AN A TO Z FUNDRAISING IDEAS

Collected by Sarah Hartwell & Avril Hodgkins (Cats Protection) and Christopher & Wina Jones (Friends of Blenheim School). Used with permission.

Fundraising should be fun as well as effective. The A-Z of ideas below are a selection of fundraising ideas which can be adapted to suit your locality and situation. Please note that local by-laws or legislation may affect some of these ideas e.g. gaming/gambling licenses, food hygiene regulations, company policies on collections/sponsor forms on company premises. Some events have safety issues and the cost of insurance may mean that the event is not feasible.

Some of these are events in their own right. A number of other ideas are suitable for sideshows e.g. where children accompanying their parents might otherwise get bored. There are so many sideshow type activities and variations on a theme that only a few are included here.


Abseiling: You need the support of an abseiling/climbing club and local authority permission. Some abseiling clubs run regular charity events where your sponsorship money is split between their chosen charity and your chosen charity. It's normally done in town, the club has all the safety gear, and you can abseil down the side of a tall building. Find a suitable event, pluck up your courage and sign on!

Aerobics Marathon: Organise a mass aerobics session at a local school, church hall or community center. Participants could be sponsored and/or be charged to enter. Advice from a trained aerobics instructor is advisable if you can't find an instructor to lead the session for a nominal fee.

Alternative Transport: Get sponsored to find different ways to get to and from work each day for a week. You could be sponsored for the number of days you succeed or for the number of different methods you find e.g. walking backwards, cycling, skateboarding, roller skating etc.

Art Exhibition and Sale: Ask local artists or galleries to donate pictures (originals or numbered prints) or to donate a percentage of the proceeds of their own art sale.

Baby Walk/Toddle: Organise a sponsored walk or toddle for parents and babies. This can be combined with best dressed baby competition, toddler fancy dress or toddlers and teddies picnic.

Bake Sale: Not just cakes and biscuits - include jams, guess-the-weight-of-the-cake competition, cake tombola and refreshments.

Grand Ball: This one needs good planning and a budget. Arrange an evening ball with dinner and music for co-workers and their families. The ticket price will depend on the budget and cost of facilities.

Balloons: Balloon races/balloon releases are not recommend because wildlife can pick up and eat burst balloons with deadly results.

Barbecue/Bar-B-Q: Hold a lunchtime, afternoon or evening barbecue in a private garden or hired grounds (the latter requires a budget). Sell tickets in advance. If you are planning a family/work barbecue anyway, then ask invitees bring a can of cat food (375g size minimum) or packet of cat food per person.

Bastille Day: Organise a French-themed evening on 14 July and sell tickets or charge friends a can of cat food as the entrance fee. French cheese, wine, garlic, French bread and pates are required.

Beach Party: requires a back garden or open air venue. Hold a beach-style party with barbecue, beach-rules volleyball, French cricket and other beach games. You could have a competition for the brightest beach-shirts. Charge teams an entry fee for events. You could sell tickets in advance or ask for a donation (of money, can of cat food et) when they arrive.

Beard Trim/Bald: If you have a beard or moustache, get friends and colleagues to sponsor you to have it shaved right off.

Bike Ride: Work out a safe scenic route and arrange a sponsored bike ride.

Bingo: See if a local bingo hall will hold a benefit night for your charity. If not, hold your own bingo event, charging entry and supplying prizes for winners. Note: this may depend on local gaming laws; generally private bingo evenings are permitted but they must be invitees only (not general public), must be in your own home (not in a hall, as it may not be licensed for gaming) and not for commercial purposes.

Bird/Animal Spotting: If you are a wildlife/bird enthusiast, get sponsored for every different bird or wild animal you spot in a set period of time e.g. 3 months. You need some form of evidence e.g. photos or videos for each one you spot.

Blind Auction: Auction an item by inviting bidders to write down their pledges. Highest pledge wins. This is best held over a period of time e.g. a week to attract more offers.

