100+ Fundraising Ideas That Actually Work
Are you looking to raise more money for your favourite charity, or have a fundraising target you need to hit? We've put together a list of 100+ fundraising ideas that are all proven to work by real fundraisers like you.
Best Fundraising Ideas
We’ve been working with charities and fundraisers directly for over 15 years, and these are the fundraising ideas that have worked well time and time again. Our best fundraising ideas are all achievable, and will help you smash your fundraising target.
Tube/train station collections
With the easy online booking system for charities it is now easier then ever to book in a collection at any of London’s Underground, Overground or DLR stations. Robin has used this to great effect in his fundraising for Spinal Research.
I’ve been organising and participating in these collections since 2016 and it’s a great way to raise money from the general public and avoid donor fatigue within your own networks. I raised £1,200 from my collections to help reach my fundraising target for the Virgin Money London Marathon!
To help maximise what you can raise from collections you need to book busy stations (preferably with one entrance/exit), always smile and look engaging, make yourself stand out with some kind of dress up theme (either subtle or not). Embrace contactless donation technology where possible, as people are less likely to carry cash these days.
Online fundraising page
Whatever you do you must create a page on one of the many online fundraising sites that exist. These sites make fundraising so much easier. Gone are the days of sponsor forms and handing over cash. Now you just head across to the relevant site via a link from an email or social media page make a donation using your credit card and it is job done. However, there are many ways to make sure you get your page right and increase the amount of donations you receive. The top tips are:
- The name of the charity and the appeal you’re raising funds for and the reasons why the potential donor needs to donate. Make sure the charity branding is strong.
- Images on the page that relate to the email or social media page that the potential donor will have clicked across from to find this page.
- Information on what a specific amount of money will buy for that charity.
- Plenty of detail on you and the cause. Don’t just do the bare minimum. Don’t go overboard but make sure give lots of information that encourages people to donate.
- Add lots of relevant photos and a video (but don’t make it too long…).
- Encourage recurring payments as much as possible. On most sites, donors can choose from a one-off donation or recurring. If you can encourage payments monthly or quarterly that will make a huge difference to the charity concerned.
Fantasy sports leagues
Fantasy sports leagues have grown in popularity over the last few years and cover many sports in many countries. Why not get everyone in your office who is involved in one at the moment to start the following season as part of a charity group and offer a donated prize for the winner? Even a nominal entry fee per person could make a difference to your fundraising if plenty of people agree to be part of the group.
For any items you have at home that you don’t want to take to a charity shop, why not set up a garage or yard sale and invite as many friends, family and neighbours as you can? You’ll need to make sure you go low with prices as everyone loves a bargain. Price too high and everyone will walk away. If you don’t want to organise a sale at home, you could try an organised car boot sale where you’re guaranteed plenty of potential customers!
Perfect for adults and kids alike. Charge an entry fee and provide snacks for an additional fee, or just charge a one off amount to include a certain number of extras. For adults you can charge extra for drinks as there will always be someone who wants a bit more. Arranging movie nights for kids is a really great way of fundraising as it acts as a babysitting service. You’ll be amazed at how much the parents will contribute in the knowledge that their little ones are being looked after by someone they know. The more kids the more funds raised, but beware - the noise might be too much for the faint-hearted!
Having friends over for dinner is a great way to socialise but it can be even better if they help you with your fundraising. There are lots of ways of getting contributions, either a one-off donation, or a contribution at the end of the meal based on how much they enjoyed it. Make sure you charge extra for drinks though! You could make it a regular event and rotate it across a number of your friends’ houses. The ones that do the best meal based on everyone’s feedback wins a prize – donated of course.
Run a marathon
For most runners this is the holy grail. Most have seen the London Marathon on TV and it’s this event more than any other that has put marathon running on the map. Even if you’ve done a half marathon you need to make sure you leave many months to move up to this distance. If you’re a complete beginner it’s a 12 month project, depending on your base fitness level. This is also the best distance for fundraising. Most people know how hard it is to run a marathon and will dig deep as a result. However, it is far easier to fundraise for a recognised charity event like the London Marathon rather than a local event with a few hundred runners. The average amount raised by the average London Marathon runner is over £2500. The cause you run for does make a huge difference, so make sure you choose wisely and make sure you are really committed to it.
Many us are wearing pedometers, like Fitbits, these days and many of us set a daily steps target. 10,000 is a recommended daily target so why not organise a challenge to see how many work colleagues or friends or family can meet that target for a certain number of days in a row? There are lots of ways you could create a competitive environment that plenty of people could get involved in. 10,000 steps is a lot, but it is absolutely within most people’s capabilities.
We are all time poor these days and it’s often the poor old dog that suffers as a result. Offer your services as a dog walker for a donation to your charity and everyone will be happy. Again, planning is the key here. You find your services are very much in demand as word gets out, so you’ll need to make sure you have a decent schedule, especially if your dogs are geographically spread.
You definitely need to think about the ever popular bake sale wherever you work. There aren’t many people who can resist a decent home-baked treat and if you can find some others to help you create an irresistible combination of options you could be surprised at how much you can raise. Make sure you cater for everyone and remember all the various dietary challenges faced by some of your colleagues.
Easy Fundraising Ideas
Are you short on time or low on funds? These easy fundraising ideas take little effort to set up, and won’t cost you anything but could still raise a lot of money for your chosen charity.
