What is fundraising?

Fundraising is when charities seek voluntary financial contributions from individuals and organisations to support their work. At Macmillan, 98% of our income comes from fundraising activity. This support means we can continue to be there for everyone who needs us 24/7, train Macmillan nurses, create new support services, help people to access the benefits they need, and so much more.

What are the different types of fundraising?

From bake sales to leaving a gift in your Will, charity of the year partnerships, and sporting events, there are many different ways that people or organisations can support our work. You can find out more information here about all the different types of activities which make a huge difference to Macmillan, and the positive impact this has on people living with cancer.

We will do whatever it takes to support people living with cancer. But we can't do it without the support of people who fundraise for us. There are many ways that people and organisations can fundraise for us, no matter how many employees you have, where you are, or what your interests and abilities are.

Individual Giving

Individual giving includes one-off donations made by cheque or online, or from regular direct debit donations. It can also include leaving a gift in your Will, making donations through company payroll, or buying charity lottery or raffle tickets.

Events fundraising

Event fundraising includes everything from karaoke nights, bake offs and fetes to running events, 24-hour table tennis marathons and sports days. The event may also include an awareness raising element.

We have many different ideas for your own charity fundraiser, as well as a full calendar of organised events you can sign up for.

Direct fundraising

Direct fundraising is when fundraisers collect money for a charity on the street. This includes door-to-door fundraising, but it can also include fundraising through social media marketing activity and direct mail – also known as mail campaigns.

Community fundraising

Community fundraising, or community giving, is when local groups or organisations create fundraising events in their local area. As more people work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, there are more opportunities to fundraise and volunteer locally as people have more free time to spare.

Find out about the different fundraising opportunities taking place in your local community to support Macmillan. 

Corporate fundraising

There are different types of corporate fundraising including corporate partnerships, where businesses directly work with a charity partner together on campaigns. For example, Macmillan's partnership with Marks & Spencer for the World's Biggest Coffee Morning.

Businesses can also choose a charity to be their charity of the year and raise money through different types of fundraising activities throughout the 12 months.

Find out more about corporate fundraising opportunities with Macmillan.

Legacy giving

Legacy giving, which includes gifts in wills, is an increasingly important way for charities to fundraise . Thanks to our supporters, gifts in wills represent 37% of Macmillan’s total income and it is the activity which gives us biggest single source of fundraising income.

Find out more about gifts in wills.

Major donors

A major donor is a person who donates a significant amount of money to charity. For Macmillan, this is anyone who donates over £5,000. While many people may not recognise themselves as being a philanthropist, the terms major donor and philanthropy are very closely linked.

Find out more about how the support of major donors is helping people living with cancer.

Trusts and foundations

A trust is a legal body, while a foundation can be a trust, or a company limited by guarantee.

Charitable trusts or foundations are often chosen either by individuals or a group as a way to give a portion of their income or assets to charity, in a sustainable way over a period of time.

Trusts and foundations are registered charities and legal organisations, and funds may be donated regularly or on a particular occasion.

Find out how you can give a major philanthropic gift to Macmillan via a charitable trust or foundation.

What is the purpose of fundraising and why is it important to Macmillan?

97% of the money that Macmillan receives is all thanks to the donations and of fundraising achieved by our supporters.

In 2020, our income totalled £194.9 million. This is thanks to our generous and loyal supporters and the huge efforts of our volunteers and employees to continue to fundraise and innovate during 2020.

Every penny raised means we can support more people living with cancer, no matter what their situation. The money raised means we can continue to:

  • Train more Macmillan nurses to give round the clock care
  • Create new and improve existing cancer services to meet people's changing needs
  • Support 153,000 people to access the benefits and support they need while they are in cancer treatment
  • The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has affected our ability to fundraise, and our income in 2020 was 16% lower than it was in 2019.

Without fundraising, we wouldn't be able to help all the people who depend on our support right now, and who will do so in the future. It's thanks to our amazing supporters that we can continue to do whatever it takes for people living with cancer.

Find out how we raise and spend our money in our annual report.

Related pages

How to fundraise

Choosing how you want to fundraise can be a difficult decision when there are so many different options. It can also be a challenge to raise funds and set your fundraising goal.

Raising money for charity isn't always easy, but we're here to help you raise funds in a way that works for you, and maximise the effect of your fundraising efforts.

We've got loads of charity fundraising ideas and tips to help you start fundraising.

How to set up a fundraiser on Facebook

Asking your friends and family to help you fundraise is a great way to reach your fundraising target. The people you know are already an active and engaged audience, and using social media sites to ask for support is a great way to get people to support your fundraising efforts.

This is why using social media platforms like Facebook is a powerful way to tell people about your great fundraising idea.

Check out our tips for raising funds using social media.

Related pages

How to set up a fundraising page

It doesn’t matter if you have never set up an online fundraising page before, as the process is quick and easy.

Online fundraising pages are digital sponsorship forms which make it really easy for you to spread the word about your challenge and for your supporters to make a donation.

It takes all the hassle out of collecting donations so you can focus on your fundraising. Popular online fundraising platforms include JustGiving, which offer easy to follow step by step instructions on how to set up and share your page.

Read our top 10 tips for fundraising online.

Related pages

What are some fun ways to raise money for charity?

Fundraising at work

Whether you are a local business or a large organisation, raising vital funds for charity is a great way to support a charity.

Colleagues supporting a good cause is also a great way to bring people together, by helping with team bonding and providing an opportunity for people in a workplace to come together in a different way.

If you want to do some fundraising at work but are stuck for ideas, check out our A-Z guide to fundraising at work. It's filled with ways to raise money with your colleagues inside and out of the office.

Fundraising at school or with kids

School fundraisers are a wonderful chance for children to learn about the important work that charities do locally, nationally and overseas.

Stuck for ideas about how to fundraising with kids? Whether it's a sports day, a fancy dress day or a bake sale, there are lots of great options. Take a look at our A to Z guide to fundraising with kids which can be used at school, at home or in your local community. 

Fundraising at home

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that more people are fundraising from home. There are lots of different ways you can fundraise from where you live, no matter what time of year it is.

See our A to Z guide of fundraising ideas at home and fundraising ideas during Covid.

Easy fundraising ideas

You don't have to organise a black-tie gala, or run 52 half marathons to raise money for Macmillan. There are plenty of other fundraising ideas which can raise money.

See our A-Z guide of easy fundraising ideas.

How can I fundraise a large amount of money?

Every single penny you fundraise helps us to do whatever it takes to support people living with cancer. By choosing to raise funds for us you are helping to raise awareness and support.

There are many great ways to encourage people to give more money and support your fundraising efforts, so you can maximise the amount of money you raise.

For example, if you're running a half marathon, instead of suggesting a £10 donation, why not ask them to sponsor you a £1 per mile. The extra £3 might not seem like much, but if everyone did it then we can all raise a lot more money. Every donation, whatever the amount, all counts towards your total.

Some people may be more experienced than others at fundraising, particularly with activities such as crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is when you ask a large amount of people, usually online, to each donate a small amount of money towards your goal.

Some people will just naturally have a wider network to ask. However you choose to fundraise, the important point is to maximise your own fundraising efforts rather than worry about how much someone else might be able to raise.

Read our top fundraising tips which will help you smash your fundraising target.