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How to make money for charity if you’re under 18

MoneyMagpie team 4th Apr 2017 19 Comments

Reading Time: 11 minutes

It should be easy to make money for charity if you’re under 18. But saving up £3,000 to go on your charity gap year project can be a real challenge. Here are some ideas of how to raise considerable amounts of money for charity to help you help others.


Busk for charity

Teenagers Busking

Busking is a great way for under 18s to make money and have some fun. You’ve got to be gutsy and get out in front of lots of people and entertain – but if you give a good show you can make a lot of money in a few hours. You can busk all over the place, but it’s important to check out if you need a licence or permit before you do it. If you are caught busking where you shouldn’t be, you can just get moved on or if you’re really unlucky you can get fined or even arrested. Once your location is sorted all you’ve got to do is put out a hat or case to collect money in and you’re good to go. We’ve got all the information and tips to make more in our article Busking through life.


Sell things for other people

ebay app on smartphone

Everyone has things lying around that they don’t need but often people are too lazy to sell them on eBay or anywhere else, so they end up going to waste. You can take advantage of this by starting up a small ‘we sell your stuff’ business at school, a church or religious community centre, or even just in the local neighbourhood. It would work like this:

  • You accept an item off a seller and agree to sell it on their behalf.
  • They tell you the ideal price they want to sell it for and the minimum price they are willing to accept.
  • If you sell it for the minimum price or just over, you get nothing.
  • If you can sell it for more than the ideal price they’d like to sell it for, you keep the difference.

Once you’ve gathered lots of items, all you need to do is go along to a car boot sale, set up a stand and work your sales magic. Obviously you can tweak the way the money works. You can charge commission on everything if you wish or take all profit above the minimum price. This would motivate you to sell everything for more than the prices that the sellers want. However, you will need to have a rough idea of what things are worth so that your sellers don’t give you high unachievable prices that people simply won’t pay.

Car boot sale

Before you get started make sure you find out where your closest car boot sale is and how much it is to rent a stand (it’s usually around £10). You should be able to find your local sale on Car Boot Junction. The vital thing is to market yourself. Make flyers, make an announcement in assembly at school or put up a notice at your religious centre to let people know what you are doing and why you need to raise money (if you’re doing it to fund a gap year or charity project). If you’re simply doing it in your local area – knocking on doors, giving people a flyer and briefly telling them what you’re up to is a great way to spread the word and all it will cost you is a bit of time.

At the same time as you’re selling other people’s things you can also make the most of your stall by selling any homemade confectionery or any seedlings you’ve grown. Take a look at our articles how to make money from propagating seedlings, selling cakes and jams and making greetings cards.


Put on a concert

Small gig

If you’ve got lots of friends who are in bands or who are budding solo artists you can make money out of organising a concert for them to play in and give them a chance to get some gig experience.  All you’ll need is a venue, an electricity supply and a computer to make up some flyers and tickets.

Get started by asking around to see if your friends and other young people that you know would be interested in coming to a concert to see their friends play. Ask people how many bands they would like to see, what kind of venue they’d like to visit and how much they would be willing to pay for a ticket. Once you’ve got a rough idea of what people want, start going about providing it.

The venue will be the most difficult thing to get. Most halls of any kind will charge you a lot to rent them and you’ll probably need an adult present to act as a guarantor. Ideally you’ll want to get a free venue for maximum profit. This is where raising money for a charity can make things easier.  With the right persuasion, your school, religious centre or local social club might be willing to let you use a hall for free. It’s always worth asking and don’t forget to really sell yourself and the charity you’re raising money for.

Teenage band

If you can’t persuade someone to give you a venue for free then try using spaces that you have access to. If you’ve got a garden you can host a concert there – this would limit the capacity, but only 25 people paying £2 each is still £50 a night. Remember to inform your neighbours that you will be hosting a concert before the night and state clearly the start and finish times so that you don’t get angry locals banging on your door, or even worse: the police.

If you think you can get a lot of people to come then you can consider paying for a venue. Make sure that you sell tickets far in advance to maximise your sales. Set a target number of tickets to sell and then divide the cost of the venue across this number. This will show you how much you need to charge for each ticket in order to cover your costs and make a profit. If this figure is unreasonable then you’ll have to find another venue.


