Fundraising ideas for the London Marathon

A list of my fundraising ideas for the London Marathon, most of which helped me raise my £3000 target for the British Heart Foundation in 2019.

Running the London Marathon is an incredible achievement. Especially if you’ve managed to raise money for charity along the way. Not everyone gets in via the ballot and instead choose to apply to run in a charity place.

This then brings the added pressure of not only building up to 26.2 miles but hitting that donation target too.

Here are some of the fundraising ideas for the London marathon I tried and also some I didn’t get around to doing.

Wine tasting night

This was easily one of the most fun fundraising ideas I used! It can be any “tasting” you want but here is how I did mine.

Wines- I ordered a box of different wines from Asda which also included a prosecco and a champagne. I then did 8 tastings across the evening- I had created a sheet for each guest with 8 marking sections on. Each section had ratings out of 5 for smell, appearance, taste and after taste.

Tasting one and two was a comparison of a £6 Sauvignon Blanc and a £10 Sauvignon Blanc. Served in little shot glasses labelled “£” and “££” meaning cheap and more expensive. I served this with a square each of Lindt chocolate to eat between each.

Tasting three and four was guess which is the champagne. I served prosecco in one shot glass and champagne in another coloured shot glass and let them discuss among themselves before revealing the answer.

Tasting five was a sweet Liebfraumilch. Six was a white zinfandel, and seven and eight were shiraz and merlot.

I had googled tasting tips, what order to taste in (i.e, white first-dry to sweet, then red) and what foods to pair each tasting with (no cheese though! Apparently that’s a no no) At the end we each had a glass or few of our favourites and ended up very merry. I also raffled off a bottle of prosecco and the whole night raised £81.00 after deducting the wine costs. Each participant paid £10 to attend. I had planned for 14 people and there was more than enough to go round.

Gin tasting night

I wasn’t a fan of gin until after this! I was lucky enough to have two bottles of gin already left at my home from previous parties that I hadn’t touched. This was a Bombay sapphire and a beefeater, and one of my guests did the same and brought a Gordon’s they didn’t want. So I bought a pink gin and some ingredients for cocktails- vermouth for martinis, apple juice and sparkling wine for another and ginger ale for a “slonky donkey”. I also bought some various tonic waters to compare with as well.

This tasting night is NOT for the faint hearted. We all ended up very merry, even though we all prepared nibbles!

So there were no marking sheets for this, I just poured out the various tonic water and gin combos to try in little shot glasses again. Then we stopped for food and a quiz I wrote by googling gin facts. Finishing off with the three cocktails each, all served in plastic cocktail glasses.

The night raised £40 all together, it was in December so I had a few drop outs due to work Christmas parties. However, I was left with enough gin for a second gin night! Which meant next to no financial outlay second time around and a total amount raised of £90 . Each guest paid £10 to attend.

Beauty event at the salon I massage in

I was lucky enough to receive some amazing support from the team at the salon I massage in, Beaches tanning and beauty in Holland-on-Sea. The staff offered to give up their time to stay on after hours on the Saturday after Valentine’s day to offer cheap mini treatments-of which all the money went to the fund. I made cakes and biscuits to sell and my friend who is a makeup artist came along too and offered mini treatments for those going out for the weekend. I of course did mini massages too. All in all we raised a huge £239.94 from 1pm-5pm and every cake and all but two biscuits were sold!

Quiz ‘n’ Chips night

This one took a little bit more effort to organise. I hired the local public hall that happened to be directly opposite a fish and chip shop. The chippy kindly agreed to provide me with an order for each participant and I incorporated the cost into the ticket price.

I gave the options of mini cod and chips, small battered sausage and chips or just chips but I know someone else who only gave the option of cod and chips.

Each person paid £8.50 for a maximum of 6 people per table and each table was also asked to bring a raffle prize or prizes. This took pressure off of me to provide raffle prizes and they brought in some wonderful things!

