With the holiday season on the horizon, it’s time to start planning and promoting your Christmas fundraisers! As we’re sure you already know, Christmas time is one of the best times to raise funds because of the sheer fact that people are just in the mood to give back.
Nearly one third of annual giving actually happens in December alone. Not only that, but 28% of nonprofits raise between 26%-50% of their annual funds from their year-end ask.
Yes, you read that right — up to 50%! If that doesn’t make you want to seriously up your Christmas fundraising game, we’re not sure what will.
Don’t let that pressure get to you though, let it motivate you. Holiday fundraising is a blast! To give you a little inspiration, our RallyUp team put our brains together to come up with 9 unique Christmas fundraising ideas that can almost guarantee to bring on the cheer… and the donations.
Christmas Fundraising Idea #1: Christmas Cookie Eating A-Thon
We all know that cookies are synonymous with the holidays. We can definitely thank Santa for that one! But, it’s not all chocolate chip cookies.
Christmas time is when the shortbread, gingerbread, peppermint patties, peanut butter blossoms, and holiday-shaped sugar cookies make their grand entrance.
Consider leveraging all this baking for a Christmas fundraiser. We know what you’re thinking…a bake sale, right? Think again.
We’re leaning more towards something more competitive–cookie eating a-thon! Bring the whole community together for an electrifying showdown. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Recruit your participants & choose a cookie: In typical a-thon fashion, you need competitors that will be willing to down as many cookies as they can for a good cause.
Get your cookie needs to go viral with a fundraising platform. For example, sites like RallyUp make it easy to share news with your database via email, on social media, and through text so people can register as participants. Make sure you nail down what type of cookies they’ll be eating too.
- Bring the supporters in: The more supporters your cookie competitors can get, the more funds you can raise. Encourage participants to recruit supporters to pledge on how many cookies they think they’ll eat. For example, if Jerry is doing the cookie eating a-thon and recruits 3 supporters that are pledging $5 per cookie he eats, and he eats 10 cookies, that’s $150 for just one competitor!
- Bake the cookies & get to eating: The day before your cookie eating a-thon, get your staff and volunteers together to bake all the cookies. Depending on how many participants you have, it might be worth it to look into buying Christmas cookies in bulk instead to save on time. On the day of your a-thon, pull up your campaign on RallyUp and start the tallying! Crown your winners and collect all your pledges based on how many cookies were gobbled up.
Christmas Fundraising Idea #2: Holiday Ornament Sale
Without a doubt, one of the most fun things to do with the family for Christmas is to put up the Christmas tree. Once the tree is up, that’s when you know it’s real!
And your Christmas tree just isn’t complete with one-of-a-kind ornaments that have memories tied to them. A lot of people have their “favorite” ornaments on the tree, and yours could be one of them if you hold a holiday ornament sale as one of your Christmas fundraisers.
Here’s how to pull it off:
- Get crafty: To sell Christmas ornaments, you have to make them first! This could go one of two ways:
- Gather your staff, volunteers, and friends/family to have an ornament making party! You can get a lot of the materials you’d need at a craft store, or even the dollar store — both are typically lower cost. Once you have your materials, get your DIY on with simple ideas like this.
- Invite the public to pay a fee and have ornament decorating stations. Each one offers a different, fun idea and they get to go home with more than one!
- Set up shop & sell: Got all your ornaments made? Pick a day that you’ll have your ornament sale in person and get an online shop going. It’s always a good idea to give people options to purchase, either in-person or online, so you get more reach with your campaign. With platforms that enable nonprofits to create online shops for free, it’s a no brainer.
Christmas Fundraising Idea #3: Gingerbread House Contest
You know the Holiday Gingerbread Showdown on Food Network that always comes around during Christmas time? Imagine if you had your very own version as a part of your Christmas fundraising efforts!