Bonfire Night: Requires a budget. Organise a bonfire evening with refreshments, fireworks and a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night (or the nearest Friday or Saturday evening to Guy Fawkes Night). Contact your local council for details of rules and regulations covering fireworks displays - in some places only professional fireworks handlers may run displays, but you may be able to run the refreshments tent or barbecue at a council-run event. For private fireworks parties (invitees only) - charge a can of cat food for entry; you were going to have that bonfire anyway weren't you?

Book Fair: Collect unwanted books from friends and supporters over a period of months then hold a book sale for friends or co-workers in your garden. Charge a nominal entrance fee and sell refreshments. This can be combined with over events e.g. barbecue, coffee morning. Any unsold books can be donated to charity shops (thrift shops) or the local hospital.

Bring and Buy Sale: May requires a budget. Find a venue, charge people for entry and get them to bring an item for sale.

Calendar: If you have scanner and color printer and a suitable software package, design and print calendars for sale at Autumn/Xmas fairs. Keep the numbers printed small so you won't be left with a stock of unsold out-of-date calendars. The pictures could be scanned photos of pets, animals at a rescue shelter or local scenes. You could use winning entries from a photo competition for the calendar. You local print shop might offer a reduced price run for reproducing calendars. Requires budget for printer paper and ink and prices should cover costs as well as making profit.

Car Wash: Offer to wash friends cars for a small fee. Ask your company if you do a car wash in the company car park, though you will have to take the day as annual leave.

Car Boot Sale/Boot Fair: Requires a field or similar space. Charge for car owners to have a stall (a 'pitch'). Charge the public to get in. It's possible to ask for a percentage from each car boot owner, but it's better to charge for a pitch (less cheating). Well-Organised boot fairs need plenty of volunteers, a good-sized venue e.g. school field and refreshments (hot-dog vans and other vendors often attend well-established regular boot fairs and pay for having a pitch).

Carol Singing: Requires permission from local authorities as it constitutes a street collection. Gather together a reasonably tuneful choir and collect in shopping centers and other public places.

Celebrity Walk: Persuade a celebrity (a local one is fine) to walk a set distance and get people to sponsor them.

Charity Dinner: Requires a budget. Organise a dinner and sell tickets to friends and colleagues with the profits going to your charity.

Charity Shop/Thrift Shop: If you can get a shop premises for a few months (e.g. it is temporarily vacant) and you have willing volunteers and a till (shops must give receipts and keep till records) you might be able to sell donated items from there. Check to see what fittings are in the shop e.g. shelves, clothes rails etc and check the lease terms since some items cannot be sold from certain premises. You'll need a banner or temporary sign-board for the shop front. This is worthwhile if you have the manpower and plenty of donated/hand-made items to sell so that you can cover running costs. The shop needn't be right on the high street, but it must have regular passing trade. A good window display is essential to attract people in.

Cheese and Wine Evening: Requires a budget. If possible, get local suppliers to provide some of the cheese and wine. Sell tickets in advance and donate proceeds to your charity. If you're enthusiastic and knowledgeable, each table could have a theme e.g. a particular wine-growing or cheese-producing region.

Chocoholic Challenge: Give up chocolate for a set period of time (e.g. a month) and get friends and colleagues to sponsor you for every day you go without.

Climbing: Get sponsored to climb hills or towers during a set period of time (e.g. 3 months). Either get sponsored for every hill/tower you climb or get sponsored by the meter.

Coffee Morning: Requires a budget. Invite friends to a cakes and coffee morning. This can be combined with a book sale etc.

Coin Collection: Have a collecting box in your own home and at the end of the day put loose change in it e.g. all coins below a certain value go in the collecting box. Alternatively, plan to save one or two pound coins each week. When the box is full, donate it.

Coin Tower: Hold a collection of coins and see what height you can reach. It's best to stack them in piles of several inches tall and total up the heights of each pile.

Coin Trail: Hold a collection of coins and record the distance the coin trail covers. This could be an annual event with attempts to break your own records.

Collect Cans, Bottles or Newspapers: Either get friends to sponsor you for every can, bottle or 10 kg of newspapers you collect or contact a local metal/paper merchant and collect these items to sell to them by weight. Keep aluminum and iron cans separate. Keep different colors of glass separate.

Collection Bin: For collecting pet food or similar. Arrange with a local store to place a decorated collection bin in the store with a notice asking shoppers to donate cans or cartons of pet food (or whatever you are aiming to collect).

