Comic Relief's annual Red Nose Day fundraising event started in the UK in 1985. A group of comedians came up with the concept as a way of using comedy, and "funny" activities, to raise money to combat poverty in the UK and Africa. Children have always played an important role in Red Nose fundraising, and there are lots of fundraising activities for children of all ages. These ideas can be adapted to fundraising events other than Comic Relief.
Kids love collecting sponsorships from their family and neighbours. A sponsored activity is relatively simple to set up, and there are so many possible sponsored activities to choose from, that schools should be able to organise a range that appeals to different types of kids. Sporty students love the challenge of bike rides and swimathons, and even the less sporty enjoy a sponsored walk or a dance marathon. The more bookish students like sponsored silences. Another sponsorship idea is asking the kids to give up chocolate or sweets for up to a week. Sponsors only pay for the days students actually go without sweets.
Students also like the chance to perform, and particularly enjoy create their own versions of popular TV shows, such as Pop Idol. Contestants and audience pay an entrance fee, and if it is held after school, you can invite parents to it, which boosts the fundraising potential. An alternative is to get teachers to be the contestants, and students be the judges and audience. Older students can write comic sketches, either individually or in groups, and create their own Red Nose day show. For a really big event, you could hire professional comedians for an evening event, and invite parents and the wider community.
School fairs are always popular fundraisers, and spur a range of ideas. These can include face painting, manicures, art stalls, and second hand sales. Cake sales usually do well; students can make large and small cakes decorated in red and white. A competition for the best decorated cake adds an incentive for the kids to participate. Another idea is a Red Nose cookbook, with recipes supplied by parents. Students pay a small sum to enter a competition to design the cover. Entries are displayed and students vote for the cover. Schools can ask parents for donations to help with the printing costs. Copies can be sold at a school fair or ordered from the school.
Students really enjoy days when they don't have to wear a school uniform. On Red Nose day, schools can ask for a donation in exchange for dressing in their everyday clothes. Wearing something red, whether students wear a uniform or not, is another idea. There is always the option of wearing a red nose; these are available on order from a Red Nose website, or students can pay to have a red nose painted on their faces.
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