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15 Unusual Fundraising Activities That Actually Worked


15 Unusual Fundraising Activities That Actually Worked

We are all familiar with fundraising campaigns such as non-profit Art Gallery auctions, golf tournaments or the usual walkathons. These activities are usually organized to raise funds for a range of good causes such as donating money to hospitals or feeding the poor. Some creative people have taken fundraising to the next level. If you want to raise money, why not make it extra fun? The more eccentric the idea, the more you catch people’s attention, and thus hopefully get more donations. Some of these campaigns are quite unusual and original, and some are just downright hilarious.

15. Ice Bucket Challenge

If you haven’t heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge then you must have lived in a cave as a hermit. Also known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, it involves pouring on a bucketful of ice and water over a person’s head. It can be either self-administered or poured by another person.

The main purpose of the challenge was to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. Although its originator is unknown, it challenge is mainly attributed to Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. The challenge was trending in 2014-2015 because famous celebrities like LeBron James, former US President George W. Bush, Rita Ora, Tom Cruise, and Mark Zuckerberg did the challenge.

Despite some criticisms, the challenge was a success. It was not only able to promote awareness for ALS disease around the world, but was also able to raise over $100 million which was used for research. Thanks to the fund, scientists were able to find a new gene which may lead to finding a cure for the disease.

14. Rice Bucket Challenge

In response to the overwhelming success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, people in India started the Rice Bucket Challenge in 2014. This challenge doesn’t involve any pouring of rice (which would be a total waste). Instead, it involves donating a bucket of rice to the poor. The challenge began to spread around Southeast Asia. The campaign was the brainchild of Manju Latha Kalanidhi, an Indian Journalist. She criticised the Ice Bucket Challenge as wasteful (Southeast Asia experiences drought sometimes) and she started the challenge as a less wasteful substitute.

13. Movember

Movember is an annual charity campaign that originated in Australia. The name Movember comes from two words: “mo” for moustache and November. The idea is to grow a moustache during the month of November. The original idea was to grow “whiskers for whisker” and raise money for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. An unrelated group in 2004 adapted the idea; they grow a moustache for the whole month to raise awareness for mental health and suicide, as well as testicular and prostate cancer. They later called it the Movember Foundation Charity. The Foundation has spread across the world and has raised more than $174 million since its inception.

12. Boob Aid Charity

This charity campaign in Japan may be considered NSFW, but it seems to be effective. Boob Aid is an annual event that aims to raise awareness for HIV and AIDS Prevention. It is a campaign where Japanese female “adult” stars let fans grope and squeeze their boobs. Over 4,100 fans joined the boob-a-thon and only those who were 18 and over were allowed to “donate”. Although the charity campaign received some criticism, the stars who participated were more than happy that their bosoms could contribute to a good cause. The charity was able to raise more than ¥4 million.

11. World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR)

Started in 2004, WNBR is a semi-annual event that aims “to deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world.” Its dress code slogan is “bare as you dare”. Participants ride en masse human-powered transportations such as bicycles or skateboards. The event’s purpose is not to raise funds. Instead, it raises awareness of social issues such as: sharing the road, oil dependency, having body-positive values and the non-sexualization of naked bodies. The event has since spread to 17 countries around the world.

10. Extra Life

Extra Life is a fundraising campaign that unites online gamers around the world. The aim of the campaign is to support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital by playing online games non-stop for 24 hours. Anyone can participate and they can play any game that they like from PSP to Facebook games, at anytime that is convenient for them. They also have a National Game Day every October 25-26. The campaign was initially formed in 2008 in honor of Victoria Enmon, who suffered acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It has raised more than $30 million dollars since its establishment and all of the proceeds are given directly to the CMN Hospitals.  

9. Go Sober for October

Almost everyone is familiar with the Oktoberfest held annually in Munich, Germany. People around the world go there to enjoy the bottomless Bavarian beer for 16 to 18 days. But, there is a fundraising campaign that asks you to do the opposite; the Go Sober for October campaign. The aim of the campaign is to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support. Many people praise this idea since it doesn’t only let people donate funds and become a soberhero, it also helps participants kick their drinking habit for a month. According to their website, they have raised about £3,472,747 with a total of 68,109 participating soberheroes. So the big question is, do you have the willpower to be booze-free for an entire month for a cause?

