This year, by retaining and creating long-term partnerships to develop a sustainable income pipeline whilst expanding our approach to individual giving, we’ve made great progress.

For Red Nose Day 2019, Prizeathon raised nearly £1m. It boasted a range of ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities, like the chance to win breakfast with Sir David Attenborough. With the BBC we used mobile tech to allow viewers to enter draws with the option to donate.

In Spring 2019, we launched a regular giving programme that offers the opportunity to support us all year round via direct debit. In addition to this, we’re looking forward to other event and community- based activity which supports our aim for year-round fundraising.

In Summer 2019, we linked with the BBC and Women’s Netball World Cup for our very successful Sport Relief All Stars Netball. We reached new audiences with our first Comedy Spectacular played to a sell-out audience at the Wembley Arena, following our Assembly Rooms gig at the Edinburgh Fringe, both becoming annual events in our year-round calendar.

Our new Philanthropy team engaged those with the capacity to give larger gifts. We secured two new funding partners who joined our first partnership consortium for Social Tech work. And our corporate team secured a three-year alliance with KFC to support young people in the UK.

Finally, thanks to a dedicated long-term partner and cracking designs in association with Peter Blake and Disney, the TK Maxx T-shirt campaign beat all records. All in all, a great year spent planting foundations towards our long-term fundraising goals.

Our Events 18/19

Our events in 2018/19

Red Nose Day and Night of TV

Since the first-ever Red Nose Day in 1988, this comic extravaganza has become a national institution. It’s the day when people all over the country – inspired by a fantastic night of comedy and entertainment on the BBC – come together and do all kinds of wonderful things to raise money for the fantastic causes both at home and overseas. Red Nose Day returned on 15 March 2019 with our most diverse line up of presenters introduced specially commissioned programmes including the Bodyguard and Mamma Mia here we go yet again.

One Red Nose Day and a Wedding 

We were delighted to see the cast of Four Weddings and a Funeral reunited for the first time in 25 years. Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas, John Hannah and Rowan Atkinson, were joined by some very special guest stars in this new instalment, helmed by original director Mike Newell. The writer of the new instalment, and the unforgettable classic, Richard Curtis commented, “It’s been really enjoyable working out what’s happened to all the characters – and now they get back together, one last time, for the fifth wedding. Where, as usual, not everything will go as planned.”

Our first ever Comic Relief Spectacular live at Wembley

Live events mark a strategic return to Comic Relief’s comedy roots, as well as engaging new audiences. As a curtain-raiser for Red Nose Day, we brought together comedy heavyweights Alan Carr, Sir Lenny Henry, Katherine Ryan, Romesh Ranganathan, John Bishop, Russell Howard, Jimmy Carr, Kerry Godliman, Nina Conti and Rob Beckett, and rising stars Judi Love and Rosie Jones, for our first Spectacular at The SSE Arena, Wembley. One night, one stage, twelve giants of comedy live - a sold-out crowd of over 8,000 people. Does it get more spectacular than that? Well, yes, actually, because we’re doing it all over again next year.

Kilimanjaro: The Return

Ten years after Gary Barlow led a group of celebrities in an epic climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, another hand-picked team took on the same 19,000-foot challenge. The group – whose climb was filmed for a special BBC documentary – included Pointless host Alexander Armstrong, Countryfile host Anita Rani, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, Love Island winner Dani Dyer, former MP Ed Balls, Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, NFL sports pundit Osi Umenyiora and Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge Shirley Ballas. Starting their challenge in February, the intrepid team faced a grueling eight-day trek battling altitude sickness, basic camping conditions and freezing night-time temperatures – amazingly all reaching the summit together to raise over £2m for Red Nose Day.

Comic Relief did The Apprentice...