Collecting Boxes: Ask local stores, hairdressers, pub, vet clinics, pet shops (etc as appropriate) to have a coin collecting box by their checkout. It will need to be chained in place to prevent theft. If you use a jar or wide-necked drinks bottle, make it a challenge to 'fill the container'. Note: some places will only accept official sealed collecting boxes with the registered charity number on them.

Concert: Ask bands or local orchestras (church orchestras, school orchestras etc) to play a concert and donate the ticket money (or a percentage) to your charity.

Cookery: Use your culinary skills to bake cakes (especially decorated ones), cookies and candies and to make jams and preserves. These can be sold at any suitable event e.g. fundraising fairs, open days, coffee mornings or to friends and colleagues.

Craft Fair: Requires a budget. Find a suitable venue and ask local craft shops or craft makers sp show and sell their wares. Charge and entrance fee and ask exhibitors to donate a percentage of their takings.

Craft Work: If you are good at needlework, knitting, painting, woodwork etc make craft items to sell at any suitable event. Unless you use donated/recycled materials, you will need to deduct an amount to cover the cost of craft supplies.

Cricket Match: Organise a friendly cricket match, asking players to raise sponsorship per run scored or wicket taken.

Cycling: Get sponsored to cycle to work, college or the shops for a set period (e.g. a week).

Dance-a-thon: Organise an all day event (e.g. disco) where participants are sponsored for every hour they stay on the dance floor.

Darts Tournament: Charge an entry fee for a knock out tournament; encourage local pubs or clubs to Organise teams.

Disco: Requires a budget. Find a suitable venue and someone to run the disco. May require local authority permission. Sell tickets in advance, and have a raffle during the evening, appoint judges, and give a prize to the winners. Have refreshments. A suggestion is to hold a school disco and split the proceeds.

Dog Walk: Organise an interesting route for dogs and their owners to walk around, with all participants sponsored.

Drawing Competition: Get children to draw or paint a picture on a set theme (e.g. pets), and get parents to pay an entry fee for each one submitted; the pictures can be judged, and the winners displayed in the local library or other public place.

Easter Egg Hunt: May require local authority permission. For an entry fee children can hunt around a park or other area for hidden eggs: parents can sponsor their children for every egg found. A suggestion is use school playing fields and split the proceeds.

Egg Drop: Teams of two pay to play catch with an egg. taking one step back after every successful catch; the team to move the furthest distance apart without dropping the egg wins a prize. If you don't want to waste eggs, use a similarly weighted and sized ball and make sure each competing pair has a judge watching them.

Face Painting: Requires face paints. Charge parents for painting children’s faces as clowns, animals, or other characters.

Fast: Go without food for a day while others sponsor you to do so.

Film/Theatre Premiere: Approach local cinemas or theatres to donate a percentage of takings from a first night; you might also be able to collect at the venue.

Food Marathon: choose your favorite food, then get sponsorship to eat as much of it as you can in a set period of time.

Football Match: Organise a friendly soccer match or tournament with companies, local villages, schools etc. Charge spectators an entry fee and ask the teams to get sponsored per goal.

Garden Party/Fete: May require a budget for refreshments. Invite friends and colleagues to an afternoon reception with refreshments, asking them to make a donation.

Go-Kart Racing: Arrange an event at a go-karting track. Ask people to make a donation on top of the entry fee, and get sponsorship per lap.

Guess the Number/Weight: put a quantity of items (e.g. sweets, screws, dog biscuits) in a jar, and ask people to pay to guess how many there are, or how heavy the jar is. The winner gets a prize, or the contents of the jar. Guessing the weight of a cake is one option.

Haircut: If you normally have long hair (women and men!) get sponsored to have it cut short. If you are brave enough, get people to sponsor you extra to have your head shaved.

Highland Games: Requires an open air venue e.g. school field. Organise a day of caber tossing, curling, haggis eating, bagpipe playing, etc; either charge an entry fee or raise sponsorship.

