According to the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE) nearly one-third of annual giving happens in December, with the last three days accounting for about 12% of yearly donations. In fact, 28% of nonprofits raise as much as 50% of their funding in December.
For these organizations, the holiday season is a make-or-break period, so making year-end Christmas fundraising campaigns as effective as possible is important.
To help, we’ve put together this guide that includes Christmas fundraising ideas, campaigns, and tips to help your nonprofit reach potential donors and make the most of the holiday season, so you can meet and exceed your fundraising goals.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Why Holiday Fundraising Is Important
Christmas is a time of year when people are typically thinking about giving back, and they are more likely to donate to a charity they feel is making a difference in the world.
For many nonprofits, December is the most important month for fundraising, and holiday fundraising plays a big part in helping them reach their year-end fundraising goals.
By running a holiday campaign, you can ensure that your organization is making the most of this important fundraising season, and you’re bringing in the funds it needs to continue operating.
Fundraising during the holidays can also be a great way to:
- Connect with potential donors who might not normally be interested in your nonprofit.
- Engage your existing donor base and show them how their support is making a difference. These Christmas fundraising campaigns provide an opportunity to build relationships with donors and keep them engaged with your organization.
How to Run a Successful Christmas Fundraising Campaign
If you’re looking to run a Christmas fundraising campaign, here are some tips to help make it a huge success.
Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone, so it’s important to start planning your Christmas fundraising campaign early.
Planning ahead will ensure you have enough time to develop a strategy and create materials. It will also allow you to:
Set a Goal
If you’re planning to launch a Christmas fundraising campaign, make sure to set a goal. This will help you measure the success of your campaign and ensure that you are on track to reach your goals.
For example, if your goal is to raise $10,000, you can track how much money you have raised at various milestones during the campaign. This will give you an indication of whether or not you need to make adjustments to your strategy in order to reach your goal. Moreover, setting a fundraising goal will also help to motivate and inspire your team of volunteers.
Develop a Strategy
To develop your strategy, answer these questions:
- Who will you target with your campaign?
- How long will the campaign run?
- What’s the key messaging (the hook) of the campaign? “Give time” is Charity Water’s hook and it’s pretty powerful.
- What kind of content will you use to promote the campaign?
- What platforms will you use to promote the campaign?
Answering these questions will help you create a plan for your campaign.
Create Engaging Content
Choose The Right Language
Research has shown that asking people to “Gift” rather than “Donate” to charities increased the chances they did by 68.8% and increased the amount given by between 22.9% and 94%.
The researchers believe this is because “gift” has positive connotations—it’s associated with warmth, happiness, and generosity—whereas “donation” has more neutral connotations. This suggests that simply changing the way you frame your ask can make a big difference in how much money you raise. So, if you want people to donate to your holiday campaign, try asking them to give a gift instead.
Choose the Right Platform
You can use many different platforms to promote your Christmas fundraising campaign, but it’s important to choose the ones that will best reach your target audience.
Social media might be a good option if you’re aiming for a younger demographic, but if you want to reach a wider audience, focusing on email marketing might be a better option.
Make it Easy to Donate
Finally, if you want people to donate to your Christmas campaign, you’ve got to make it easy! How?
- Include a donate button on your website and social media posts.
- Include links to your donation page in any email marketing campaigns you send out.
- Make sure your donation page is easy to use, allows donors to cover the processing fees, and donate monthly if they choose, like Sumac donation pages.
Simply embed the form on your nonprofit website and let donors fill it out and make a donation. Straight-through payment processing and seamless CRM integration ensures that all of your donor information is properly recorded so you can focus on what’s important – raising money for your cause.
5 Christmas Fundraising Campaigns to Inspire
Check out these examples of successful and popular Christmas fundraising campaigns from previous years:
#1 The Ever After Garden
Throughout the month of December each year, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity illuminates Grosvenor Square in Central London with thousands of white roses, called the “Ever After Garden.”
This powerful and moving campaign helps to raise awareness for the charity’s work, as well as vital funds. Each rose is purchased with a donation and dedicated to someone affected by cancer.
In 2021 over 25,000 roses were displayed. To date, the Ever After Garden has raised over £250,000 for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
#2 Christmas Date Night
Renew Youth Ministry raised money during the Christmas season by allowing parents to drop off their kids so they can have a date night, go shopping, have dinner – whatever!