It sounds easy enough and with good planning it is, but there is more to this than just turning up and generating cash. Most supermarkets, especially the bigger ones, are inundated with fundraisers wanting to collect in or just outside their premises so you’ll need to get a spot as far in advance as possible. You’ll need to know exactly where you’ll be located and what you need to bring or are allowed to bring. They will also have certain rules that you’ll need to follow, and you need to stick to them, or you won’t be allowed back.
Ask your charity for branded buckets and anything else you can have to make yourself stand out. After a few days make sure you contact the store and thank them for having you. This will make it easier to get another go in the future.
Check with the manager and see if you and some friends can be packers for the day, with any donations made by customers going to your selected charity. Pick a Saturday if you can and get as much support as possible. Wear charity branded shirts and get some information from the charity along with collecting tins to make it easier for customers to reward you. Everyone is a bit nervous just handing cash over. An authorisation letter from your charity is also a good idea.
Donate furniture or clothes
We can all do with a clear out at home every now and again and a great way of raising funds for charity from your unwanted gear is to donate it to one of the many charity shops up and down the high street. Not all of them can take the larger items, so do your research first, but many of the larger ones are desperate for furniture and other household items. Clothes, books etc are always welcome. There is always good demand for good quality donations and it’s a great way of helping your favourite charity, so have a good look around your home and do your bit.
Recycling printer cartridges or mobiles
How many of us throw out old cartridges and phones without even thinking about the fundraising potential of recycling? We should be doing our bit for the environment anyway but add in the fundraising opportunity and there is no excuse. Select your recycling partner carefully (one that really focuses on charity fundraising) and arrange some recycling boxes in strategic locations around the office. Remember to keep emptying them on a regular basis, especially if you’re in a really busy office.
We’ve all heard about this, but have you ever done it or seen it being done? It is a moving experience and one that is bound to get the donations flowing. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Juliette shaved her head to fundraise for ActionAid.
In many places and during different eras, shaving a woman’s head was a way to humiliate her by stripping her femininity. I’m reclaiming this act to empower women.
That she did! Juliette set herself the incredible challenge of fundraising £1,000. If she hit that target she promised to go into work in her favourite unicorn onesie. Juliette exceeded her target and raised an amazing £1207.84 and indeed went to work in her unicorn onesie and is absolutely rocking the head shave!
Donations instead of presents
Special occasions like birthdays mean presents, and often this means gifts that you don’t necessarily want and probably won’t ever use. Why not ask your friends and family not to give you anything for your next birthday but instead make a donation to your favourite charity via your online giving page? Weddings are one of the best occasions for this. Many couples who have maybe got everything they need for their house will ask their guests to donate to charity rather than circulate a wedding list. It can raise thousands for their favourite charity!
The old ones are the best ones. You could do this at the office but maybe try it at home and get the kids to give it go. Can you imagine a week of sponsored silence with absolutely zero noise from the little ones? Too good to be true maybe but definitely worth a try. There may be some practical issues if you arrange a silence at work but it’s still an option. It won’t raise massive funds for charity but it’s one of those activities that takes very little to organise so the returns should be good.
Another option is gift wrapping at Christmas. Not really for supermarkets and more of a department store exercise. Most customers won’t have a problem donating a small amount to have presents wrapped. See if you can get the materials donated or at least supplied at cost and then much more of the funds raised will go to your charity. Use collecting tins supplied by your charity.
Local store donations
Many of the smaller chains have a donation scheme whereby they make donations to registered charities based on submissions made to them. Why not work with your preferred charity and make a submission on their behalf. If you do all the work and they get a donation it’s a win-win. Ask as many stores as you can, and you’ll find some that operate these schemes.
Odd job day or weekend
Instead of offering a taxi service, or maybe as well as, you can also offer your time to colleagues, friends and family for odd jobs, like lawn mowing or household DIY jobs. We always have jobs that need doing and if there is someone around who can do them, and the money goes to charity then we should all be happy. Again, get your time scheduled well in advance and make sure you only take on jobs that you know you can do.
Using social media
In addition to email you must make the most of social media. Facebook and Instagram are absolutely critical in running a strong charity campaign. There are many, many tips that you can employ throughout so ask your charity for their ideas. At the very least you need to share content cleverly, be engaging, stress the urgency, try different approaches, customise, include a call to action and ask your followers to spread the word.
With your page and your blog or website set up the big question is how do you get potential supporters to find them? In addition to telling people all about them you need to make sure you are emailing as many people as possible. Don’t just send specifics emails to key potential donors (regularly, but not too often) but also include a link as part of your email signature if the boss will let you. If not, then at least include it when you send emails from your personal email account.
Unique Fundraising Ideas
Sick of the same old fundraising ideas? Make your fundraising stand out with these unique fundraising ideas that you won’t see everyone else doing. They’ll keep you and your supporters entertained, and make sure the donations come flooding in.
Make your own candles or soap
It’s not just selling cakes at work or to family and friends that will raise funds for charity, there are plenty of other options. Why not bring some sensuous smells into people’s homes by making your own scented candles or soaps? These can be made fairly cheaply and sold on at a good margin.
Fran had great success with this crafty fundraiser in raising money for ActionAid.
