A-Z Fundraising ideas
Want to raise money to support Cancer Research UK, but don’t know where to start? Whether you’re a first timer or a regular fundraiser, everybody needs a little inspiration sometimes.
So take a look at our A-Z of fundraising ideas. It’s packed with fundraising ideas, all of which have been completed by our fundraisers in the past.
Already have a unique idea and want to get started?
If you already have a confirmed place in a sports event, make sure you get your sports sponsorship pack to get everything you need.
Not confirmed a sports event yet? View our organised sports events such as marathons, cycling events and triathlons for ideas on what to get involved in.
Our Top Fundraising Activities
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. Whether it's off the side of your local town hall or the side of Battersea power station you’re sure to get noticed.
- Auction / Auction of promises - Do you have a well-stocked record collection you're willing to let go of for a good cause? Or the contacts to get your hands on some sought after sports memorabilia? Then an auction could be the fundraising activity for you. You could even 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're a nation of tea drinkers, so your event is sure to prove popular. So get the cake stand at the ready and send the invites out.
- 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! Get your free bake sale poster today.
- Bingo - If the phrase 2 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're celebrity obsessed why not use photographs of famous people instead of numbers or perhaps your friends are foodies... food bingo anyone?
- Beard shaving - You may love your furry face, but what about your friends and family? Would the idea of you shaving your beard off have them reaching into their pockets in the name of Cancer Research UK? Why not let them dye it too before the big shave as a way to raise extra funds?
- Coffee mornings - Most people rely on a coffee to get them through the day so hosting a coffee morning is a great way to fundraise. (Gathering donations is much easier when you're offering something people want anyway!) If you're looking to host outside of the workplace, why not tie in with your local book club? Or if you know a friend who is already running a bake sale, remember you can partner up. They can focus on the cake, while you make sure you've got the right beans and brew.
- Cinema screening - Have a DVD collection that could rival Netflix? Then a cinema screening could be the perfect, flexible fundraising idea for you. 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?
- 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 by 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?
- Eating competition - How many crackers can you eat without water? When it comes to food, there are lots of challenges to 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.
- 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 both a 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 an Easter bunny hop race (ears at the ready).
- Face painting competition - Not got the time or resource to organise your own fête 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’re hosting any themed nights that face painting would be appropriate for.
- Football match / 5-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 5-a-side? Raise funds by charging a player fee and why not let spectators donate to take part in a penalty shootout at the end of the match?
- Fancy-dress days - Fancy dress isn't just for Halloween. It's a great way to raise money any time of year. If you’re the boss, why not have your staff come to work in fancy-dress and ask them to pay a small donation for the day? Or if you’re a dab hand on a sewing machine, why not make 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 can pay a fee to vote, which will go towards funding vital research (and of course embarrassing you).
- Games Night - You don't have to be a Monopoly board master or play Scrabble like a pro to a host a games night. You just need games, a place to play and people to play with. 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 and get colleagues to play for the price of a coffee.
- 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’re looking at you toenail biters!). But if you have a habit you want to kick, why not do it while 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 things like crisps, television, alcohol, chocolate, meat and smoking.
- Head shave - One of our most popular fundraising activities is the head shave. We commend you! It's a brave way to not only raise money for research but also to raise awareness of cancer. Make sure your bold move gets the recognition it deserves by offering 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 - The only thing better than fancy-dress for fundraising is dressing up at 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 benefit from no long queues for the toilet). Can't tempt your friends from the streets of Edinburgh? Why not focus your fundraising efforts on the pre-event of Hogmanay and prepare a traditional meal for friends before the celebrations.
- 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 but you could also reach out to local businesses and ask them to donate a prize. They’ll be helping a good cause and if your event gains press interest, they’ll also get exposure. You may need materials so if you, or somebody you know works in a school or local sports centre, reach out to them. If not, perhaps ask a neighbour if they have a hosepipe you could use!
- Irish Night / Day - It doesn't have to be St Patrick's Day to celebrate the Irish culture. Whether you've got Irish blood or just love the music, you're sure to have fun. 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?
- Jewellery collection, jewellery making/selling - If you have high value pieces you're looking to donate, an auction could be the best route for you. Or 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, 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. Shaken, not stirred of course.
- 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 you're 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 why not use your needle skills to raise money? First, 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, knit somewhere that will generate interest. We’ve had supporters knit at the top of mountains before (but fundraising from your own home is equally as appreciated!).
- Ladies Night / Day - Get your female friends together and throw a ladies day (or evening). 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. Once you've got the date, start to think about entertainment. You could have cocktails and canapés or a Mad Hatter’s tea party. You know your guests best, so choose something that you’ll all enjoy.
- 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 buying lunch, giving them longer to enjoy your yummy food!
- Leap Year - Whether your fundraising activity takes 1 hour or the full 24, use your leap day to make a difference. Don’t forget, with an extra day in the working month, it’s a great chance to speak to employers about matched giving. Visit our leap year fundraising page for more information.
- Marathon events - Before you skip and read onto the next idea, remember 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. Just decide if you want an activity that will take you 26.2 miles or hours.
