For those involved in raising awareness and donations for a charity or responsible for corporate giving within their company, here are some proven, effective fundraising ideas to try in 2018.

The British public donated £9.7 billion to charities in 2016. Personal and family philanthropy grew by almost 20 percent last year, and UK universities received more than £1 billion from charities in 2017.

What’s behind this uptick in giving? It seems that Brexit may have changed people’s philanthropic habits. They are more disposed to contribute towards national causes, such as education, culture, arts, research and healthcare.

After Britain voted to leave the EU, in fact, most foundations registered a positive impact on their income from donations. And they’re expecting further growth in 2018 as donors commit to sustaining causes they believe in.

But competition is fierce, with over 160,000 charities in the UK alone. So, whether you’re a small local charity or an international organisation, you’ll need to come up with fresh fundraising ideas to attract as much support as you can for your cause.

Let’s take a look at some of the most effective fundraising ideas to try in 2018.

The Best Fundraising Ideas for Small Charities

For local charities, finding new donors every year is a permanent challenge. You have access to a small public, mostly inside your community.

Yet, with a handful of volunteers and some help from your sponsors, you can raise important money and resources for your charity in the following ways:

Try Resource Raising

Most people feel more comfortable donating resources instead of money, so integrate resource raising into your fundraising efforts this year. Make a wish list of the things you need, such as paper, textiles, non-perishable goods, or art materials.

Organisations like In Kind Direct, have been delivering donated goods to help charities and people in need for over 20 years. Look to them as a source of support.

You can adapt this idea to millennials as well, who now make up 13.8 million people (21% of the UK population) – with a great deal of spending power.

Create an Amazon wish list and promote it using your social media channels. York Road Project uses this tool to win support from donors who want to help the homeless. They collect clothes, food, camping bags, and other items they need. And the resources arrive directly to their door.

Communicate Your Mission Online

If your charity has a long-term focus, then at some point you will definitely need a website if you don’t have one already. It’s an always-on resource that people can be signposted to. Within your community or group, you may have someone who can create one for you (or know someone willing to help) so it needn’t be an expensive exercise.

Once you are online, a common mistake is to fail to inspire visitors to support your charity by explaining your mission and those you will help and have helped.

Don’t fall into the trap of using your website to only inform visitors of your next events. Your mission should always be well-signposted and easy to understand in order to help generate interest and donations or volunteers.

Organize a Book Sale

You may think that people don’t read anymore, but you’d be surprised by how popular a good old-fashioned book sale can be.

Not only will you raise money, but you’ll also promote reading and get the community involved directly in your project.

You’ll need volunteers to receive donations in the first phase of the project, and then be present on the actual day of the sale.

Try hosting the event sale in your public library or community centre, so that you won’t have to spend money on rent. And set affordable prices – no more than £2 for hardcover books, for example.

If you end up with books left over at the end of the day, find a place to donate them after the sale.

Raise Money with a Parents’ Party

For as much they love their children, most parents would pay to have a night off! Find volunteers to babysit, so that parents can go out and have fun at a party you organise.

Sell tickets to raise money for your cause and also add a donation box for people who want to contribute extra money.

Get the most out of your event by finding local sponsors, such as:

  • A venue that you can use for free or at a discounted rate
  • A catering company to deliver food and drinks at lower prices
  • Music from a local band

Cake Sales Are Still Trendy

It might sound like the 1950s, but many small projects raise significant funds from selling cakes, tarts, doughnuts, and similar products.

In fact, bake sales brought a whopping £185 million to charities in 2015!

If you’ve held one in the past, make it an annual event. Everyone enjoys a good bake sale and you’ll have no problems finding volunteers and contributors.

To ensure higher sales, organise your event on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning, after church.

Use Social Media Marketing to Promote Your Events

Small charities often give less importance to social media, as they count on direct contact with their donors. Yet, with more people connected to their smartphones, you risk losing an important audience by not being online.

Find a social media expert to volunteer and build you a presence on social networks.

Social media on it’s own isn’t enough – be sure to refresh your website as well. Update the information about your events, then share it on Facebook, Instagram, and any other channels your audience might use.

Fundraising Ideas for Medium-Large Charities

National and international charities address a larger audience and tend to have an established base of supporters – although they will always want to grow their support of course.

In most cases, though, you’ll not only need to focus on reaching a new audience but also on converting eyeballs to donations and keeping donor retention rates as high as possible to grow your charity in the long term. Try implementing some of these ideas:

Use Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) Best Practices

It’s a given that a national or international charity will have a well-established website, but how hard is it working for you in terms of converting traffic?

What is your priority right now and is it signposted with clarity across the site?

Fundraising conversion rates

Pick one or two priorities at the most and give them prominence across the whole site, so that they can never be missed. Calls to Action are more likely to get used if they can be seen.