I love fundraising for ActionAid as they are such a brilliant charity. I’m very creative and its wonderful selling my handmade soaps and candles to help raise money, they always sell out fast! It’s so rewarding to raise funds for such a worthy cause and know it makes a difference to people’s lives. ActionAid inspires me to be even more creative, I think Watermelon Soap could well be next!
Being creative with your fundraising is key to standing out, and what better way to do that than with personalised poems for your supporters? Alistair Jones used this in his fundraising for Spinal Research, and smashed his fundraising targets.
My principal method of fundraising has been writing personal poems for people on social media. (See @runningmrjones on both Twitter and Instagram). I’ve been surprised by the enthusiasm and generosity of so many people and have raised somewhere between £4000 and £5000 this way. My top fundraising tip is to ask people at the end of the month when they’ve just been paid. They are much more likely to be both willing and able to donate at that time. And remember to always say “thank you”!
Everyone loves getting in touch with their inner child by going on a treasure hunt. This can be a themed event, but the classic pirate treasure approach always works well. Source as many donated prizes as you can, and make sure you make the hunt challenging and interesting.
Put your supporters into teams of three or four, and charge each team a donation fee to enter. The winning team will get to keep the prizes they find. If you have children, or involve a local school, they’ll have a great time creating authentic looking treasure maps.
Combine the treasure hunt with some sight seeing to make this an event your supporters will remember. Combine clues with local history and landmarks to ensure everyone involved has a great time.
Make your own obstacle course
A home made obstacle course for kids is a brilliantly unique idea from a group of fundraising teachers raising money for Scottish Autism. Obstacle events like Tough Mudder are extremely popular these days, but some of them are too extreme for kids to get involved.
The team from Carolside Primary School in Clarkston solved that problem by creating a set of simple and safe obstacles in the school gym. Children collected sponsorship to take part, and had the chance to experience an obstacle course race in a safe environment.
“We chose Scottish Autism because we have pupils with autism at Carolside Primary School and know first hand how the charity helps them and their families. One of the Tough Teachers team also has two children with autism and has received support from Scottish Autism, so there was no better charity to fundraise for.”
Guess the baby photo
Always guaranteed to break the ice with any group of people. Get a baby photo from as many friends or colleagues as you can and work out the best way of getting as many of them and others to enter as possible, for a fee of course! Probably best to get them up on the workplace noticeboard if you have one and number them all. Create an entry form with all the numbers on it and space for entrants to put a name next to each. It’s really easy to organise and should be plenty of fun.
Wine or beer tasting
Sometimes it’s best to just forget the food and (responsibly!) focus on the alcohol. You can invite more people to a wine tasting than a dinner party and you may well also get some of the wine donated, or at cost, if you promise your local store that you’ll buy all of your requirements from them. Charge an entry fee to the tasting and maybe offer prizes for those that guess the wine before the host details each one. With all the wine flowing it might be a good idea to include a raffle or mini-auction at the end of the night!
Not everyone is into wine and plenty of people are getting in to craft beers and ciders these days so why not use this as the theme of your charity tasting evening instead. There are many different options and you could focus on local or international options or both. Depending on where you’re based you could hold the event at a local craft brewery and include a tour of the venue beforehand.
With some planning a plant sale could be a real opportunity of raising money for your favourite charity. The key is to buy (or get donated) lots of seeds very early in the season and give yourself plenty of time for them to grow before your sale. Use cheap disposable cups for the seeds so you’re not spending too much up front on pots. After a few weeks of nurturing you’ll have a significant plant inventory that you should be able to turn into cash either at home, maybe as part of a garage sale, or potentially at work.
If you know a celebrity or a contact of yours does, then see if that person will get involved in your fundraising efforts. They will have plenty of people asking but they may well have a special affinity with your preferred cause and if you don’t ask you don’t get. Depending on how well known the person is you could organise a dinner party with tickets priced accordingly or alternatively arrange a meet and greet with lower priced tickets, or maybe auction a dinner with the celebrity at the office?
Another option for an event that will burn some calories is ten-pin bowling. A night out at a bowling alley is always a popular option and most towns and cities have at least one venue you can use. Get in contact with them and see if they will do a discount or even offer one free lane if you commit to a certain number of players. Charge each player more than the cost price, add a donated prize for the winning team and you have a great night out.
How about being an unofficial Uber driver for the day for work colleagues, friends and family? No-one will mind paying a bit over the odds if they know the funds generated are being donated to good causes. Try and get plenty of bookings in advance so you can plan your day or weekend and make the most of every minute. If kids need taking to sports events or parties, then get them to make a contribution from their pocket money. No-one should get a free ride!
Blog or website
If you’re looking to support a charity long-term it might be worth you setting up a blog or a website to outline what you’re doing and give updates on your progress. There are so many options now that this is a lot easier than you think. It only takes a few minutes to set up a blog (free on lots of sites) or a website (very inexpensive) and it will give you a real opportunity to showcase what you’re doing. Keep it updated though. There is no excuse not to given how easy it is.
Most people classify Pinterest as social media, but it’s more than that; it’s really a search engine and you need to use it differently to maximise its performance. First up you need to build the boards and make sure you have plenty of great images. Ask your charity to supply you with some if you don’t have enough. Create some infographics using free software and make sure you make them shareable. Do the same with inspirational quotes. Include a link to your fundraising page wherever you can. There are so many opportunities and it’s worth taking some time to explore as many of them as you can.