Start a car valet business

Young man washing car

Car valet companies can charge in the region of £250 to do a full valet on a large car. This includes cleaning inside and out, plus the engine. You can make money by offering a more basic service, but at a lower price than a professional valet service and sell yourself by offering to come to the car, rather than have the car owner bring the vehicle to you.

To provide a good quality valet service you’ll need:

  • A good vacuum cleaner
  • Some good quality car shampoo and wax
  • A pressure washer (optional but good to have)
  • A bucket
  • Some sponges and rags

You might have to invest in these to start making some money. If you really can’t afford it you can always ask a local hardware store if they would be willing to donate the materials that you need.  All large companies have budgets for charity work and although this doesn’t assure that they’ll help you out, there’s no harm in asking. You can always agree to put their company name on your publicity flyers and posters. To speak to someone about organising a donation like this it’s best to phone the head office and talk to someone there.

Once you’ve got everything you need, do a bit of research on local valet companies to find out what services they provide and how much they charge. You won’t be able to provide an equally professional service, so don’t try and compete with them. You just need to get a rough idea of a realistic price to charge and the standard of cleaning that you’ll have to try and live up to.

Young Valet Cleaning inside car

Then you’ve got to market yourself. The big pull will be that you’ll go to the person’s house to clean their car. This means that you’ll probably just have to operate in your local area. Make up some leaflets and stick them through people’s doors. Offer discounts for a second car to get more business. Put up posters in local newsagents or anywhere you can legally advertise for free. Remember to stress that it’s for charity. If you don’t manage to drum up any business, try going door-to-door on a Saturday and valeting the cars as you get customers.

The basic valet prices on the internet vary, but for the outside of the car it’s around £15-20 with the same again for the interior. Depending on how quickly you can do a car, £20-25 for a valet inside and out seems fair, although try and suss out your customer first. If they look like they’ll pay more (especially because it’s for charity), start at a higher price and then let them barter you down. This way you’ll still probably get a good price and they’ll think you’re doing them a favour.

This isn’t a solo pursuit so team up with some of your mates to get the job done quicker and the money should roll in faster.


Do odd jobs for a day

Teenage boy mowing lawn

If you are multi-talented and very patient, you could sell yourself as an odd job person for a day. We’re not talking putting up shelves or sorting out electrics. It’s more like an errand person, in charge of doing any little jobs that need doing around someone’s house; doing the cooking, helping out in the garden or just amusing the children whilst their parents take a break.

You will have to be trusted by your client, so try your parents’ friends or your neighbours – they know you and are sure you can be trusted in their house. Make up a list of tasks you are willing to do and think you’d be good at – you don’t have to do them all! You might like to consider the following:

  • Vacuum cleaning
  • Washing up (most people have a dishwasher but washing pots and pans is a pain)
  • Painting
  • Gardening
  • Polishing
  • Cleaning bathrooms
  • Organising junk that is lying around and posting it on eBay for them
  • Playing with children
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Cleaning the car
  • Delivering and picking up dry cleaning and repaired shoes
  • Sorting out linen
  • Dusting

Young girls hanging shelf

Although most households won’t want you to do all these things, these are the jobs that no one really likes doing. So take advantage of laziness and make some money.

To market yourself you can go door-to-door on a Saturday when most people will be at home and simply ask if there is anything that needs doing. Remember to be friendly and sell yourself so people will be more inclined to take you on. If you are working in a team then you’ll be able to offer better and quicker help. Look at the outside of the house before you go in and see if there’s anything that looks like it needs doing. If the front wall needs painting, then suggest it because they probably just haven’t got around to doing it and would jump at the chance to get someone else to do it cheaply.

The amounts of money you can make will vary. Minimum wage for under 18s is a pitiful £3.68 an hour, but if they know it’s for charity people will tend to be more generous. Charging a flat rate is much simpler than charging hourly so try and work out how long it will take you to do the work and then make a price estimation based on that. For example, if you’re going to paint a wall and it will take you an hour and a half, charging £10 seems fair even though it’s more than £5 an hour. Whatever you do, don’t make it too expensive otherwise you won’t make any money at all.


Host a fashion show

Teenage girls in fashionable clothing

Are any of your friends budding designers? Or are they just a bit creative? The most difficult thing about fashion is to find individual pieces and if you create some of your own you can charge people to come and see them and then sell them off to the highest bidders.

