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Two people running to raise money for the RNLI, in branded orange and navy-blue T-shirts

17 charity fundraising ideas to raise money for a good cause

Looking for ways to raise money for charity? We’ve got your back. Take a look at these 17 brilliant charity event ideas to get started! Whether you’re a novice fundraiser or a seasoned pro, you can find some inspiration right here. 

It’s kind people like you – hosting fundraisers and taking on challenges – who power our volunteer crews to the rescue every day. So, thank you for raising money for charity – you’re a real lifesaver.

Let’s dive into some top charity fundraising ideas!

1. Afternoon tea

Set out some cakes, scones, finger sandwiches – and, of course, a well-brewed cuppa – and you’re well on your way to hosting the perfect afternoon tea. Invite your closest crew and ask them to make a donation to the RNLI.

2. Auction

Put out the call and ask friends, family and local businesses to donate items you can auction off to raise money for RNLI lifesavers. If you’re in need of inspiration, popular auction items include art, vouchers, cooking or fitness classes and gift baskets.

3. Bake sale

You can’t go wrong with a delicious bake sale – bring out the biscuits and cakes! If you’re feeling ambitious you could even set a theme, like yellow cakes for Mayday. We’ll take a lemon drizzle, please.

4. Book sale

Don’t fancy hosting a cake sale? Swap the bakes for books! Raid your bookshelf – and ask your friends and family to do the same. You can free yourself of books you no longer want and raise a tidy sum for charity too. 

5. Car wash

Grab some soap and sponges, dig out a hose, and make a splash! People will be happy to make a donation in exchange for getting their car ship-shape and shiny. 

6. Dinner party

Host your very own charity dinner party – you could pick a theme and even ask guests to dress for the occasion. What about choosing a nautical theme, like a Fish Supper?

7. Disco

Jive, hustle, bump and stomp your way to a fabulous fundraiser by planning a disco night. Depending on the size of your guest list, you could host it at home or book out a local venue.

8. Games night

Whether you and your crew prefer board games or consoles, all you need is a few friends to host a fundraising games night. If you’re in an office, you could host a lunchtime games tournament and charge people to enter.

In 2021, four friends raised over £3,000 for the RNLI with a 24-hour marathon gaming session, in memory of their friend Tyler who was lost at sea. 

9. Guess the baby photo

Convince your colleagues to each bring in a baby photo and get the office to guess who each baby is (in exchange for a small entry fee). The person who gets the most right is declared the winner!

Have you found the perfect fundraising idea? Register your event today and get started!

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10. Head (or beard!) shaving

If you’re known for a lustrous head of hair – or a magnificent beard – why not get sponsored to shave it? You could turn the whole thing into an event and charge people an admission fee to see the big shave!

11. Kick a bad habit

Smoker? Chocoholic? Coffee fiend? Ask people to sponsor you to stop for a whole month – and set yourself a hefty fine if you put a toe out of line. 

12. Movie night

Ask people to make a donation in exchange for a seat in your home-made cinema. You could also sell popcorn, sweeties and pop for the full experience.

13. Quick dip

If you live near the coast, one way to raise money for charity would be a quick dip in the sea. Get your participants to donate money – or get sponsored – and run into the sea together. Bonus points for anyone who does it in a costume!

Before you take the plunge, make sure you check out our open water swimming safety advice.

14. Quiz night

Rent out a pub, a village hall or even your own garden and put everyone’s knowledge to the test by hosting a quiz night. Give each round a fun theme to keep your players enthralled!

15. Running

Set yourself a running challenge or join one of our organised running events like the Mayday Mile, Reindeer Run or TCS London Marathon. Whatever your fitness level, there’s an event for you. There are lots of physical activity-based fundraisers, so take a look at what’s happening near you.

16. Skydive

If you’re after an adrenaline-pumping fundraiser, why not get sponsored to try skydiving or bungee jumping? You’ll be channelling the same courage as our lifesavers! 

17. Swear box

Sh…ift that naughty habit by setting up a swear box – it could be at home or in the office – and fine anyone using bad language. 

Before you get started

Register your event with us and you’ll get access to helpful support and resources to make sure your charity fundraising event is a success. 

You might also want to take a look at these tips for planning and running your fundraising event, which include how to promote your event, set up a fundraising page and keep things safe and legal.

We’ll be with you every step of the way.

Tell us what you’ve got planned and we’ll make sure you get all the support you need.

Register your event