How to Host a Little Black Dress Fundraising Event

Brooke Battle
Written by :

Brooke Battle

Categories: Event Ideas

The Little Black Dress Fundraiser is a creative fundraising effort initially launched by the Junior League of London and replicated across the United States with Junior Leagues and other nonprofit organizations.   


What Is a Little Black Dress (LBD) Fundraiser? 

An LBD fundraiser can come to life in a few ways.  At their core, Little Black Dress events are peer-to-peer campaigns.   


Online fundraising campaign only:   For an online fundraising campaign, supporters or members of your organization agree to participate as Fundraisers (we prefer the term Champions) in your Little Black Dress Campaign.   


  • Goals are set, kickoff calls held, fundraising toolkits created and materials provided in support of those Fundraisers (more on that to follow below).
  • For one week, LBD participants wear a black dress every day to prompt conversation and raise funds in a peer-to-peer campaign.
  • Participants typically wear a button, change their social media images and/or carry information to prompt conversations with friends about the cause
  • Text to Donate or a QR code to a mobile giving page can then be utilized to engage peers with giving 


Fundraising campaign + Event:   The Little Black Dress fundraiser and event is another engaging process to raise funds for your cause.  Little Black Dress events celebrate the fundraising participants with a party.    


  • Event guests wear a ‘little black dress’ to the fundraising event
  • Ticket sales and pre-event donations are credited to Fundraising Champions
  • The event is hip, focused on raising awareness about the mission, celebrates fundraising and honors the fundraising champions. 
  • The LBD event needs a ticketing platform integrated with the peer fundraising and easy ways to give throughout the event in support of the fundraising champions.  

Steps to your Successful Little Black Dress Campaign

  •  Determine your goals for the campaign/event. Goals include fundraising goals, number of donors, social media mentions and website traffic.   The goals of the campaign are both fundraising and awareness.  

  • With your campaign/event committee, finalize the dates and details of your campaign or event. 
    • Date, Time and Place
    • Fundraising goal
    • What needs will be met by the fundraising?  
    • Graphics / look of the campaign/event


  • Create your Little Black Dress Event or Campaign site

little black dress junior league


  • Create a Fundraising Toolkit for Your LBD Participantslittle black dress fundraiser junior league
    • Information about the cause and why the funding is important
    • Example emails for participants to send to friends and family
    • Example social media posts
    • Social media images for participants to change their profile image, headers and more
    • Fundraising best practices


  • Launch:  A well-planned launch can make or break a fundraising campaign.   Here are some steps to a successful launch. 
    • Choose a set date for everything to begin.  Ask your fundraisers and all of your committee to post on social and email friends that morning.
    • Host a kickoff call the week before your launch date.  This is a great time to show your fundraisers best practices and hand out materials. 


  • Have FUN - Communicate Well! 
    • The communication with your fundraisers, members, community and previous year participants is key to your success.  
    • Have fun celebrating individual successes and encourage friendly competition when it makes sense. 


Little Black Dress is a mainstay of the fundraising concepts and can serve as a great online only, hybrid or in-person experience.  This means it is resilient during unpredictable times.  


Explore Swell: 

Swell Fundraising has hosted hundreds of campaigns like the Little Black Dress event. With Swell, you can use our custom domain ( to host your event and create a custom experience for your participants with our email customization tools.   Swell’s integrated ticketing alongside a peer to peer platform is perfectly designed for LBD events and campaigns.