It would be a total hit. It’s not every day that people have the opportunity to build their own gingerbread houses and compete against others in their community for the top spot. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Rally up your judges & gingerbread chefs: In order to have an actual contest, you need judges! Consider recruiting high-profile people in your community to draw their larger following in to support. Think the mayor, news anchors, small business owners, police chiefs, etc. You can also take the same approach when looking for competitors. Most times, anyone will be game to do something like this for a charitable cause.
- Charge an entry fee & have people bet on a winner: In order for participants to enter the contest, they’ll have to pay a fee to compete. Offer a cool prize for the winner to incentivize people to participate too! Once you have your chefs lined up, get the community involved by having them bet on who will win. All proceeds go to your cause!
- Gather some gingerbread house kits & stream it live: Prior to the contest, purchase however many gingerbread house kits you need for all the competitors or see if they’d be willing to bring their own to save on costs. Consider livestreaming it so anyone, anywhere can tune in!
Christmas Fundraising Idea #4: A Night at the North Pole
This Christmas fundraiser is perfect for schools and churches that have a lot of family involvement! Bring the Polar Express right into your community with a next-level Christmas event called A Night at the North Pole.
Of course, larger-scale events like this take a little more effort and coordination, but their fundraising potential is unmatched. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Get creative with the activities: What’s going to make or break your event is the variety of fun Christmas activities that you’ll have there—both for kids and adults. Think about having an area for a snow machine, a hot chocolate/coffee vendor, a live band playing Christmas music, a coloring station with Christmas-themed pages, and of course an area for kids to take pictures with Santa and his elves.
- Sell tickets to your event & provide more opportunities for donations: In order to raise funds for your cause, sell tickets to your event (maybe $100 a head if everything inside is free) and give people other options to be able to donate more while they’re there. You could have a big raffle or even an auction on-site while also providing options to attend virtually.
Christmas Fundraising Idea #5: The Ultimate Christmas Bake-Off
You’ve probably noticed a theme with a lot of our Christmas fundraising ideas—competition. People live for that feeling of victory! And what would Christmas fundraising be without a Great British Baking Show style bake-off? Here’s how to pull it off:
- Find the best bakers in town: Just like in the Great British Baking Show, recruit some of the best bakers and chefs in town to participate in the bake-off. More often than not, they’ll be willing to join just to support a good cause. Choose 3 people and have them complete a challenge, AKA their own version of the same yummy Christmas treat.
- Charge a viewing fee & have people bet: Charge a fee for people to attend the bake-off in-person, and even a smaller fee for people to watch online via live streaming. Allow viewers the option to bet on a winner. If they bet right, the winner has to double what their supporter bet. All proceeds go to your organization!
Christmas Fundraising Idea #6: The Santa 5K
You’re probably already very familiar with walk-a-thons or 5K type fundraisers, right? To transform it into something more holiday-themed, make it a Santa 5K! What we mean by that is to have all the participants dress up as Santa Claus. Just imagine it, thousands of Santas walking down the street at the same time for charity. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Choose a location & gather up your Santas: The first thing you’ll need to do is secure a location. Get with city staff to see where you could have your 5K and what permits or special permissions you’ll need. Once the location is secured, promote it like crazy to get your Santa walkers! Even better, allow participants to create teams–it’s a great way to get more people involved and raise more money. A good start is to utilize a fundraising platform that enables your organization to promote your event and encourage participation from one simple place.
- Bring in some vendors/sponsors: A 5K-type charity fundraiser is never complete without the sponsors! Reach out to local businesses to see if they’d like to have a table at your event and charge a sponsorship fee. You could even consider offering multiple sponsorship packages at different prices that come with more marketing opportunities for them. Of course, this would be a part of your funds raised.
- Keep the fun going at the finish line: You know how some marathons have a nice, cold beer waiting for runners at the finish line? You could take the same approach, but make it festive with cookies, milk, etc. to reward your Santas for their hard work!
