designing the tree.
3. Designing the creative wishes for petals.
4. Identifying volunteers and team members for the project.
5. Prepare the flash mob.
6. Plan the commute, the schedules.

Description of implementation
1. Talk to classes of kids for collecting wishes.
2. Planning the flash mob.
3. Setting up the tree, decorating it, putting up the petals.
4. Each evening organising the list of the petals chosen by donors.
5. Nominating one or two people for follow-ups.
6. Date for the Xmas party to invite donors.
7. Arrange the event. Get the food sponsored too.

Follow up: Donor appreciation and acknowledgement
All donors who have picked up a petal are invited to Samvedana's Xmas Santa party, where they can wear the Santa cap and distribute the gifts to the kids themselves.

Plans to repeat the action
Yes. During Xmas at Weekend Window again.

Read moreBack to overview