Fundraising ideas that rocked the world

Live aid cropped main image

​To coincide with the Institute of Fundraising Scotland's forthcoming conference, we take a look at some charity fundraising ideas which were so hot they went global

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28th September 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Band Aid and Live Aid

Band Aid and Live Aid

It’s not an overstatement to say that in 1984 Band Aid changed charity fundraising forever. It opened up the era of mega-fundraisers, involving some of the world’s biggest stars. Initially a supergroup was created by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to record a single to raise cash for famine relief in Ethiopia, it spawned the massive Live Aid concerts on both sides of the Atlantic and the USA For Africa, as well as projects such as Sport Aid. The original single – Do They Know It’s Christmas? – is periodically revived, most recently to raise cash to combat the 2014 Ebola crisis. It also paved the way for projects such as Comic Relief.

Moonwalk

Moonwalk

In 2006 a British woman in American hit on the idea of getting women to take part in a fundraising walk wearing nothing but their bras. Nearly 20 years later, Walk the Walk, which runs Moon Walks around the world, now hopes to power walk through the £100 million barrier. In 2006, just 13 women power walked the New York City Marathon in their bras to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. After that the Moonwalk became an overnight event in London and later Edinburgh, soon blossoming into a thriving multi-million pound fundraising tradition. It now sees women (and men) elaborately decorate their bras for festival style events which start at midnight and end at dawn. Funds support breast cancer charities across the country.

Ice bucket challenge

Ice bucket challenge

If there was one charity fundraising phenomena that defined 2014, it was the ice bucket challenge. The craze, which involved pouring freezing cold water over your head while pledging to give to charity and nominating other victims, started in the US as a fundraiser for the ALS Society, for whom it eventually raised well over £60 million. The ALS Society’s UK and Scottish equivalents, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and MND Scotland also cashed in, as did cancer charity Macmillan – which initially faced charges of “muscling in” on the craze. Research by the Charities Aid Foundation found one-sixth of Britons took part in the challenge, with one in 10 saying they had donated to charity as a result. MND Scotland set up a new JustGiving page this summer in case history repeated itself – but it never really took off. Something to do with the weather – or has the idea just run its course?

No makeup selfie

No makeup selfie

Cancer Research UK’s No Makeup Selfie was the first big social media fundraising phenomenon, challenging women to take a picture of themselves without slap and to post it on social media. It capitalised on an existing phenomena of women posting pictures of themselves on social networking sites not wearing any makeup. With celebrities from Beyonce and Zooey Deschanel (pictured) to Holly Willoughby jumping on the bandwagon Cancer Research UK asked people posting a selfie to text donate to the charity, raising more than £8m.

Movember

Movember

Movember – where men (or mo-bros) were challenged to grow a moustache for the month of November – was the ice bucket challenge of 2013. It started with 30 people taking part in 2003 and we reached peak mo 10 years later when it brought in a massive £20m. Sports stars seemed particularly susceptible to taking part – football highlights shows in November 2013 were infested with top lip terrors. However, it took a dip last year, bringing in £11m and it remains to be seen how it will do this year. Overall, though, it’s performed remarkably, raising £402m and funding over 1,000 programmes focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity

Unicef at Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Unicef at Glasgow Commonwealth Games

More than £5 million was raised for children’s charity Unicef at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year. It was the first time an international sporting event attempted to get people around the world donating to a single cause in a single moment, and it is likely to set a precident for the future. The unique, world-wide appeal during the event’s opening ceremony raised £3.5m – and this had risen to £5m by the end of the games once online and text donations were added on.