Blog post

Our ultimate fundraising idea list: What kind of fundraiser are you?

11 min read
6 Jul 2015

There are so many different ways we can all be involved in effective giving and spreading the word to the wider public. Fundraising for effective charities is an ideal way of doing both. All you need is passion and time.


Fundraising pages shared with your community have the ability to raise hundreds, thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars for charity.

If you raised $1000, that could buy 1000 treatments for schistosomiasis, or 200 insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria.

That’s a huge impact right there!

Better yet, fundraising is the perfect reason to talk about why you’re fundraising. Talk to other people about your brilliant cause and why you’re supporting it. Tell people why their sponsorship will have such a huge impact because of the effectiveness of the charity you’ve chosen.

Not only are you raising money but also awareness.

And fundraising can be a lot of fun too!

The only question is: what if you can’t run for more than five minutes or your baking could poison someone? Never fear: you just need to find your niche.

We’re here to introduce you to your favourite fundraising partner. Your perfect way of promoting. We are all different. Today you discover yourself as a fundraiser. Read the profiles of our variety of fundraisers or suggest your own and find out if you're a Glutton for Punishment or a Creative Canvasser. A Foodie Fundraiser or an Academic Altruist.

Today you find out: what kind of fundraiser are you?


1. Olympian

When did you last go running? You’re running right now? Wow, that’s multitasking!

How do you feel about beating personal bests, hiking up mountains, or flexing your muscles by battling through obstacles?

If your fundraising comes the sweatier the better, or you think the best way to raise money is by making supporters go “wow I could not do that, if you don’t die in the process I’ll give you some money” then you are an Olympian fundraiser.

See if you can beat:

10k - marathon run


Get your trainers and your sponsorship sheet out and get to the next race

Tough Mudder

If you have no fear (including of being set on fire or given electric shocks) check out the ultimate obstacle course. Challenge your fitness to the extreme. Even your enemies would probably sponsor you for this!

Life changing challenge

Could you conquer the Three Peaks, cycle 300 miles to Land's End or even trek through the Sahara or climb Kilimanjaro? Action Challenge helps you find life-changing challenges. Not only are these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for you but big events can raise big cash.

Sofa supporter

2. Sofa Supporter

Phew! Just reading about running a marathon tires you out. Who has time for all that training? Outside? In the rain?

No, no much better to sit down indoors and have some fun for charity.

If you like your fundraisers warm and cosy you're a Sofa Supporter.

Relax and enjoy:

Board games night

Hire out a room or invite people over and charge a small entry fee. Turn monopoly money into real money for effective charities.

Film night

Create your own home cinema or hire a pub and projector and hold a film night for family and friends. You can sell tickets, popcorn and drinks. For added points consider some Effective Altruism videos as trailers like Peter Singer's TED talk or an advert for the Most Good You Can Do.

Pub quiz

Hire a pub or play at home. Nominate a quiz master and set a theme. Consider including a poverty statistics or an effective charity comparison round. Some of the entrance fee goes to the winner but the real winner is your effective charity.

Tiny tin shakers

3. Tiny Tin Shakers

We can start fostering a passion for giving early in our children by getting them involved in their own fundraisers. These are all fundraisers you can organise that children would love to attend and that parents will donate to. You’ve got to admit those cute little faces are hard to say no to.

Little ones will love:

Garden fete


Invite your children's friends to face painting, hook a duck, ring toss, coconut shy or giant Jenga. All the fun of the fair at home whilst fundraising for children across the world.

Nominate a teacher

If you work in a school or could speak very nicely to someone who does, why not nominate them to wax their legs, get soaked with water guns or dress up as a clown for the day? What child wouldn’t want to see that?

Pantomime or play

Organise an extra school play so more children get a chance to take part and charge the parents entry. You can find scripts to act out online and will have lots of willing actors.

creative canvasser

4. Creative Canvasser

You can craft a butterfly with icing, you design your own hair clips and handbags and all your friends get beautiful handmade gifts.

If your friends are always begging you to make something for them and everyone wishes they had your artistic flair then you're a Creative Canvasser.

Use your talent as a force for good and design a:


“Shopping without the hangover”. Save money for your giving pledge, reduce waste and raise money for effective charities at the same time by organising a clothing swap or “swish”. If you admire your friends' outfits, invite them to bring their unwanted clothes, pay a small fee and browse the rails for the latest fashion find. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. One woman’s oversized outfit is your next stylish stunner. It’s like charity shopping but for an effective charity.

Fashion show

Put your skills on stage and promote local designers by organising a fashion show. You can add an environmental or ethical theme using recycled or ethically sourced materials.

Arts and crafts fair


Put your talents to good use and encourage your friends to do the same. Make handmade gifts to sell to friends and family. Christmas decorations near Christmas, personalised photo frames for birthdays or heart-shaped jewellery near Valentine's Day to have even more impact. Add handmade cards to go with every occasion and ask if you can set up a stand in your office or speak to the local council about a street stall.

foodie fundraiser

5. Foodie Fundraiser

All this work is making you hungry. No need to stop for lunch when you combine good grub with good causes.

If you like your donations to be delicious you're a Foodie Fundraiser.

Wine tasting

A civilised way to make a difference. Work with a local wine merchant. They get promotion and new customers and you get a percentage for charity and an audience with whom to discuss the issues of the day.

