OverviewDo’s and don’ts
Related Tools

Mobilizing in-kind support

Last edited: January 03, 2012

This content is available in


In-kind support can take different forms: a restaurant owner may be persuaded to offer free snacks at a local campaign event; TV and radio stations may provide free air-time for public service announcements; public relations (advertisement) specialists, lawyers or other professionals may agree to work pro bono (i.e. at no or extremely reduced cost) for the campaign; an NGO may offer free training to the campaigners or donate second-hand electronic equipment. Free air time and pro bono work by highly skilled professionals are particularly valuable assets. Well-publicized in-kind support, not only is a means of showing gratitude, but also demonstrates to others – including potential donors – that the campaign receives backing from a large, powerful cross-section of society. 

Example: An impressive example is the Bell Bajao campaign by Breakthrough, a US and India-based human rights organization, which succeeded in obtaining pro-bono services from a leading global ad agency – Ogilvy and Mather – which was responsible for producing all the creative communications products in different media formats for the entire campaign. The partnership with the agency was a win-win situation in several ways: it helped to significantly defray campaign communications costs, while also meeting the agency’s corporate social responsibility mandate, and allowing Breakthrough to educate its personnel on VAW issues.

See the Bell Bajao case study. Access the Bell Bajao campaign.


The key steps in mobilizing institutional donor support can also be used to seek in-kind support. For smaller donations, no formal written proposal will be needed, but it is important to have a clear, possibly written agreement on any donor requirements and donor benefits, e.g. on visibility, access to campaign events, etc.

Bear in mind:

  • Donated goods, pro bono time and other free gifts are valuable contributions that must be properly acknowledged and accounted for as part of effective management of campaign resources. Assign a monetary value to non-cash donations, and record them in your accounts.
  • When accepting pro bono support, verify whether the quality and timeliness of the free services offered corresponds with the campaign needs. Some PR agencies may be tempted to produce advertisements that shock the audience or generate publicity of the PR agency itself, rather than engaging the audience on the campaign issue

See in-kind contributions under Budgeting and financial control for tips on tracking in-kind support.