Nine fundraising ideas to help raise money for the National Trust

Thinking of raising money for charity, but not sure where to start? We're celebrating our 125th anniversary this year by challenging you to raise £125 to protect the landscapes, nature and wildlife you love.

Join in with our 125 challenge and raise money for special places by doing something wild or wonderful. To help you get started, we've got nine fundraising ideas to make your event a big success.

Become a 125 champion Request your free fundraising kit

Whether you’re thinking of raising money in your workplace, at school, with friends, or on your own, we’ve got lots of fundraising ideas to get you started in our selection below. From old favourites to unique challenges, which will you choose? 

As a charity, the National Trust relies on donations to help look after the nation's coastline, historic sites, countryside and green spaces. 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.

Scones are always a winner if you're having a bake sale
Girl enjoying a scone with jam and cream in the Villano café on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset
Scones are always a winner if you're having a bake sale

1. Showcase your best bakes

Everyone loves a bake. Light and fluffy cakes, jammy scones, perfectly-filled pies, freshly-made bread, 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, so you should raise lots of dough. So get baking and invite friends, family, neighbours, school friends or colleagues to donate money in return for your lovely baked goods. Or hold a competition, and invite people to bake their tastiest scone, appoint some judges, and ask local businesses to support you with a hamper prize for the winner.

Host a Great Scone Bake for the National Trust >

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. So why not put your best foot forward and sign up for one of our charity places on the iconic Great North Run in September? If you run for us, you'll be helping to care for the 250,000 hectares of countryside that we look after.

Run the Great North Run 2020 for the National Trust >

Dressing up at Shute Barton in Devon
Family fun at Shute Barton, Devon
Dressing up at Shute Barton in Devon

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 fun, accessible and meaningful – inspired by the history of your favourite place, the animals that live there, or perhaps the anniversary of an inspirational person? You could even go full-on Downton Abbey, with an upstairs/downstairs theme? You could invite donations for entry and offer a prize for the winning costume.

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 elaborate as you like, with picture or word clues, or an actual treasure map. Once you've decided on your trail and set your theme (it doesn’t have to be pirates) you can then invite people to donate money to enter in groups. Will entrants complete your trail on foot, on boats, or even on bikes? Invite local businesses to support your cause to make your treasure hunt bounty as enticing as possible. 

Join in with a beach clean near you
Family taking part in a beach clean
Join in with a beach clean near you

5. Clean-up a beach

This fundraising idea is a winner for everyone. We look after more than 780 miles of the UK's coastline and each mile costs £3,000 a year to maintain. So how about inviting your community to sponsor you to clean-up a local beach? 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. Then add buckets 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.

Pitch in with a beach clean near you >

6. 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, and you might even make some new nocturnal friends. 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 >

Visitor playing catch with her dog
Visitor with her dog at Hatfield Forest, Essex
Visitor playing catch with her dog

7. Throw a pooch party

Why should 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 simple with an organised dog walk, followed by refreshments for everyone, or all-out by hiring a dog friendly space for a big bash. You could set up grooming stations, a pup’s playground, a dog-treat raffle and more.

8. 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. If you’re terrified of heights, then even better – conquer your fears and raise money at the same time. You could even share your whole journey with your supporters, so they realise how brave you are. As with all fundraising challenges, make sure you take all the necessary safety checks and get permission from landowners and authorities, if needed.

RideLondon brings more than 25,000 cyclists up to Box Hill
RideLondon more than 25,000 cyclists up to Box Hill
RideLondon brings more than 25,000 cyclists up to Box Hill

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 too. So 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?

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

Hopefully that selection has given you some ideas to get going. No matter what you're thinking about doing to raise money, we'll support you with your fundraising. It's thanks to support from people like you that we can continue to look after special places, landscapes and nature for everyone, for ever.

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.