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Charities that use Lent to fundraise

Charities that use Lent to fundraise

Self-denial fundraising campaigns like Go Sober October, Dryathlon and the new De-Chox campaign from British Heart Foundation are clearly popular. But which charities are making the most of , the original Christian period of self-denial?

Christian charities or those with a background have a long tradition of Lent-based campaigns, but any charity whose supporters include sufficient numbers of practising Christians can make the most of the 40 days of fundraising opportunity.

Here are some examples.

1. Trocaire box

International development charity Trócaire has worked with JustGiving to create the Trócaire Box App to promote giving during Lent. The app can be downloaded to smartphone and tablet, and lets supporters create their own digital collection box, and then invite their friends or family to donate via it.

Users can decorate their digital collection box to personalise it. They can then choose what kind of fundraising they want to take part in – collecting money, giving something up, or fasting. Like any good collecting box, even the digital version rattles with the clink of coins as donations are received.

The app uses JustGiving’s open API, which enable anyone to develop apps for good that connect with its social platform for giving.

The UK government will match, pound for pound, all public donations to the Lent Campaign in Northern Ireland, up to a maximum of £5 million.

2. 40acts

40acts Lent generosity challenge

40acts Lent generosity challenge marked in London’s Shoreditch.

40acts is a generosity campaign run by Christian charity Stewardship which invites “people to do Lent differently”. Instead of just giving something up, like chocolate or alcohol, participants are encouraged to give something to those around them.

This could be talking to strangers, sharing a skill, sending anonymous gifts or simply saying thank you.

When it launched earlier this month, it had already attracted over 40,000 participants and nearly 1,000 churches. Last year’s 40acts campaign generated over 1.8 million acts of generosity.

3. CAFOD’s Lent Fast Day

Fasting throughout the Lent period might not be easy for everyone, so charities like CAFOD encourage supporters to fast for one day as a fundraising campaign.

This year its Lent Fast Day takes place on 27 February 2015. It offers an extensive range of downloadable resources to help individuals and churches to promote the campaign, ranging from parish posters and suggested text for a short talk to a match funding leaflet (UK Aid is match funding CAFOD’s Lent appeal as well) and a ‘how to’ fundraising guide for parishes.

CAFOD’s staff are also revealing their personal Lent challenges. Some will be cutting out meat and dairy to help the environment. Others are doubling their baking in order to raise money towards the CAFOD Lent Appeal:


4. WaterAid’s Jars of Change Lent campaign


WaterAid demonstrates that charities without a Christian heritage can still get involved in fundraising on the theme of giving something up for Lent.

“This Lent, join us in giving something up for clean water”, urges the charity in the Lent fundraising part of its Get involved section of its website.

This year they are using the traditional home collecting device of an empty glass jar in their Jars of Change Lent appeal.


5. Christian Aid’s Count Your Blessings app

Christian Aid Lent app

Christian Aid introduced its Count Your Blessings app for Lent 2013. It offers daily faces, stories and images to help supporters reflect, act and pray.

One option is to give a small sum each day in the form of a pledge, which mounts up over the 40 day period.


6. Cord’s Spend a Penny Lent campaign

Cord UK Lent appeal DIY collection box

Cord has reprised its #SpendaPenny campaign for Lent in which it urges:

All we ask is that you put some money in a pot/ box or jar every time you use water”.

Lent may not be a time for putting the fun back into fundraising, but CordUK manage to inject a light touch of toilet humour into their campaign title.

Its Spend a Penny campaign page includes a totaliser and a report back on what the 2014 appeal achieved.

It also offers two fun downloads:

• a template and instructions on how to make your own donation box

• 36 fun ideas to spend a penny



• Is your charity fundraising on the theme of Lent? Tell us in the comments below.







Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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