Climbing Kilimanjaro for charity

As Kilimanjaro represents such an obvious challenge, it is perhaps no surprise that many people choose to conquer it for a worthy cause. In the 25 years that we’ve been organising Kilimanjaro climbs we’ve seen a huge growth in the number of climbers attempting to haul their way to the summit, not just for personal fulfillment, but in support of a chosen charity. Crucial to this development has been the creation of charity challenge events, which allow individuals to part-fund their climb costs through sponsorship money while at the same time raising funds for a charity they support.

Self-funded climbs

Climbing Kilimanjaro for charity needn’t be complicated. Many climbers will fund their own climb as they would any other holiday or expedition, while raising money for charity separately.

There are lots of resources out there to help you raise sponsorship. Platforms such as JustGiving, Blackbaud Heroix and Virgin Money Giving make it easier than ever to manage and keep track of the money you raise, while also freeing you of the need to directly handle donations.

Many websites offer detailed fundraising tips and advice, including several charities (Barnardos, for instance).

Subsidised climbs for charity

Charity challenges are different to self-funded expeditions in that they allow climbers to fund some of their climb costs through sponsorship money.

On these expeditions, the climber and the charity they’re supporting will typically set themselves a minimum sponsorship goal. If met, the charity can use a portion of this amount to support the climber’s expedition, with the rest going directly to the charity (according to UK Charity Commission guidelines, the amount received by the charity must exceed the amount used to cover trip expenses – so the minimum sponsorship goal can be as much as twice the trip costs.)

Few climbers will attempt to fund their entire expedition through sponsorship money, but charity challenges can be a great way to support your climb costs while also raising money for a charity that’s close to you. Having a minimum sponsorship goal to meet can also offer an extra incentive to put as much effort into fundraising as possible.

Those participating in a charity challenge event of this kind should always make it clear to potential donors that at least part of their sponsorship money will be used to support their climb costs, and that not all of it will go directly to the charity.

Recommended Charity Challenge operators
The charity challenge concept was first pioneered by Charity Challenge*, who remain the largest organiser of fundraising expeditions in the world. They run regular Kilimanjaro groups, and allow climbers to fund a significant part of their climbing costs through minimum sponsorship targets. Alternatively, climbers can choose to self-fund, covering the entirety of their trip costs themselves but still take advantage of Charity Challenge’s fundraising tools and great support to raise money for a UK-registered charity of their choice.

*Gane and Marshall director Jeremy Gane is a founding director of Charity Challenge.

There are numerous other UK-based travel operators (and some in the US and Canada) offering Kilimanjaro charity climbs.

The Comic Relief Red Nose Day Kilimanjaro climb 

In 2009, we helped project manage the largest ever charity challenge event on Kilimanjaro, the Comic Relief Red Nose Day climb. The event, which was broadcast by the BBC, triggered a huge increase in the number of people wanting to climb Kilimanjaro. As you might expect, lots of effort was required behind the scenes in order to make the event work, but it all went off without a hitch! You can watch footage from the climb and read Jeremy’s account of the experience here.