Cash collections

The stalwart of charity fundraising, volunteers shaking buckets outside supermarkets and stations are a regular fixture in most towns and cities. It also includes collection boxes in shops, collection plates in churches and other opportunities to collect loose change.

Pros: Easy and cheap to implement, and can be great opportunity to engage your volunteers and donors.

Cons: Cash collections have their limitations, namely the lack of data collection and inability to claim Gift Aid.

Remember, you need permission from the venue where you are collecting. This includes the local council, which usually requires a public collections license to be in place.

Face to face

This sees paid and trained fundraisers being sent out onto the streets and to people’s front doors to ask for support, usually in the form of a Direct Debit.

Pros: It can be a successful way to reach all demographics of donor, but has proven particularly successful in reaching younger donors who are not responsive to other forms of fundraising such as direct mail.

Cons: Many people have complained that it is intrusive and the technique has received bad press over the years. High costs are also associated with this method.

Remember, face-to-face fundraisers need a license which must be obtained from the Institute of Fundraising

Direct Mail

From a simple handwritten letter through to an Annual Report of your charity’s activities, posting direct mail is one of the most commonly used forms of fundraising.

Pros: As it is highly targeted, it can be a very effective way of strengthening relations with your current supporters and securing a response when well-written

Cons: Charity mailings have been the source of much contention due to the volume of letters that are received by some people. Before sending out a direct mailer, think carefully about how frequently you use this form of fundraising and cost effectiveness.

Remember to include a response form to make it easy for people to give. This should ask for key contact information, the value of the gift, and include a Gift Aid declaration and appropriate data consent information.


Taking the traditional form of posters, billboards, radio and television announcements, advertising is a notice designed to attract the attention of the public.

Pros: When done well and used alongside other marketing activities, it can be a successful fundraising tool.

Cons: It can be an expensive route to market and can be difficult to measure the impact.

Remember to keep your messaging simple and memorable. Online advertising can also be used in place of this as a more cost-effective alternative. 


Marathons, bike rides, garden parties, jumble sales, drinks receptions, dinners, discos and auctions are among the many event formats that charities use.

Pros: Fun, interesting, exciting, charity events present an opportunity for people to make new friends, learn more about and build relationships directly with your charity.

Cons: Can be resource-intensive and costly to organise as they require a lot of promotion to be successful.

Remember to measure the return on investment of the event in terms of what you to achieve from the event in relation to the budgets available, logistical requirements and work involved. Factor in staff time as well as purchases. 

Looking for some inspiration?
With only nine members of staff to both deliver projects and raise funds, the charity Lifelites raised over £100,000 with a unique challenge which saw their chief executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, visiting 47 famous landmarks and covering 2,500 miles in just 14 days without spending anything on transport. Read more about how Lifelites put together this campaign.


This is when a charity calls a current or potential supporter and speaks with them over the telephone.

Pros: A five-minute call to thank a donor for their gift and to update them on how their money is being spent can do a great deal to increase donor loyalty. 

Cons: Telephone fundraising has been the source of much criticism due to many people complaining of high-pressure techniques.

Remember, fundraisers must be properly trained in how to deal with vulnerable people, such as those who may be experiencing mental health issues or dementia. As with direct mail there are also strict rules on how supporters’ telephone numbers can be used.


Multichannel Fundraising

Fundraising digitally

Alongside traditional channels, digital fundraising techniques should form a key part of any fundraising strategy.

See the different ways to fundraise online

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