A-Z Fundraising ideas

You know you want to raise money to support Cancer Research UK, but don’t know where to start? Whether you are a first time or a regular fundraiser we all need a little inspiration sometimes which is why we have put together an A-Z of fundraising ideas. All of the suggestions below have been completed by our fundraisers, but if you already have a unique idea and want to get started go straight to our information pack for access to free support and materials.
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Our Top Fundraising Activities

There are hundreds of ways to raise money for Cancer Research UK, but what are our top 3 activities?

Not the right activity for you? Then just view our A-Z below for more information.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



  • Abseil - Set the bar high with an abseil. Weather it is off your local town hall or the side of Battersea power station you’re sure to get noticed.
  • Auction / Auction of promises - If you  have a well stocked record collection you are willing to let go off for a good cause or you have the contacts to get your hands on sought after sports memorabilia an auction could be the fundraising activity for you.  Or make your auction a more casual affair by auctioning off your skill set. Could an evening of waiting on your friends help you raise funds? 
  • Afternoon tea - Ready to debate how to pronounce scone? Then why not host an afternoon tea, whether you do it at work home or a local venue we are a nation of tea drinkers and so we are sure your event will prove popular. Get the cake stand at the ready and the invites out.

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  • Bake Sale - Make like Mary Berry and bake your way to fundraising success. Whether you run the event at work, school or your home be sure to find out about any specialist diets (or perhaps just favourites) first to maximise sales! Download your free bake sale poster today. 
  • Bingo - If the phrase two little ducks brings a smile to your face then bingo could be the activity for you! Our advice: keep it fun and adapt the game for your audience. If they are celebrity obsessed why not use photographs of famous people instead of numbers or perhaps your friends are foodies... food bingo anyone? 
  • Beard Shaving - Whilst you may love your furry face, but what about your friends and family? Would the idea of shaving your beard off have them reaching into their pockets in the name of Cancer Research? Why not let them dye it too before the big shave as a way to raise extra funds. 

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  • Coffee mornings - Most people rely on a coffee to get them through the day so hosting a coffee morning is  great way to fundraise on your lunch break and gathering donations is made easier when your offering something people wanted anyway. If your looking to host outside of the workplace, why not make a longer session, perhaps tie in with your local book club? If you know a friend is running a bake sale why not partner up, they can focus on the cake while you make sure you've got the right beans and brew.
  • Cinema screening - Film student with a grad film to show or a DVD collection to rival Netflix, either way a cinema screening is a flexible fundraising idea as whether it's hosted in the school hall, work canteen, your living room, the local cinema or projected outside only one thing will stand between you and success. Popcorn - so buy your own kernels and get inventive, it's a great way to raise extra cash on the night. Peanut butter popcorn anyone?

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  • Dinner Party - An event which can be hosted all year round, on its own or in support of other events a dinner party can be adapted to appeal to most people. Our top tip:  pick a theme. You could focus around the origins of the food you serve or go theme first, food second and serve dishes from your favourite film. Keep in mind the timing of your event, if your hosting in January why not throw a healthy food dinner party to appeal to all those trying to kick bad habits in the new year.
  • Dances / Disco - You don't need access to a ballroom and moves for strictly to host a dance (but if you do that’s great) you just need space and music to move to. Will you host your dance at home or will your hire a local venue? We've helped lots of supporters raise funds this way so if a disco is how you want to raise money get in touch and let us help you fundraise too. 
  • Darts match - Set your sights on bulls eye and keep the game serious charging an entry fee to raise funds or keep it fun and set challenges like throwing whilst on one leg  and charge per throw. If you are or know a local darts champion why not charge a fee to play against them?

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  • Eating competition - How many doughnuts can you eat without licking your lips? How about crackers without water? When it comes to food there are lots of challenges to be set, particularly for fans of I'm a celebrity get me out of here. You can raise money with entry fees or tie an eating competition into a larger event. Top tip: breaking records could help you gain press coverage and increase your fundraising (FYI the record eating a raw onion is 89 seconds)
  • Easter Egg Hunt - The only constraint here is time - we find eggs are hard to find in December so make sure you leave enough time to get this organised.
  • Easter party - With school holiday and a long bank holiday weekend Easter is a great time to fundraise. You'll have more time to plan the activity and people are more likely to have the time to support you.  There are lots of low cost ways to raise money at an Easter party... from the more obvious Easter egg hunt to a Easter bunny hop race (ears at the ready).