Horse Racing Evening: Ask a race course to Organise a charity race where a percentage of the takings go to your charity. Or hold an indoor event where you hire horse-race films (special films/videos of 8-horse races are available) and sell 'tickets' on each horse. The winning tickets get a percentage of the takings for each race. You can make up race cards or ask local companies to name and sponsor a horse for each race. The films are played in random order.

Ice Cream Eating: Get sponsored to eat many different flavors in as short a time as possible.

Independence Day/St George's Day: Organise an American-themed event on 4 July; could include burgers, American football/basketball and flag waving. Alternatively, choose your own themed day (Australian, Italian, Irish St Patrick's) to coincide with that country's national holiday.. Alternatively be proud of your heritage and organise a British themed event on St George's Day with tea, 5-a-side soccer and British snacks and foods.

Indoor Car Boot Sale: Hire a hall (requires budget) and advertise for people to hire a table to sell unwanted items from. Advertise the event. Charge a set amount for each table (better than charging a percentage of takings) and charge entry fee. Serve refreshments. Book a school hall and split the proceeds.

Instrument: If you are musical, get sponsored for playing an instrument for as long as you can or for every instrument you can play a tune on. Try to get extra sponsorship for novelty instruments e.g. producing a recognisable tune on comb and paper, playing a metal watering can like a trumpet etc.

Juggling Marathon: Charge people to see how long they can keep three balls or skittles in the air; give a prize to the winner.

Jumble Sale: Requires venue. Have separate stalls for different types of item e.g. ladies' clothing, men's clothing, toys, books, bric-a-brac etc. Have fixed prices for each type of item or price each individually (latter is only feasible for better quality items). Be prepared to let customers haggle. Advertise in advance and charge an entrance fee. You may wish to sell refreshments as well. See 'Rummage Sale' for selling poor quality items in bulk.

Karaoke Night: Sell tickets for an evening of awful singing at a pub or private venue; you could get people to donate money to stop their friends from singing or invite local companies/pubs to send teams (for an entry fee).

Knitting or Crochet: Knit or crochet clothes or items for sale or get sponsorship for the number of items (e.g. blanket squares for your own or another charity) knitted in a certain time. If possible, use donated oddments of wool.

Limbo Dancing: Organise a competition for participants to see how low they can go; charge an entry fee. Give the day a beach-party atmosphere by having a barbecue and (if room) beach-style volleyball (charge teams an entry fee). You could sell tickets to friends in advance.

Lorry Pulling: Requires loan of truck from a haulage company. May have safety issues so check with local authorities. Ask teams to get sponsored per foot that they can pull an empty lorry on a level car park.

Marbles and Flowerpot Challenge: (Suitable sideshow event) Put a clay flowerpot upside down on a tray. You need a supply of marbles which will fit through the drainage hole in the flowerpot. Charge an entry fee for each person to try to put as many marbles as possible through the drainage hole using only a spoon (not allowed to use the free hand) in one minute. The one who puts the most marbles through the hole wins a prize.

Market Stall: If you have a local market and willing volunteers, hire an occasional stall (e.g. quarterly) and sell donated items from it. This can get more money from good quality donated goods.

Matchbox Challenge: Ask children to collect as many different items as possible that will all fit into a matchbox; sponsorship can be raised per item collected.

Monument Trek: If you like visiting historic sites, monuments or stately homes, get sponsored for every one you visit in a set period of time e.g. 3 months. You'll need evidence such as entrance tickets or photos of yourself at the site.

Name the Doll/Teddy: Ask people to guess the name of a teddy bear; the winner gets a prize.

Pancake Races: Shrove Tuesday is the traditional day for this, but you hold a race at any time of year. You require some frying pans, some pancakes and competitors/teams who can be charged an entry fee. Hold the race in several heats, noting the team's times and keeping a league table. Teams can pay another fee to have another go and get a better time. This could be held as a relay race or even over some obstacles.

Pantomime: Requires venue. Organise a pantomime for family and friends, charging for tickets and refreshments. Rewrite a traditional panto to suit your charity e.g. all the characters are cats or dogs.

Parachute Jump: Some parachute jump clubs run charity events for novices to do a day's training and a single parachute jump. You will either pay reduced rate for the training/jump or your sponsorship money will be split between their chosen charity and your chosen charity. Pluck up your courage and have a go.