Sports Fundraising Ideas
One of the best ways to fundraise for charity is by getting active. There are a variety of sports and fitness challenges out there that will not only help you raise money for charity, but also get fitter and healthier.
5 a-side football
A great one for work colleagues or friends and family, or both, is a 5 aside football match or tournament. Check with your local centre and you might get them to donate a pitch for an hour or two if they know it’s in aid of charity. Charge a fee to play and add some extra fundraising opportunities, like raffles, to make sure you get plenty for your favourite charity from the event.
Always a guaranteed winner is a golf tournament, although be mindful that this can take a lot more organising than you think. Most golf clubs have charity events so you’ll need to pick the right venue and get your timing just right or you might not get enough entrants. This is not one to do on your own. You’ll need plenty of support and more than likely you’ll need a committee involved as the work load can be significant. It is generally not the golf itself where the money will be raised; it’s more likely to be the raffles and auctions that generate the big numbers.
Table tennis tournament
There are a huge number of sports and activities that can be the basis of an individual tournament that require a high fitness level or lots of training. But table tennis is accessible for pretty much anyone. Lots of offices have got a table in their break out areas so organising an after work or even a lunch time series shouldn’t be too difficult. There is often someone who is really skilled compared to the others so maybe think about some kind of handicap for that person, just to keep it fair for everyone.
For something that isn’t quite so energetic and much easier to organise get a group together and arrange a darts match or tournament. This could be a one-off event or a series over a set day each week. Charge an entry fee and maybe take an amount for your charity every time a drink is consumed. That could mount up over the course of a long match. As with all your events think about how else you can raise money on the night without pushing your group too hard. You want them to keep supporting your charity, so you need to make sure you’re giving them lots of fun events without being too pushy with the fundraising.
Run an event
If you’ve never run before and you want to be part of a big fundraising event, a 5k is the one to start with. You can go from zero to hero in a few weeks of training and your friends and family will definitely back you, with plenty of fundraising support.
Once you’ve done a 5k the next step is to double the distance. There are plenty of fantastic 10k events all over the world, some in big cities, some around historic houses and plenty taking in stunning countryside. You’ll need to train well and take the distance seriously while raising money for your charity.
The next step up and for many regular runners this is their favourite distance; a real physical challenge without the intense and lengthy training required for a full marathon. Leave yourself at least three months to train for a half marathon, even if you’re a regular runner.
Run an obstacle course event
The popularity of events like Tough Mudder have grown massively in recent years and they are now a major fundraising opportunity. You can either get your own entry via the event’s website or contact your favourite charity and run using one of their entries which may come with lots of extras. They are great events to run as a group so get a few of your friends or work colleagues together and help each other over the obstacles. Start your fundraising early and once the event is finished send everyone who donated an update on how you did.
Mass participation cycling events are more popular than ever and are a great way to fundraise. Try Prudential RideLondon, one of the most popular. Join 30,000 like minded souls as you head from east London out to Surrey and then back to the Mall. There are many events around the world with some being up to 100 miles and even beyond! As with running events make sure you train and fundraise from start to finish. The more time you give yourself to fundraise the more you’ll manage.
There are also many more swimming events than there ever used to be and if you’re ready to train these are a great fundraising alternative to a run or a cycle. There are plenty of different distance options with some going up to two miles and beyond. Some require you to wear a wetsuit and others won’t let you, so make sure you know the rules well in advance and train accordingly.
Do a triathlon
Why not combine a run, bike ride and a swim and do a triathlon for charity? From short distance through to IRONMAN there are multiple options globally with some events focused on charity fundraising. You’ll really need to train well and make sure you focus on all three disciplines in training, not just on your favourite. Quite the opposite, you’ll need to work on the weakest discipline, so you don’t get caught out on race day.
If you want to slow down the pace, there are multiple organised walks you can join. Many of these are organised by charities themselves. There will be an entry fee, but they will also expect you to raise funds on top of this. Distances range from a 5k to a marathon and more, like London to Brighton, but the most popular for the masses are those at the lower end of the distance range. They have wonderful community spirit and are a great introduction to charity fundraising, without all the training (although you do have to make sure you have trained for the longer ones!).
Great Wall of China or Hadrian’s Wall? Peru or Papua New Guinea? There is a trek for everyone, whatever your aspirations and however far you want to go. This is a huge sector for charities and they offer many, many options for their supporters. The further afield you want to go the more you’ll need to raise so make sure you do your research before committing to your event. Fundraising targets can be significant but with plenty of time and planning you shouldn’t find them too challenging. Even though it’s a trek and not a run make sure you respect the distance and train hard. If you don’t you could find day after day on your feet in the sun a bit overwhelming. Prepare well and it will be an amazing experience.
All over the world climbing hills and mountains for charity is becoming more and more popular. In the UK the 3 Peaks Challenge is one of the most popular, covering the highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales, in that order. Many are organised by charities and take place in early summer when there is plenty of light. They are team events and the camaraderie will never be forgotten. These challenges are physically demanding so you will need to put plenty of time into your training beforehand.
Fancy a skydive? Thousands do every year for charity and they will never forget it. 2 or 3 miles up and 125 mph is quite a combination and whether you choose a solo or tandem jump the experience will never leave you! Freefall can be anything from 10-30 seconds and is often followed by up to 5 minutes of ‘floating’. You won’t need to spend weeks training, just prepare your mind for what’s coming!
