9 Charity Event Ideas to Raise More Money

9 Charity Event Ideas to Raise More Money
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Coming up with fresh charity event ideas for your next fundraiser can be a little daunting. Especially if you want to try and shake things up or even if you are just starting out and are looking for something that’s relatively simple to organise.

Before we get into the ideas, one key thing to always remember is who your intended audience is. That can inform a lot, not just about the type of event you’re hosting, but also the time of day / year you host it. So without any further ado let’s get into some ideas, with some advice on when they’ll work best!

Traditional charity event ideas

Sometimes it's best to stick to the classics - each of these 3 event ideas are well known, but it doesn't make them any less useful!

1. Coffee morning

A coffee morning is relatively low effort as events go and a great excuse to get people together for a good chat. You can either run it yourself or help your supporters to run one, as per the famous Macmillan coffee mornings. Alongside coffee, it’s common to have cake and your attendees can bring their own contributions (though be careful with allergies). Coffee mornings are usually good at raising a steady amount of funds, but it will probably be a relatively modest amount. The best way to scale it up is to run several alongside one another - either by having regular ones in different areas, or building them around a time of year or specific month and encouraging lots of different people to host them simultaneously.  

Works best: if you want to attract an audience available on weekdays

2. Lunch / dinner

If you’re looking to host something a bit more complex then a dinner or lunch is a great option. As you’re serving food, make sure you check any laws (especially if serving alcohol!) and work on building a menu that is going to excite your attendees without breaking the bank. You might even want to theme your event and encourage people to dress up so that they get more into the mood (and will be more likely to donate!), alternatively inviting a guest speaker to make an address can be a big draw, they could be a local celebrity or an expert on an interesting or relevant subject that your audience would enjoy hearing about . You’ll want to charge upfront for tickets which will help cover your expenses (and more hopefully), but make sure there are extra ways people can donate once there such as a raffle, auction or an appeal with pledge forms available at every table.

Works best: you’re looking for a big event to really engage supporters

3. Raffle / auction

As we just mentioned them above, either of these two can be combined with any other type of event, though you can also hold them separately - however there are regulations about running a public raffles or auctions outside of events so make sure to check them out. The key to a successful raffle or auction is in the prizes you’re offering. The better they are, the more money you’re likely to raise. You’ll be wanting to come up with strategies to ask companies to donate to your cause - if you don’t ask you won’t get! And don’t forget that experiences are equally exciting as physical prizes! One good place to start can be with your existing supporters to see if any of them are well connected. Promote well and then get ready for the big event!

Works best: if you have some great prizes people will pay for

Virtual fundraisers

In the new post-covid world, it's worth trying out something new! Virtual events can often have low overheads and when done properly have the potential for high returns!

4. ‘X’ challenge

It’s a feature of human psychology that we like to be challenged. That’s one of the reasons why the infamous ‘ice bucket challenge’ went so viral and helped raise so much money. Other charities have since got in on the act, with spins such as sobriety challenges or Movember drawing a lot of attention. There is, of course, no guarantee that your challenge will go viral. But if it does then you can draw a lot of attention to your cause while letting people have fun.

Works best: you want to create some decentralised social media buzz

5. Online workshop

Another virtual option you can try is running a paid virtual workshop. This is best if aligned to your brand in some way. You could teach people a skill or educate them about something related to your mission. You could even provide people with virtual certificates afterwards to make it seem more official. Be sure to draw on your team’s abilities for this one!

Works best: you have skills or a cause people will pay to find out about

6. Streaming

Streaming can raise big money. And it’s relatively simple to get started - all you need is a good camera and microphone (be sure to test them first!) and you’re away. Whether you use Facebook, YouTube or Twitch, you’re best going somewhere where you’ve built an audience. 24 hour live streams playing games are a popular format, as are live streams with guest experts discussing relevant topics. If you’ve got a list of potential experts who can discuss topics, you can even turn segments of your fundraising streams into videos to help promote your cause.

Works best: you’ve got a pre-existing audience and/or interesting experts

Energetic charity events

Getting active can get a lot of people involved in your event and for certain charities can have a fantastic synergy.

