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In the year 2022, Americans gave nearly $500 billion to charity. And, especially during the holidays, it’s easier than ever for people to be more willing to give!

Key takeaways

  1. Have a Thanksgiving giveaway on social media
  2. Raise money through a Giving Tuesday event
  3. Host a pumpkin carving contest
  4. Gather the community with a Harvest Dinner
  5. Pledge money through a Turkey Trot

If you have a fundraiser taking place in the near future, it’s important to find heartwarming ways to inspire gratitude and grace. I’ve hosted my fair share of corporate events and fundraising functions and discovered that the key lies in narrowing down the perfect theme!

Keep reading, and I’ll share the best Thanksgiving fundraising ideas for a successful event.

See Related: 5 Fresh Team Building Activities To Celebrate Thanksgiving At Work

#1. Have a Thanksgiving giveaway on social media

When it comes to fundraisers, it’s important to find the perfect idea that will help you reach your goals.

As a corporate emcee, I’ve seen the value of setting objectives for any and all events, from corporate events to online fundraising. That’s how you’ll be able to measure your success.

The key to your event’s success lies in the perfect speaker running the show

If you want to create a solid foundation for your upcoming event, don’t forget to book a Master of Ceremonies who can guide you to success. An excellent speaker will not only entertain the crowd but also help behind the scenes.

a girl working on a laptop fall festival thanksgiving themed bake sale sell tickets thanksgiving bake sale football season yard cleanupSometimes, simplistic ideas are better

Bigger isn’t always better. Though it’s never a bad idea to put together a large-scale event, complete with catered foods, live bands, and a hilarious emcee, maybe your budget doesn’t allow for that.

Instead, your Thanksgiving fundraiser can be just as successful if you host it online!

How to put together a social media giveaway

An online fundraising page is more powerful than you might think.

In today’s day and age, everyone likely has multiple social media channels. And it’s easier than ever to use that to your advantage!

By hosting a social media giveaway, you can engage with donors in the blink of an eye, no matter where they might be located. It’s a great way to reach a wider audience and collect more donations.

Online events can offer some amazing benefits

Unlike an in-person event, you can easily interact with countless individuals interested in your cause, all without the hassle of putting together a typical fundraising event.

A Thanksgiving-themed giveaway paired with an online campaign will be instrumental in generating buzz surrounding your cause while encouraging giving and rewarding donations.

#2. Raise money through a Giving Tuesday event

The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year is known as Giving Tuesday. This day is well-known to any fundraising guru and is perhaps one of the most valuable days for non-profits.

a sign that says give thanks pie eating contest local business entry fee sell tickets online donations food bank donate

Bonus: 7 Workplace Hospitality Tips From A Corporate Emcee

The perfect opportunity for your upcoming fundraiser

Giving Tuesday is usually one of the best days of the year for gathering donations.

It’s known as the Global Giving Day and is marked by people’s willingness to support important causes!

As we continue through the fall season and enter into the winter holidays, it’s important not to overlook this day, especially if you’re looking for an effective way to raise more money for your cause.

#3. Host pumpkin carving contests

Nothing screams “Thanksgiving” quite like carved squashes.

If you want to put together a fundraiser that will help you collect donations while playing into the comforting coziness of fall, this is one of the best ideas you can go for.

Putting together a pumpkin contest that’s fun for everyone

For this event, you can raise funds by charging a small entry fee for participants. You can also solicit donations with a pumpkin sale if people don’t want to bring their own.

Your team can help supply the tools for carving and (if there are a lot of participants) divide up the contest into different age groups or themes. That way, it’s a bit more fair.

Don’t forget to offer prizes to the best pumpkin carvings!

#4. Gather the community with a Harvest Dinner

The best fundraising events call upon warm feelings of camaraderie and teamwork in order to invoke feelings of need and gratitude. Gathering community members together for a Thanksgiving dinner is a great way to raise awareness for your cause in a comfortable environment while collecting money.

To raise funds, host your Thanksgiving-themed dinner at a local restaurant and start by selling tickets at the door.

a big thanksgiving dinner bake sale bonfire event annual giving haunted house bake sales small fee thanksgiving day cast votes donateMake it about more than just a holiday season meal

You can also gather sponsors for your event as you see fit and sell items like branded swag. Talk to local businesses and find more things to sell at your fundraiser, like specially curated gift baskets, homemade pumpkin pies, and other baked goods.

#5. Pledge money through a Turkey Trot

A-thons are one of the best ways to support your cause. It’s a great idea to consider!

Your Turkey Trot could be a 5k race or a walk-a-thon event (be sure to consider your audience.) All you need to do is charge a registration fee or gather money from pledges and peer-to-peer fundraising.

Don’t forget to offer some fun prizes along the way!

How to make your fundraising event stand out

If you want to host a truly remarkable and heartwarming fundraiser, you can’t neglect the basics.

There are a few KEY aspects that all great fall fundraising ideas have. And it’s important to incorporate them all if you want the evening to end in success and you hitting your donation goal!

Let me break it down with the acronym KEY: K – Keep your connections with existing donors, E – Empathize with your cause, and Y – Yearn for the power of gratitude.

K – Keep your connections with existing donors

If you want to raise money for your cause and make an impact, you need to have the resources to do just that!

You shouldn’t forget the goodwill of your past or existing donors. And Thanksgiving is the perfect time to rekindle that flame.

Now is the time to show your appreciation to your donors in order to encourage them to keep giving.

fresh pies and a sign apple cider rake a thon volunteer base sell pumpkins discount coupon most money farmer's market more donors t shirtE – Empathize with your cause

The core of anything related to fundraising is a cause you can truly get behind. It’s impossible to successfully raise money for something that you don’t believe in.

People usually give to non-profits or other fundraisers because of the emotional draw.

And the best way to play into this is by sharing the stories behind your cause.

People donate when they feel sympathy!

Y – Yearn for the power of gratitude

Positive emotions are powerful emotions. And gratitude is one of the most powerful of all!

In fact, there is plenty of research out there that shows how gratitude plays a pivotal role in things like willingness to give and generosity.

Be sure to constantly express your gratitude and appreciation. It’s also important for your donors and those who support your cause to understand that you truly appreciate them!

Wrapping up

One of the most important parts of the Thanksgiving holiday is giving. So, if you’re planning to host a fundraiser, it’s well worth it to make it about this gracious holiday!

Finding the perfect theme, along with an excellent event speaker, is the best for you to ensure your event’s success. That’s perhaps the best way to hit your donation goals!

Keep Reading: Your Guide To A Gala Dinner Emcee Script

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 For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.