Skip to main content

Are you up for the (sponsored) challenge?

So this is it. You’ve got your ICS place, you smashed the assessment day and even managed to get your vaccinations without too much of a fuss. You feel invincible!

Then you take a look at your Just Giving page and it’s not quite where you want it to be. You need to inspire people to support your fundraising, so you’ve decided to do something crazy, something you thought you’d never do. That’s right, it’s time for a sponsored challenge!

Not sure where to start? All good amigo. Ask yourself these five questions and you’ll have everything covered.

What's the challenge?

First thing to decide is what kind of challenge you’re going to do. What would your network donate towards and what would be a challenge for you? If you run a half marathon every other week, doing another one probably won’t capture people’s imagination. But, if you’re the last person to get up at 6am and lace up your trainers there’s no doubt people will support you.

'I chose the hike as an event as outdoor sports is something that I was really passionate about. I'd definitely advise people to do something that really challenges them. If it's 100% chance that you can complete the challenge, then it's probably not challenging enough.'
Josh - Balloon Ventures Volunteer
Josh chose to do a 24 hour hike in Scotland.

You can do whatever you want! One volunteer known for their fear of cows, was challenged to milk a cow. Udderly terrifying! Another decided to hold a tarantula for two minutes. Hair raising experiences I’m sure we’ll all agree.

Drum up serious support by doing something even you didn’t think you could do!

When planning your challenge, remember to consider cost and time. The challenge needs to be worth the return. You don’t want to spend all your money paying to do the challenge! Instead, think of something that will still grab attention but is more cost effective. Also, plan when you’re going to do your challenge and make sure you give yourself enough time to promote it and collect donations before your deadline.

Volunteer completing a sponsored challenge on a static bike in their local high street.
This volunteer chose to cycle 100 miles on a static bike in their local high street for their fundraising. What would you challenge yourself to do?

Finally, you could even link the challenge to your placement. ICS fundraisers have rowed the length of the longest river in their placement country, walked the perimeter of a capital city or even cycled the distance from a country’s capital city to their community. It’s your challenge, you can be as creative as you like!

How do I tell people?

So you’ve picked your challenge, now everyone needs to hear about what you’re going to go through!

Consider how you can best promote your challenge on social media. Can you post training updates? Is it Instagramable?  How about Facebook Live or YouTube? Ask your friends to share it around to build support and encourage those donations.

'I've been sending press releases about my challenge to local newspapers and radio stations, and I also talk about it quite a lot on social media - I usually post about it every time I hit another 50km, or so.'
Ciara - Raleigh International Volunteer
Ciara is running 300km in 10 weeks.
Ciara and her friend celebrating completing a half marathon.

Use this opportunity to send out individual requests for support. Contact long lost cousins and old friends, as well as close family and friends. This is a great chance to tell them about your ICS placement and show how committed you are to fundraising.

Why not also contact the local press? Check out our press release form and blog with top tips on contacting local media.

And of course, just talk to people about it. You’re going to put yourself through something tough to smash your target, people deserve to know about it.

Who can help me?

'The thing I most enjoyed about doing my sponsored challenge was the quality time I got to spend with my friends that I did it with. I'd definitely advise people to find some friends who also agree to doing a challenge, and do something together!'
Josh - Balloon Ventures Volunteer

How could friends and family best support? Do they know someone who can help organise your challenge? Or anyone that could take some sponsorship forms in to their workplace and collect some donations?

Volunteers and their family in fancy dress at the top of a mountain after a sponsored challenge.
These volunteers got people involved in their challenge. Could you find someone willing to get involved and maybe even fundraise on your behalf?

Am I ready?

Volunteer sitting on the ground getting their head shaved for their sponsored challenge.
Got the clippers! This volunteer is all ready for their charity head shave.

Get prepared! Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Come the day you start your challenge, you don’t want to be thinking about anything else.

If you’re doing a physical challenge, then plan some training. Training is a great way to keep people updated leading up to your challenge, so don’t forget to share pictures or videos of all the hard work you’re putting in.

If you’re doing a really long walk, have you got all the gear you need? Have you got a phone so you can share your experience with the world once it’s all done? Map? Compass? Walking stick? Boots? Ahhhh, so much to remember! Make a checklist, so you don’t forget anything.

What next?

HUZZAHHH! You did it, but it’s not quite over yet. You need to shout about it. Let people know what you went through and collect those final few donations. Share photos or even making a quick highlight video. Check out these YouTube videos for some inspiration.

Josh's 24 hour hike and Gianne's eyebrow shave.

Volunteer jumping in the air holding a sign saying thank you.

Finally, thank everyone who supported you. Think Oscars speech, ‘I’d like to thank my Mum, my cousin three times removed and of course my pet poodle. Without you this would not have been possible!’

I’m sure you will get a lot of support, so it’s important to recognise that by thanking everyone!



So there you have it, our guide to the sponsored challenge. These five questions will to help you make the most of your challenge, but if you have any questions or want to discuss these ideas more, get in touch with your Fundraising Support Officer.

Dfid Logo

Funded by the UK Government

ICS is funded by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) which leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty.

Find out more