Pet Competition: Requires a venue. People pay to enter their pets into one of a number of classes; each class has a winner which then goes on to a grand final. Because of health issues, you may only be able to have dog classes, but other pets can be entered using photos or videos. Have novelty classes such as waggiest tail, dog which looks most like its owner, dog and owner in costume etc. For photographs, you could have funniest face, fluffiest tail etc.

Pick-a-Straw: Sideshow event. Works in similar way to tombola (see entry for tombola). You need a boards with 50 (or more) holes drilled through it and a supply of narrow drinking straws. Use a set of two-part cloakroom tickets. One part (rolled up) is put into each straw with enough poking through one end so that it can be extracted. The straws are stuck through the board in random order with the ticket ends out of view of the participant. The corresponding part (the reclaim part) of every ticket which ends in 0 or 5 is stuck to a small prize on the stall. Sell tickets for a fixed price each. Note: Under most gaming laws it is illegal to give discounts for tickets bought in bulk e.g. 5 for the price of 4 since this alters the odds.

Pick Your Own: Get sponsored per pound of fruit or vegetables that you collect from a farm pick-your-own. The farm may reduce its prices and you could sell the fruit and veg at an event soon after, or make jams and preserves. Alternatively, the farm may need fruit pickers and pay you a small wage for a day's labor.

Plants: If you enjoy growing plants, raise plants (indoor or outdoor) or trees from seeds or cutting and sell these at fairs. If you grow fruit and vegetables, grow additional amounts to sell at fairs. Prepared bulbs such as early flowering hyacinths and daffodils are often popular.

Plastic Duck Race: Will require permission of local authorities and river authority. You will need a net to catch the plastic ducks after the finishing line (to prevent pollution). Requires budget to buy plastic ducks, but they can be reused annually. Paint numbers on the side of each duck (waterproof pen). Entrants buy numbered ducks which are then dropped into a nearby river or brook; the first to cross the finishing line wins a prize for its owner.

Pooh Sticks: Have Pooh sticks races using small sticks (collect ones which have already fallen off of bushes/trees) under a bridge. Have it as a knockout competition, each heat is the best-of-three tries. Charge an entry fee.

Pony Rides: As part of an outdoor fete. Requires awareness of animal issues/safety, may be subject to local by-laws or require a vet to be present (ask if a vet can donate a day for a good cause and give him/her free food and drink). Ask a local stables to run pony rides at an open air fundraising event. Note: only children below a certain size may ride. Alternatively, a horse and cart could give rides around the field.

Portrait/Caricature Painting: If you know an artist, get them to agree to draw or paint members of the public at a fundraising fair.

Press-ups: If you are reasonably fit and don't have any back problems, get sponsored to do as many press ups as you can manage in a set period of time. If you're not fit, get sponsored to get fit and set a target number of press-ups to be achieved after a set period of months.

Prize: Involve local shops and businesses by asking them to donate prizes for an event or competition; remember to acknowledge their generosity on a roll of honor at the event venue. The prizes don't have to be big or expensive e.g. food and wine from different shops could be used to make a hamper.

Quiz/Trivia Evening: Charge an entry fee for individuals or teams to take part; questions could be on a set theme, like cats, pop music, or general knowledge. For children, hold a junior trivia challenge about popular TV, music etc. The winning teams get a prize.

Raffle: Can be combined with another event, or tickets sold over period of a few weeks. Gather some suitable prizes (try to get local business to donate) and sell tickets. Get the buyer's name and phone number on each ticket stub in case they leave before the raffle is drawn. Note: Most gaming regulations state that tickets must be fixed price, you may not sell 5 for the price of 4 since it alters the odds.

Recycling Centre: ask people to donate any second hand clothes for sale at fairs or rummage sales. Good quality items could be sold at table sales or on a market stall or from your own charity shop if you have one. Other items could be sold at jumble sales and rummage sales.

Rounders (or Softball) Tournament: Challenge teams or groups to a series of rounders (or softball) matches with sponsorship raised per runs scored.

