The Complete Holiday Fundraising Guide
Tips and Tricks to Ensure Fundraising Success
Fundraising can be a daunting task. The planning, executing, and collecting of funds can seem like an overwhelming process. The good news is that when done properly, a good fundraiser can bring in money, donations, and create projects that you never thought possible.
The best news is in this complete guide we will break down fundraising from start to finish to ease the process and set you up for success no matter what your goals are.
We will start by breaking down the reasons it is best to fundraise during certain times, like winter fundraising and holiday fundraising. Then, we will take you through the process of planning a successful fundraiser. Lastly, we will give you some ideas to separate your holiday fundraiser from any other.
Why Do Holiday Fundraising This Winter Season
Steps to Maximize Your Fundraising’s Success
1.) Define Your Holiday Fundraising Message & Cause
Your message, often times called your cause, needs to be precise and deliver a message that makes people want to help you. Having a message that resonates will not only help out your fundraising cause but will help you create the optimal strategy when you fundraise.
Here is an example:
Message A – We are running a toy drive at school X on December 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th and all toys will be donated to Children 4 Toys.
Message B – There are many kids this holiday year that will not receive any presents or gifts. Bring the holiday joy and spirit to those kids by donating toys you no longer use. We will be accepting toys on December 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th to bring holiday cheer to those who need it most this season.
In message A, all that was defined was when toys were being accepted. While it’s important to define to your audience how to help, nothing else was conveyed.. In message B however, the cause is defined, a reason to donate was given, and how to donate was told. This message is far more impactful and will lead to higher success in fundraising.
2.) Plan Your Winter Fundraiser Before You Start
- Define your target audience
- Create a realistic goal
- Define any spending budget
- Determine how people will be able to help
- If you are handling money, what will be your payment processing
- If you are hosting events, picking the venue
- When the fundraiser will start and finish
3.) Create a Realistic Budget
Next up is creating a realistic goal and budget for your holiday fundraiser. A lot of fundraisers fall short because of budgetary reasons. As a matter of fact, as many as 43% of organized fundraisers fail because of misuse of the budget, according to a recent study. According to the study, the biggest misuse of funds came from overestimating incoming dollars and donations.
When you are creating your budget, it is very important to use dollars you actually have and not to base it off of future donations or fundraising. If you do want to create a budget based on future dollars, then set goals and only use the money if certain milestones are met.
An example would be if we hit X dollars then we are going to host a dinner but if we hit Y dollars then we are going to host a gala; only start planning the events when you hit the right dollar amounts. The most common mistake is to host an event or spend money you don’t have, thinking the dollars spent will bring in a return on the investment. If your event doesn’t get you what you thought, that is when your fundraiser fails.
This is true even for smaller fundraisers or events. If you are raffling off items, offering rewards, or doing giveaways, make sure minimum thresholds are met and that those thresholds will cover the costs of your giveaways.
Holiday Fundraiser Ideas
If you are fundraising for a school, then concerts can be an amazing way to reach your goals. Meet with the music departments and do one concert a week highlighting the band, orchestra, choir, and school talent. You can charge a small amount at the door and do a raffle at the concert for extra money.
An oldie, but a goodie. Creating Santa’s workshop for children to come let Santa know what they want for Christmas is a great fundraiser. Getting in line and telling Santa their Christmas desires is free but be sure to take photos and charge a small amount for the photos. Parents will love being able to put the picture up on the fridge and the money earned will help your cause.
Bonus Tip: Hot Chocolate, popcorn, and other refreshments while waiting in line is a great way to earn a little extra during your workshop.
Holiday Fun Run or Walk
These are always fun and you can add fun prizes to make it even better. Fun runs and walks are perfect for charity causes but can work for any type of fundraising. Charge a fee to enter, walk, or run, and encourage people to dress up in a holiday outfit. Give out prizes for different categories. You can also ask around your community to see if anyone would want to sponsor the event.
If you are doing a school fun run and walk, have your students go out and get pledges. A great way to raise money is to ask for donations per step and hold a timed walk. Then your students can go back and tell friends and loved ones how many steps were walked or ran during the event and collect donations along the way.
Lastly, the Plain-and-Simple Year-End Ask
If you have the right message, simply asking for holiday, winter, or year-end donations can do the trick. Remember, we talked about this being the season of giving and a good time to donate for tax deductions. Simply asking for people to help out your cause during the end of year can be surprisingly effective.