– Fundraising in Norway is something very special

One detail makes Norway stand out when it comes to fundraising for charity: One Sunday every year, almost every Norwegian donate to the same organisation.

Linda Haltbrekken is Director of Fundraising and Communications in Plan International Norway, and knows more than most about what makes Norwegians willing to share. She also knows that Norway is quite a different story when it comes to fundraising:

– 82 percent of our donors are private citizens. More than 130 000 Norwegians have sponsored children through Plan, out of a population of just 5.3 million people. Compared to the other countries we work in, this is quite unique, says Linda.

Plan International Norway strives to advance children's rights of children and equality for girls around the globe, and is part of Plan International – a humanitarian organization working in more than 50 countries.

– In most other countries, most contributions come through big donors or corporations, but here in Norway, the money comes from each and every Norwegian.

One Sunday every October, you can see around 100 000 young and old Norwegians out in the streets, going from door to door to raise money. They do it for the annual telethon for charity, hosted by the state owned television house, NRK, since 1974.

Each year, a charity is selected to be granted the donations – averaging about 20 million dollars each year. In 2021, Plan International Norway was the chosen one. NRK goes live on air all day with artists and entertainment – as well as stories about the people and causes that will benefit from this year's donations.

Plan International Norway was granted this year’s telethon with their project, who aims to reach three million people to end child marriage in countries where girls face the highest risk. They broke all previous records, with 243 million kroners raised by the end of the day.

– The organisations applying for the annual telethon need to have solid action plans at the ready, Linda says. The whole organization has worked diligently to shape both the project and the message to engage Norwegians.

– It means a lot to us that this year's national fundraising event will benefit the children we work with. This means that we can increase our activities significantly, and that we will be able to fund our efforts to help girls out of child marriages in five different countries: Mali, Niger, Malawi, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Linda's regular workdays are all about shaping Plan's core messages, tailoring them to reach a set of defined target groups across a variety of digital channels. The methods and approaches share a lot with other forms of marketing work, except for the fact that Plan's goal is opposite of the usual: They want us to spend money on others, not just ourselves.

Plan International Norway have a skilled team of specialists on their task force: They have a performance team tweaking and adjusting the digital message distribution, they have a web team, a content team and a communications team.

Linda got her master's degree in International Business at BI I 2007, and is now in charge of the Fundraising and Communications department. Her team is responsible for engaging with the private donors.

– Our main goal has always been taking on the role of the challenger when it comes to content. We want to create content that gets well-deserved attention and hits a nerve with the audience. This means we need to convey complex and complicated issues in a way that is simple to understand. Our stories has to be real, told with compassion, in order to be relevant, and makes people want to contribute.

Plan International Norway is working systematically with several key groups to reach their goals. That is why they are working closely with corporations and political decision makers to secure support, as well as being active in the political debate on aid and development.

Earlier, Plan has been exploring different fundraising concepts as documentary reality TV and entertainment shows with Norway's top artists and musicians. The most important in the day-to-day operation, though, is storytelling that is tailored to the selected target groups across channels as their Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as website and newsletters.

– We strive to be the leading professional marketing environment in Norway when it comes to aid and development work, Linda says.

– We have less money than the big commercial companies do, and thus we are working harder. However, when we think smart, we are really getting a lot done!


Every year, 7,000 companies donate money to the TV campaign through local charities, where they gather to call around to their own network and raise money. Linda Haltbrekken was in place for the workday in Oslo in October.


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