Not for the faint-hearted (but not as hardcore as a skydive…) abseiling is a great way to raise funds for charity. Looking down from the top can be a bit daunting for some people initially, but once you’re on your way down you will love every minute of it. The best way to get the most from the experience is to join forces with others on one of many ‘charity only’ days. Ask your favourite charity for details.
If you really want to get your heart racing, a bungee jump is just what you’re looking for. What better way is there to raise funds for charity than jumping off a tall building, bridge or a crane attached to a rubber band?? Originating in Queenstown, New Zealand you can pretty much take part in a bungee jump anywhere, either as part of a one-off event or as part of an ongoing programme common in many tourist centres around the world. It’s not cheap, but if you get the fundraising right, you’ll be able to make a great return for the charity and everyone will be happy.
School Fundraising Ideas
Involving your kids is a great way to boost your fundraising. Working with their school will open up whole new avenues of fundraising, as people are far more likely to donate when children are raising money for charity. This is particularly effective if you’re fundraising for a children’s charity.
Getting kids to read can be tough but if they knew they were helping a charity that might make a difference. Ask them to keep a log of everything they read in a set period of time and get them to seek sponsorship by pages read. Chances are if they know they are going to raise more by reading more they may make more of an effort than normal. You need to liaise with the school and see how many classes you can get involved.
Another winner for the kids is an organised school dance, with the parents at a safe distance in another room! Use the school hall if possible, get a local DJ (maybe a parent) to donate their time, arrange some food and drink, hopefully donated by a local business or two, and you have the ingredients for a really successful event. There won’t be many of the kids who will turn down the opportunity to attend an event like this if you get the core elements right. As with all these events you need to get the communication right and give people plenty of notice. The closer to the event you tell people the fewer will be there.
Computer gaming competition
The growth of computer gaming gives a major opportunity for fundraising. It’s also a great way to introduce the younger generation to charities and everything they do for us. Organise an event in school and charge the kids a fee to get involved. Offer donated prizes for the winners, but make sure you put strict time limits on each game or else you could be there overnight. Maybe involve the parents and have family competitions.
Board game competition
Go old school and swap the computer games for board games, like Monopoly. You could run this event on a separate day or run it in conjunction with the computer game competition. This will reduce the amount of downtime for competitors and also offer a change of pace. Get in plenty of food and drink from the local cash and carry and add a decent mark-up on everything, which gives another opportunity to raise funds for your charity.
Teachers vs parents competition
There are lots of ways of creating some healthy competition between parents and teachers, especially where sport is involved. Try a swimming carnival or running events on the school sports fields. Charge spectators to watch and make sure you have plenty of great prizes for the winners. If you get a good crowd, make sure you have other fundraising opportunities available.
Target the teacher
If you can find a game teacher or two this could be a great way of raising some easy funds for charity. What child wouldn’t want to throw a custard pie at their teacher and get their parents to pay for the privilege? Do you allow the parents to throw the custard pies as well for an even bigger fee? You don’t have to stop at custard pies either. Nice ripe tomatoes are another option…
An easy one to organise, all you need is the permission of the head teacher and a way of communicating with the parents of the kids in the school or the class involved. The kids will love coming to school in the clothes of their choice (up to a point) and the parents won’t mind making a small contribution to your nominated charity. If the whole school gets involved the fundraising number could be very large and for not a lot of work.
You could operate a face painting event as part of a bigger event like a sports day or for a couple of hours at the end of a normal school day, again with the permission of the head teacher. Kids love face painting and if you can find a local who is up to the job and will either donate their time or charge you a nominal sum, you’ll get a good return for your charity if all the kids are charged a reasonable amount.
Rubber duck race
Not exclusively for the kids, but definitely one that will be popular with them it is again fairly easy to organise. Buy a bulk quantity of plastic or rubber ducks and number the underneath of each of them (with waterproof paint). Sell tickets relating to each number and away you go. Make sure you find a great venue and you’ll be able to operate race after race with new tickets being sold each time. Keep the entry cost cheap and the fundraising will come pouring in.
School sports day
Most schools already operate a sports day so why not have a conversation with the head teacher and see if you can get involved and use it as a special fundraising day? You’ll have less organisation issues to worry about and more time to focus on how you can get everyone involved with raising money for charity. The best approach might be to agree half the money raised goes to the school and half to your supported cause. You could get donated prizes for some of the winners and for a raffle. There are lots of ways you could make this a really big day.
There are businesses out there that operate official school lotteries so if yours doesn’t do one already then get them involved now. Generally, the funds will go direct to the school itself but maybe come up with an arrangement whereby you could help manage it for them and promote it on the basis that some goes to your favourite charity. As long as you are transparent, and everyone knows the deal it shouldn’t be an issue.
Christmas decoration competition
Christmas tree decorations are a particular favourite when it comes to Christmas art. Buy some basic options and work with the school to see what they can provide in terms of paints and other supplies. This could be part of a normal school art class, but with a fee involved. On the last day of term get all the parents in and offer them the opportunity to purchase one or more of the best ones.
If your local school doesn’t already have a resident Santa, they why not have a go yourself or get one of your friends or family to step in and get the beard on for an afternoon. You’ll need to go through the relevant police checks beforehand, but that shouldn’t take too long. Then once in the role you can charge each child for a visit or get sponsored by a local business and the visits can then be free. You’ll need to get some presents from a local toy shop but if you ask nicely you may get some of those donated.