Rummage Sale: Requires venue and advertising. Charities often get a lot of lesser quality clothing/shoes left over after other sales. Set up tables around the edge of a room with items sorted by category e.g. dresses, skirts, men's trousers etc. Charge a small entry fee and give each person either a standard size plastic carrier bag or large bin-bag when they come in. They get to fill up the bags with clothing and pay a fixed amount for each full bag when they leave (one price for full carrier bag, more for a full bin-bag). Clothing is bulky so you should see lots of full bags. If you sell other items such as books (less bulky), toys or bric-a-brac, pay for these separately e.g. a set price for books. The left over items are probably of such poor quality that they can't be fixed up so they should be donated for recycling or taken to the council waste disposal facility.

School Sports Day for Adults: Requires a budget and venue, preferably a school field with straight running track already marked on grass (but can be adapted for large gardens). Most people can remember junior school sports days. All the events should be ones guaranteed to slow down the fastest athletes e.g. three-legged race, sack race, wheel-barrow race, egg-and-spoon race (or potato and spoon race) etc. Get pubs or local businesses to enter teams for a small fee and award prizes for each race or for the winning team. Could be part of a general fundraising day with stalls, sideshows, refreshments or barbecue.

Services & Goods Auction/Raffle: Get local businesses or individuals to donate a service e.g. a free haircut, free photographic session, free window cleaning session etc or some goods e.g. a bottle of wine, bath goodies. These services can be raffled or auctioned at a special evening.

Sleep-out: Requires permission and safety awareness. Camp out in the local park, car park or anywhere else and raise sponsorship for the night. If you work for an animal shelter, get sponsorship for spending the night in one of the animal pens.

Slim: Get sponsored per pound that you lose (or gain if you're underweight) over a certain period.

Slow Bicycle Race: Charge an entry fee and award a prize for people to see how slowly they can complete a very short course. Really good entrants an practically make a bike stand still. Hold this is a series of heats.

Snakes or Spiders: If you are normally afraid (but not clinically phobic) of snakes or spiders, get sponsored to handle one - or more - at the zoo. Some zoos run special 'contact' days and you will get a certificate if you actually handle or hold a creepy crawly. This should be done at a properly run 'contact' day where it will be supervised.

Snooker/Pool Tournament: Charge an entry fee for a knock out tournament (each heat is best-of-three matches), perhaps with a final for which you might charge admission. Or get pubs and clubs to send teams or individuals who are sponsored per ball potted; sponsorship money is donated. Between matches or outside of the snooker/pool room, serve refreshments. For a one-day event, have a league table and everyone plays everybody else (will need several tables e.g. hire of a social club's pool room).

Snowman Building: If you have enough snow, arrange to use a school field and challenge children to build snowmen. Ask parents to pay the entry fee, and give out prizes for the best snowmen. Snowball fighting is not recommended as it leads to tears and booby-trapped snowballs can cause injury.

Sponsored Silence: Almost anything can be sponsored, but this is particularly challenging for children or chatterbox adults. Go a set time (e.g. a morning [children] or day [adults]) without talking.

Sponsored Walk: Set a route of known distance around local streets or in a nearby park and get sponsored for the whole distance or per mile/kilometer/lap walked.

Spotted Dog/Leopard: On a largish whiteboard, or similar board, draw a dog (or leopard). Paint a number of spots on the dog. Stick peelable small circular stickers (black is best, the painted spots don't show through) on the dog, enough that roughly 1 in 5 wins has a painted spot underneath. Charge a fee for a person to choose a spot to peel off. If there is a painted spot underneath, they win a small prize. You may choose to put numbers under the spots with each number corresponding to a prize on the stall. Note: Under most gaming laws it is illegal to sell discount goes e.g. 5 goes for price of 4 since this alters the odds.

Stocks: Get some "willing" volunteers to face members of the public, who pay for wet sponges (safe than custard pies) to throw at the stocks. If you can get a popular authority figure (local policeman, school headmaster etc) to be in the stocks, so much the better.

Store Collection: Ask a local supermarket or shopping center/mall if you can hold a collection on their premises (e.g. just outside the store or inside the mall). Will need the permission of the store/mall or the local authorities (ask the store/mall about this).