- Matched Giving - Whether you’re raising money in the office or outside of work, ask your employer about matched giving. Lots of our fundraisers have doubled the amount raised by their employer so don't be afraid to ask.
- Music and mulled wine evening - Pop, rock, or jazz? Regardless of genre, if fundraising through music appeals to you it's time to start thinking about your event. Will you be performing? Or just looking for local acts to support you? You could keep it simple with a Saturday busking session. Or if you're thinking bigger, start to look at venues (or start being extra nice to friends with big gardens). Check to see if support is available in your local community, on our local fundraising groups page.
- No Make-Up Selfie / Natural Week - 2014 was the year your support blew us away with #NoMakeupSelfie. But it's not too late to support us with your makeup free snaps. Want to take it one step further, why not go natural for a full day, week or even 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 Year's Eve party. The best thing about it? You get to control both the music and the guestlist. Charge your guests cheaper than the local pub for entry and then donate the fee.
- 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, an office Olympics, a dress-down day or perhaps take breakfast orders and set-up your own tea trolley. A morning coffee could make your colleagues more than 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 raise extra funds by offering refreshments and a great way to meet the neighbours!
- Obstacle course - Set-up the ultimate obstacle course to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Yours could include a tyre swing or even a mud pit. 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.
- Pamper Day - It's likely your friends love a bit of pampering, so why not plan a day that offers the break people need.. Are you a trained beautician, masseuse or 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 your spending 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.
- Quiz night - The pub, village hall, local sports centre and your best mate’s garden are all venues suitable for hosting a quiz. Decide what’s the best option (and available) to you and get working on those questions. Will the theme 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’s afternoon tea, Marmite or maybe a Sunday roast and Stephen Fry? Whatever springs to mind, why not put on a celebration of all things quintessentially British. You can charge entry and raise funds with tombolas and bake sales. Just be careful of spilling anything if you’re wearing Wimbledon white. And make sure you bring your brolley -British weather will be guaranteed.
- Raffle - A raffle is great to have at a fundraising event. Just charge a fee for tickets and the winner gets a prize. This could also work as a standalone fundraising activity. Just be aware of offering that unwanted Secret Santa gift you got last year as a prize. Your friends may recognise it!
- Running - Join our team of training 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?
- Sweepstakes - Want a way to fundraise fast? A sweepstake could be the perfect way for you to raise money. You have 1 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, while 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 chatterbox who finds being quiet a challenge, then perhaps you could raise funds with a sponsored silence. Just remember, don't be quiet about the cause and your fundraising before or after the event!!
- Tea party - A good cup of tea can change your mood. We drink it when we’re sad, we drink it when we’re happy, so why not drink it today 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’re the type of person who causes your colleagues to get lunchbox envy, then it's time to set up shop. Grab yourself some simple budget recipes and cook up something cheap. Your colleagues can grab some grub for a budget price while getting the chance to support a good cause.
- University Challenge - Challenge your rival university to a competition, to see which university will come out on top. It could be a ‘University Challenge’ style quiz or maybe even a race through your university city. Whatever the challenge, open it up to your fellow students to come and watch. Ticket costs will help you raise funds. Remember to speak to your student union who will likely be happy to help you organise (particularly in RAG week).
- Uniform free day - Whilst best avoided if you are a fireman, a uniform free day is a great way to get raise funds at school, or let your office relax a little with a dress-down dress code. Swapping your usual uniform for fancy dress could help you raise even more money.
- Valentine's Day - Lots of single friends and a skill for matchmaking? Then why not organise a singles event? You could organise a speed-dating evening or even a full-blown Valentine’s ball. The best part is that even if nobody gets a love match, everyone can go home happy knowing they have supported such an important cause. Don't have the resource (or friends willing) for a singles event? Why not bake some love themed goodies for the office. Or why not throw an alternative Valentine’s 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 gems online and at car boots? Why not organise your own vintage sale and donate the proceeds to Cancer Research UK? If you don't have enough time to organise your own stall, why not organise a vintage clothes swap? People pay a small fee for entry and you can raise funds on the day with activities and bake sales. Perhaps you could sell homemade lemonade to keep people refreshed while they swap!
- Walk - Where and how far will you walk to fight cancer? Some of you have walked over 600 miles to cover the South West Coastal Path. Others have walked 5k, while some did it blindfolded. But they all did it with the same aim. To beat cancer sooner. So whether you head to your local 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.
- 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 you’re not the singer in the group, stick to hosting and if you can't find the talent to compete, why not host a night and watch the show? You could even 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.
- Xbox / Playstation / Console Night - We hope you’re sat comfortably because a gaming fundraiser could leave you up all night. Make this gaming session one that matters by inviting people to play for a donation to Cancer Research UK.
- 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’re 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 of knowing they’ve made a difference. You can use our risk assessment templates and information to make sure your yoga event is safe. Start by viewing the risk guide.
- Year to Remember - What's the most memorable year of your life? Why not make it this year, for all the right reasons. What could you do for a year to make a difference? Doing something for 365 days shows ultimate dedication and is 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?
- Zumba - Some of you did it with the girls, while 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 fundraise for lifesaving research. Ready to feel the rhythm? Then get in touch and tell us how you would Zumba for Cancer Research UK.
- 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).