#3 Toys for Tots
This campaign run by the Marine Corps Reserve has a clear and concise mission: to collect new, unwrapped toys and donate them to children in need. The tangible and measurable goal for the campaign helps to rally support and ensure that donations are put to good use.
The Toys for Tots website is easy to navigate and provides donors with all the information they need to get involved. To date, they have distributed 627 million toys to children in need, making it one of the most successful Christmas fundraising campaigns in the United States.
#4 Home For The Holidays
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the world’s leading pediatric research institutions. The hospital treats children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, and the organization relies on donations to keep its doors open.
Every year, St. Jude’s runs a holiday campaign to raise funds for the hospital. One of their most successful Christmas fundraising ideas was a video telling the story of a child who was treated at St. Jude’s and is now home for the holidays.
The video was shared on social media and email, which helped raise awareness and donations. The hospital’s holiday campaign is a great example of how to use video to engage potential donors.
#5 Brown County Humane Society
As part of their holiday fundraising appeal, the Brown County Humane Society put together a “Homeless Pet Holiday Wish List” that included items needed to care for the animals in their shelter.
This list was then shared on social media, email, and on their website, and donors were encouraged to purchase items from the list. The campaign culminated with a live Facebook feed of the animals picking out their favorite toys and gifts.
This was a fun and engaging way to show potential donors the impact of their donations and to encourage them to give.
Looking for more campaign ideas? Here are some of our favorite holiday fundraising campaigns.
10 Fundraising Ideas for Christmas We Love
There’s no time like the present to get inspired for Christmas fundraising! We gathered some of our favorite Christmas fundraising ideas to help get your creative juices flowing. Here they are:
#1 Polar Plunge
Looking for a unique and exciting way to raise funds for your nonprofit organization? The Polar Plunge is a one-of-a-kind event that challenges individuals and teams to take a dip in freezing cold water, all in the name of charity.
The Polar Plunge is one of the more adventurous fundraising ideas for Christmas and a great way to promote awareness and interest in your organization.
Participants collect pledges from family, friends, and co-workers prior to taking the plunge. Then, on the event day, they plunge into frigid water like a lake or ocean.
The challenge is not only to complete the plunge but to do so with style! Individuals and teams are encouraged to dress up in creative costumes, adding extra fun to the event.
#2 Christmas Bake Sale
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked goods wafting through the air? This holiday season, host a Christmas bake sale to get people in the holiday spirit and raise funds for your cause.
Set up a table or booth at a local holiday market or event and sell delicious Christmas treats like cookies, cakes, pies, and more. You can also partner with a local bakery or cafe and sell your baked goods there. Be sure to promote your bake sale in advance so people know where to find you.
#3 Breakfast with Santa
What could be more magical than having breakfast with the jolly man himself? A fun Christmas fundraising idea is to host a ‘Breakfast with Santa’ event, like La Riviere Recreation Centre did.
Not only will people love getting to enjoy a delicious festive meal with Old Saint Nick, but you can also use this opportunity to raise funds for your nonprofit. Charge an entry fee, sell tickets to a raffle, or set up a donation station where guests can give to your cause.
#4 Gift Wrapping Service
One of the most popular Christmas fundraising ideas is to offer a holiday wrapping service. There are a few different ways to set it up.
One option is to set up a booth at a local mall or shopping center. Using this method can help you connect with a large audience.
Another option is to offer the service at local businesses. This can be a great way to reach out to businesses in your community and let them know about your organization.
#5 Festive Fidos and Mistletoe Mutts
Who doesn’t love a cute pup in a Santa hat? This holiday season, use your furry friends to raise money for your nonprofit.
Host a pet photo shoot and charge a small fee for each pet that participates. 100% of the proceeds can go directly to your organization. Or you can hold a holiday-themed dog walk and collect donations from participants.
Don’t forget to promote your event on social media, through flyers and posters, and by word-of-mouth. You can even partner with a local pet store or dog park to help get the word out.
#6 Holiday-Themed Bingo Night
A holiday-themed bingo night is a great way to raise money for your nonprofit and have a lot of fun. You can sell tickets to the event, bingo cards, and concessions. You can also run an auction while people are playing bingo.
This is a great way to get people in the holiday spirit and raise money for your cause. You can decorate the hall with holiday decorations, and play holiday music. This will be a night that everyone will enjoy and will be a great way to raise money for your nonprofit.
#7 Poinsettia Sale
Since poinsettias are the most popular holiday plant, Hospice of Acadiana organized a poinsettia sale to raise money during the holidays.