This will take a bit of initial investment, but as long as you produce some good items then you should make your money by selling them. To pull off a fashion show you will need:

  • A venue with good lighting
  • Some staging to make a catwalk
  • Chairs
  • A dressing room
  • Materials to make the clothes

A church, religious centre or school hall with a stage would be perfect and most schools have stage blocks for concerts and drama performances. Ask your teachers or whoever is in charge if you can use the venue and remember to stress that it is for charity.

Once you’ve sorted out the venue, get thinking about the clothes. There are loads of creative websites that will help you out with good ideas for new designs and materials. Have a look at:

Vintage clothing on a rail

The best, and easiest, idea is probably not to make your clothes from scratch (unless you’re a real design whiz) but just customise articles of clothing. This means getting your hands on plain items of clothing and then embellishing them with cool designs. To get discounts on your materials, you can buy wholesale or try buying at a local market. This should save you money even on the prices you would pay for a plain T-shirt at Primark, which means you can make more profit. You can find a wholesaler by looking at these:

For embellishment you can buy old clothes at charity shops and rip them up to create new designs with your wholesale T-shirts. Charity shops will also be great places to get cheap buttons, belts, jewellery, brooches and scarves to make your designs even funkier.

Once your clothes are ready, you need models, make-up and a really good soundtrack. Decide how much you are going to charge people to get in (this shouldn’t be too much as you will make the real money by selling the clothes). Then when the show is over you can either auction the clothes off whilst they are still on the models, or hold a sale the next day so people can have a good look at everything and check sizes.


Do a sponsored event

Young volunteers clearing up park

It’s a classic but it does work. However, if you are going to do a sponsored event, rather than running around a park or climbing up a mountain, you can make a lot more sponsorship money by doing something that will benefit your community. Why not get sponsored to clean up the local park? It’s not nice work, but it’s something that everyone will benefit from so people may be inclined to be more generous. You could also be sponsored to volunteer in a hospital, soup kitchen or old people’s home for a couple of days.

Donations are mostly done online these days and a website will make your sponsored event seem more professional. On the website JustGiving you can set up your own personal fundraising page. They’ll claim your gift aid for you so your charity won’t be taxed on your sponsorship money. You can also upload videos and pictures of your event to share with all your sponsors.

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5 years ago

Some useful tips for the under 18’s.

11 years ago

hello, Raising money for charities is great and anyone who does is being really helpful and making a difference. If you would like to take it a step further and start a charity of your own for a cause that you believe deserves peoples support and attention, learn how to start a charity right here /howtostartacharity.info

12 years ago

Love it!!!

12 years ago

The new trend is to take you charity fundraiser onto a crowdfunding type fundraising site like Go Get Funding (//gogetfunding.).

Check out my charity fundraiser and feel free to contribute! gogetfunding./project/raising-money-for-charity

Btw if you do create your own page, make sure you add rewards – they work a charm!

Mary Beth
Mary Beth
12 years ago

I have to do a class assignment to raise money for a charity or organization. I live in Iowa so I choose the Make-a-wish foundation in Iowa. I have some ideas like a bake sale garage sale flyers but do any of you have any new ones?

j perrs
j perrs
12 years ago

hi me and my friends really need a quick idea for school to raise at least £5. we will be doing this around school so please nothing like a fashion show or car wash thanks. it is for a geography project thanks any ideas please x

Jasmine Birtles
12 years ago
Reply to  j perrs

I think the best and quickest way is to sell food. You can 1) Buy drinks, crisps, chocolate etc at a cash and carry or local market at a cheap rate and then sell it for a profit in the playground (try and make it at least 25% profit I’d say), 2) Make cakes, sweets and even drinks (home-made lemonade) and sell those in the playground. Or, if you’re allowed to, perhaps you could set up a stall at lunchtime where you sell secondhand stuff like clothes, accessories, books, DVDs etc.

12 years ago

Has anyone tried the fashion show or the car wash? how much money did you raise? Did you manage to cover all the costs? Any replies would be greatly appreciated, as i’m willing to put in the work, but not if it won’t be worthwhile. Thank you!

Jasmine Birtles
12 years ago
Reply to  HERMIONE

Hello Hermione, I know what you mean – you don’t want to put the effort in if it’s going to be wasted. However, I think it would be a good exercise to do a small ‘business plan’ for any charity fundraising effort you are planning on. It would be good practice for later on anyway. So if, say, you thought you would go for the car wash idea, do some research first: see what car wash companies in your area are charging and work out how much you could charge to undercut them; ask neighbours if they would be willing… Read more »

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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