This summer has seen some wonderful wildlife campaigns. From spending 30 Days Wild to inviting a tree to tea, enjoying a wild sleepout to cleaning a beach, many wonderful charities have helped people connect with the world around them and make it that little bit better.
As the weather gets colder, it can be harder to persuade people to get outdoors. However, there are still plenty of ways for charities and community groups to generate funds.
If you need to raise money to support a project, try one of these.
Host an Afternoon Tea
It doesn’t need to cost a fortune to host an afternoon tea – and people pay a fortune for it at hotels and tea rooms. If you have the facilities, turn this to your advantage…
Ask volunteers to donate cakes, scones and jam. My budget afternoon tea tips will help you keep costs to a minimum even if you have no volunteers to call on.
Craft your own cake stands from old paper plates or records. Make bunting from recycled fabric or paper – or wreaths made from fresh herbs. Add table displays made from tin cans filled with pebbles and wildflowers, or glass bottles full of seed heads.
Use whatever mismatched china you can gather together, with matching or complementary (ideally reusable) napkins to bring the look together; and pasting tables covered with sheets to seat your guests.
Bench seating can be made easily from recycled finds if you can’t rustle up enough chairs – or make coffee cup stools. With a little attention to detail, you can transform a room for very little money.
Sell tickets to your afternoon tea for £5-10. It’s cheaper than most afternoon teas out there but gives a generous return.
Have a Jam Swap
At this time of year, many people have a surfeit of jam. Make money and help people get a broader taste of the season’s delights by hosting a jam swap. Charge a nominal fee to attend then allow people to swap as they please.
Alternatively, keep it free to attend but charge people to enter a jam competition, with a prize provided by a local business and all entry fees going to your cause.
After judging, you can use the remaining jam to make jam tarts that you can sell to raise more money.
Alternatively, if that sounds too complicated for your team to manage, you could hold a jam sale, with jams donated by your supporters.
The same can be done with chutney – or team up with a local cheese producer to have a cheese and wine evening.
Host a Guided Walk
From bat sighting to foraging, local history to wildflower ID, there are plenty of ways to make money through an autumn walk.
Charge people to attend, and offer home-printed booklets with more information to raise extra funds.
All you need is an entertaining and knowledgeable host for the walk, somewhere to go, and perhaps a thermos of hot chocolate if it’s cold…
Have a Quiz
Pick a topic such as nature, music or general knowledge, or choose a subject that’s relevant to your organisation. Devise questions, source some prizes from local businesses and find a local pub or cafe that will give you space for free.
Charge an entry fee. Throw in a tombola to generate more funds by selling tickets to that too.
There’s loads more you can do too. Have a ‘stone soup’ party one lunchtime, making soup from food that would otherwise be wasted and selling it, along with home made bread.
Have a gaming afternoon with classic board games – or old console games – with tea and biscuits for sale.
Have a crafternoon or crafting stash swap; host a swishing (clothes-trading) event; try an upcycling afternoon, with volunteers sharing their skills in exchange for a charitable donation; or have a ‘swap shop’ and charge people to list what they want to swap.
If you have a venue or event near water or a park, sell bird seed. If you’re in a busy city, and can afford to invest a little money, sell branded reusable water bottles to commuters.
If you’re in the countryside (or live near a park), collect pine cones to make hedgehogs and sell those. You could also make other items such as handmade bags of wildflower seeds, jewellery crafted from nature finds and other eco gifts, and have a ‘stocking filler fayre’.
Get creative and there are hundreds of ways to raise money. If in doubt, keep it simple – better to have a brilliant bake sale that terrible theatre production – and have fun.