Putting The Fun Back In Fund-Raising

The impact of fund-raising campaigns such as The Ice Bucket Challenge, have really shaken up the charity sector. Finding innovative and fresh ideas to engage with and squeeze money from donors has always been considered the Holy Grail and is no easy task. The Ice Bucket Challenge succeeded on many levels as a fund raising idea: Firstly, it happened mostly on social media with video clips being posted which could soon become viral. The reach was global, it appealed to the narcissism and competitiveness of individual participants and if anyone failed to meet the challenge set, they had to pay a donation to charity. With millions raised for a range of good causes, this new breed of fund-raising has set the bar high for the future.

Whilst admittedly a creative idea, The Ice Bucket Challenge succeeded largely by accident rather than design. It is impossible to predict what snippet, film clip or photo is going to go viral on the internet – but once   things start to escalate, smart strategies can yield great results. And once a celebrity or two get in on the act, things really start hotting up. It is certainly an area in which we will see copycat attempts in the future, however their success will be very much reliant on the fickle nature of internet tastes.

Putting on charity events in aid of organisations you feel strongly about, is no mean feat. From registrations, to marketing, advertising and sponsorship, the accounting, health and safety implications – there is so much to think about. And in amongst all the administration and paperwork, you need to spread the message about your chosen charity and its wonderful work. One thing notable about The Ice Bucket Challenge, was the lack of clarity about which charity it was actually in support of, subsequently several organisations have laid claim to it. So whatever you do, don’t let there be any doubt about which charity your event is bigging up. Find money in the budget to employ the services of professional companies such as RAL Display who can create fantastic, eye catching and clear displays about the work your charity does and how donors can help. RAL Display supply stands for large corporations and small outfits too, and they can help you present your message in the most professional way.

If you are planning a charity event, perhaps you want some ideas for spicing things up a bit? Here are some suggestions for real world (as opposed to online) money making schemes, aimed to put the fun back into fund-raising.

Active ideas

If you have your heart set on a physical challenge you could consider a sponsored running, raft or bike race. By simply adding the suffix ‘athon’ to just about any word, you can come up with some interesting variants on the more usual suspects. Okay, so you have your safe choices such as dance-athon, swim-athon, aerobics-athon etc. You could also try a StrictlyCome Dancing-athon, karaoke-athon, a goal-shoot-athon, sillywalk-athon,doughnut-athon, sleep-athon and more. Spice up more sedate challenges by stipulating that they have to be completed in fancy dress, or add a treasure hunt element to races.

Other winners

Want more winning ideas for generating funds for your charity’s coffers? Take inspiration from these proven charity money-spinning activities.

You’ve heard of taking a plunge in a bath of baked beans, haven’t you? This is a tried and tested top attraction at charity events. You can augment the baked bean element by having an additional baked bean eating with cocktail stick challenge. Eating challenges are big charity box-office – whether it’s hot dogs, oysters, marshmallows or cream crackers, you will have a long line of competitors willing to pay good money to participate.

Other ideas worth a try include fashion shows, head shaving, face painting, egg and spoon races, bingo nights, cricket matches, bring and buy sales, auctions of favours, pancake races, quizzes, tug of war, welly throwing and prettiest pet competitions. Remember, to keep it lively and fresh, try and think of ways to subvert the conventions. Tug of war in your underwear, perhaps? Or a general knowledge quiz in the swimming pool…

Whatever you choose to do to grab their attention, make sure your message and mission statement is clear. And if you capture the imaginations of the ever-generous public with a fun and engaging activity, you can be assured the money will be forthcoming for your well deserving charity…

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