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  • Face painting competition - Not got the time or resource to organise your own Fete or street party then why not get involved in one which is already taking place and offer your services as a face painter, most events will be happy to have you. No fêtes near you, no fear. Face-painting isn't just for the kids so why not ask your local nightspot if they are hosting any themed nights that face painting would be appropriate for.
  • Football match / Five a side football - Even if you don't score, this is one match that guarantees you'll make a difference in 90 minutes. If you've got smaller numbers why not opt for a game of five-a-side? Raise funds by charging a player fee and why not let spectators donate to take part in a penalty shoot out at the end of the match?
  •  Fancy dress days - Fancy dress isn't just for Halloween, it's a great way to raise money. If you’re the boss why not have every one come into work in fancy-dress and pay a small donation for the day or if you are a dab hand on a sewing machine why not make up your own costumes to raise money? Top Tip: Why not let your colleagues cast votes on the costume you have to wear for the day, they pay a fee to vote which goes towards vital research (and of course embarrassing you).

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  • Games Night - You don't have to be a  monopoly board master or play scrabble like Carol Vorderman to a host a games night. You just need games, a place and people. It can be as simple as charades or if you have a screen and console to hand why not go down the gaming route, charging friends to play. Tight on time?  Put on a lunchtime session at your office, for the price of a coffee your colleagues pay to play. 
  • Girls Night In - Get the girls round and gang up on cancer. It's simple, just invite your friends round and ask them to donate the amount they would usually spend on a night out towards our life saving research. View our free Girls Night In pack for more information 
  • Give it up! - We all have bad habits, some worse than others (we are looking at you toenail biters) but if you have a habit you want to kick why not do it whilst fundraising for vital research into cancer? If your habit is costly  why not donate the money you save or if your habit causes more frustration to others than yourself why not have people sponsor you? Over the years our supporters have raised money by giving up  crisps, television, alcohol, chocolate, meat,  smoking

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  • Head shave - One of our most popular fundraising activities is the head shave, and we commend you head shavers. It's a brave way to not only raise money for research but raise awareness of cancer. Make sure your bold move gets the recognition it deserves, why not offer people the chance to bid to shave your head, or stretch out the activity by giving people the chance to dye your hair a crazy colour for a week before the shave.
  • Halloween party - For us the only thing better suited to fancy dress than fundraising is Halloween so get your invites out and charge guests an entry fee to spend the night apple bobbing to Thriller.
  • Hogmanay - If you can't make it  to Scotland this year why not bring Scotland to you and throw your very own Hogmanay party. Friends can donate the cost they would usually spend on venue entry (and no long queues for the toilet). Can't tempt your friends from the streets of Edinburgh? Why not focus your fundraising on the pre-event of Hogmanay and prepare a traditional Hogmanay meal for friends before the celebrations.

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  • International evening / International Day - Whether you've travelled the world or just love a particular culture an international theme is a great way to get people excited about raising money. Choose your country (or go 'around the world') and charge people an entry fee. Have a think  about dress codes, food and music. Entertainment such as quizzes can be a great way to raise extra funds at the event.
  • It’s a Knockout - The ultimate school sports day for adults, fun is a big incentive for people to get involved here but we'd also recommend reaching out to looking businesses to donate a prize to help a good cause (and if your event gains press interest they will also get exposure). You'll may need materials so if you, or somebody you know works in a school or local sports centre reach out to them, and if you don't have one perhaps ask a neighbour if they have a hosepipe you could use.
  • Irish Night / Day - It doesn't have to be St Patricks day to celebrate the Irish culture, whether you've got Irish blood or just love the music your sure to have fun and an Irish focus opens up an array of activities. You can hire a space and throw a party or if you have the skills why not charge people for Irish dance lessons and donate the fee?

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  • Jewellery collection, Jewellery making/selling - If you have high value pieces your looking to donate an auction could be the best route for you, if your skill set lies in making why not put on a 'make-your-own' craft session.
  • Jazz - Use Jazz music as the centre of your fundraising. You could put on an evening of entertainment and charge for entry or if you’re a jazz musician yourself you could share your talent and provide music lessons for donations.
  • James Bond - The Bond films are iconic and so finding fans shouldn't be hard, but a James Bond night can offer a lot more than movie watching, get ready to make a lot of Martinis

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  • Karaoke night - Time to stretch the vocal cords and get ready for a night of karaoke, love it or hate it our fundraisers have proven it’s a great way to raise money. If your on the lookout for a karaoke machine reach out to friends on social media to save money on renting one.
  • Knitting - British weather means that knitwear is often in demand so use your needle skills to raise money. Decide how you want to sell your unique items, you could use online auction sites, set-up a stall or speak to your local Cancer Research UK store. Want to raise more awareness of your fundraising? Set-up a Facebook page, or for more publicity tie knit somewhere that will generate interest... we have had supporters knit at the top of mountains before (but fundraising from your own home is equally as appreciated)!