Work Fundraising Ideas
Lots of the best fundraising ideas involve engaging with your work colleagues but you need to make sure you give them a focus rather than just sending an email round with a link to your fundraising page. Organising events for them is important, and the ideas below always work well.
Company product donations
If the company you work for produces products, why not see if they will donate some of their old or excess stock for you to sell or auction off for your charity? This tip was sent to us by Stuart, who used it amongst other fundraising methods to raise over £8500 for Whizz-Kidz.
I worked in the automotive industry and asked some car suppliers to donate merchandise, or even part exchange cars that held little value which I sold on via an auction house (who waived their fees). Be cheeky… if you don’t ask you won’t get.
This can still work if your company offers a service rather than physical products. Speak to your employer and see if they’d be willing to donate a few hours worth of client work to your cause. Make sure the client is aware of this and they might make an extra donation of their own.
Dress down day
If your colleagues are used to a formal dress code, then a dress down day can be a welcome relief and many of them will pay a small fee to get involved. You might have to set some boundaries though or there could be some surprises in store on the day itself!
The swear jar
At most workplaces there can be some interesting language at times. Why not pick a week or two and let your colleagues now that there will be a cost for this language! Devise a payment schedule that charges more for the severe words and less for those that aren’t quite as bad. Within a week your favourite charity could be very pleased especially if you include marketing jargon and buzzwords as well! You could have a swear jar at home as well. You might raise even more.
Company barbeque or picnic
It’s always a great idea to have a team bonding session at a barbeque or picnic on a warm summer’s day and even better if it’s a fundraising event. Think about the best ways of getting support including donated food and drink and how much you should ask attendees to contribute. You’ll need to think about what activities you need to include to keep everyone engaged and what you need to do to keep them giving!
Horrible sweater day
They have never been as popular. Christmas in particular has seen a real increase in the amount of people at work wearing sweaters that would never normally see the light of day! Pick a day and get everyone in their finest, for a fee. Try and get a donated prize – potentially a voucher for a decent sweater…
There aren’t many households where there isn’t a lot of loose change lying around. Make some collection points, which could just be very large bottles with the right branding on them. Get your family and friends to have one at home as well. The more you can get out into the market the better. Make sure the charity branding is really clear and ideally include a message detailing exactly what the money raised is going to be used for. Keep detailed records of where you have allocated the collection points and schedule in regular pick-ups.
Office tuck shop
It’s more than likely there will be an ongoing demand in your workplace for snacks and drinks during the day, especially later in the afternoon. With permission from the boss go to a local cash and carry, fill the car with goodies and sell them at normal retail prices (plus a bit) with all profits going to charity. Your offices colleagues won’t mind paying a bit more than normal and will appreciate the convenience.
Payroll giving and donations
There are a few ways that you can get support from your work colleagues directly from their pay, although this might be a tough sell. You might persuade a few to give a small amount from their monthly pay direct to your charity for a few months but maybe a better approach is to get as many as possible to give up a day’s pay every two or three months. That will be easier for the individual to handle and may encourage more people to get involved, so the total raised might not be too different.
Gift match schemes
There are many companies out there that really do get behind fundraising, by matching the amounts raised by their staff. Schemes can vary considerably with some doing a straight match, others doing a percentage of the amount raised and others having a cap, both on an individual’s performance and on the total funds available. Have a conversation with your HR department and see what your company offers. You may well be very surprised.
Another way of supporting charities through sporting event are the popular sweepstakes that many companies operate for big events like World Cups. Charge everyone an entry fee and again get a donated prize for the winner. The more that enter the more you’ll raise for your favourite charity.
We’ve all got piles of books at home that we never read and plenty of them would be of interest to others. Why not arrange a book sale at the office and encourage your colleagues to bring in their unwanted volumes along with your own to create the ultimate opportunity for those who like a good read. Price them right and you could raise some decent money for charity. Make sure if there are any unsold books that the original owner takes them home. You don’t want to be stuck with more than you arrived with!
Fundraising auctions and raffles
If you’re part of a big office in a big company, you should think about operating an auction and raffles. If it’s a smaller office, then stick to raffles. You need plenty of people to make an auction work and preferably operate it as part of a bigger event. The more fun people are having the better the returns from an auction. Don’t underestimate the effort you’ll need to make to get the right auction and raffle prizes though. There are some very generous businesses out there who want to support charities and there are plenty that don’t. You just have to find them and remember that they have plenty of people asking them on a very regular basis, so you’ll need to get your pitch right. However, if you can secure the right prizes the fundraising potential of auctions and raffles are huge. You can raise a very large amount for your charity with the right products and the right audience. Getting the right person to manage the auction itself is also key.
Collecting unwanted shoes is a very popular way of raising funds or making a donation direct to charity. There are a number of companies out there that will collect unwanted shoes, recycle them and then make a payment for everything they received. Most homes have numerous pairs of shoes that aren’t being worn and this is a good chance to have a clear out. Depending on the charity you’re supporting you might take the alternative approach which is to donate the shoes direct to the charity itself for them to send on to those that need them. This is particularly relevant to humanitarian charities and those working with the homeless. Make sure your donated shoes are of a good quality and if the charity asked for trainers/sneakers don’t send them lots of work shoes or shoes more suitable for a night out!
