No More Balloon Releases Please!

Balloon releases are really bad for wildlife. Fortunately there are lots of alternatives.

Balloon releases are really bad for wildlife!
There are better fundraising options

What's wrong with balloon releases?

Balloon release details

Balloon releases or balloon races as they are sometimes called have long been a popular fundraiser at all sorts of fundraising events.

The basic idea is that people buy a helium filled balloon.

Attached to the balloon is a card with their name and details of how to return the card if found.

 The balloons are released and float off into the sky.

The card that gets returned from the farthest distance by a certain date wins. Distances of several hundred miles are not uncommon

The problem is that once landed and popped the balloon remains can cause serious problems for birds and animals, particularly at sea, who mistake them for food and try to eat them.

All the major wildlife charities oppose balloon races and their websites have many distressing pictures of birds and animals harmed by the practice. In particular the Marine Conservation Society have a campaign called

Don't Let Go

We are not convinced by balloon companies' claims that bio-degradable balloons (which still take 6 months to degrade) and proper procedures for the release to ensure that balloons reach a high altitude before bursting into fragments stand up to scrutiny.

Please do not put on balloon races
To raise money for charity!

Virtual balloon races

Of course in the age of the internet we can do anything virtually now. Including, would you believe it, balloon races.

A number of companies offer a variety of online options. These can be surprisingly sophisticated taking into account weather conditions etc. You can also decorate and customise the balloons.

Some of the larger charities have used this method of running a balloon release quite successfully.

Other balloon fundraisers

Here are some other great balloon  fundraiser ideas  which can be tweaked to make them suitable for village fetes, school fundraising, sports fundraising and church groups.

You just need plenty of puff!

Balloon animals

Balloon animals are always popular with children. The special balloons for modelling are available online at nearly all party and magic supplies stores.

Have a balloon artist at your fete producing balloon animals to order.

  • Have a balloon modelling workshop where people have a go at making their own designs
  • Have a balloon animal competition - you provide the balloons your contestants provide the twist.
  • Balloon stomp

    This is a great one for a school fete or sports fundraiser. It is not for the fainthearted however

    An area of a playing field is cordoned off or you could use a school hall or gym.

    Contestants pay a fee to have a balloon tied to each ankle. On a whistle all the contestants have to try to stamp on other people's balloons and pop them. if both of your balloons are popped you are out. The winner is the last one with a balloon on their leg.

    Balloon blast

    This is best played in a hall or gym.

    A large number of balloons are inflated and placed on the floor of your venue. A few special balloons have a winning ticket placed inside them prior to being blown up. Contestants pay a fee to enter. On a whistle all the contestants try to pop the balloons (no pins allowed) as quickly as possible to find the winning tickets. The contest ends when all the balloons are burst.

    Balloon pop

    This is really a less hectic version of Balloon Blast and is great for fetes etc.

    Balloons are attached to a fence, wall or a ceiling. People then pay a fee to pop one balloon with a pin on a stick. If the balloon contains a winning ticket they get a prize. Alternatively you could have them throw darts at the balloons.

  • Tip 1 - You may wish to put a ticket in all the balloons although most will say "Sorry Try Again" or something similar
  • Tip 2 - If you put balloons on the ceiling put some small squares of tissue inside when blowing them up. When the balloon pops this comes down like confetti adding to the fun.
  • Balloon count

    This is an idea borrowed from the caw showroom. A car is filled with balloons and contestants try to case how many. The closest wins a prize.

    This works particularly well at school fetes or church fairs if you can use the headmaster's or vicar's car.

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