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  • Ladies Night / Day - Throw a ladies day (or evening) and get your female friends together. The first challenge will be getting a date in the diary so if this is the event for you start to ask people now about their availability so you can pick a date that works for the majority. Once you've got the date, start to think about entertainment. You could have cocktails and canapés or  a Mad Hatters tea party. You know your guests so choose what makes them tick. 
  • Luncheon / Lunch - You don't have to be a lady to lunch, if your office has a habit of ordering food on a Friday why not cook up your own treats? You'll save your colleagues time from buying lunch which will give them even longer to enjoy their food.

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  • Marathon events - Before you go to the next idea, a marathon doesn't have to mean running. In the past our supporters have raised money with marathon DJ sets, roller skating, and nail art sessions. Decide if you want an activity that will take you  26.2 miles or hours.
  • Matched Giving - Whether you are raising money in the office (link to office fundraising content?) or outside of work, ask your employer about matched giving. Lots of our fundraisers have the amount they raise matched by their employer so don't be afraid to ask. You can read our practical guidance
  • Music and mulled wine evening - - Pop, rock, or Jazz regardless of genre if fundraising through music appeals to you its time to start thinking about your event. Will you be performing or looking for local acts to support you?  You could keep it simple with a Saturday busking session, but if your thinking bigger start to look at venues (or start being extra nice to friends with big gardens). There could be support available in your local community, see our page on local fundraising groups.

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  • No Make-Up Selfie / Natural Week - 2014 was the year your support blew us away with #NoMakeupSelfie and it's not too late to support us with your make-up free snap. Want to take it one step further, why not go natural for a full day, week or month?
  • Name the … - Name the teddy, bunny or bear. Whatever it is you choose, tap into people's competitive nature with a simple guessing game. Charge per entry and provide a percentage of the money raised as a prize or try to get one donated.
  • New Year's Eve dance/party - Avoid a night of queuing and host your own New Years eve party. You get to control the music and the guest list and can charge cheaper than local pub for entry and donate the fee.

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  • Office Collection Day / Office Fundraising - Short of time but eager to make a difference? Then fundraising in the office could be the right activity for you.  Fundraising activities for the office could  include; Bake Sales,  Office Olympics, dress down day or perhaps take breakfast orders and set-up your own tea trolley a morning coffee could make for workers happy to sponsor you.
  • Open Garden / Day - If your garden is in full bloom or you have a house with a colourful history, why not open your doors for an entry fee and host an open house. With the kitchen close by it will be easy to offer refreshments  to raise extra funds and it will also be a great way to meet the neighbours!
  • Obstacle course - Set-Up the ultimate obstacle course to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Perhaps yours will include a tyre swing, mud pit and maybe you could have a separate course for children and adults to make the day a family friendly affair. You can view our risk assessment guidance and remember you can contact us to talk through your plans.

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  • Pamper Day - It's likely your friends are already spending money on pampering (the UK beauty industry is worth £17 billion) so why not plan a day that offers the break people need and leaves them feeling good in more ways than one. Are you a trained beautician, masseuse, hairdresser? We need your skills. If pampering is more of a hobby, whilst we'd suggest staying away from offering haircuts, why not have your friends over for a night-in? You could even make-your own beauty products which will help keep guests entertained and expenditure low.
  • Pancake race / Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday - Shrove Tuesday or pancake day. We don't mind what you call it as long as you flip for us.

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  • Quiz night - The pub, village hall, local sports centre and your best mates garden are all venues suitable for hosting a quiz. Decide what is right (and available) to you and get working on those question. Will the focus change by rounds or will your quiz be more niche, with all questions specific to a particular band, film or book? You host the night and guests pay to play. Simple... but the questions might not be.
  • Quintessentially British Day - Bunting tea and corgis are just a few things that spring to mind, perhaps for you it is afternoon tea (link to afternoon tea content) marmite or maybe a Sunday Roast and Stephen Fry? Put on a celebration of all things Quintessentially British. You can charge entry and raise funds with tombola's and bake sales just be aware of wearing Wimbledon white, British weather will be guaranteed.

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  • Raffle - A raffle is great to have at a fundraising event like a fun day  (link to fun day text) or as part of your fundraising for a wider event you just charge a fee for tickets and the winner gets a prize, this could also work as a stand alone fundraising activity. Just be aware of offering unwanted gifts as prizes, your friends may recognise them!
  • Running - Join our  team of training wearing heroes and fundraise by running! No organised event, just you and your challenge. Combined our supporters have run thousands of miles to beat cancer sooner, where will your run take you?