Street Collection: You need permission to have a street collection or flag day. Ask if you can have a table in the mall/street where you are collecting so you can provide information leaflets to interested people. If possible have some display boards with posters to attract attention (shocking posters intended to get pity generally just make people avoid you). Collectors who dress up in appropriate costume (as cats, dogs etc) are usually the most successful as they attract curiosity and attention.

Swim: May require budget, requires goodwill of local swimming pool, safety issues. Ask a local leisure center or school to lend/hire you a pool for a morning or afternoon. Charge an entry fee amid/or ask participants to get sponsored for the distance they swim. You may need to pay the center to provide qualified lifeguards.

Table Sale: See Indoor Boot Sale. Table sales could be themed e.g. craft fair, toy fair.

Three-legged Race: Get sponsorship for a three legged hobble to work or Organise a sponsored three legged race. Three legged pub crawls are good fun, but stick to soft drinks. It could end with a barbecue or disco.

Tiddly-winks Tournament: Charge a small entry fee for people or teams to see how many winks (counters) they can get into a glass or circle, with a prize going to one with the highest score at the end of the event. Alternatively, hold it as a knockout competition (best-of-three matches) or league table.

Toga Night: Organise as for a regular party, selling tickets in advance, but everyone must dress up as a Roman (or as a gladiator or Roman slave). Serve food from a central table, buffet style. If you work for an animal shelter, ask people to bring a can (375-400g size) or a packet of pet food with them for donation to the shelter.

Tombola/Instant Win Raffle: A popular fundraiser at fairs and other events, including coffee mornings/garden parties. Use a set of two-part cloakroom tickets. One part (folded up) put in a bucket. The corresponding part (the reclaim part) of every ticket which ends in 0 or 5 is stuck to a small prize on the stall. It could be themed e.g. plant tombola, teddy tombola, pet-care item tombola. If possible, ask stores to donate small prizes. Sell tickets for a fixed price each. Note: Under most gaming laws it is illegal to give discounts for tickets bought in bulk e.g. 5 for the price of 4 since this alters the odds.

Trainspotting/Planespotting: Whether you are a railway/plane enthusiast or you normally hate trains/planes, get sponsored for the number of different trains/planes that you can spot in a given period of time at a suitable location. For plane spotting, the viewing lounge of an airport is recommended!

Treasure Hunt: Requires venue e.g. school field and organization beforehand. Participants are sponsored to find/solve clues and/or objects on a set route. They are charged an entry fee for competing. They may have to solve additional cryptic clues to identify objects along the route (e.g. a weathervane, a commemorative plaque) and write down each solution along the way. Depending on the type of competition, the winner could be the first one to finish or the one who solves most clues.

Tub of Icky Stuff: Find a willing, or hapless, volunteer to sit in an old bath outdoors (a child's wading pool is best - it is easily cleaned) full of icky stuff. They should be wearing swimming costume/trunks or shorts and t-shirt. Get sponsorship for the number of minutes or hours they stay in it. Suitable icky stuff: cold custard, cold porridge, baked beans (a store may be able to provide damaged cans of these at reduced price), used dishwashing water with old tea bags and vegetable peelings floating in it.

Tug of War: Organise a tug-of-war knockout tournament (each heat is best-of-three) or one-day league table contest between teams from local businesses, pubs or clubs (or school sixth-formers), charging an entry fee and giving a prize to the winners.

Ugly Faces (Gurning): Entrants pay an entry fee to pull their ugliest faces, to be judged by a panel. Ugliest face gets a prize. Could be a stall at another event, or could be run by mail using photos submitted before a set closing date. For gurning, they have to put their face through a lavatory seat (one not attached to a lavatory!) when they pull the face.

Videothon: Get sponsored to watch as many films on video as possible during 24 hours. Either borrow 24 hours worth of videos from friends or try to get reduced prices for bulk rental (by prior arrangement) with video hire shop. You cannot decide to stop watching one half-way through as sponsors may ask you to describe what happened in the film as proof that you saw it.

Wages Donation: Contribute one day’s wages to your charity and encourage others in your company to do the same. Some companies run schemes which allow you to donate a set amount, tax free, each month to a selected charity.

