Free Tibet: success with urgent crowdfunding appeals

Free Tibet have found incredible fundraising success with their time sensitive appeals, which are made easy thanks to quick-to-build Impact Stack pages. Read on to see how they doubled their digital fundraising income in one year.

Free Tibet is a small UK based campaigns group with just one full-time fundraiser. So they need to make a big impact with very limited resources. In the run up to the United Nations Climate Conference they decided to try out a new framing for their fundraising appeal, and its huge success led to a new digital fundraising strategy. 

How it started

Tibet is home to the world’s third largest store of freshwater ice - known as the Third Pole. As the Tibetan glaciers melt at an alarming rate, Tibetan people have a unique perspective, and a powerful commitment to addressing the climate emergency. As Free Tibet prepared to send climate policy expert Tenzin Choekyi to COP27, they needed to raise funds to pay for her travel to Egypt. 

They launched an urgent appeal to make this happen. With just three days between the concept and the launch of the appeal, they surpassed their £2,000 target, raising over £5,000. This ‘mini appeal’ outperformed planned appeals they had been working on for months. 

Impact Stack donation forms made this possible thanks to the quick and easy to use interface. New pages can be made and launched in minutes allowing for quick responses as opportunities appear. Free Tibet also use the integration with Mailchimp which made it easy for the team to quickly see who had donated and how much, and to segment follow-up communications accordingly.

A new fundraising strategy

Based on this success, the team decided to develop a new strategy for their appeals - focused on time-sensitive asks, tangible donation values, and often using crowdfunding framings. Here’s how it works:


The team launch their appeals no earlier than two weeks before the deadline. This makes the ask a higher priority and results in quick and generous donations. This urgency also makes it possible to feedback outcome and successes really quickly which makes the impact of the donation feel more tangible and effective - motivating people to give again. 


By tying the appeal to a specific and timely need, the Free Tibet team is able to be really specific about what each donation value could pay for. For example “£10 could pay for 100 flyers” or “£500 could cover travel”. These values are shared on the Impact Stack page, together with a statement that unused funding will support wider campaigning work. 

Using progress bars in Impact Stack, they can show progress towards their goal as well as automatically updating to a stretch goal when the original target is met. 


Several of their urgent appeals were fronted by the Tibetan team member who would be mobilised by the funds, for example: “I am leading a protest during Thermo Fisher’s shareholder meeting to campaign against DNA abuse. Can you donate £50 to pay for our placards and banners?”. Framing the asks this way, and asking supporters to help amplify Tibetan voices, generated “outstanding results” according to Free Tibet fundraiser Cody.

Big impact

Mini e-appeals have been instrumental in generating mission-critical income for Free Tibet during the cost of living crisis. By introducing mini e-appeals, over the course of a year, the Free Tibet team saw over a 100% increase in income from online appeals.

The best part is that mini e-appeals helped to win a campaign as US biotech giant Thermo Fisher committed to halt the supply of DNA kits to occupied Tibet which were being used to forcibly collect the DNA of Tibetans.

“Every year, we’re discovering more ways to mobilise the Free Tibet community. Mini e-appeals have been game-changing. What started as one Impact Stack page for an ad-hoc fundraiser became our most effective approach to connect with supporters and make a difference for Tibet.” Cody Fuller, Fundraising Officer