85% of companies in the United States hold holiday events each and every year. These festive months are undoubtedly an important time of the year when it comes to functions and fundraisers. However, coming up with your own unique, enticing, and entertaining idea for a holiday fundraiser can be more challenging than you might expect.
At a glance
- Have a gingerbread house decorating contest with some friendly competition
- Host an ugly sweater party that inspires unique style
- Run a Christmas Walk-a-thon that gets people moving
- Throw a holiday gala with various auctions
- Sell tickets to a delicious Christmas cookie bake sale
It’s not easy to successfully juggle meeting your donation goals and properly entertaining your guests at once. But without the perfect theme for your winter wonderland fundraiser, it’ll be hard to keep donors interested!
Keep reading, and I’ll share my favorite holiday fundraising ideas as a professional corporate emcee.
See Related: 5 Thanksgiving Fundraising Ideas For Your Next Corporate Event
#1. Have a gingerbread house decorating contest with some friendly competition
The holiday season is the most gracious and heartwarming time of the year. These cozy months inspire giving and empathy in us all, and that’s why fundraisers do so well during the holidays!
There are so many fantastic Christmas fundraising ideas that can help your cause take off. And finding a truly engaging and unique holiday fundraising idea will create the foundation for your holiday fundraiser success.
Here’s an idea for a holiday fundraiser with a sweet edge
Hosting a fun gingerbread house contest not only utilizes some engaging, friendly competition but also lets your guests walk away with an extra tasty treat. Plus, gingerbread houses are so iconic during the holiday season.
Supply things like gingerbread for the house walls, and plenty of candies for decorations. Don’t forget some tools that will make constructing a bit easier.
To raise money, charge an entry fee for participants to cover things like supplies and then some extra to go towards your fundraising goals.
Then, at the end of it all, award the best gingerbread creations with a prize, and let everyone dig into their sweet builds. Tasty!
#2. Host an ugly sweater party that inspires unique style
No matter how stylish you may consider yourself, everyone has an ugly Christmas sweater hiding away in the depths of their closets. And if you don’t, it’s easy to pick one up at a thrift store just in time for your ugly sweater fundraising party.
Regardless, it’s time to showcase your edgy holiday style with an uncomfortably fuzzy turtleneck!
For this holiday fundraiser, be sure to set up your donation channels, and encourage your party guests to send funds to support the cause while enjoying a night of fashionable giving.
#3. Run a Christmas Walk-a-thon that gets people moving
Even though it’s winter, making your holiday fundraiser outdoors can help encourage better health and wellness while raising money for a good cause. I’m talking about a walk-a-thon! However, this Christmas fundraising idea works best in warmer climates.
To make your Christmas walk-a-thon a bit more engaging, encourage your participants to dress up in their favorite holiday outfits. You’re bound to see more than one Santa Claus on the streets!
To raise money, you can either collect donations through registration fees or through pledges. Find a way that works best for your holiday fundraising events.
#4. Throw a holiday gala with various auctions
Though many holiday fundraising ideas are simplistic, cozy, and laid-back, you can instead make it a bit more glamorous.
Set a fundraising goal complete with a fundraising thermometer to visually showcase the progress of your efforts. Encourage your guests to donate so that you can reach your fundraising goals by midnight.
To host a successful gala, you can’t forget the details like delicious catered meals from local restaurants and luxuriously elegant decorations. Just be sure you don’t forget the most essential element – an enticing event speaker!
A Master of Ceremonies will guide your fundraising gala to success
A great emcee will not only ensure your guests are entertained from start to finish, but they’ll also smoothly and efficiently guide the festivities.
An emcee is even more essential if you plan to incorporate a charity auction in your gala to help raise money. And an auction can help you bring in a bit more money to support your cause while further engaging your guests.
#5. Sell tickets to a delicious Christmas cookie bake sale
It’s time to warm your oven and the hearts of your event attendees. A Christmas cookie-baking party is perfect for encouraging people to get together for a heartfelt event while raising money for your fundraiser.
Charge a few dollars or so for entry, and continue to accept donations as the party progresses. Plus, these holiday treats will ensure your guests are fed and satisfied, thus further compelling them to give.
After all, it’s hard to feel charitable on an empty stomach!
Don’t forget to add a hot chocolate stand so that you can include the perfect pairing for these sugary Christmas treats.
If you want to change it up a bit, you can instead host an ornament decorating party. Anything holiday-themed is always a “go”!