Prizes for the winning table I bought myself. I went into home bargains early in the year while all of the Valentine’s products were being put out and bought a small selection of heart themed chocolates and sweets for up to 6 people for about £15. Heart themed due to it being for the British Heart Foundation.

The quiz questions were written by myself. I collected questions from the TV programme who wants to be a millionaire, google and my own knowledge.

The categories included:

General knowledge,


Human body,

Cockney rhyming slang and sayings,

Colours (sort of a general knowledge round but every answer was a colour),

Guess the song intro (played on my ipod over my speakers that I use for my classes),

and in the interval while eating I handed out a sheet with parts of logos on for people to guess the logo.

I marked each round and the end of each round and gave each table a joker card as well, which could only be played once and it meant double points for the whole round.

After I deducted the cost of the hall hire and the fish and chip dinners this night raised an impressive £300.90!

Lucky squares

I’ve done two of these, one was to win a naked build a bear that was donated to me and one to win money. It’s called lucky squares because you pay per square in a grid and in each grid was a male name.

I had two build a bears so was going to do a female name one as well but one had lost it’s little ear label so I’ve kept the tagless one for the big raffle it instead. There were was 50 names/squares numbered 1-50 and they cost £1 per square. The winner is drawn at random once they’re all chosen and paid for using a paypal pool which is free and so easy to use. This raised £50.

The second lucky squares had numbers 1-50 in a grid. Each number cost £5. Once all numbers had been chosen and paid for, half went to my find raising target (£125.00) and the other half was shared between a winner (£100.00) and runner up (£25.00)

So my two lucky squares drummed up £175.00.

Run ribbons

This idea was suggested to me by a lovely participant of my classes who’s friend did this the year prior. You buy some ribbon and make 26 little loops that you attach to your running vest on the day. People pay £10 per ribbon and you dedicate one of the 26 miles to that particular person/people/family/whatever. I was going to attach tiny pins but I didn’t want to risk one dropping off or scratching me so they were sewn in place. This made the marathon itself go SO quickly because I updated my Instagram story with each dedicated mile.

Three hour long fitness class

I run this every year and it grows each year we do it. In 2012 I taught it on my own to about 20 people doing aerobics, then I started getting other instructors involved for the variety. It’s an opportunity for me to raise money for charity and also raise people’s awareness of the local fitness classes in my area-including my own. So I contacted the community instructors locally and explained the class would be 3 constant hours and each instructor would have a time slot to teach their class on. Tickets are sold via with a link to my justgiving page on the confirmation page where they then pay directly into the fundraising target. We raised around £1095.91 for it and this took me above my total.

Wear it red at my fitness classes

When I received the news I was in the marathon, I celebrated by inviting my fitness class participants to wear red to the classes for one particular date and pay a donation to do so. It raised £32.03 and you can do this even if you don’t teach classes by contacting an instructor or leisure centre to ask for their support in this way as well. Wear it red is a BHF fundraising idea as their logo is red but you can choose any colour relevant to the charity you’re fundraising for.

Ideas I didn’t manage to try

Pub crawl competition where groups of people pub crawl and have tasks to complete at each pub. I don’t have many near me within walking distance but it’s an awesome idea. Some pubs may offer deals as well and might have a pot left on their bar for others to donate in to.

Cake decorating competition. I really wanted to have people make and decorate some cakes and people judge them on appearance and taste and then choose a winner but I didn’t get around to it.

Car wash. This was suggested to me but..just no. Not in the winter. Not when I can’t even wash my own car haha.

Lipsync battle,where you hire a DJ to play tracks that each competitor has practised lip syncing to and they perform to it, wear costumes get backing dancers, anything goes and the more elaborate the better!


I hope you find this list useful for your fundraising and if you have any additional ideas please write them in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Fundraising ideas for the London Marathon

  1. This is such a great post! I got rejected for the marathon for the second time this year but I didn’t bother with charity places because I didn’t think I’d be able to raise enough money. I wish I’d seen this sooner! Definitely going to steal a few of these if I get knocked back again next year x


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