Water-skiing/Windsurfing/Sailboarding: Requires goodwill of watersports center, also safety issues. Ask a local watersports center to give you a reduction on a morning or afternoon water-skiing (some will do this if it is for charity), windsurfing or sailboarding. Get sponsorship for the number of seconds you stay standing. If you know you are hopeless, get sponsored for the number of times you fall over. Please do this under trained supervision, not by borrowing a friend's equipment.

Welly Throwing: Suitable for sideshow at fair or sports day, but make sure people throw AWAY from the other events! Charge entrants to see how far they can throw a welly boot. At the end of the day, give a prize to the winner. This can also be run as a tournament.

Wheelbarrow Race: At a fun sports day, have a 2-person wheelbarrow race where one person is the 'barrow' and the other is the 'barrow-pusher'. Or you use real wheelbarrows and teams enter to push each other a number of laps around a park or car park (will require permission). Charge each team an entry fee and ask teams to get sponsorship as well. You could have additional classes for costume, decorated barrows etc; with an entry fee and award for each class. Don't steal shopping trolleys (shopping karts), but you may be able to ask a local store if they have any dented trolleys (with all wheels present!) which you can borrow before the trolley is scrapped.

Wine/Beer Auction: May require venue. Could be part of a fundraising day. Ask local off-licenses (liquor stores), pubs, clubs or individuals to donate bottles of wine (note: sale of home-made wine is illegal in most places) and bottles of good quality ale/beer. Arrange an auction in your garden or in a school hall. Charge for entry and/or programmes detailing the auction lots. If possible, persuade a professional auctioneer to donate his services for an afternoon/evening.

Woodcraft: If woodcraft is your hobby, build items for sale at fairs and sales e.g. bird-houses, planters, letter racks, small display shelves. To reduce costs, use donated or scrap wood.

Worst Holiday Snapshots/Videos: Invite friends or colleagues to submit their worst holiday photos and videos. Charge a small entry fee per photo/video and get a panel of judges to decide on the very worst (you may need several categories). The worst ones can be displayed or shown to all entrants and a prize given to the winners.

Xmas/New Year Party: Requires budget, may require venue and permission, needs volunteers to make or donate food/drink and to sell it at the event. Arrange a festive party with mince pies, mulled wine, festive food and entertainments or disco. Sell tickets in advance to friends or, if it is open to public, advertise it beforehand and charge an entry fee (must cover cost of 1 glass wine + 1 mince pie). Each person gets a free glass of wine and mince pie when they arrive, but they must buy additional drinks/food from stalls at the venue or from a volunteer in your own kitchen. This can be adapted to any theme or occasion.

Yachting/Rowing Regatta: Requires venue. If you are a member of a sailing/dinghy/rowing club, Organise a boating race, charging an entry fee and offering prizes for the winners. Refreshments could be available to members of the public who attend. Could be combined with other stalls or sideshows at the venue.

Yearly Collection: Keep a collection box at home for the whole year and encourage family and friends to contribute to it. If you or your family/friends are generous donate the contents every time the box is full and get a receipt showing the amount collected. Keep a running total.

Yo-yo Challenge: Get sponsored for the number of minutes you can keep a yoyo going or for the number of tricks you can perform in a certain time.

Zany/Bad Taste Fancy Dress: Hold a fancy dress or bad taste clothing competition to see who can come up with the silliest or worst costume, preferably with their faces made up (even the men) or painted. Charge participants to enter. This could be part of a larger event with people arriving in costume and paying to have their entry registered. It could be themed e.g. school uniform, not-so-super-heroes (make up your own names e.g. Washing-Up Man, Blunderwoman)

Source: MoggyCat with thanks


We have included a number of do-it-yourself fundraising ideas that offer a break from traditional product sales. They were developed by groups just like yours in an attempt have a little fun with their fundraiser. Some of them are tried and true while others show a lot of creativity ... and even wackiness in some cases. All of them are obviously not appropriate for every group, but sometimes, with only a little modification, your might find some fund raising ideas that are perfect for your group. If you have an idea for a do-it-yourself fund raiser you are willing to share with others, please send it to us. Include anything and everything you would want to know if you were hearing the idea for the first time.