Christmas Fundraising Idea #7: Holly Jolly Olympics
Another holiday fundraising idea that involves a little bit more of physical activity is something we like to call the Holly Jolly Olympics. Think the regular Olympics, but Christmas style.
Charge a small fee for people to compete and then also a small fee for spectators to watch you raise money for your cause! If you want to make it extra lucrative for your nonprofit, consider selling tickets online. With that as an option you can simply provide a link on social media or through email or text marketing.
Here’s how to pull this Christmas fundraiser off:
- Get creative with the games: What’s going to make your Holly Jolly Olympics the most memorable is having fun, holiday-inspired olympic games for people to participate in. Consider having 10-15 different games that everyone gets to compete in and compare all their scores at the end to crown the winner. For example, you could have your competitors run through DIY obstacle courses, bob for apples, or even toss giant candy canes like horseshoes.
- Don’t forget about the kids: Obviously, this kind of fundraiser is one that could also be fun for kids. Consider having a section just for kiddos that have similar games, or even use the same games but at a different time.
- Reward your winners: As with any sort of competition, you’ll want to make sure your winners are rewarded when they take the top spots! Reach out to local businesses to see if anyone would be willing to donate gifts for your prizes, or even look into buying legitimate medals to hang around their necks.
Christmas Fundraising Idea #8: Light Up the Night Challenge for Charity
For many families, looking at Christmas lights is a tradition. Whether it be taking a walk down their neighborhood’s street or attending a local Christmas event.
Holiday lights and decorations are a huge part of what makes Christmas so enjoyable! So, add to the cheer by hosting a Christmas fundraiser that encourages people to put beautiful, twinkling lights up! Here’s how to pull it off:
- Designate a neighborhood & charge an entrance fee: First, get in touch with a handful of HOAs to see if any of their developments would be interested in participating in a charity event where homeowners would have to put Christmas lights up for people to come see. Choose one neighborhood to have your event in so you can charge a fee for people to come walk the neighborhood to see all the lights.
- Have neighbors compete: To make it more of a challenge, offer a prize for the best decorated house too! Having some sort of reward will encourage more people to participate. If there’s something cool on the line, they may be more keen.
Vote on the best house: When people walk into your Light Up The Night event, hand them a piece of paper that they can fill out, voting for their favorite house! Collect their responses at the exit and crown your winner.
Christmas Fundraising Idea #9: Rudolph’s Christmas Raffle
Raffles are one of our favorite fundraisers because they’re so versatile! Case in point, you can easily turn a standard raffle into a Christmas-themed one with some small adjustments. You’ll want to get your hands on some really good prizes to get as much interest as possible. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Gather the best raffle prizes: What makes a good raffle? The prizes. Think exclusive getaways or hotel stays, popular electronics, concert tickets, fancy restaurant gift cards, etc. Do everything you can to get the prizes donated! Again, a lot of times, businesses may be happy to donate items just to give back.
- Go digital to reach the masses: If you want your raffle to reach anyone, anywhere, you have to take the digital route. This means more than just posting on social media and sending an email–consider utilizing a tool that enables you to execute a raffle virtually. Some platforms give you the ability to offer packs of raffle tickets and automatically draw a winner at the end!
- Take the team route: To make your raffle even more fun, you can have donors create teams and compete to see who sells the most raffle tickets! With leaderboards brightly displayed, your supporters will be more fired up than ever to help you raise funds. Don’t forget to reward the top fund-raiser with a prize as well.
Christmas Fundraisers are Easier with RallyUp
We know Christmas fundraising isn’t all reindeer and chocolate chip cookies. It takes a ton of planning, setting up, and executing! Instead of doing everything manually, start using tools that were created specifically to help you pull off the most amazing Christmas fundraisers.
No matter what fundraiser you want to put on for the holidays, RallyUp can support you. Whether it’s the Santa 5K or the cookie eating a-thon, our online fundraising platform has all the functionality you need!