Nine fundraising ideas to help raise money for the National Trust

Thinking of raising money for charity, but not sure where to start? We’ve got nine fundraising ideas to make your event a big success.

If you’re raising money for charity in your workplace, at school, with friends, or on your own, we’ve got a fundraising idea to get you started in our handpicked selection below. From old favourites to unique challenges, which fundraising idea will you choose?

As a charity, the National Trust relies on donations to help look after some of the UK's best-loved beaches, historic buildings, woodlands and wildlife. For the moments that make us, the landscapes we love and the environment we depend on. If you choose to fundraise for us, we'll send you a free fundraising kit full of top tips and useful gear to help you from start to finish.

Let's look after special places together Request your free fundraising kit

1. Showcase your best bakes

Everyone loves a bake. Cake bakes, scone bakes, pie bakes, bread bakes. They all sound delicious to us. And whether you go for a sophisticated high tea affair, or a crowd-pleasing village hall event – bake sales are a tried and tested fundraising idea, guaranteeing you’ll raise lots of dough for your charity.

Pick your favourite bake and invite friends, family, school friends, your neighbour’s cat – basically anyone and everyone – to donate money to charity for an armful of your lovely bakes. Or why not add a pinch of competition to your fundraising event? Invite people to bake the tastiest scone and ask local businesses to support you with a hamper prize for the winner.

Host a Great Scone Bake for the National Trust >

Make donating delicious with the National Trust's Great Scone Bake
Cakes with cream and strawberries alongside decorative donations bowl
Make donating delicious with the National Trust's Great Scone Bake

2. Run a marathon

Whether you’re aiming to complete a marathon for the first time, or you want to hit a new personal best on your toughest terrain yet – running a marathon or half marathon is a great fundraising idea to help raise money for charity. And if you run for the National Trust, you'll be helping to care for the 250,000 hectares of countryside that we look after.

Create a JustGiving donation page so people can donate to your cause easily, and make sure to take people on your training journey by posting regular updates on social media. It helps to set a fundraising target and give some information about your chosen charity too, so people know what they’re donating towards.

Want to run for the National Trust? We’ve got a special race vest waiting for you >

3. Stage some costume drama

If you’re looking for a fundraising idea for your school or workplace, why not throw a costume party? It helps to make the theme something that is fun, accessible and meaningful to your cause – perhaps it could be inspired by the history of your favourite place, or the anniversary of an inspirational person? Why not go full Downton Abbey, with an upstairs and downstairs theme? You could invite donations for entry and offer a prize for the winning costume.

Dressing up for a themed event in the orangery at Knole, Kent
Visitors dressing up in Tudor outfits in the orangery at Knole, Kent
Dressing up for a themed event in the orangery at Knole, Kent

4. Plot a treasure hunt

Not just for kids, treasure hunts are a great challenge to get people working together. You can make this as simple or wildly elaborate as you like, with picture or word clues, or an actual treasure map.

Set your treasure hunt theme (it doesn’t have to be pirates) and invite people to donate money to enter in groups. You can do this on foot, on boats, on bikes – whatever suits your trail best. Invite local businesses to support your cause to make your treasure hunt loot as enticing as possible. 

5. Organise a night run

How often do you get to experience your favourite places at night? A night walk or run is an exciting fundraising idea that you can do by yourself or with friends or colleagues. Plus, your head torch will make for some unique selfies.   

There are plenty of places that offer organised night run events. Or with a bit of research, you could plan your own. As with all fundraising challenges, make sure you get permission from land owners and authorities, if needed.

Fancy joining us for a night run? Find an event near you >

Hundreds of people come yearly to take part in Nostell Night Run near Wakefield
Hundreds of people come yearly to take part in Nostell Night Run near Wakefield.
Hundreds of people come yearly to take part in Nostell Night Run near Wakefield

6. Clean-up a beach

This fundraising idea is a winner for everyone. Invite your community to sponsor you to clean-up a local beach for charity. Plastic pollution is a problem on many UK beaches, but you could carry out a sponsored clean-up at any natural place that you love. Add a splash more fun to this fundraising idea by inviting people to guess the weight of all the litter you collect, with a prize for the winner.

Did you know the National Trust cares for more than 780 miles of the UK's coastline? Each coastal mile costs £3,000 a year to maintain, so we're hugely grateful for any donations or support we receive.

Pitch in with a beach clean near you >

7. Climb or abseil for charity

If you’ve got a head for heights, why not climb up or abseil down an unusual landmark that means something to you? This fundraising idea could make for some unique photographs that might get your challenge noticed in the local press.

And if you’re terrified of heights, even better! Conquer your fears and make sure you share the whole excruciating journey with your supporters, to raise even more money for charity. As with all fundraising challenges, make sure you take all the necessary safety checks and get permission from landowners and authorities, if needed.

Time to play at Wentworth Castle, South Yorkshire
Boy playing with a dog at Wentworth Castle, South Yorkshire
Time to play at Wentworth Castle, South Yorkshire

8. Throw a pooch party

Why should us humans have all the fun? Hosting a party for dogs (and their owners) is a fundraising idea that will be sure to get tails wagging. It gives people the chance to meet fellow dog owners at an event where their four-legged friends are the VIPs.

Go low key with an organised dog walk, followed by refreshments for dogs and owners. Or go all-out by hiring a dog friendly space for a big bash. You could set up pamper stations, a pup’s playground, a dog-treat raffle and more.

9. Cycle for success

What’s not to love about cycling for charity? You can train in beautiful places and get super fit while you’re at it. And if you don’t already have your own gear, there are plenty of bike hire options for the short term. This fundraising idea is perfect for any number of people: Why not take on a solo coast-to-coast adventure, a relay race from Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland to Lizard Point in Cornwall, or take part in an organised cycle race near you?

Whatever you choose, get people involved by spreading the word about your event on social media and in your community. 

Cycle for the National Trust and get a fundraising pack full of top tips >

Fundraise for the places you love

Your free fundraising kit includes:

  • a fundraising guide packed with ideas, hints and tips
  • stickers to proudly shout about what you’ve done
  • a pledge card to help keep you motivated and on target
  • posters to ensure as many people know as possible
  • and a collection box to gather those important donations

Complete the online form to receive your fundraising kit >



Want to fundraise for us?

When you fundraise for us, you're helping to care for the places that make life better. Thank you for being the difference.