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11 Fail-Proof Ideas for Holiday Fundraisers

Snowman representing the importance of holiday fundraising for nonprofits

With the holidays just around the corner, spirits are high, our sense of community is strong and people are on the hunt for fun, festive activities—especially when they’re for a good cause. These holiday fundraisers are sure to help you spice up your year-end giving season!

1. Polar plunge challenge

While the concept of giving money to jump into a freezing body of water may not sound very appealing to some, this fundraising trend has become wildly popular in recent years. Choose a local river or lake (get permission first, of course) and watch your daring supporters take the plunge. Family members and friends who prefer to stay dry can also get involved by sponsoring someone’s jump.

2. Cookie decorating contest

One of the best parts of the holidays is all the sweet treats that come with it. Buy or make plain sugar cookies, then set up tables with icing, candy and other toppings. Let your donors get creative. At the end, decide on a winner and hand out a festive prize!

3. Gingerbread houses

While we’re on the subject of cookies, kids and parents alike will love decorating their own gingerbread house! You can get pre-assembled houses complete with all the decorating goods for as little as $5 at most grocery stores. After, families can take their creations with them to adorn their homes (or, more realistically, to eat).

4. Snowman contest

If your climate allows for it, bring your fundraiser outside! Pick (or plan for) a snowy day and have donors build their best snowmen. Provide all the snowman essentials (buttons, carrots, scarves and mittens) and something to warm up with after.

5. Caroling

Gather a group of music-loving volunteers and take them caroling around town for donations. Age and skill won’t matter as long as everyone is in the holiday spirit. This is an awesome team and community building activity, and you’ll be surprised by the donations you receive from delighted listeners along the way.

6. “Giving tree”

If your organization helps individuals and families, consider setting up a giving tree in a heavily trafficked area of your space. The “ornaments” are pieces of paper that give information about a person or family, like their names, ages, and what they want or need for Christmas. Donors then choose an ornament from the tree and buy the gifts listed on it. Be sure to have a designated drop-off space for the gifts and, if possible, show donors the direct impact they’ve made on the people they’ve sponsored through photos and letters. Make it personal!

7. Wreath making

Crafting is huge around the holidays, so gather your donors to create their own wreaths! All you’ll need to provide is a plain wreath and fun accents like holly, ribbon, pine cones and glitter. Consider hanging them up around your office, or donate them to families or organizations in town.

8. Movie screenings

Freeform is streaming Christmas movies 24/7 throughout all of December, so check the schedule online and choose a good night to show one on the big screen. Invite donors to bring a blanket and come enjoy their favorite films.

9. Hot chocolate bar

Buy hot chocolate mix in bulk and make enough to fill up a few crock pots or carafes. Provide lots of mix-ins and toppings like marshmallows, candy canes and whipped cream, and, if you’re feeling extra festive, make peppermint and cinnamon flavored cocoa to serve alongside the original.

10. Bake sale

The classic bake sale remains a fun, efficient way to fundraise at any event. Price each baked good, set up a table near the entrance with a big sign and let volunteers and employees sell their favorite holiday treats to land some extra donations.

11. Ugly sweater party

What’s better than a regular holiday party? An ugly sweater holiday party (by the way, National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is a thing). Have your guests arrive in outrageous sweaters and award prizes to the funniest, ugliest and most decked-out outfits you see. You can also have everyone vote for a winner and encourage them to turn in donations along with their ballots.

With these ideas as inspiration, you can start planning your best holiday fundraising season yet! And, don’t forget to combine any (or all) of these three ideas with the events listed above!


This article by  was published on Nonprofit Hub. Read it on their site.