Ideas to help children and teens fundraise

For anyone lucky enough to be lucky, there’s sure to be a time when they’ll be asked to fundraise for a good cause. Should children be involved? And if that’s a yes, what makes it easier for teens and tots to raise money? For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see

Lola is going to run the last 3 miles of London's Marathon for the fourth time.

Lola is going to run the last 3 miles of London’s Marathon for the fourth time. This time she’s using her run as an opportunity to raise funds to help all those affected by the Honiara flash floods which has killed around 20 people and left 1000s homeless in Solomon Islands Please donate here.

“It’s the only thing I can do to help” – Lola, 15, says ready to run and fundraise for people made homeless in Solomon Islands – a place she loves – after flash floods in the capital Honiara. See the link to the fundraising page here.

There’s no point raising money for a good cause unless like Lola you believe in that cause, or have some reason to support the person asking. That’s why school fundraising can be so successful – all those winter fairs, summer fetes, international days, fun runs and litter picks are shared by a large group of like-minded people.

Holiday fundraising ideas: selling bulbs and small plants.

Holiday fundraising ideas: selling bulbs and small plants.

And don’t forget the cake sales – which teaches cooking, budgeting and business basics.

It’s more challenging to fundraise for a friend in specific need – perhaps someone with a long-term illness or a particular project – because you have more to explain. Sometimes you have to explain what the charity does, and what you are organising (eg, a ceilidih for a gap year). Lots of young fundraisers find this selling element very hard. The trick is to work out what you want to raise, how you’d enjoy doing it and what time you’ve got.

Lola has been to Honiara, and watched in horror as Australian TV images showed us the wrecked bridges and houses floating into the sea.

Teens like Lola can work out their own fundraising challenges, but small children will need grown up help. There’s a plus – adults have to be hard-hearted to resist a primary school aged child saying they have given all their birthday money to helping a Thai baby elephant orphanage or to get a ping pong table and skateboard ramp added to their local park…

5 ideas to make fundraising fun and effective

Add a key so your lucky recipient knows which egg is chocolate. We had to use a few shop-bought chocolates intended for the easter egg hunt to make our gift look a bit more generous.

Fundraising ideas for Easter. Make your own easter eggs – or just pour melted chocolate into a blown hen’s egg. Possibly cup cakes sell better… Also try stalls selling homemade lemonade, big slices of cake or bagels stuffed with cream cheese (and maybe salmon).

  1. Do fundraising with a friend (or better still friends).
  2. See if you can think of an organisation or person who will match fund any donation you make. So if you want to raise money towards a wig of trendy hair for a teen with cancer, see if you can find someone to double whatever you raise at your Thursday cake sales. This might be a generous family member… it’s always worth asking.
  3. Make a sign to support your fundraiser! We love the Run Lola Run joke (it's a film...)

    Make a sign to support your fundraiser! We love the Run Lola Run joke opportunity (it’s a film…)

    Try and collect money by using justgiving or everyclick so you don’t actually have to deal with banking and accounting for the money as well. Plus anyone who is a tax payer can click the gift aid box which gives even more to charity (25p extra on every £1).

  4. Memorise a short sentence that explains what you are fundraising for. “We’re raising money to build a new art block, what can you give us?.”” I’m collecting pennies to give to XX Animal Shelter, what will you give?”. “I’m litter picking the beach/local park on Saturday – will you give  Surfers Against Sewage/your local park friends group a donation?
  5. Don’t worry if someone says no, that’s fine. But if they do offer cash or support in other ways, be sure to thank them.

A bit more about Solomon Islands
Back in the 1990s I lived in Honiara – a wonderful Pacific Islands city – for two years. Honiara is the capital of Solomon Islands. Myjob was to train journalists at Solomon Island Development Trust: every day I walked to and from work over the Matanikao Bridge, which was suddenly swept away by flash floods a few days ago.

The floods killed around 20 people and made 1,000s homeless. Their homes literally floated down the river and out to sea. It’s like the River Thames going crazy.

Living in Honiara changed me (as working overseas should). Most of all it showed me how to live life surrounded by children – not something that happens in the UK unless you are working in a nursery or school. Of course I talked about the place incessantly when I went home, and later on to my own children. After years of uming and ahing about when to re-visit my family spent two months in Honiara in 2011. Before that visit Lola, then 12, raised a little cash for equipment for students at the school she joined for a short time.

This time Lola’s running to help people in Solomon Islands who lost everything after freak flash floods.

For a tropical paradise Solomon Islands has had some bad luck. It was a British colony (OK that’s debatably good or bad); in the 19th century blackbirding was rife – meaning many men were forced to work as slave labour in the Queensland sugar cane fields. It became a missionary hot spot which led to the suppression of ancient animist cultures. And then it was used as the battlefield for the Japanese and Americans during World War Two. I don’t want to even think about the troubles which brought Guadalcanal to a near civil war only a few years back. But things have been improving for a while.

Lola and Nell with custom dancers from Lau, Malaita - they'll be dancing at the Pacific Arts Festival in July 2012, which will be held for the first time ever in Honiara.

Uk visitors Lola and Nell in Honiara 2011 at the sports ground with talented custom dancers from Lau, Malaita.

Famous Solomon Islands moments

  • For the Americans: during World War 2, JFK was famously rescued by Solomon Islanders after his boat was sunk by the Japanese. He scratched “help” on to a coconut which was then taken by an islander to the American base. This saved his life, and he went on to become President of the USA.
  • For book lovers: who love those amazing Pacific books –Solomon Time, The Bird Skinner, Pattern of Islands (not too far away geographically). Ditto Mr Pip.
  • For Royalists: Gary Barlow (Take That) went there in 2012 to make a very colourful video shown during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Not long after Prince William and Kate made a visit.
  • For film buffs: Thin Red Line – grim, gripping and set on Guadalcanal.

Over to you
I look forward to hearing what sort of ambitious fundraising you’ve done with your children. Do share.



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2 Comments on “Ideas to help children and teens fundraise”

  1. I think it’s great for kids to get involved in fundraising. I haven’t really done that myself much with my kids, although they’ve seen me volunteering with running stalls at school fairs etc which they know is to raise money for the school, and they have both been involved in fundraising through their schools themselves – I think schools are pretty good at that sort of thing these days, particularly primary schools; at the primary school that my two went to, the school council (which was made up of one pupil class representative from each class) would decide which charity the school would support for various projects.

    One point to make which people don’t always think of if they’re new to fundraising, is that if you want to raise money for a proper charity or organisation, you should generally contact them first to tell them you are doing that (or look on their website) – sometimes they may have a fundraising pack they can send you, but also, they might have specific messages that they want you to say in seeking funding on their behalf so that you don’t misrepresent them.

    Well done to your two! 🙂

    • Hi vanessa thank you for your wise words! As an adult fundraising becomes second nature… I was impressed when the secondary school council nearby suggested fundraising for the local food bank with a non uniform day (such an easy way to raise cash). Nicola

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