13 April 2022

Raising money for your cause needn’t be a chore. We share inventive and entertaining fundraising activities that anyone can run.

If you’re looking to raise money for a good cause, there are plenty of fun activities you can arrange to get people involved. We share some of our favourites below, which could easily fit into your plans for The Big Lunch.  

Did you know, in 2021, a whopping £7.4million pounds was raised at Big Lunches across the UK! And, the majority of that was for local charities and causes – well done Big Lunchers! 

These entertaining fundraising activities could make your Big Lunch even more special and memorable, check them out below and have a think about whether you could give one a go. 

 1. ‘Incidental lottery’ 

Lotteries held at events are classed as ‘Incidental Lotteries’ (which include raffles, tombolas and sweepstakes) - this means they don’t require licensing or registration*. These are an easy way to get people to donate to your cause, as there is the lure and excitement of potentially winning! Check out some of the different types of raffles here 

*Gambling regulations don’t apply if tombola or raffle tickets are sold on the day and the prizes aren’t worth more than £500 in total. The legal know-how can be found here. 

 2. Car boot sale 

Who doesn’t love a mosey around a car boot sale? You could take your unwanted items to an organised car boot sale, or do it solo and put your items out front for a ‘yard sale’. Could you put up a stall at your Big Lunch for people to buy items, and put your proceeds to your project or charity? You could even ask attendees to bring in something to sell that they no longer want, too! 

 3. Pub quizzes 

Whether you do it at a pub, or on the day of your Big Lunch, quizzes are a fun way to ignite people’s competitive streaks. All the while raising money for your special cause. 

 4. Apple bobbing 

Get one of your 5-a-day while having a dunking-good time! This is a great one to entertain kids. 

 5. Dog show  

The perfect excuse for dog-parents to show off their beloved fur-kids. This could be a low-cost activity to increase your proceeds to charity - simply charge an entry-fee and give the winners rosettes. 

P.s. it might be an idea to give every dog a rosette or prize, dog-owners might be a bit miffed if they come away empty-handed! 

P.s.s. Dogs very much enjoy participating in Big Lunches. 

 6. Treasure hunts 

Another fun activity for families – kids will be thrilled with the adventure of a treasure hunt that they could complete with their mums, dads, grandparents, caretakers or friends. Maybe you could even encourage families to dress as pirates to add to the theme! This could be a good activity post-Big Lunch, walking off all the lovely food you’ve just eaten!  

Just charge a small entry fee to enter as either teams or individuals. The main purpose is to keep it fun. Leave clues around for the treasure hunters to uncover and help them hunt for and find all of the things you are hiding. 

 7. Wet sponge throwing 

Throwing wet sponges at people is a very easy fundraiser to organise and will prove a popular activity at your Big Lunch! For really successful sponger games you need to get the right person manning the stalls.  A larger-than-life character who can attract people to have a go... 

These fundraising games need to be talked up so call your stall something imaginative. Soak The Sucker! Or Drown the Drip! Or Punish ThePrincipal! 

Children particularly love it when you strike a mum or dad on the cheek and you can imagine it can make quite a lot of money in a short space of time!   

 8. Bingo 

Another good fundraiser is Bingo - you could split half the money with your Big Lunch Fundraiser and half to the winner. We all know how bingo works, but in terms of making it successful, it makes sense to have a headline prize that has a ‘Wow Factor’ to entice people to play.   

Savvy organisers will often seek out local businesses who will supply prizes in exchange for a mention or a spot of advertising at your Big Lunch. The basics you’ll need are: bingo singles, bingo balls, bingo pens and a bingo cage. 

 9. Bake off 

Challenge your friends to a bake-off, and then sell the bakes to raise money. Take a look at some of the recipes on our website for ideas! Choose bake categories or themes for your bakers. If you need some help, you could ask your local shops or bakeries if they’ll donate some delicious goods for your event. 

 10. Fancy dress day 

Encourage people to pay a fiver (or even a couple of quid) to be whoever you want for the day! Having a fancy dress at a Big Lunch is a fun way to fundraise and it’ll create an excellent atmosphere to your day. And what’s more, they’re super easy to organise – just put out the word, and let the people come as they will!  

 11. Guess the weight 

A simple yet effective fundraising activity! Ask people to donate to guess the weight of a cake, your cat, a jar of sweets or even a prized vegetable!  A spin on this could be guess how many sweets of in a jar. 

 12. Face painting 

For this fundraising idea, you’ll need face paint, brushes, and a volunteer with enough artistic ability to paint designs.  Have a flat-rate price for face painting, and let your customers pick what designs they want to be painted. You can have a donation jar for the parents that wish to give more to your chosen charity. 

This is an old-school activity, but great fun! Two lines of coppers are made up  each pavement, and the aim of the game is to see who has the biggest line of coppers or whoever finishes a pavement first. Teams are only allowed to use 1p, 2p and 5ps. Roughly it can raise around £150, £200! All it takes is for you to get two groups who compete against one another who bring along with them a lot of spare change they don’t mind donating. 

These photos were taken in Neath in Wales, and the people pitched the even numbered houses against the odd numbered houses (opposite sides of street).  

 14. Plant swap or sell 

To any fundraiser thinking about how to make their fundraising greener, remember that simply wanting to make a change means that you are starting on the right foot. And we have plenty of ideas here at Eden Project Communities to help!  

In the past few years, we have seen a lot of people growing and sharing seeds and plants (mainly due to lockdown) but did you know, it also makes a really good fundraiser too! Do you have plants in your garden that you’re proud for people to see? Then why don’t you sell some of these, and encourage others to do so too? There are so many enthusiastic gardening groups out there who you could attract to your Big Lunch!

This could go well alongside Plant and Share Month, too, which celebrates growing your own. From 20 April until 20 May, Food for Life is calling on the nation to get growing and sharing their produce with their communities.  

Whether you are a seasoned grower with an allotment or a first timer planting seeds in a baked bean tin - everyone can get involved and you can showcase your plants as part of Big Lunch celebrations, and make a few quid in the process. 

 15. Going big? 

If you’re organising a big, Big Lunch (something more like a fete), there are plenty more fundraising ideas you could use! From bouncy castles, to funfairs, assault courses, live stage acts, food stalls and bars, even laser quest! The sky is the limit. 

Put the ‘fun’ back in fundraising. See if you can get involved with one of these activities this Big Lunch! If you haven’t already, sign up for your free Big Lunch pack here.

Lastly, if you can think of any exciting fundraising activities you think we might have missed here – we'd love to hear from you! Get in touch with Ari (our web-content-person) by email at awinfield@edenproject.com