8. Monster March

In this fundraiser, kids from nurseries and primary schools are invited to create their own scary monster costumes. Organized by the Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukemia or TCCL, they asked the kiddie participants to join the Monster March and show off their scariest costume. Each kid will pay a registration fee of £1. All of the proceeds goes to the charity funds as future expenditures for travel, holidays, and psychosocial (psychological and social) support for children with cancer and leukaemia.

7. The London Great Gorilla Run

There are a lot of fundraising activities that provide aid for people, but very few are organized to help endangered species. The Gorilla Organisation came up with the unique idea of holding a yearly “fun” run which involves participants doing the run while wearing a bulky gorilla costume. The aim of the activity is to raise funds for endangered gorillas. Participants pay a registration fee of £60 for the gorilla costume and then are asked to raise a sponsorship fee of as much as £200. The event has even attracted local celebrities. The route is about 8 kilometers long and passes through the heart of London, going by  historical bridges, and landmarks. It has raised about £2.5 million + since its inception in 2003 and all of the proceeds go to The Gorilla Organisation.

6. 5 Guys shot with 21,000 Paintballs

Most of the fundraising activities mentioned in here will make you say OMG, but this idea is so crazy that you might want to say WTF? Poverty Resolution has uploaded a video on YouTube showing 5 volunteers (who were masochistic enough to agree) getting shot with 21,000 paintballs. The aim behind this idea is to raise awareness of 21,000 children dying every day due to poverty, hunger, and disease. In the description of the video, it says, “To reinforce the magnitude of this number, we shot five of our friends with 21,000 paintballs. We invite you to watch this video and feel the impact.” Well, the viewers think that it is the five guys who really felt the impact after seeing the red blotches all over their skin. Ouch!

5. MoonWalk

 MoonWalk is the more subtle version of Boob Aid. Women (and men, too) who participate in the 100km walk wear decorated bras. The aim of the campaign is to raise money for breast cancer foundations.  The walk has been held for 20 years and was able to raise £8,168,992.

4. Lap dance for the Needy

Admiral Theatre, a strip club in Chicago, USA, organised their own charity campaign. Every customer who brings an unused, unwrapped children’s toy to the club gets a free lap dance from one of the Admiral entertainers. The campaign is so successful that for the last few years, the club was able to donate carloads of toys to churches in the neighborhood.

3. One dress for 365 days  

If you are fashion-minded and want to do good in the world, then this girl’s story is for you. Sheena Matheiken came up with the quirky idea of wearing the same one little black dress for 365 days and launched the Uniform Project. In May 2009, she pledged to wear one dress every day for a whole year. She also documented her daily efforts online in order to raise funds for the Akanksha Foundation’s School Project which helps children from the slums of India pay for school uniforms and supplies. She reinvented the simple dress by wearing several accessories that were either handmade or donated. After the year was over, her website was visited a million times, garnered thousands of followers on social media, and raised over $100,000 which went directly to the Foundation.

2. Remember a Charity: One stuntman, One legacy

There are many people in the world who are wealthy enough to feed hundreds and even thousands of hungry mouths, but not all of them donate a part of their wealth to this cause; Remember a Charity Week is trying to change that. It is organized by approximately 150 organisations which includes Save the Children. They put together a campaign asking wealthy people to include a charity of their choice in their wills. Stuntman, Rocky Taylor, is the perfect face for their campaign; He is the ideal age and occupation to appeal to their audience – Who more than a stuntman knows the importance of having a will. Taylor did two stunts on TV. The first one involved jumping off a 40 foot flaming building. The second was jumping from a car traveling at high speed through a sheet of glass. He also broke the Guinness World Record of breaking the largest glass sheet crashed by a car. The event was able to raise £1.28 million and also elicited even more people to bequeath money for the charity after watching the publicised stunts.

1. Non-Stop Bieber

Evanston Township High School came up with a hilarious fundraising idea. Two senior students, Charlotte Runzel and Jesse Chatz, thought that Justin Beiber’s hit Baby was… annoying. So they played JB’s song on a loop between class breaks in the school’s intercom until the students donated enough money for them to stop playing it. They named the campaign “Stop the Beiber”. The goal of this fundraiser was to raise $1,000 in one week to save a café and arts center near their school. It seems that the whole student body was so annoyed that they were able to hit their goal within three days.

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