Case Study: SCALES Community Legal Centre

We were absolutely thrilled with our campaign on LawFunder. We would absolutely, without a doubt, recommend it to other CLCs.

Anna Copeland, Director of Clinical Legal Programs
SCALES Community Legal Centre


Lawfunder.Org explores the success of it’s first live fundraising campaign for a Community Legal Centre operating out of Murdoch University in Perth.

View Campaign

What was the problem?


SCALES Community Legal Centre was urgently raising funds for one of their clients, Amni, to bring her family to Australia. Amni survived many years in a Kenyan refugee camp and was forced to leave behind her partner, Tacha, and their young daughter, Ganat, in order to travel to Australia.

Unfortunately, Amni could not afford the cost of a visa application to reunite her family due to the majority of her savings being sent back to support them. The total cost of the visa application was $6,000 – set to increase by a further $2,500 in the new financial year (15 days time).

Through various events and fundraisers throughout the year, SCALES had already raised $2,800 generally for their Migration Aid Fund which they were prepared to contribute on top of Amni’s savings of about $1,000.

So, a further $2,200 was urgently required – and the clock was ticking.

How did we help solve it?

Lawfunder created an online crowdfunding campaign for SCALES which clearly and concisely explained the problem and showed:

 a photo of who the campaign was designed to help;

 a real-time progress bar of total contributions raised; and

a ‘ticking clock’ deadline.

SCALES then pushed out their Lawfunder campaign to their network (of mostly university alumni) via email and immediately began receiving funds in a constant stream. Social media progress updates letting the public know how close they were getting to the goal also seemed to play a part in soliciting donations.

As donations began to flow through, Lawfunder provided campaign updates and personalised thank you notes for the people who generously contributed. All contributors were grouped together and listed on the campaigns ‘Backers’ page to form a sense of community.

See our blog post: 3 Questions Every CLC Needs to Answer Before Crowdfunding

Like most donation platforms, Lawfunder uses standard credit card payment processing. However, the additional option to pay via PayPal removes any potential barriers for donations (such as a contributor not having their credit card accessible at the time of viewing the campaign) and allows them to simply login and donate immediately using their linked accounts.

What did we achieve?

Within 6 days of SCALES pushing out their Lawfunder campaign via email, 100% of the outstanding goal amount was raised.

Amni is now in the process of being reunited with her husband and daughter and their lives have all been changed forever.

Key Stats

  • Approximately 30 people donated to the campaign.
  • The average donation amount was $75.
  • Just under 50% of the balance funds required were raised in one day – following an initial email announcement from SCALES.
  • Just over 50% of all contributions were paid via PayPal.
  • Combined merchant fees of 2.79% meant SCALES kept 97.21% of funds raised.
  •’s commission was $0.

What were the next steps?

At the conclusion of their campaign, SCALES Community Legal Centre was able to download a full list of their supporters and their email addresses to send tax deductible receipts and personalised thank you messages.

Since their urgent appeal has completed successfully, SCALES are now in the process of creating general fundraising page on Lawfunder which accepts monthly subscription payments from their supporters to begin to raise general funding for those who continue to rely on the Migration Aid Fund.


We post crowdfunding campaigns for those who need help affording legal representation yet do not qualify for legal aid. We also work with Australian Community Legal Centres to provide free legal crowdfunding advice.