Wacky Fundraising Ideas
Sometimes the key to successful fundraising is thinking outside of the box. These wacky fundraising ideas do just that. They’ll make you stand out for all the right reasons, and draw much-needed attention to your chosen cause.
Do a running event in fancy dress
If you want to do something a bit different in your next running event why not run in fancy dress? Every year the London Marathon is full of characters and you’ll now see them in many other events around the world. Remember to do a couple of training runs in your costume to make sure you’re used to the weight.
Anthony has run over twenty events for WellChild as their mascot Nessa the Nurse since 2007. In that time he’s been trending on Twitter, and been interviewed by the BBC multiple times. All in all Anthony has run more than 500 miles as a fundraiser for WellChild, raising over £20,000 in the process, and has some tips for other fundraisers.
Fundraising has to start early in the process of training or planning for an event - you have to be tenacious and learn from what others have done, what’s been successful and not successful, and apply it to your own working and personal environment. By promoting the charity’s work and using local examples where possible, sponsors are more willing to support the charity.
Create a character
Using established characters as fancy dress, or in your fundraising, is highly effective. But taking things to another level by creating your own character can really help to set your fundraising apart.
This was the approach taken by Emma, who created Sparkle the Unicorn to help her raise money for VICTA.
“In thinking of ways to fundraise it was important that it met the following criteria:
- Something you SEE (or challenge what you are seeing)
- Be fun, make you SMILE
- Be INSPIRATIONAL, make you believe anything is possible
- Be about feeling EMPOWERED, able to overcome adversity
- RAISE FUNDS but also raise awareness and raise the profile of VICTA.
- Represent my friend’s daughter, who is a *Sparkly* young musical theatre student.
Taking all of the above into account, the answer seemed obvious. I would become a Unicorn. A magic running Unicorn. An eight foot tall, inflatable, magic running Unicorn called *Sparkle*who appeared randomly and made you smile!
This would certainly achieve most of the above, but how could we raise funds? We decided against asking for large donations or raffles, instead opting to make badges that we could sell for £1 stating: ‘I’ve SEEN a Unicorn’ and ‘Follow The Rainbow’ (VICTAs logo is a rainbow). So far it has been a great success, *Sparkle* draws a crowd wherever she goes, stopping for selfies and selling badges. It has been an incredibly fun and rewarding way of realising my dream whilst supporting a worthwhile charity.”
Sometimes all it takes to get people to donate to your cause is a willingness to go through some embarrassment! Setting up forfeits is a great way to increase your fundraising total, as the more people donate, the more hilarious tasks and challenges you’ll have to do.
This is how Paul raised over £6,000 for cancer charity Maggie’s. What started as a fundraising forfeit or running in pink dress, soon evolved into a whole series of laughter-inducing forfeits once various targets were hit. This included things like shaving his arms and legs, piercing his ears for the race, running in pink false nails and even a spray tan before the event.
Grow a beard or moustache
Instead of losing hair why not grow some and raise funds for your favourite cause? This might take a few weeks but there is always plenty of support for a moustache or beard competition. There are lots of ways of generating funds from an entry fee charged to participants to take part, to sponsorship of individuals, or bets on who will win. Add in a wacky photo competition of the participants every few days as the hair grows and it could be a great way to fundraise.
You’ll need plenty of colleagues with personality to make this work but if you have the right people in your office this is the event for them. You can hire a karaoke machine and take it to your local pub for the evening if you can’t find a local karaoke bar. Whatever option you choose, it will be a memorable evening one way or another. Try and get a donated prize for the winner and charge an entry fee to take part. Ideally you also want to be able to charge a fee for those in the audience as well. There will be plenty of surprises on the night; the winner might not be the one you expect!
Another popular option is the selling of branded merchandise such as T-shirts. This is only if you’re committed to a fundraising programme over the long term however as the last thing you need is to be stuck with a cupboard full of product you can’t sell. Getting T-shirts printed won’t cost the earth, but you need to be really clear on the size of the market before committing.
Rather than focus on one sport why not broaden your options and organise a sports day covering multiple sports. Again, you’ll need plenty of support from others to make this work but with the right people involved this could be a real success. See if you can get some trophies or medals donated or fund them from advance entry fees. Depending on your aspirations you could get outside catering firms involved, even if it is just a burger van, and make a real day of it. Your local council might donate a sports field for the event and help you make it a real occasion.
Easter egg hunt
You might think this is just one for the kids, but it doesn’t always work out like that. Lots of chocolate all in close proximity brings out the competitive streak in most adults. Get as many of your contacts together as you can and source a ‘closed venue’ so lots of random members of the public don’t end up joining in for free and get as many eggs as you possibly can from wherever you can. Most entrants will bring along a contribution if it’s for a good cause. Work out a way of generating as much as you can whilst making it as fun as possible for everyone involved. There will always be someone who ends up getting disproportionally more than anyone else so work out a way of dealing with that situation, well in advance.
Family & Friends Fundraising Ideas
If you try to do everything on your own you’ll struggle to reach your full fundraising potential. By involving your family and friends you’ll be able to set up bigger and better fundraising events, and massively expand your network of potential supporters.