Come Dine With Me


Have you got a budding Blumenthal in your midst? Spice up dinner with friends by turning it into a competition. They can pay for their meals like a meal out and raise money for nutrition for people in Rwanda for example.


Everyone loves a summer BBQ! Charge for entry or per item and donate the profits.

Glutton for punishment

6. Glutton for punishment

Some people support charities for the warm glow effect, but you do almost the opposite. A good fundraiser for you needs to be earned and that means valiant battles and bravely facing humiliation. We’ve all got those friends who would gladly pay to see us suffer so bring it on!

If you laugh in the face of pain or embrace embarrassment you're a Glutton for Punishment.

Put yourself through:

Living on less

Raise awareness about how half of the world has less than $2.50 for food each day and spend a week hungry by living on the same yourself for five days. Turning the experiment into a fundraiser is a great way to start a conversation about poverty and raise money to help.

Water fast

Demonstrate the challenges facing millions in developing countries to friends and family by getting sponsored to live on just 30 litres of water for three days – the average amount of water available to people in the developing world to use for drinking, washing and cooking.

Jail break

This one can be quite an adventure. There are a couple of different versions. Either you and your fellow fundraisers are abandoned in the middle of nowhere with no money or supplies and have to race back to base or you simply have to get as far as possible from your starting location without any funds.

Students from Cambridge once secured plane tickets to Dubai! The brilliant thing about this challenge is that it is all about persuading members of the public of the value of your cause so that they’ll fund your trip.

It’s the perfect way to raise awareness, especially if you achieve some headline-grabbing distances! Here are some top tips to get you going.

Fire walk


Standing on scorching hot coals sounds like a stroll in the park for you - but your adoring donors will be impressed enough to donate.

Academic altruist

7. Academic Altruist

Advocacy to recruit other fundraisers can be as important as fundraising itself, perhaps more effective if two people are inspired to fundraise for every one event you do. Why not combine the two and organise an academic activity that teaches people about effective giving and raises money?

If you know a lot about QALYs and DALYs and avidly follow leading researchers then you're an Academic Altruist.

Put your mind to a:

Giving game

These are the perfect combination of advocacy and fundraising. Host a debate between two charities and invite people to attend for a small fee. At the end of the evening the audience vote on which charity should receive the money raised. Not only does this raise money, but it also encourages others to think about how they choose charities to donate to.

Eco day

Raise awareness about the effects of climate change on those in poverty () and encourage others to action by organising a day of green activities. Get sponsored to go without meat, do others’ recycling, go litter picking or walk to work.

Guest Speaker


Invite a guest speaker from an Effective Charity, meta-charity or research institute to discuss new findings or challenge the audience on our modern moral obligations. You can boost fundraising by combining it with a raffle or selling refreshments.

Power promoter

8. Power Promoter

You've been fundraising for years and now you've reached whole new heights. You’re the queen of spreadsheets, king of to-do lists and project manager extraordinaire. You’re so effective you fundraise in your sleep!

Hundreds of us doing small fundraisers will raise thousands of pounds for effective charities. But if you have the time, knowledge and contacts to do more we need you too. We can achieve amazing things if we put our minds to it and if we work together. Why not get together with other givers in your area and see what you can achieve as a Power Promoter?

Let’s take it up another level. I challenge you to organise:

A Big Match

Oxford and Warwick Universities have had huge success with big match events where for each £10 pounds given, they give £10 pounds too. Doing this Oxford University raised over £24,000 one year, and £12,000 the next.

These are life-changing amounts of money for the most effective charities. Over 72,000 malaria nets and so many lives saved.

Outside of a university, you can contact local businesses and agree to promote them on your fundraising page if they will match some of your donations. Start with a business you might have a personal link to such as where you or family members work. Find out if the company has a charity of the year and if not suggest it to them as a great way of promoting their business to customers as showing compassion and integrity. Seek out businesses that might have a link to a cause you support - a coffee shop promoting fair trade links in a country your charity works in, or a company selling children’s products that might appreciate the link to Teaching at the Right Level Africa.

Power Raffle


No, not just teddies and bottles of wine!

Put your persuasive skills to the test and ask local businesses for some real prizes. Ask a local hotel for a free spa day, your football ground for a free ticket or your local restaurant for a meal for two. For extra points combine this with another event (like a music concert) as the place to sell tickets and announce winners.


Whilst you can charge entry for fundraising there are other things you can offer than money. Hold a hackathon to tackle a problem for a particular charity, to seed new groups of givers as Jonathan Courtney from Giving What We Can has done, or to tackle any number of issues facing the world today.


9. Traditionalist

We finally draw to the end of a long and varied list. Remember that whatever you can do to raise money will make a difference. You don’t have to be able to make jewellery, run a marathon or organise a panel of renowned speakers.

Traditional fundraising can also go a long way.

You can still organise:


Why not simply ask your friends and family for donations instead of birthday presents? This way they can still celebrate your day with you and provide children much-needed nourishment and medication on your birthday.

Coffee morning

This can be for friends or colleagues. Everyone brings a cake and you sell slices with a nice brew for profit for your charity.

Sell a skill

Teach piano or French to friends for a charitable donation.

With effective charities, your funds will go further.

Whatever you do and whatever you enjoy (or endure) you can have a huge impact by raising extra funds and more awareness.

So, what kind of fundraiser are you?

Set up a fundraising page with Giving What We Can and start raising funds for highly effective charities today!

Let's start fundraising!