A-Z of Fundraising

(well actually it’s only to T but if you can think of any more let us know!)

Make a difference

Fundraising makes a real difference to Open Arms. Every pound raised helps give vulnerable children the love and care they need for the best start to life and the future they deserve. For inspiration please read our guide below, or contact us for more information.

Contact us

Choose something that you are comfortable with. You might want to arrange something on a large scale with 100 guests or, if you don’t want to be involved with a large event, invite friends for dinner and charge them a fee. Whatever you decide it is important that it is something you enjoy as your enthusiasm will make the event a success. There are so many different ways to raise money. Below is a list of ideas. This is not an exhaustive list by any means! The best fundraising ideas are often the most unusual so let your imagination get to work!


Auctions: For an auction to be successful, items must be of good quality. A variation on this idea is the blind or silent auction where each item has a bidding sheet on which people write their pledges.

Run an auction of promises: contact your friends and see what they can offer up; babysitting, washing, hairdressing, gardening, photography, decorating, a ride in a Rolls, or on a ‘Harley’; the list can go on and on.


Bag packing: Ask your local supermarket.

Balloon race: A prize for the balloon that goes the furthest.

Board games evening


Cake sales: It is amazing how much these raise. Schedule one a month during your fundraising and enlist help with baking. Don’t forget gluten free cakes.

Car boot sale: Clear out your attic, ask friends and neighbours if they have anything they want to donate. Or you could ask for the loan of a field to hold a sale in and charge cars £10 for an even bigger fundraising success!

Car wash: Start a regular car wash day or do a car wash as part of a larger event.

Cash4coins: You can’t exchange foreign coins or low denomination notes at banks so it ends up sitting around in drawers. Do an appeal at work for colleagues to send in any old British currency or any foreign coins or notes that they have. These can be sent off to cash 4 coins who will exchange them and send back cash to you. Have a look at the website www.cash4coins.co.uk a free fundraising pack is provided with posters and leaflets.

Charity of the year: Ask your local mayor / businesses to make us their charity of the year and ask at work if any fundraising can go towards Open Arms. They may also do match funding for part or all of the total you raise. 


Dinner party: Invite guests to dinner and ask them to donate a set amount towards their dinner with the donations all going to Open Arms. During the dinner party you could also use some of the other fundraising ideas mentioned, like a raffle or £5 draw.

You could also ask the guests to commit to holding their own fundraising dinner party with funds going to Open Arms. If each guest commits and then asks their guests to commit to holding a dinner party the resulting amount donated could become enormous. Dinner For Good can help you arrange this www.dinnerforgood.com

Dress down day at work or school: Charge for the privilege of coming to work in casual or non-school uniform. Don’t forget if it’s at work ask about match funding

Duck race: Always popular with children.

£5 draw: Each person writes his or her name on a £5 note. The winner gets 25% of the total and the runner-up gets their £5 back. With 40 participants, that's £50 to the winner and £145 for Open Arms. (It doesn’t have to be a £5 note it can be £10 or £20, it’s up to you).


Football match: Tips on how to organise this to follow from one of our successful fundraisers.


Giving up!: Persuade your friends to give up a favourite food (eg. chocolate) for a period of time and give the money saved to Open Arms


Messy events: Baked bean baths, gunge tanks, wet sponges.

Monthly quiz: Produce a quiz and sell it for £1 or check out the quiz on our website and get people to enter.

Murder mystery evening: A package is hired containing the scenario and full instructions. Revenue comes from ticket sales, raffle and other activities held during the evening.


Pop up restaurant


Quiz night: Organise a one-off quiz in your local pub. Charge to enter and hold a raffle too.


Race night

Raffles: Ask local shops if they will donate any goods that can be used as prizes. Do you know a hairdresser, mechanic or gardener who would donate their service as a prize? It is usually best not to offer tickets to the general public as it needs to be registered with the Local Authority, but a raffle held at a workplace or club does not have to be registered.

Raffle your services: A day’s ironing, cleaning, cooking, dog walking.

Sales: Organise a shopping evening or day. Find a local hall that will donate the hire and invite local small businesses with something to sell or crafts people to come along and donate 10% of their sales on the day. Sell tickets that could include a cup of tea and a cake or a glass of wine. Could also incorporate a raffle.

Sponsored event: Diet, shave, leg wax, sunflower growing – old-fashioned ideas that still work.

Sports day: Organise a 5-a-side, netball, cricket or sports match, charge a team entry fee, sell refreshments and run a sweepstake at the same time.

Spot the baby: Embarrassment guaranteed when you collect everyone's baby photos. Charge people 50p to guess the identities.

Swishing party/clothes swap: People bring unwanted items and swap them for other pre-loved things. Charge an entry fee and for refreshments.


Themed evenings: Invite your supporters to a night of Indian, Chinese or Mexican food - you could serve tapas, tacos or enchiladas. Get people to bring a bottle of wine and charge £5 to cover the cost of the food.

There is a great website www.letsgetfundraising.co.uk with lots of ideas, hints and tips. They also have a great booklet called The Essential Guide to Fundraising; well worth a purchase.

If you'd like to print off this list please download the file by clicking on the bar below.

child in park

Your donation will help children in Malawi grow up healthy with the love of a family


Designed to be kind. Proud to support Open Arms Malawi.