7 Ways to Fundraise for the Charity You Love


Image (c) Fox Narrowboats Holiday Hire

NCBA member organisations offer day trip boats and residential boats for wheelchair users, youth groups, young students and many other community groups. However, for many of these charities fundraising is a continual challenge. If you need to raise funds for your local organisation here are seven ideas that really work.

1) Movie Night

Hire a local hall or community centre and host a canal-themed movie night. Try showing The Bargee; a 1964 British comedy starring Harry H. Corbett, Hugh Griffith, Eric Sykes and Ronnie Barker. For a more serious canal enthusiasts event host a viewing of Painted Boats (1945), a fictionalised documentary about families working on cargo-carrying narrowboats. Alternatively you could hold a children’s film show with back to back episodes of Rosie and Jim! Charge an entry fee and sell rag dolls, toy ducks, soft drinks and popcorn too.

2) Put on a Show

Invite local young people to compete in a Battle of the Bands and charge an entry fee. Local businesses could donate prizes for the winning band. Alternatively hold a talent contest and charge on the door for entry. Give yourself plenty of time to plan an event because you never know how long it’s going to take for licences, permits etcetera to come through. Consider combining a movie night or talent show with another fundraising activity like a raffle or auction.

3) Raffle
Get friends and family or local businesses to donate prizes and raffle them off, and perhaps make the biggest prize some kind of VIP cruise on a community boat.

 4) Family Fun

 Create a treasure hunt and invite families with young children to follow the clues. Pay to participate. Alternatively organise a teddy bears’ picnic and invite the local community to attend in return for a donation.

5) Litter Picking

Many of our member projects are environmentally conscious. Invite the local community to a sponsored litter pick on the towpath and raise awareness of the natural beauty and wildlife around the canal. Make participants feel appreciated by offering balloons or stickers.

6) Photo Competition

The English waterways are very photogenic, so hold a competition for interesting snaps and ask entrants to pay a fee.

7) Seasonal Events

 Many of our member organisations run Santa cruises, Halloween and Easter boat trips, but consider cashing in on other celebrations around the year; romantic valentines cruises, Mother’s Day outings or midsummer cream teas. High profile sporting events like the World Cup and the Grand National are good for sweepstakes.

Get ideas from other canal-based businesses

Every year Fox Narrowboats in Cambridgeshire choose a charity to support with fundraisers. While the main focus of their business is narrowboat holidays and day boat hire, they also enjoy using their boats for fundraising within the local community. In the past; boat trips, a tombola, a sponsored cycle ride, book sales and staff talks about the marina have all been a part of their fundraising activities.

They have previously raised funds for East Anglia Children’s Hospices, The British Heart Foundation and their local Sue Ryder Hospice.

What are your best tips for fund raising? Leave us a comment below.

Guest Post

This is a reciprocal guest post from Fox Narrowboats. You may also like our upcoming guest post on the Fox Narrowboats blog.

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