With the growth of TV talent shows over the last few years it’s much easier now to get people involved in their own version. Schools are the obvious place to get one off the ground and with the full support of the head teacher and as many of the parents as possible you’ll also have the venue and plenty of helping hands. Charge an entry fee for all participants and a small fee for the audience, add in a raffle or two and you’ll see the funds roll in. Donated prizes for the winners are a must.
Put in plenty of effort and speak to the pubs you’re going to visit ahead of time and see if you can get any donations even if it’s some snacks or a handful of free drinks. The more effort you put in the more you’ll get back. Charge an entry fee for everyone or maybe a cost per drink. Include a raffle if you can or a mini quiz session at each pub. Keep it interesting or people may drift away during the evening.
Also great for adults and kids alike, maybe both at the same time, is a game night. This could be a combination of indoor and outdoor options or just a focus on one. Operate it across a number of different games and give points for how well everyone does at each game. Add the points up at the end and the winner and runners up get a prize, which hopefully will have been donated by a local business. Charge an entry fee and include extras throughout the event like raffles etc and the fundraising will soon mount up.
Stage a show
If you have the resources to aim big and you have links with a local theatre club then why not work with them to put on a show for your favourite charity? This isn’t something that you’re likely to be able to do on your own but with the right people around you and plenty of support from work colleagues, friends and family it could generate a great return. It will take plenty of planning and plenty of marketing but combine that and the right show and you could be well surprised. Leave plenty of time to get it right. It isn’t a venture that will come together in a few days.
A bit easier to organise and will appeal to all ages, a bingo night is a great way of raising funds at fairly short notice. You’ll need to source plenty of prizes and get as many people as possible together. With a big group you’ll also be able to include a raffle and potentially an auction. Make sure you get someone really good to call the numbers. The right one can really motivate the audience and get them playing multiple games, but the wrong one can put them off and you might be disappointed with the amount raised. The right venue is also key.
Operating a fundraising quiz is a great team building exercise and a great way of raising funds for your favourite charity. Charge an entry fee and aim to get a prize for the winners donated by local businesses. It’s easy to get questions online and one of your friends is bound to volunteer to be the quizmaster if you don’t want to. Include some donated spot prizes throughout to maintain levels of interest and incorporate other ways of raising funds as the fun progresses. Be creative and you’ll be surprised how many people will dig deep. The more you let your participants know about the cause and why you’re organising the quiz, the more you’ll raise.
For a gathering that might be a bit more sedate than a dinner party or wine tasting, try a coffee morning. Many of the larger charities even offer a coffee morning ‘kit’ that will make organising one a ‘piece of cake…’ Give your favourite a call and they will send over everything you need, including ideas on maximising your fundraising.
Join forces with some friends and either set up base in a local car park or act as a roving car wash expert going door to door, there are lots of ways of doing a job that is bound to raise some funds for your favourite charity. Most people will be prepared to pay a bit more than they normally do if they know the money is going to a good cause. Don’t just do the basics though. Add in plenty of extras and maximise the opportunity.
Animal Fundraising Ideas
If you’re fundraising for an animal charity, it makes sense to include animals in your fundraising. Even if you’re not, you’ll find that people are especially attached to their pets, and will jump at the opportunity to donate to a fundraiser that includes them.
Everyone thinks their pet is the best, so why not let them prove it by arranging a pet show? You could hold it in the local park or link up with a local kennels or animal rescue centre and get their input into the day. Charge an entry fee and award donated prizes for each category. You need to put plenty of work into the planning of this or it could all end up getting a bit chaotic. Get some mates to help you out.
One of those jobs that no-one really wants to do, so definitely one that you could raise some funds from for your favourite charity. Tie it in with your dog walking duties or set aside some specific days and this is bound to raise a decent amount. You’ll need to invest in some doggie shampoos and some treats to keep them quiet. Your local pet shop might donate these, or at least let you have them at cost.
It shouldn’t be just the dogs that get all the pampering. Offer your services as a pet sitter and you’ll be amazed at how much you’re in demand. It might be a case of feeding a pet while the owner is at work or a full evening of minding. Whatever it is, just remember to plan your time and price your services in such a way as to maximise the funds raised.
Pet photo shoot
Who’d refuse a professional picture of their favourite pet? If you’re a natural with the camera or know someone who is and would commit to a few hours of free time in aid of charity, then you’re in luck. You may be able to take the pictures at home or rent a studio for little cost but wherever you’re based you’ll need to put plenty of thought as to how long each picture will take, what props you’ll need and the cost of each sitting. Then you can put the right price on it and start your marketing.
Find yourself a pet friendly café or restaurant and see what kind of deal you can do with them for an hour or two of food, drink and entertainment for dogs and humans alike. Getting the right venue is key to the success or failure of an event like this as the more opportunities you have to raise funds for charity the better.
For a less formal approach set up in the local park and organise an afternoon of fun and games with virtually no costs. Get as much as you can donated by your local pet stores and make sure you think of plenty of ways of keeping entertained and fundraising at the same time. Incorporate a mini pet show in the proceedings and a photo shoot, along with all the usual fundraising activities like a raffle and auction. Fun is the key to an event like this.
A unique slant on the traditional bake sale, this is the dog version. Be creative and join forces with some dog loving friends to create a range of delicious doggie treats. They can then be sold off at work, at home, the office, church or at your very own pet show. Create categories and make it competitive.