4 Lessons from the UK's Largest Charity Runs & Rides

August 21st 2019 | Callie Sierra

At the Charity Clothing Company, we delight in knowing that people around the world want to support causes that are important to them. The Charities Aid Foundation reports that the UK public donated £9.7 billion to charities in 2016 – more than 60 percent of people gave money to a cause. And, in 2017, overall charitable giving was up nearly 3 percent.

A great way to leverage this potential is with a charity challenge, which can be a fun and effective way for your charity to build awareness, spread your message and raise critical funds for your important cause. Here, we look at some of the most successful charity events, from walks and rides to adventure challenges, and share four lessons that you can incorporate into your next charity challenge.

Cancer Research UK, Race for Life: Something for Everyone 

Cancer Research’s Race for Life is one of the most successful mass participation fundraising events in the UK. It raised more than £48 million last year and nearly £500 million total since its inception, to help fund research into all 200 types of cancer. 


One key to its success is its inclusivity. Race for Life started 25 years ago as a women-only event; in 2019, the event allowed men to participate for the first time, along with family and friends. Race for Life offers something for everyone, to encourage more people to participate no matter their fitness level. Events take place across the UK and include a 5K, 10K, walking routes, Pretty Muddy obstacles and more. The charity also offers an easy to use lookup-tool to help people locate the best event for them. 


We also suggest taking a look at the charity’s online shop, which features a great range of fun, fashion-forward clothing and other charity merchandise!




Walk the Walk, MoonWalk: Give Great Goodies 

Walk the Walk's annual MoonWalk takes place in London and Scotland to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. Walk the Walk has raised more than £130 million since 1996; this year’s MoonWalk alone raised nearly £3 million before participants had even taken the first step! 


One of the reasons for the Moonwalk’s success is that Walk the Walk has really nailed the goodie game. A few weeks before the challenge, participants receive an event pack complete with a t-shirt, cap, wristband, space blanket and, of course, the charity’s iconic Wonderbra. Men and women alike receive the bra and are encouraged to decorate it in advance of the event. The photos and buzz from this alone help raise the visibility of Walk the Walk. If that’s not enough, all walkers get a special medal at the finish line and plenty of warm meals and entertainment during the walk. 


The charity has an online shop featuring additional merchandise that can be purchased by participants or the public. The Power Walkers Bumbag, for example, was designed by the charity’s founder. In addition, Walk the Walk offers clear and helpful fundraising ideas, like putting on a bake sale or tips for approaching employers for support. We’re also intrigued by some of the charity’s unique and adventurous event options,  like the Arctic Challenge in 2020!





Alzheimer's Society, Memory Walk: Make it Your Way 

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk is a series of events to raise money for dementia research and supporting people with dementia. The great thing about Memory Walks is that supporters can choose from a range of activities like a Memory Walk (2 to 10 KM), Memory Walk Plus (over 15 KM) or a GLOW walk (2 to 10 KM but at night). This accessible approach will appeal to people of all capabilities and schedules. 


Further, supporters are encouraged to host and sponsor their own walks during “Memory Walk season,” which takes place from 01 August to 31 October. People can register a walk and invite any number of people to participate, from 5 to 500 or more! Supporters can purchase a number of great items to customise their walk, like start ribbons, balloons, medals and cheer sticks. Those who can’t participate in the events can also support the cause by purchasing Memory Walk merchandise from the charity’s online shop.


British Heart Foundation, London to Brighton Ride: Make it a Great Day Out (and Share your Stories)

For 44 years, BHF’s award-winning London to Brighton Ride has raised money for research to help prevent, diagnose and treat heart diseases. In June 2019, nearly 15,000 cyclists participated, raising £2 million! Not only does the ride raise money for critical research, but it also offers riders of all levels a great day out. The 54-mile ride takes riders from London to Beach Village, where they can enjoy post-ride festivities at drink and food stalls, purchase special merchandise and take part in games.


Another successful strategy is that BHF shares compelling stories and photos from riders like Mark, who this year completed his 25th ride. He’s raised over £30,000 to date for BHF’s cause! Think about ways that you can capture and share stories like this in advance of and following your next charity challenge. 


Which charity events inspire you? Are you participating in any this year? Or are you planning your own charity event? At the Charity Clothing Company, we’d love to brainstorm a few ways that we can help you achieve the same success as some of these important and high-impact events. Please get in touch with us today, and we hope to see you walking and/or rolling out there this year!





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