You could sell poinsettias at Christmas markets, door-to-door, or online. Christmas markets are a great place to sell them because people are already in the holiday spirit and looking for Christmas decorations.
You can also sell poinsettias online through sites like Etsy. Whatever method you choose, make sure to price your poinsettias competitively and advertise them well.
#8 Holiday Lights Tour
People love to see holiday lights, and you can use this to your advantage by organizing a holiday lights tour. This can be a guided tour where people hop on a bus or van and are driven to different holiday light displays.
This is a great opportunity to partner with a local business, like a tour company, to help you with the logistics. You can also sell tickets or collect donations to help cover the event’s costs. And don’t forget to promote your event on social media and through word-of-mouth to get as many people as possible to participate.
#9 Dining For Good
By partnering with local restaurants like Meals on Wheels did, you can hold special Christmas fundraising events where a portion of the proceeds from each meal goes to support your nonprofit’s work.
This is a win-win situation for everyone involved: diners get to enjoy a delicious meal while supporting a cause they care about, and your nonprofit gets much-needed financial support.
Plus, dining for good is a great way to raise awareness about your nonprofit’s work and build relationships with potential donors.
Every year, the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa holds a Skiathon to raise money for the charity featuring an exceptional ski and dinner experience with some of Canada’s most famous ski legends.
Consider hosting a skiathon for your nonprofit. They are a perfect wintertime alternative to marathons. Charge an entry fee for participants and get participants to collect donations. You can also partner with local businesses to offer hot chocolate, and snacks.
Christmas Fundraising Channels
There are many different Christmas fundraising channels that nonprofits can use to raise money. Paying attention to what’s current can help you be more successful in your holiday fundraising efforts. Keep these channels in mind:
With the rise of social media, more and more nonprofits are using online Christmas fundraising campaigns to reach potential donors.
You can use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness for your campaign and solicit donations.
- Create a holiday-themed campaign
- Create engaging graphics to make your campaign stand out
- Use hashtags to help to spread the word
- Run social media ads that target potential donors and ask them to consider supporting your cause
- Share updates on your campaign
- Don’t forget to thank donors for their support
With a little creativity, you can use social media to great effect this holiday season.
Email marketing can be a great way to reach potential donors who might not be active on social media.
Create a holiday-themed email template and use it to send out updates on your campaign. Be sure to include a call-to-action and a link to your donation page. Be sure to personalize your emails and make them as relevant as possible. You can also use email marketing to thank your donors for their support.
A landing page is a great way to centralize all of your Christmas fundraising efforts. Include a brief description of your campaign, information on how donors can support you, and links to your social media channels. Be sure to include a donate button so that potential donors can give with just a few clicks.
SMS or text message marketing can be a great way to reach potential donors who might not be active on social media or don’t engage with email on a regular basis. Create a holiday-themed SMS campaign and use it to send out updates on your progress. Make sure to include a call-to-action and a link to your donation page. You can also use SMS marketing to thank your donors for their support.
Sending out appeal letters to potential donors is more costly, but stats show it gets a higher response rate than email marketing. You can use creative holiday-themed appeal letters to solicit donations. Need some inspiration? Here’s a Brilliant Holiday Fundraising Letter that Generated 875% ROI
Of course, mass mailing can be expensive, so it’s important to target potential donors carefully. But if you’re looking for Christmas fundraising ideas, an appeal letter campaign can be a great way to raise much-needed funds.
Event Promotion Sites
The holiday season is a great time to host an event to engage your supporters and raise funds for your nonprofit. There are many ways to do this, from throwing a holiday party to hosting a concert or performance. We’ve also got a long list of Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits.
If you’re hosting a holiday fundraiser event, be sure to promote it on popular event sites like Eventbrite and Meetup.com. Creating an event listing is easy and free, and you’ll be able to reach a large audience of potential donors. Be sure to include all the important details about your event, such as the date, time, location, and how to RSVP.
No matter how you choose to fundraise this holiday season, be sure to put your donor’s needs first. Make it easy for them to donate and be sure to thank them for their support. With a little planning and creativity, you can make this holiday season your most successful yet.
By using a combination of these fundraising ideas for Christmas, you can ensure that your holiday campaign is a success.
Christmas is a great time to raise money for your nonprofit, and there are so many creative ways to do it. These are just a few fundraising ideas for Christmas that will help you meet and exceed your fundraising goals. For even more ideas, check out 10 Incredibly Successful Holiday Fundraising Campaigns.