How to successfully raise money at your fundraiser during the HOLIDAY season
Hosting a fundraising event can be a long, complex process, but it is so rewarding in the end – especially if you hit your donation goals without a hitch.
Particularly during the holiday season, your fundraising efforts can be much more meaningful if you know how to put them together right.
During these cozy, heartwarming months, donors are more likely than ever to whip out their wallets and contribute to your cause.
Now is the time to host a holiday fundraising event for the books
In fact, one-third of annual giving happens in the month of December. It sure is worth it to take advantage of this particular time of year if you’re looking to put together a fundraiser!
Though it might be substantially easier to garner donations during the holidays, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically guaranteed to have a successful event on hand. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that can help ensure your event’s success.
Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of passion and pizazz to propel your holiday fundraising campaign
As an experienced Master of Ceremonies, I’ve hosted plenty of holiday corporate events and fundraisers. Over the years, I’ve learned plenty about what it takes to put together a great fundraiser.
Let me break it all down with the acronym HOLIDAY: Highlight the cause you’re promoting, Organize and strategize outreach efforts, Liven up your chosen entertainment, Involve the community around you, Diversify possible donation channels, Appreciate and recognize those who contribute, and Year-end appeal and the holiday spirit.
Keep reading to learn more!
#1: H – Highlight the cause you’re promoting
The foundation of any fundraiser is the cause propelling it forward. And you need to capitalize upon your cause if you want to truly make an impact!
To increase donations, awareness, and interest, you need to create a compelling narrative that paints a vivid picture of your cause for your event attendees.
Don’t forget to utilize things like videos, personal anecdotes, and testimonials to call upon the emotions of your guests in order to help them connect to your cause. Be clear about how their support directly affects your cause and how they can really make a difference!
#2: O – Organize and strategize outreach efforts
Your holiday fundraising idea won’t be truly successful if you don’t take adequate time and effort behind the scenes to get everything ready. Planning and organization are critical.
You should develop a comprehensive marketing plan that outlines things like social media outreach, partnerships with people who can promote your cause, and general marketing strategies.
You can’t expect to raise funds and awareness if your outreach campaigns don’t reach the people who can make that difference!
#3: L – Liven up your chosen entertainment
Though you may be primarily concerned with the donations that you get at your holiday fundraising event, that’s not all you need to think about.
After all, all fundraisers are still events that should provide guests with a memorable and exciting experience!
Create a colorful event by incorporating things like holiday decorations, holiday music, and plenty of interactive activities that keep people entertained. But the key to lively and enjoyable entertainment lies in booking the perfect event emcee.
With a great Master of Ceremonies running the show, you can rest assured that your guests enjoy a positive, entertaining, and enlightening experience
By having an emcee host your fundraiser, your event will run smoothly and seamlessly. Even if something goes awry, a great MC can get everything back on track without even a small hiccup!
#4: I – Involve the community around you
Holiday fundraisers rely on community members in order to raise money and meet donation goals. You need to understand the importance of the people around you and your nonprofit organization.
Start by establishing partnerships with local businesses, schools, and other organizations. Encourage them to participate in the event, interact with the cause, or contribute in terms of sponsorships.
It’s also a good idea to utilize the local community to help raise awareness for your cause!
#5: D – Diversify possible donation channels
You need to be efficient in terms of gathering donations. It’s important to diversify your donation channels if you want to give community members and other supporters as many chances as possible to contribute to your cause.
Be sure to implement user-friendly online donation platforms that make it easy for any and everyone to support your cause. Things like donations via text messages or mobile apps as well as QR codes can make a world of difference in modernizing your fundraiser.
Nothing would be worse than losing potential funds just because someone can’t figure out how to donate!
#6: A – Appreciate and recognize those who contribute
You need to maintain an air of positivity surrounding your cause. You also need to be sure to appreciate donors and supporters, which will encourage them to give more now and in the future!
From sending personalized thank-you notes to sending sponsor shoutouts on social media, finding ways to appreciate and recognize your donors will not only help you express your genuine gratitude but will also reinforce the positive impact of donations.
#7: Y – Year-end appeal and the holiday spirit
As I said, the end of the year is an important time for giving. Take advantage of these holiday months to gather as many donations as you can.
Things like implementing a year-end countdown to instill a sense of urgency or leveraging the season’s festive feeling can help expand your fundraising efforts.
The best holiday fundraising ideas will create the foundation for a successful venture. Raising funds to support your cause is easiest when you know how to use holiday cheer to tap into the gracious nature of the holiday season!
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Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.