Most household name brands do a good job of this, but we’ve seen a surprising amount get it wrong too – sometimes taking visitors into confusing rabbit warrens of their website where you lose not only the key calls to action, but sometimes even a way to get back to where you started from.

Everybody Loves “-athon”s

Organise a marathon, walkathon, or swimathon to get lots of people involved. Managing events like these requires significant effort, as you’ll need to plan well in advance to cover all the details.

Your efforts will pay off, as you bring hundreds, or even thousands of people together to raise significant amounts of money and boost awareness for your cause.

Even better, marathons and cyclothons tend to benefit from media coverage, helping drive traffic to your website and social media channels.

Plan a Text-to-Give Campaign

Mobile fundraising is relatively easy, as donors can give small amounts with something as simple as sending a text message.

These types of campaigns usually start off with an investment in software, a phone number and some promotion.

In 2016, text-to-give campaigns generated revenues of £122 million; 6 percent more than the previous year.

Combining online and offline promotion, your texting campaigns can lead to thousands of new donors. Create a strong call to action in your marketing messages, compelling people to give.

Attract More Traffic with Quality Content  

Consistent traffic to your website means you’ll have more chances of getting new leads (and maintaining / engaging your current supporters).

And as you probably know by now, one of the most efficient ways of driving qualified traffic is through quality content.

So build a content strategy around your charity. Storytelling can help you increase awareness for your cause, as well as attract new donors and volunteers.

Use your website and social media to create value for your readers. Give them useful information about your niche, interesting facts and accurate data that can help them understand how their contribution makes the world a better place.

Invest in an Annual Event

Charity balls, galas, golf tournaments; these are some examples of fundraising ideas that foundations use to keep donors loyal to their cause.

These are large events that need serious planning and investment. But if you manage to stay within your budget, an annual event can yield positive ROI.

You’ll also gain media coverage, website traffic and social media engagement, among other benefits.

Target Millennials with Higher Income

Not only do millennials represent the largest demographic in the UK, but their employment rates currently reach as high as 82 percent. In five years from now, they’ll make up more than 70 percent of the workforce.

And many of them are willing to donate as much as 10 percent of their income to causes they believe in.

If you want to grow your organisation in the following years, you’ll need to win over this audience and sell them your cause.

Millennials are characteristically generous and like getting involved in charity. They’re also more likely to carry out consistent research before choosing a foundation to support.

If you want to attract them to your cause, ensure transparency and easy ways for donors to track their money.

Besides original fundraising ideas, keep your supporters updated on how you use their money and what impact their donations have on the world.

Social media and mobile-friendly platforms are the best way to communicate with millennials. In fact, website, social media and mobile apps raise about £2.4 billion in donations every year.

Corporate Fundraising Ideas

Companies who get involved in charity projects report increased employee engagement and productivity, with less absenteeism and higher retention rates.

When your company embraces a cause, you’ll also improve your public image and benefit from greater media coverage.

With so many consumers interested in social responsibility and environmental issues these days, you’ll increase brand awareness and revenues to boot.

Besides donating to local or national charities, try engaging your entire staff in some of the following fundraising events:

Wine Tasting

This classy and fashionable event has great potential to attract employees inside your company. If they like wine, you’ll have no trouble selling your tickets!

Find a pleasant venue and some sponsors to bring the wine. You can also leave a donation box for those who want to give extra money for your cause.

End of Season Dinners

End of season dinners are great occasions to celebrate success with your employees. Yet, instead of a traditional dinner, organise a more interactive evening, in which you also host a raffle.

Not only will you make sure that your employees have fun at your event, but you’ll raise money for a good cause at the same time.

Choose a charity in line with your company’s values, and let your employees know how much money was raised from their contributions.

A Paid Day for Volunteering

Charity isn’t only about giving money. Encourage your employees to donate their time to support a good cause.

Give a paid day of voluntary work to all your employees who help in the community, schools, hospitals, animal shelters, local charities, or any other cause they want to support.

If you schedule volunteer days wisely, you won’t notice the difference in your productivity charts.

A Day’s Pay Donation

Some employees don’t have enough time to get involved in fundraising, especially team leaders and department directors. But you can still engage them in your projects with direct donations.

Ask them to donate a day’s pay to the company cause. Depending on how many people you involve in this project, you can choose to double their donations, to help charities increase their revenues.

Office Sale

As fundraising ideas should be fun, as well as useful, organise an office sale to get everyone involved.

Open your office up on a Friday afternoon and sell things that your employees are looking to get rid off.

Not only will you raise important funds, but you’ll declutter your office space at the same time!

No matter the size of your charity or the time you have to raise funds, if you have a solid online presence, incorporate new ideas and target the right type of donor, you’ll raise more money and further your cause this year.