Plunket's 1000 Days to Raise a Bundle campaign is monitoring the progress of two Hawke's Bay babies born at the end of September, with 20 other families from around the country.
It aims to raise awareness of the vital role the charity plays in the first 1000 days of a child's life.
Plunket chief executive, Amanda Malu said it was an ambitious national fundraising campaign, and had received a positive response.
"Plunket is privileged to be welcomed into the homes of 90 per cent of all children born in New Zealand and with its rich history and proven connections within communities, is perfectly placed to help in these pivotal first 1000 days.
"Most people know Plunket for our Plunket nurses, but we also offer a huge range of community support, whether it be parenting education support or bringing mums and families in the community together."
While Plunket receives some funding from the Government and other organisations, it needs to fundraise to provide additional services when and where they are needed.
"There is always a shortfall. The money raised means we'll be able to provide additional community services to children, their families and whanau across the country."
Ms Malu, who will be fundraising herself, said people can do anything to raise money, from bake sales to bikeathons.
"I'll be raising the equivalent of what I spend on coffee, which could turn out to be a costly exercise."
It will monitor these families for 1000 days and September 30 was chosen, as it traditionally has the highest birth rate.
"The type of care that a child receives in that critical time can be the difference between a life of happiness, or a life of hardship. It will influence the adult that he or she will become and the path that child will follow, Ms Malu said.
Professor Richie Poulton, director of the ground-breaking Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, said: "The best scientific research shows that the greatest social good will be achieved by investing in a child's earliest years."
Ms Malu said "anything people can do to get behind Plunket, we are extremely grateful for".
- Donations can be made through the raiseabundle.org.nz website.