How To Run Your Own Winning Fundraiser

Posted on 12 February 2019 by Charity Car

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Are you struggling to hit a fundraising target?

Marathons… Cycling between cities… Treks up the highest mountains… They’re all fantastic (admirable!) ways to raise money for worthwhile causes and they’re often accompanied with high donation targets.

Perhaps you simply want to give back, and see how much you can raise for charity?

You can accomplish either of these by getting the attention of your friends, colleagues or community and putting on your own, unique event.

Something new and personalised to your audience should help you to stand out amongst all the other asks and raise more then you thought you could, or even shatter that donation target!

So, here’s our guide on how to run your own winning fundraiser:

1)   Choose your charity

Those with a marathon to run or Everest to climb, (we certainly take our hats off to you), will already have their target set and a chosen charity.

But if you’re striding out alone, you’ll need to pick a charity to help out.

It’s an easy choice if you have one close to your heart. If not, have a good research of the national charities and their aims, or take a look closer to home in the community. Our list of charities is a good place to start.

2)   Set your budget

What can you afford as a budget? Maybe you’re willing to contribute or perhaps you’ll try to get as much as possible for free. (It’s amazing what you can get for nothing, armed with charm and your charity’s vision).

3)   Set a donation target  

Setting a donation target relates closely to the potential number of attendees and the ticket price/average donation. So how much can you realistically raise? Do the maths.

For example, 100 attendees at £10 per ticket = £1,000 raised. That’s not to say you shouldn’t aim for more, but it’ll help with a ballpark figure.   

A target helps to keep you on track. You’ll easily know if you need to be driving more ticket sales or sponsors (depending on your event).

Plus, setting something to aim for is the perfect motivation, not only for you, but for your donors. As you progress up to your goal, you can use milestones to encourage more donations to reach it - or even smash it!

4)   Think of an idea and a venue

Now you have an approximate ticket price/average donation, it’s time to think about who you will be inviting and asking to donate. Your fundraiser has to be engaging for your audience and be something everyone attending will love.

Have a think about whether it should it be family friendly or 18+? Should it be active? Ask yourself what they’ll enjoy!

Use your contacts – do you know anyone with a pub? Access to a field or an event space? Do you know a local band? Do you know a dance teacher?

Here at Charity Car, we came up with a few event ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • Salsa and sangria night
  • Food eating contest
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Pet contest (Crufts style)
  • Battle of the bands
  • ‘Come dine with me’
  • Beer/Prosecco pong competition
  • Board game contest

5)   Decide how to collect donations

Firstly, decide if you’d like to pre-sell tickets to your event or if you’ll collect payment in-person when they arrive.

Setting up a JustGiving page is the easiest way to get your donations to your charity. You can use JustGiving to:

  • Ask your attendees to donate online in order to attend.
  • Collect ticket money yourself, pay it into your own bank account, and then make a donation for the total amount on your page. (However, as this is on behalf of a group, rather than individuals, you can’t claim gift aid with this method).
  • Use the ‘Raised Offline’ function and send donations directly to the charity. This way if your donors are eligible for gift aid, you can download a sponsorship form from HMRC to collect their details. Send the form along with your donations to the charity.

If you choose to pre-sell your tickets, Eventbrite is another fantastic, free website for selling tickets. It gives you the chance to offer incentives such as ‘early bird discounts’ and ‘group discounts’. This way, you have a good idea of number of attendees before the event – helpful if you need to buy any supplies.

Top tip: you could maximise charity profits at the event by adding a few little extra tactics:

  • A raffle.
  • Offer a signature drink where proceeds go to the charity.
  • Bake sale.
  • Bonus competition with extra entry cost.
  • Donation buckets.
  • A local business sponsor.

6)   Set a date and time. And… get planning!

If you want your event to go off without a glitch, planning is key. Give yourself plenty of time and your guests lots of notice.

To-do task lists before the event and an itinerary for the day are vital. Also have a think about if you need any of the following:

  • Volunteers?
  • Prizes?
  • Food on the day?
  • Drinks?
  • A photographer?

7)   Promote it! 

If you’re supporting a charity close to your heart, tell your personal story. Appeal to your friends’ and family’s emotions.

A fun idea coupled with a heartfelt story about why you need donations is sure to get the right attention. Find a balance between getting everyone excited about the event and the charity cause. People will dig deeper in their pockets with personal stories and inspiration about how their donations will help a worthy cause.

Here’s a few ways to get people on board:

  • Message your friends and family and encourage them to spread the word
  • Email your colleagues
  • Put up posters in the office
  • Use social media
    • Create a Facebook event
    • Post on your own accounts
    • Post in local community groups
  • Contact the local press for an editorial story
  • Ask a local celebrity or well-known community member to promote it
  • Flyers
  • Run a competition for a couple of free tickets
  • Create a video of how donations will help or a powerful inspirational story from a beneficiary of the charity.

8)   Enjoy the event!

Good luck, we’re sure all your hard work will pay off and you’ll raise lots for your fantastic cause.

And one last thing… remember to follow up afterwards with a thank you to all your supporters. You might even get some last-minute donations!

Extra help…

Some charities actually provide you with packs to help you fundraise for their charity:

British Red Cross

Cancer Research UK



If you still have questions, you can find all of the answers in the following categories:

About your donation About your car Sorting the paperwork Having your car collected About Charity Car

Alternatively, you can search our website below:

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