7. Sponsored event

A classic here which doubtless you’ve encountered before. Events like the London Marathon can raise hundreds of millions with sponsorship, and you can apply to get a charity place for your organisation in most of the existing Marathon type events so you can recruit your own runners! However, if you think there’s a challenge you can run yourselves that will engage your supporters and encourage them to pester their friends and families for donations then do it! Think out of the box - maybe a do a sponsored abseil or mountain trek or something unusual! There are companies who can help you set these up and ensure all logistics, insurance and safety issues are covered. It’s also important to remember to attract company sponsorship where possible - if you can secure them, they’re likely to be some of your biggest contributors!

Works best: you’ve got an engaged energetic audience with lots of connections

8. Charity sports game

Another route to go down if you’re wanting to do something sporty is making an event of a sports game. Events like Soccer Aid attract big crowds and donations. While getting some celebrities can help, you can do other spins on traditional games to raise interest.  You could run a tournament over the course of a day or a few months, sell tickets to matches and other merchandise, and offer some cool prizes for the teams to compete for, or you can just keep it simple with teams needing to raise a certain amount to enter. 

Works best: you’ve got a sporty audience or can attract big names

9. Distance challenge

This one is a spin on sponsored events. Instead of a single event, challenge your audience to do a certain distance or amount of exercise over a set period. You can allow them to group up and use various methods, but set a goal they must achieve. This might be a one million step challenge or asking them to cover the equivalent distance between two relevant geographical points, or do 1,000 situps in a month. This was particularly popular over the pandemic when centralised events where impossible to run.

Works best: you can’t host a big event but still want to challenge your audience

Top tip: Prevent stress with organisation!

As you’re turning your charity event idea into a reality there’s one super important step to prevent it from becoming an immensely stressful experience. You need to make sure you’re organising all your event communications,  offering simple participant registration and and properly storing the details of your attendees.

While this is certainly possible with spreadsheets or other more manual approaches, the chances of overlooking something or missing a key opportunity will increase. That’s why you should be looking to use a digital tool like a CRM which can centralise all your event needs and make your life significantly easier. Find out more about this in our on-demand webinar on the topic!


What did you think of these 9 ideas? Perhaps they sparked ideas of your own or maybe you have other ideas of your own! Stay tuned to the CiviPlus blog as we continue to bring you all the latest ideas and strategies for your fundraising needs. And be sure to check out our 6 additional ideas for charity events!

If you’re interested in a digital events management tool, we’d be more than happy to help you get started with CiviPlus so that you can run your own high impact events in no time! 

Howdy y’all,

We are delighted to announce a new integration of CiviCRM with Open Social, a community engagement platform.

CiviCRM is the number one open source CRM for not-for profits, used by more than 11,000 organisations worldwide, and Open Social is a leading community engagement platform, used by over 1000 organisations in a range of different industries from Charities to member organisations and companies also.

It’s exciting news for organisations using CiviCRM, who will now be able to combine the power of CiviCRM with the collaboration and community building that the Open Social platform provides.
If you’ve not heard of community platforms before, a community platform is a tool that allows your organisation to create your own branded and tailored social network. Users of the platform (normally your members or supporters) can interact, join groups to share knowledge and exchange ideas, publish and promote events and collaborate within a safe online curated space. With a community platform you can expand your digital offer and strengthen your relationship with your supporters.

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Open Social is open source (much like CiviCRM) and as such has no user licences fees. This means it can be deployed affordably to scale to even the largest of communities. It’s also flexible with a huge range of different add-on modules that can be integrated to enhance the platform.

Our new two-way integration between Open Social and CiviCRM syncs data between the two platforms allowing information about the groups and committees that members have joined to be seamlessly synced to CiviCRM. You can even create Open Social groups and manage their membership directly from within CiviCRM, which would be useful for managing private groups in the case of committees or working groups.

By combining the data of a community platform with that in your CiviCRM your organisation can obtain deep insights into your members' interests and behaviours. You can see which groups are popular and engage with your members on topical issues, automating communications and tailoring their experience.

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Example of another title

A great example is a recent implementation for the UN’s PRI (Principles of Responsible Investment). Their user community includes over 2,900 organisations with over 40,000 individuals spread across 6 continents. Their Community Platform now supports discussions between 24,000 users with over 750 online collaboration spaces. The data is seamlessly synced to their CRM allowing for deep insight guiding their policy engagements.

As Open Social partners, we would be delighted to help you start your journey with Open Social and help you build your online community. We can help you through both the implementation and the CiviCRM integration (or other CRM integration such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM).

Please contact us through our website https://www.compuco.io/ or by email at hello@compucorp.co.uk.

Further information about Open Social can be found at their website: https://www.getopensocial.com/

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