Every year, come December, the holiday season (also known as the “giving season”) reinvigorates our sense of kindness, compassion, and generosity towards our fellow humans. People feel motivated to give and end up contributing lump-sum amounts in just a few short weeks to causes that are close to their hearts.
Did you know?
According to Double the Donation, 30% of annual giving takes place in December. Moreover, about 10% of all annual donations come in the last three days of the year.
Saying that the year-end giving season is important is an understatement. For nonprofits and charities, end-of-the-year fundraising can mean the difference between a successful year or having to deal with difficult financial times.
To capture your audience’s imagination, your fundraising campaigns need to stand out and be memorable. In this article, you will learn a few popular ways to raise funds for your nonprofit during this holiday season.
Here are 5 popular fundraising ideas for the holiday season:
1. Gift matching programs
Gift matching programs allow you to double your donations. Many large corporations have gift matching programs set up that most donors are not familiar with. According to statistics from Double the Donation, an estimated $2 to $3 billion is donated through gift matching programs annually and approximately $4 to $10 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed per year.
An awareness gap in the market is the number one reason for this. Donors aren’t aware that they are eligible for gift matching programs and are not taking the extra step to submit requests to their companies.
One of the things that your nonprofit can do is build awareness about these programs and encourage donors to reach out to their Human Resource departments to understand if their companies have ongoing gift-matching programs.
Once contributors have made their donations, use the ‘Thank you’ screen to educate them about your cause and the impact of their donations.
Your nonprofit or charity can also reach out to the Human Resources departments of larger corporations directly and see if you can find partners to match donations you receive during the holidays. This is a great fundraising opportunity—and one you should not miss out on.
2. Christmas and New Year 50/50 raffle
A virtual Christmas or New Year-themed fundraising event such as a 50/50 raffle is a fun way to raise money for a cause. The concept is simple and the results are rewarding for both the charity and donors alike.
As tickets are sold, generated revenues are added to a community pot. This continues until the final weeks, days, and hours of the 50/50 raffle. One lucky winner takes half of the total pot while the remaining half goes to the charity.
In most cases, the size of the winnings are life-changing amounts and allow donors to benefit in two ways: by supporting a great cause and earning a chance to win a great cash prize.
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3. Plan a giveaway or sweepstakes
A giveaway or sweepstakes is a super effective way to encourage donors to support your nonprofit during the giving season. Successful sweepstakes can give you enough leads to last a full quarter too! As a result of the sweepstakes, your charity receives valuable information about your donors that allow you to improve your marketing campaigns so they are more effective. And the best part? Contests and sweepstakes witness immediate results!
There are a handful of steps that you need to take to create an effective giveaway. These include getting clear about the contest goals, choosing the prize, determining start and end dates, setting up the giveaway, and finally picking and announcing the winners.
Once everything is set up, go heavy on the promotion so people know about the contest. You can run a campaign on social media that informs your audience about the enticing giveaway and send out emails to your existing email list. It is a good idea to find relevant Facebook groups and share information about the giveaway and reach out to influencers for shout-outs.
4. Holiday-themed Catch the Ace fundraiser
Another great idea is to create a holiday-themed Catch the Ace fundraiser for the holiday season. It is similar to a traditional 50/50, but with a fun twist. It offers participants a chance to win twice each week.
Every week, participants buy tickets for a chance to win the weekly prize. The lucky winner is invited to draw a card from the standard 52-card deck. If they draw the Ace of Spades, they also win the jackpot along with the weekly prize.
Otherwise, the jackpot continues to grow until the Ace of Spades is found. The jackpot has no caps or limits—so it can get really big. The calculation looks like this: each week the winner takes 20 percent of the prize money. 50 percent of it goes to charity, and the remaining 30 percent is added to the growing jackpot.
Since the size of the winnings is life-changing, there isn’t a better time than the holiday season to raise funds through Catch the Ace.
5. Storytelling campaigns on social media
Powerful stories evoke strong emotional responses such as sympathy, inspiration, compassion—and most importantly, action on the donor’s part. Stories connect you with your audience.
As a charity, you are in the business of changing lives. Start by telling compelling stories about the lives you have touched and design a Christmas campaign around it. Make sure to add videos and photos to set the campaign apart, capture attention, and put your fundraising efforts in motion.
The key to remember here is that regardless of the number of stories you choose to share, use fascinating ones and share them widely for a deeper impact. You should also add a clear call-to-action and post consistently and provide regular updates to donors so they stay updated.
The months of November and December are the perfect time of the year to advance your cause. It’s a good idea to start planning early and choose fundraising ideas that would resonate with your audience. Get creative, focus on personalized communication, and don’t forget to put your donors at the heart of everything you do.
It is important to remember that an entertaining and memorable fundraising idea will help your nonprofit stay in the minds of your donors during the Giving Season. Try combining two or more ideas from this list for maximum impact and throw some creativity of your own too.