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8 ways to raise money for charity

Finding different ways to raise cash for a good cause can be fun and entertaining, as well as providing your chosen charity with some vital support. Here are 8 ideas for raising money for charity.

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If you fancy doing something slightly different, take a look at our 8 ways to raise money for charity below for some ideas and inspiration.

Create a calendar

Whether you are a Chippendale or a Calendar Girl, teasing but tasteful calendars are a great way to raise a smile and start earning some cash for your charity, but where should you start?

  • Think of a theme: The theme you choose can make or break your calendar, so contact a friend or family member to get their opinions.

  • Pick a photographer: Friends and family members can also be a good place to look for free photography, just make sure they are good behind the lens of a camera to make your photos as attractive as possible.

  • Find a cheap printer: There are lots of different companies who offer discounted printing rates for charity calendars meaning you can keep costs down and offer your calendar at a price people will be glad to pay.

  • Choose a launch date: Of course, where a calendar is concerned timing is essential so aim to have you calendar finished and ready to sell at either the start of the year, start of the academic year or the financial year to maximise your sales.

  • Sell, sell, sell: Before you start selling your charity calendar you will need to check whether you should be charging and paying VAT on your sales.

Unless you are selling directly through a registered charity that has a specific exemption in place it is likely you will need to pay this levy.

For more information on exemptions, visit the HMRC website

Release a single

You may think that releasing a charity single is reserved for national celebrities and pop stars.

However, in this digital age there is no reason why you cannot get behind the mic to raise money for your chosen charity.

  • Decide who your artist will be: If you are not particularly musically inclined then why not seek the support of a local band or choir to give their backing to the track, or perhaps compile an album of poetry.

  • Present your music to the public: Once you have recorded your chart-busting hit you can sell it both as a CD by advertising in your local community and online, either using your own website or by selling through a third party site such as eBay or Amazon.

As with creating a charity calendar you are likely to need to pay VAT on each sale you make, so check exactly what you will have to pay before you release your single and start conquering the charts.

Arrange a speed dating night

Hosting a charity speed dating session can be a surprisingly popular and profitable way to raise money for your good cause.

  • Location, location, location: You will need to find a suitable venue to host the event and try to negotiate discounted hire costs to make the evening worthwhile.

  • Find participants: Advertising your event is also essential to ensure it is a sell out and you make as much money as you can for your good cause.

Organise a raffle

Everyone loves to win a prize, especially when they are raising money for charity at the same time.

  • Find prizes: So a raffle can be a great way to raise funds, especially if you can get people to donate prizes to your cause.

  • Negotiate for more goodies: A good way to bolster your raffle prize list is to approach local business as they may be willing to donate prizes to your raffle in return for the extra exposure it will get them within your local community.

  • Shout from the rooftops: Making the draw for the raffle an event in itself is another good way to increase the amount you can raise for your charity.

  • Attract a celeb: Try to arrange for the raffle to be drawn by a 'celebrity' or someone well known and you may be able to get more exposure, and sell more tickets through the local press.

Host a pub quiz

A pub quiz can be a great way to bring people together to raise money for your good cause.

  • Locate a friendly inn: You may find that your local tavern or ale house is keen to host a quiz night on your behalf as it is a great way to get punters through the door and buying drinks.

  • Plan, prepare and be positive: The more entrants you have the more cash you are likely to raise for your chosen charity, so make sure you plan your pub quiz well in advance and advertise it throughout the local area.

Hold an auction

Hosting a charity auction in support of your good cause can be a fun and entertaining way to raise money.

  • What can you auction? You can either choose to host a bachelor/bachelorette auction where people bid to take volunteers out for a date, or arrange an auction where people bid for services provided by individuals and businesses instead.

  • Be cheeky: You will need to approach as many of your honourable single bachelor or bachelorette friends and colleagues to see who would be willing to be auctioned for charity.

  • Know your audience: If you do not feel that a bachelor auction is a good fit for your fundraising efforts then a charity services auction could be a good alternative. After all many people would be willing to pay good money for someone to wash their car over the summer or mow their lawn once a week for a month.

  • Spread the word: Advertising the event is also essential to recruit as many people as possible to be auctioned for a good cause, and of course, to get people to bid on a night out with your bachelors or for the sought after services on offer.

Run, run, run!

OK, while not the most inventive way to raise money, any fundraising list that does not include the most popular way to raise cash for charity would be missing something.

  • Get prepared: Whether you aim to join in your local fun run or vow to conquer a full marathon, getting your trainers on for a charity run is a great way to raise money for a good cause.

  • Grab people's attention: In recent years, fundraisers have completed the London marathon dressed in everything from a snail costume to a deep sea diver's suit, meaning the sky is literally the limit when it comes to picking your running get up!

  • Challenge yourself: Plus you do not have to stop there, if you are feeling really bold or are just a glutton for punishment and want to push the boat out even further why not complete a marathon backwards or using a pogo stick!

Think outside the box

Sponsorship is the most well established way to raise money for charity. However, that does not mean you cannot be creative in what you are being sponsored to do.

  • Sponsored activities: Everything from wearing a fierce rival's football shirt to work, sitting in a bath full of beans to jumping out of a plane can all be used to raise money through sponsorship.

  • Do... nothing? Another popular sponsorship strategy is to get money for not doing something - a sponsored silence, fasting or going without alcohol just some of the ways you can raise money for your chosen cause.

Alternatively, you could make money from selling items on auctions sites, as explained in our guide.

Another option is renting out your driveway and using part or all of the money to donate to a charity of your choice.

How to make money using auction sites

How to rent your driveway

How to make the most of the donations

If you give a large amount to charity then making sure you are doing so tax efficiently will make a big difference to the charity concerned as it can mean you increase the value of your donation significantly.

Gift Aid

To help support worthwhile causes, the UK government does not apply income tax to charity donations and allows registered charities to reclaim income tax through the Gift Aid scheme.

To simplify what would otherwise be a highly complicated process, charities can only reclaim income tax at the basic 20% rate whoever makes the donation.

In practice this means that if you donate £10, the charity will actually receive £12.50 by claiming Gift Aid plus a separate additional government supplement.

Claiming back higher rate tax

If you are a higher rate taxpayer that is paid tax at either the 40% or 50% rate on the money you donated, you are entitled to reclaim the difference between the money the charity reclaimed through gift aid (20% of the value of your donation) and the extra 20% or 30% you previously paid in tax on top of this.

To reclaim the additional tax you have paid on your Gift Aid donations you will need to state the amount you donated on your Self Assessment tax return.

If you do not ordinarily complete a tax return you will need to complete and return a P810 Tax Review form or contact HM Revenue & Customs.

Everyone is a winner

Reclaiming the Income Tax on this basis can make donating to charity even more worthwhile for both you and the charity concerned.

HMRC contact details can be found here

About Martin Lane

View Martin Lane's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.