Lord Sugar, Baroness Brady and Claude Littner made a return to the boardroom alongside a group of celebrities vying to avoid the firing line in special Celebrity Apprentice for Comic Relief. The two teams raised an impressive £480,000 for Comic Relief, but it was the Girls – consisting of The X Factor judge Ayda Field, Britain's Got Talent's Amanda Holden, EastEnders actress Tameka Empson, interior designer Kelly Hoppen and journalist, commentator and writer Rachel Johnson – that raised the most and were named winners.

...and Claudia and Tess danced till they dropped

Yes, the Comic Relief Danceathon returned... Following in the footsteps of Sara Cox and Dermot O’Leary, the celebrity dancers were BBC Radio 2 presenter Claudia Winkleman and her Strictly Come Dancing co-presenter, Tess Daly. They flossed, dabbed and jived to the beat for our longest ever Danceathon to raise as much as possible for Red Nose Day. The duo was on their feet for over 24 hours and by the end of their challenge had raised over £1m. Throughout, Claudia and Tess were joined by a whole host of celebrity supporters to spur them on – highlights included Jeremy Vine and Rylan's Dance-off, Mary Berry's dancefloor antics, live music performances from the likes of Fleur East, Beverley Knight and the stars of many hit musicals, this epic dancing challenge reached its climax to the sound of Survivor by Destiny's Child.

Our key partnerships

The most important partners helping us reach our vision are the thousands of volunteers who give their time and creativity, along with the members of the public who make donations that support the causes we support. We couldn’t do what we do without, you, the public.

We also have partnerships with the following bodies that are vital to our work:


Oxfam logo

Our approach to fundraising 

We aim to maintain the highest possible principles when fundraising, providing our many supporters with the best experience we can and making sure that our activities are compliant with regulatory standards. Over the past 12 months, we’ve carried out a wide range of work to ensure we continue to adhere to the guidance set out in the Charities Acts. This work is explained in detail in each of the sections below.

Fundraising standards

We are proud to be a member of the Fundraising Regulator, which was established in 2016. In 2018/19, we continued to deliver a programme of work to make sure we comply with all relevant rules and regulations and subsequently provide everyone who supports us with the best possible experience. We are consistently assessing and evaluating our processes and fundraising agreements to formalise and strengthen how we monitor the fundraising activities occurring in aid of our Red Nose Day and Sport Relief campaigns. We are proud of the rigour and support we provide to our fundraisers ensuring they have the necessary tools to execute their activity.

Helping our supporters and addressing complaints 

Throughout 2018/19, we continued to let our supporters know that they could contact us, by phone, email or post, if they ever had a query or needed guidance. As a result, we handled 8,101 enquiries by phone and email. These covered a wide range of issues, including planning and undertaking fundraising events, ordering merchandise or collections, through to questions about the organisations and projects we fund. Despite our best efforts, we do know we don’t always get everything right. We managed 594 complaints throughout our Red Nose Day 2019 campaign. We take every complaint we receive very seriously, as our aim is always for our supporters to have a high- quality experience with us. We acknowledge receipt of a complaint within one working day, then investigate and advise of our findings within 30 days of acknowledgement. We respond to every complaint individually, with the intention of turning it into a positive experience for the supporter and something we can learn from. We take great pride in listening to what our customers have to say about us, whether negative or positive, as all feedback is key to us continuously improving our supporter care. We had no unresolved complaints and did not need to make referrals to the Fundraising Regulator.

Safety during fundraising activities

The safety of everyone during fundraising activities is an absolute priority for us. We are particularly concerned to safeguard the welfare of any children or vulnerable adults who may be involved. We have created safeguarding guidelines for anyone hosting an event. This information is posted on our website during campaigns and is also shared with individuals or groups seeking advice.

Looking Ahead

We’ve already mentioned that we’re holding another Comic Relief Spectacular after the success in February 2019 and we’re starting a monthly comedy night for up and coming artists. In addition to Sport Relief in 2020 and our famous Challenges we’d love to tell you more, but it’s all too secret to tell!! Stay tuned to Comic Relief’s social media channels for updates on our exciting events.