There are a wide selection of options to generate income, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  Finding the best combination to complement your organisation then integrating and promoting them through your communication channels is key.

Raising funds is often about raising awareness of what you do, whilst strengthening your brand. Many techniques allow you to do both.

The two broad sources of income are voluntary income and earned income. This section will give you a flavour of some of the options for you to consider.

Methods To Raise Funds

Voluntary income is when the person or organisation that gives money does not receive any significant material gain:

  • Fundraising events run by other organisations such as sponsored skydiving, abseiling, zip lining, fun runs, mud runs, marathons and overseas cycling or trekking challenges.
  • Sponsored events staged by your organisation such as encouraging supporters to stop drinking alcohol or shaving for a month, jumping into the sea on New Year’s Day or doing a walk or golf challenge are popular.
  • Voluntary fundraising groups or individuals who work independently organising fundraising initiatives for you. This could be a non-uniform day, a pub putting on a quiz or local church holding a coffee morning.
  • Fundraising committees can be formed to represent your organisation on an on-going basis to accumulate proceeds.
  • Recycling allows supporters to donate, used ink cartridges, mobile phones, tablets, jewellery, clothes, shoes and cars etc which are then converted to cash.
  • Direct marketing which includes face to face and telephone fundraising, direct mail, email and text marketing is often used to encourage people to donate.   Flyers, media broadcasts, online and printed advertising can also be used, although commonly as a communication method to promote fundraising ventures and recruit volunteers.
  • Donations can be received in lieu of funeral flowers, wedding favours and even contributions in lieu of compensation.   People can also make a virtual gift in lieu of a Christmas, anniversary or birthday present, with the recipient receiving a greeting card or online acknowledgement with a message such as “Happy birthday – I have made a £10 donation to charity X on your behalf.   It will be used to vaccinate twenty children against polio…..”
  • legacy is when a supporter bequeaths a donation when writing their will.
  • Collections can be held in towns, shopping centres, at traffic lights, public events, door to door and whilst bag packing in supermarkets as well as static collection boxes placed in shops and pubs etc.
  • Funding applications are made to organisations that support good causes such as grant giving trusts and foundations, central and local government and European funding bodies.
  • Major donors are sought from strong advocates and wealthier individuals.
  • Peer to peer fundraising underpins many fundraising functions. People inspire their friends, family and contacts to also become supporters by making a financial contribution, sponsoring them to do a fundraising activity, joining a volunteer fundraising committee or persuading their employer to select them as their charity of the year.
  • When donating shares the donor may be able to receive tax relief.
  • Companies can make straight forward donations, encourage staff participation in your fundraising projects, undertake self-run events or agree to payroll giving where employees pledge to give a regular donation from their pay packet.
  • Voluntary contributions are often eligible for Gift Aid which allows charities and community amateur sports clubs to claim an additional 25p from HMRC for every £1 from eligible donors.

Earned income is when the person or organisation that gives money receives something tangible in return:

  • Commercial partnerships entail socially responsible companies receiving kudos and publicity for their activities such as running fundraising eventssponsorship of your activities or on-pack promotions.
  • There is a wide selection of fundraising events such as selling tickets for entry to a carol service, quiz, fashion show or gala ball.
  • Lotteries and ballots give people the opportunity to pay for a chance to win a prize or prizes.
  • People can also bid at auctions to buy a product or service.
  • Trading may involve selling goods which are voluntarily donated then sold in shops such as clothing, books, records etc.   New products frequently branded with your livery for example Christmas cards, T-shirts, pens or soft toys can also be sold online, via catalogues and at events.
  • Social enterprise entails using commercial techniques that both secure money and provide a charitable benefit, for instance people with learning difficulties producing meals in a cafe that are then purchased by customers.
  • Earned income can be accrued by selling services directly to beneficiaries or submitting tender proposals to government agencies or other bodies for contracted work. It can simply involve making good use what you have, like hiring out rooms in your building for meetings or charging sports clubs to use your school hockey pitch. Additionally benefits such as providing training or membership of your organisation may be given in return for a fee.

Lots of traditional fundraising methods are also offered online through digital fundraising platforms and tools such as online shopping, auctions, securing tax efficient donations, crowd funding, raffles and tribute websites.