Being disabled or caring for a disabled person can cost on average an extra £550 a month. To cover some of these extra costs of disability, make sure you apply for disability benefits.

Yet there may be special equipment or treatments that aren’t covered by benefits or social care payments. If this is the case, you may be able to apply for specific grants or charitable funding.

If you are unsuccessful in an application or want to try an alternative, you might consider your own fundraising. This can be a complex area, so here are some things to keep in mind:

Are you ready to fundraise?

  • A strong story helps make fundraising successful. Are you ready to share your personal life with the general public? You should be sure you are comfortable with this before starting fundraising
  • Raising funds isn’t always easy so share the work if you can. You may choose to appoint a chairperson, treasurer and secretary. Clarify your aims and objectives, so everyone is clear on responsibility. You will feel more credible when talking about your cause.
  • Open a specific bank account with a relevant name (such as "John's Wheelchair Fund"). Aim to have 2 people who have to sign to withdraw money. Keep accounts of all income and outgoings so that you can show how you have spent the money if asked.

Laws and regulations relating to fundraising

There are lots of ways you can fundraise: from bake sales to sponsored silences, from bucket collections to bag packing in supermarkets. It’s important to understand the law and regulations in these areas before you begin:

If in doubt, seek professional advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Street collections

To collect money on the street, you must get a permit from your local authority (or in London the Metropolitan Police). Issue of permits is discretionary so there is no guarantee you will get one. Even with a permit there are regulations about how you conduct the collection. The authority issuing the permit will give you details. For private property that is for public use (such as shopping centres and railway stations), you must hold a street collection permit.

House-to-house collections

Whether you are asking for money, ‘jumble' or other items door to door, you must get a permit from your local authority (or in London the Metropolitan Police).

Collections on private premises

You must get the permission of the owner of the premises before making a collection on a private site. For collections in pubs see ‘House-to-house collections’.

Static collection boxes

To leave a collection box on the counter of a shop or pub, you just need to ask the permission of the owner or manager. Ensure your boxes are secure and tamper-proof. If you are collecting from pub to pub, you need a house-to-house permit and must ask the permission of the landlords.

Public events

Jumble sales, garage sales, fetes, fundraising dinners and coffee mornings are all subject to the same regulations. These mainly relate to health and safety, as with any commercial event:
  • You should get public liability insurance to cover you if someone is injured.
  • You may need a person qualified in First Aid available.
  • You should sell goods that are safe and fit for the purpose for which they are sold. It’s best to avoid selling used electrical or gas appliances.
  • If there is likely to be any disruption to traffic, you should seek advice from your local police.
  • You may need a Public Entertainments Licence. You can get details from the Chief Executive's Department of your local authority.
  • Selling alcohol requires a Liquor Licence, which you will need to get from your local Magistrates Court.
  • Mechanical or motorised exhibits or rides may need a safety certificate (issued by National Association for Leisure Industry Certificates).
  • You may also need to check with your local authority about regulations relating to planning permission, Sunday trading or local bye-laws.
  • Check out the NHS food safety website to ensure that you are aware of food safety laws before preparing food for your event.  

Sponsored events and activities

You can create your own sponsorship forms. Make sure they state:
  • what the event is
  • the date
  • what you’re raising funds for
  • the contact details of the organisers.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way to fund something specific, via the internet, by getting a large number of small gifts.

There are lots of Crowdfunding sites so read The Crowdfunding Handbook (611kb, pdf) to decide the best approach for you. One site to try is JustGiving Crowdfunding

Lotteries

This is a complex area governed by a range of legislation. You need to register a prize draw, where you sell tickets to the public over more than a day, with the local authority. You will have to pay a registration fee and follow the regulations on the application form. If ticket sales are to exceed £20,000, you must register with the Gambling Commission.

Raffles and tombolas

These are defined as "a small lottery incidental to an entertainment". You don’t need to register if the activity is not the main attraction of the event. You should not spend more than £500 on prizes, there should be no cash prizes and you must sell tickets and announce winners on the same day. You do not need to register a competition that involves skill rather than chance, such as a coconut shy.

Charity registration

If you do a lot of fundraising, you may consider becoming a registered charity in your own right. There are advantages with taxation and building credibility (some commercial companies will only donate to registered charities), but there is also strict reporting requirements, so it’s important to balance the pros and cons.

The Charity Commission produces a helpful pack entitled Setting Up A Charity and Applying For Registration.

Find the right funding source for you.