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  • Sweepstakes - Want a way to fundraise fast, a sweepstake could be the perfect way for you to raise money. You have one question for example, 'How many sweets in the jar?' and people pay to be given an answer. Whoever has the winning answer gets a prize and you donate the money raised.  We have a sweepstake poster available for free to make this extra easy: 
  • Skydiving - Our supporters are brave. Despite the obvious fear factor, skydives are one of our most popular fundraising activities so join our dedicated fundraisers, get in touch and start organising your skydive today.
  • Sponsored Silence - If you’re a chatter box who finds being quiet a challenge then perhaps raise funds with a sponsored silence, just remember don't be quiet about the cause and your fundraising before or after the event!

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  • Tea party - A good cup of tea can change your mood, we drink it when we are sad, we drink it when we are happy and today why not drink it to beat cancer.
  • Tug-of-War - we know that together we are stronger than cancer, but will you be stronger than your friends?
  • Tuck shop - If you are they type to cause lunchbox envy in your colleagues then its time to set up shop. Find simple budget recipes and you'll be making muffins for a tenth of the cost of the local coffee chain, this means you can charge your colleagues a budget friendly price whilst giving them a chance to support a good cause. 

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  • University Challenge - Pit yourself against your local university competition, and open it up for your fellow students to view. Ticket costs will help you raise funds and remember to speak to your student union who will likely be happy to help you organise (particularly in RAG week).
  • Uniform free day - Uniform free day, whilst best avoided if you are a fireman this is a great way to get raise funds at school or let everyone relax a little with a dress down dress code. Swapping your usual uniform for  fancy dress could help you raise even more money.

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  • Valentines Day - Lots of single friends and a penchant for matchmaking? Then get  organise a singles event from speed-dating to organising a full blown valentines ball the best part of this is that even if you don't get a love match you know that people can go home happy knowing they have supported such an important cause. Don't have the resource (or friends willing) for a singles event, which not bake some love themed goodies for the office. Or why not throw the alternative valentines day event, whether its fitness or food make the theme 'what you love' and ask for donations from friends who attend.
  • Vintage - Got enough vintage shirts to set up your own stall? Got an eye for finding furniture jems online and at our car boots then why not organise your own vintage sale and donate proceeds to Cancer Research. If you don't have enough o organise your own stall why not organise a vintage clothes swap, people pay a small fee for entry and you raise funds on the day with activities and bake sales, perhaps sell homemade lemonade to keep people refreshed while they swap!

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  • Walk - Where and how far will you walk to fight cancer? Some walked over 600 miles to cover the south west coastal path, some walked 5k whilst others did it blindfolded  but they all did it with the same aim, to beat cancer sooner. So whether you head to your shopping centre in your onesie or make your way from John O'Groats to lands end, walk with purpose and become a Cancer Research UK fundraiser today.
  • Wax It - It's a classic fundraising technique that provides an interesting insight into how much your friends are willing to pay to hear you shout 'Ouch'.  A packet of wax strips (and maybe some aloe vera) is all you need to raise money with a wax off.
  • Wear It - People like to laugh, so give them an incentive to sponsor you by letting them nominate what you wear.

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  • X-Factor Competition - Fundraising is all about doing what you can to make a difference, so if you can hit the high notes like Mariah then an X-Factor style competition could be right for you. If your not the singer in the group stick to hosting and if you can't get find the talent to compete why not host a night to watch the show. You can put a sweepstake on the show, from who'll be the first to go to  how many times the phrase "I didn't like it, I loved it" gets used. The prize can be a percentage of the money raised or a non monetary prize of your choosing. You can view an example of our sweepstake materials
  • X Box - We hope your sat comfortably because an X-Box fundraiser could leave you up all night, but make this gaming session one that matters by inviting people to play for a donation to Cancer Research.

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  • Yoga marathon - Know your tree pose from your downward dog? Lots of fundraisers use skills they already have to successfully raise money so if you are a self confessed Yogi why not run a not-for profit class, your pupils will not only have invested in their own health but also have the added satisfaction that they have made a difference to other people's wellbeing too. We can help provide you with risk assessment templates and information to make sure your yoga event is safe, you can start by viewing risk guide
  • Year to Remember - What's the most memorable year of your life? Why not make it this year, and for all the right reasons. What could you do for a year to make a difference? Doing something everyday for 365 days is the ultimate dedication and a sure way to encourage people to sponsor you. But what to do? How about walking dogs every day for a year and donating the money you make? Or how about giving something up for a whole year?

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  • Zumba - They did it with the girls, whilst others went boys only. Others did it in  water and some did it wearing only pink, but one thing stayed the same... they all Zumba'd their way to fundraising life saving research.  Ready to feel the rhythm? Then get in touch and tell us how you would Zumba for Cancer Research.
  • Zip Wire - Adrenaline junkie or willing to face a fear? There's Zip wires up and down the country and all offer a different experience, so do your research and find the challenge that is right for you (and most likely to encourage friends to sponsor you)

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