Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa is the world’s highest free-standing mountain. At 5888 meters above sea level, it ranks as one of the Seven Summits - the highest peaks of each of the seven continents. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a challenge, but it’s rare in that it’s accessible to many ages and abilities. You can trek up and down the mountain in under a week - reaching the summit is hard work but achievable if you prepare properly. Due to its challenge, easy accessibility, and being the highest mountain in Africa, many generous yet adventurous people climb Kilimanjaro for charity. In this article, we’re going to look at why climbing Kilimanjaro ranks as one of the best charity challenges for 2017, and what’s involved.
The most obvious reason is that you’re doing it for a good cause! You’re earning money for your chosen charity with this adventure and your contributions will make a positive difference for them. By climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity and announcing it to your friends and family, you are helping to promote the charity and what they do. It’s a great thing to do from a personal level and you will feel good about doing it!
Kilimanjaro attracts over 50,000 trekkers a year for a reason - it’s a beautiful mountain with stunning views and 5 unspoiled ecological zones to pass through, from rainforest to alpine desert. It’s also accessible right to the summit with no need for special training - it’s a straight hike all the way. It’s considered one of the best big mountain treks out there which almost anyone can attempt.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the best mountain treks for charity. Photo by Stignygaard
Trekking Kilimanjaro is a physical challenge not to be taken lightly. It requires training, perseverance, and determination. You will trek uphill for days at a time at high altitudes, with basic living conditions. But you are rewarded with an amazing adventure and the chance to summit one of the highest mountains in the world! This is a personal challenge where you can push your limits and most trekkers leave Kilimanjaro changed for the better, overcoming their doubts and achieving their goals.
Depending on who you go with, a Mount Kilimanjaro charity trek can be cheaper than a standard Kilimanjaro hike. In fact, it may even be free if your donations are paying for your trip! Additionally, many charities carefully organize all aspects of your trip, taking away much of the stress involved in such an undertaking.
Most charities are great and do a good job for whatever their cause is. So in theory regardless of what organization you pick to climb Kilimanjaro for charity doesn’t matter. But you’ll be more motivated and get more satisfaction from the challenge if you really care about the charity you are raising money for.
If there’s a particular issue or cause that’s close to home for you personally, choose a charity which helps. If you don’t have strong feelings, do some research into different charities and decide what cause feels most meaningful for you. Maybe your friends or family have a cause that’s close to their hearts that you can raise money for?
Cheryl Cole climbed Mount Kilimanjaro over eight days to raise money for Comic Relief. Photo by Chris Jackson
It’s important that if you aren’t fundraising for one of the big, famous charities that you properly research any charity you’re considering using for a Kilimanjaro trek. If it isn’t a widely recognised name or if you don’t know someone that can vouch for it, check if they are a registered charity and get digging. Some charities are just money-grabbing profit schemes to siphon funds from unsuspecting donors, with only a small share (or nothing!) going to the actual cause. Make sure you aren’t raising money for a fake charity, or one where your hard-earned donations are barely making any difference to the cause they are supposedly working for. Even some famous charities are guilty of this so do look into it! Some useful resources are this Huffington Post article, the UK charity register, the Federal Trade Commision and Charity Navigator.
Lots of charities organize their own Kilimanjaro charity treks. Keep an eye out for Kilimanjaro expeditions on your favourite charities’ websites or newsletters. Many bigger charities run annual fundraising treks up the mountain. Contact charities who do fundraisers like this and see if they are planning or would be interested in doing a Mount Kilimanjaro charity trip. Online, there is a UK bias to charities advertising Kilimanjaro trips. But dig around and you will find international charities offering country-specific Kilimanjaro treks for places like the USA, Australia and European countries. Some international examples areBreast Cancer Now and Childreach International. In the UK there are loads - such as Mind (UK), Alzheimers Society (UK), Macmillan, Action Aid and Breast Cancer Care.
Group Photo from the Alzheimer's society Kilimanjaro charity climb. Photo by Alzheimer's Society
Some Kilimanjaro trip websites offer treks which raise money for specific charities. Just do some research before you sign up and check with the charity that they are actually affiliated with the site. Also ask whether using the site, and not the charity directly, if you or the charity is paying unnecessary money for the privilege of convenience. It might be better to organize the trip yourself or with a different trip agency to maximise where your money is being spent. Examples of websites offering this kind of service are Kilimanjaro Challenge and Action Challenge.
If you have a charity you want to raise money for, but they don’t organize their own Kilimanjaro treks, don’t worry. There are plenty of tour operators who will liaise with your charity and organize treks for individuals or groups. Some examples of sites offering this service: Kilimanjaro Challenge, Kandoo, Really Wild Challenges.
Alternatively, you can just arrange everything yourself, just as if you were planning a normal trek, and fundraise separately. The advantage of this is that you know that every bit of money is going to your cause and not wasted on administration or agent fees. Have a shop around and see what works best and is the most cost effective for you and your charity. At AlienAdv.com, we highly recommend that you raise the money yourself and then book a Kilimanjaro trip as that way, you are absolutely sure that your money is being utilized most effectively.
Firstly, set yourself a clear target funds goal. Some charities require you to raise a minimum amount to fund your expedition before you can go on the trek. If you’re arranging it yourself, you will might want cover your costs if you’re not paying them yourself, and have a donations goal on top of that. Aim for an achievable but significant target to push yourself to get funding and make the adventure worthwhile, but don’t go overboard and aim for something unrealistic, you stand the risk of disappointment. Promote the event, tell people why you’re doing it, what it means for you and why you are supporting your charity and why you think that cause is important. It’s a marketing exercise for yourself and your charity. The better you do this, the more money you can make for your cause!
These days fundraising is easy thanks to the power of the internet! There’s lots of sites which allow you to organize online donations. Check out Moneysaving Expert’s good advice on picking a good site, such as Just Giving, Global Giving and Virgin Money Giving.
You can also do it the good old fashioned way, whether that’s collection boxes, fundraising events, sponsored activities, advertising in newspapers and in shop windows or just pleading for donations from friends and family.
Don’t forget to thank people for their donations, and give your donors regular updates about your progress in planning. If you can, keep them updated on your trip too, post photos or blog entries and let them know how you are getting on. On the mountain this is probably going to be difficult, but you should be able to do it before and after. Keeping your donors involved brings them into the adventure as well. They’ll be more invested in you and the charity, you could get further donations from them, or from them promoting you to others. After your trip, let everyone know about your experience, share your photos and memories, and see if you can get any final donations, your story will be inspiring!
Make sure you are well-prepared for your Mount Kilimanjaro charity climb. This means doing plenty of physical training in advance. You also need to pack wisely and take the right gear. You might want to take something related to your charity - even better if you can get them to give you clothing or kit promoting them.
Kilimanjaro Camp organized by the Alzheimer's society Charity. Photo by Alzheimer's Society
Research in advance about the mountain. There’s a lot you need to know, from the dangers of altitude sickness, the best route for you, or what to take. Fortunately, we have you covered, with many articles covering every aspect of the trip. Check them out here.
If you’re planning to trek Kilimanjaro, why not do it for charity and raise some money for a good cause at the same time. Take up the challenge and help others in the process - it's a win-win scenario. We hope this has inspired you and provided some useful info on how to climb Kilimanjaro for charity. Good luck!
We at AlienAdv are strongly supportive of organizing charity treks. If you are looking to raise funds for a charity trek to Kilimanjaro, and use our services, we will also contribute a small amount as a token of our support to your cause.