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Whether you want to take part in a fun charity event or are looking for ideas to make your own fundraiser more entertaining, these 15 charitable happenings around the world will get you in the mood for doing, making and contributing.

Oxfam’s annual Dressed by the Kids Day is a fun event for everyone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Sure, you risk looking like a fool for a day (in fact, that’s what anyone who sponsors you to take part will be hoping for). But for once you won’t have to worry about what to wear, and the kids will enjoy abusing their power over your wardrobe while you enjoy raising awareness of sustainable fashion to battle poverty.

Likewise, there just is no possible downside to the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. Vegan bakers around the globe get to show off their skills, vegans and omnivores alike sample their cruelty-free treats, and all funds raised go to a wide range of charities, mostly in support of animal welfare. If the taste of delicious, purely plantified baked goods convinces anyone to go vegan, that’s a nice side effect, but not the main goal.

Movember has come a long way since a group of Australians decided to grow moustaches to draw attention to men’s health issues 14 years ago. To date, over 5 million participants have emulated them, growing a ‘stache each November and raising USD 542 million in the process, which has helped fund 1,200 men’s health projects. Even if it’s “ironic“ and “for charity,” most guys will readily admit that rocking a moustache for a month is pretty fun. [Photos: Gerardo Obieta/Flickr]

There’s nothing quite like a dip in the ocean to cure a hangover, as thousands of hardy swimmers across Ireland and the United Kingdom will attest. The British Isles have a great tradition of winter swimming, most famously the Boxing (or St. Stephen’s) Day Swims on the morning after Christmas Day. Tenby, Wales, hosts the oldest Boxing Day Swim and welcomes hundreds of bathers, many in costume, each year – and several thousand onlookers who cheer them on and donate to local charities.

There are several obvious reasons to participate in a charity walk dressed in a colourfully decorated, customised bra. First and foremost, semi-nudity and general silliness are always sure to get everyone’s attention. Crafting the outfit for Walk the Walk, usually with a group of friends, is half the fun, showing off your undies in public the other. Last but not least, when the cause in question is breast cancer research and awareness, flaunting the mammaries in question is hopefully a way to remind both walkers and spectators to look after their own.

For an even more literal connection between cause and event, sign up for the Great Gorilla Run, where runners dress up as gorillas, in support of the Gorilla Organisation, to help save gorillas. No lateral thinking required. The sight of several hundred people in identical gorilla costumes pounding the London pavement sends a pretty clear message.

One major criticism of charity runs, hikes and cycles is that people simply do something they were already going to do for fun and part with a little money to feel even better about it. Perhaps less fun, but potentially more rewarding: donating time to do something you’re actually good at. The catchily titled 8 Hours’ Overtime For A Good Cause tries to harness that idea by organising volunteers to collaboratively support local charities.

Life’s a beach – and unfortunately, much like life, the world’s beaches are full of plastic. The International Coastal Cleanup is really just a walk on the beach, except you stop along the way to pick up any rubbish you spot and marvel at the huge pile of plastic that comes together when you’re one of dozens doing it on the same beach. After all, the only thing better than a walk on the beach is a beach walk with a cause.

The U.S. National Park Race Series aren’t strictly fundraising events, but the organisation behind them offers the option to run with a Charity Bib. Instead of paying the registration fee, participants have to raise money for the National Park Foundation that supports the very parks runners enjoy during the races. At a time when American National Parks are being stripped of funding, this financial support is as essential as an awareness of the natural beauty that is at risk.

There’s only one thing the internet loves more than adorable animals, and that’s adorable animals in adorable costumes. Hence an animal fancy dress party or competition is probably the perfect fundraiser for an animal shelter. For the All Dogs Matter Halloween Walk and Show, volunteers, staff, supporters and their furry friends get dressed up, pictures are taken and shared, funds are raised… and maybe some of the animals go to new homes after, because they looked just that much more adorable in their costumes. The 2017 show will take place on 29 October. [Photo: The Dogvine, thedogvine.com]

Global Citizen wants to harness the concept of gamification to achieve some pretty lofty goals. Like ”solve the world’s biggest challenges” through “emails, tweets, petition signatures and phone calls targeting world leaders to end extreme poverty by 2030.” Registered users can earn points by taking these “actions“ and use them to enter competitions for goodies like free concert tickets. The biggest event to date was the Global Citizen Festival featuring headliners Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens.

Forget celebrity football tournaments, why not let the people supported by the charity be the celebrities on the pitch? The Homeless World Cup is the culmination of community work by 74 national partners working in over 450 locations with more than 100,000 homeless people. Those who make it to the tournament get their chance to shine, the others benefit from the structure, interpersonal bonds and social skills learned in training and team building. [Photo: Anita Milas]

The Zombie Squad is a global disaster task force that offers “zombie survival training,” with an earnestness that could be taken literally, if not for the tongue-in-cheek statement that they have “diversified operations to include educating ourselves and our communities in general disaster preparedness.“ This includes charity fundraisers, blood donation drives and group volunteering, all with an appropriately geeky and gory zombie twist.

It may seem a little macabre to host a blood drive at Halloween, but “Starve a Vampire. Donate Blood” is just a catchy call to action and makes donors feel that much more badass. The American Red Cross used the slogan for a 2009 campaign in collaboration with The Vampire Diaries, but schools, universities and even companies are still using it for spook-themed blood drives.

As landmarks, office buildings and private homes go dark for the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour, event partners around the globe make the most of the darkness by hosting candlelight dinners, glow in the dark parties or stargazing events. Check out the listings closer to the date to find an energy-saving Earth Hour event near you.

What’s the whackiest thing you’d do to support a worthy cause?


  • Brian Janis

    Cheers to Zombie Squad!


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