National Domestic Workers Alliance

Leveraging a strong brand connection to increase fundraising

Results at a Glance

  • Planned and executed a major fundraising event with more than 400 attendees in a short time frame.
  • Increased donations by developing an event strategy and establishing a fundraising committee.
  • Translated a strong nonprofit brand into an event’s ethos.
  • Developed a strategy to engage a new donor population of young professionals.

The Wakeman Agency Helps a Large Member-Based Organization Honor its Members With a Fundraising Event

The National Domestic Workers Association (NDWA) is a member-based, leading advocacy organization that functions to protect the rights of millions of domestic workers across the United States. They sought The Wakeman Agency to help organize and execute their Leading With Love 10th Anniversary fundraising event.

Organization and Challenge

The NDWA serves as the voice of domestic workers, with organizing, community building, and activism playing an essential role for the organization. When it came to planning their Labor of Love 10th Anniversary Event, their priority was to celebrate their members, whose passion and determination make the NDWA’s mission possible, and to raise enough funds to help sustain the NDWA’s operations.

However, the NDWA’s intense focus on outreach and organizing activities meant they lacked the time and experience to execute a large-scale fundraising event. With their anniversary just a few short months away, they knew they would need additional help.

The NDWA sought The Wakeman Agency for our event planning expertise and record of success helping other member-based nonprofits reach fundraising goals. With a long history of working with member-based organizations, The Wakeman Agency understood the importance of empowering and appreciating the NDWA’s members and knew how to create an events strategy tailored to the NDWA’s model.

Developing a Strategy for Maximizing Donations

The Wakeman Agency immediately identified opportunities around the Labor of Love event to maximize giving.

Significantly, The Wakeman Agency established a fundraising plan. Based on our expertise helping other nonprofits with signature events, The Wakeman Agency advised the NDWA on industry best practices and guidelines to include in their plan. The Wakeman Agency challenged the NDWA to go beyond their traditional methods of fundraising and pushed them to expand their donor base and strategy. With our help, the NDWA established its first-ever anniversary fundraising committee, which worked alongside The Wakeman Agency with the shared goal of maximizing donations during the event.

The consulting and insight provided by The Wakeman Agency allowed the NDWA to:

  • Establish new benefits and sponsorship levels to support the event.
  • Encourage NDWA leadership to engage with their network in an active and strategic way.
  • Identify approachable ways for members to contribute financially.
  • Focus the development team around fundraising goals and strategy.
  • Leverage a strong brand connection to increase fundraising.

Leveraging a Strong Brand Connection to Increase Fundraising

The NDWA’s strong, member-focused branding brings passionate storytelling to all their communications. It was The Wakeman Agency’s job to translate that brand into an event that amplified the NDWA’s mission and increased donations. As an organization deeply embedded in nonprofit public relations, The Wakeman Agency knew connecting donors to NDWA’s brand was the key to the event’s success. With that in mind, we set out to plan an attendee-centric event that truly resonated with members and guests.

The Wakeman Agency challenged the NDWA to identify opportunities throughout the event to bring their brand to life. The goal was to find and capitalize on innovative ways to showcase member stories during the anniversary event. In addition to the honorees on stage, reminders of their members’ work appeared across small details in the room: from transition slides, to banners, to branded photo booths, to special guests at the cocktail hour. Incorporating these details helped the NDWA honor more members and created a constant connection between attendees and the cause.

The Wakeman Agency helped the NDWA think strategically about times when they connected strongest with its audience, in order to identify the right opportunities to call for donations. This guidance on donation frequency and cadence helped the NDWA maximize the giving in the room and re-imagine what was possible for future fundraising events.

Putting it All Together

Understanding the nonprofit event ecosystem allowed The Wakeman Agency to quickly identify resources and execute on the event planning and set up, helping NDWA get ahead of the short timeframe. When planning the run of show, The Wakeman Agency employed a key strategy of incorporating donation timing and brand messaging into all aspects of the event.

They provided the NDWA with a steady stream of ideas to make the Labor of Love event memorable and reflective of their brand and coordinated logistics to ensure a superior attendee experience. As part of their work, the Wakeman Agency assisted with:

  • Coaching on stage speakers, many of whom were not comfortable with public speaking;
  • Managing a translation service company;
  • Deploying a text-to-pledge strategy and timing; and
  • Managing time and transitions with 10 on-stage speakers, a full-sized choir, and multiple honorees.

Engaging a Younger Generation of Donors

The NDWA also worked with The Wakeman Agency to develop a strategy for engaging with a younger audience. In the past, the NDWA struggled to build a strategy around connecting and involving these supporters. The Wakeman Agency suggested the NDWA host an after-party to build a sense of community around this group.

In addition to suggesting a lower price point to convert these supporters to donors, we organized the event and proposed activities to help attendees, especially younger supporters, feel more included. More than 200 people attended the Labor of Love after-party event. The success of the after-party not only created an alternate format that appealed to a new segment of members and donors, but it lengthened the overall event, allowing more time for donations to occur while supporters interacted with each other in a more casual manner.


The Wakeman Agency’s passion for the NDWA’s audience and mission resulted in a Labor of Love 10th Anniversary event that far exceeded the success of any of their other fundraising events. Stories of members’ work and appreciation were threaded through all aspects of the event, reminding attendees of the importance of the NDWA’s mission. This strategy amplified the donations in the room and created life-long supporters.

Developing a fundraising strategy not only helped the NDWA adopt best practices and techniques that they can implement in future events, but it increased their donations over their previous anniversary event. This new approach created by The Wakeman Agency will allow the NDWA to continue to reach its fundraising goals in the future.

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