Foundation for Prader–Willi Research logo

Getting a small non-profit started with online fundraising

Foundation for Prader–Willi Research

5455 Wilshire Blvd Suite 2020
90036 Los Angeles
United States

The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR) organized with just 40 families wishing to fund research projects for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). PWS is a rare genetic disorder that historically received little attention and support from the medical research community and FPWR sought to change that condition. In 2005, FPWR's $100,000 in income came from a few large donors. In 2006, FPWR built a new website and looked for web-based donor management software to expand its fundraising base online. All of the commercial options evaluated were too expensive , and Drupal with CiviCRM was ultimately chosen. Since 2006, CiviCRM and its community have helped FPWR grow its online fundraising from $0 to over $700,000 annually. In 2011, FPWR launched its global OneSmallStep (OSS) for Research initiative which brought together over 500 fundraisers in 53 cities around the world to raise money for Prader-Willi syndrome research. To make OSS work, FPWR needed to develop an online fundraising platform where organizers in a particular city could establish a campaign and recruit fundraisers who would in turn solicit online donations. FPWR decided to take CiviCRM and expand its personal-campaign-page system to support this initiative.

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  • Contributions icon
  • Peer to Peer Fundraisers icon

On Wordpress

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FPWR needed the ability to manage all donations and contact records inside of CIVICRM yet provide a fully customized online fundraising platform on top of it. This would allow FPWR's backend reporting processes and accounting methods to remain intact.


The initial intent was to develop a means of organizing and presenting a number of personal campaign pages running on top of CiviCRM. The goal was to maintain control of the donor information, provide a customized experience, and also save on fees that other online fundraising platforms charged.


The biggest challenge was implementing the OSS website to handle multiple currencies, languages and payment processors. In addition, logic needed to be added that would handle donation tracking requirements that were specific to different countries.

Developed by

3 people from FPWR and one hired developer made up the entire team

""CiviCRM gives us the flexibility to raise money and manage our key relationships in ways that best suit our organization. This fundraising platform is a perfect example of that. We are not tied to any specific methodology or process, which has helped us as we expand and implement new fundraising and donor management tactics""

Jeff Porter, CiviCRM has always met our needs

Why did this project use CiviCRM?

FPWR has been using CiviCRM for over 5 years and is very pleased with the platform and its level of support from the community. In addition, FPWR wanted to be able to extend CiviCRM in a meaningful way and contribute that back to the community. Other solutions for this project were considered including online SaaS-based fundraising platforms. They were not chosen because their fees were higher than it would cost FPWR to have this solution built. Moreover, they did not meet all of FPWR's global requirements.