Nearly 31% of all annual giving in the U.S. occurs in December. Much of this is attributed to donors looking for those big tax breaks at year-end, but those who celebrate Christmas also tend to be more likely to give during this time of year. The spirit of Christmas is all about love, family, kindness, and giving, after all!
If your nonprofit and your donors honor this holiday, you may want to celebrate this season of giving with a Christmas fundraiser of your own. But where to begin? We’ve assembled a list of our 20 favorite Christmas fundraising ideas to get you started!
Top 20 Christmas Fundraising Ideas
These holiday fundraising ideas for nonprofits are specific to Christmas and the celebrations surrounding it. Looking for more giving season event ideas? Check out this blog!
1. Matching Gifts
Make sure your donors’ Christmas gifts (aka donations) to your organization go twice as far with donation matching.
You have two options when it comes to setting up matching gifts. One, you can reach out to your major supporters or area businesses and see if they will take part in a matching gift challenge. There are many ways to run these challenges, but the most popular is to have an individual or company pledge to match all donations given to your nonprofit either up to a certain amount or during a specific time frame. For example, one of your board members
The other option is to collaborate with large corporations that have matching programs set up. This means they donate the same amount of money that their employees give on their own. Donorbox makes this easy thanks to our integration with Double the Donation!
Aspiranet is using Donorbox to raise funds for their Holiday Gift Campaign. The embedded matching gift widget in their form enables donors to type in their companies’ names and instantly check whether their donations will be matched. If this option and a company are selected, the donor will be sent the steps needed to have their gift matched after a donation is made.
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After setting up your matching gift options, make sure your marketing efforts highlight the donation matching program to your supporters and donors. Having the chance to have their gift to make double the impact will encourage many to donate!
2. Gift Wrapping Service
This is an excellent Christmas fundraising idea, especially if you’re a local nonprofit, a faith-based organization, or a school. Many people enjoy wrapping gifts for holidays, but there are also many people who would gladly pay to have someone else do it!
You can take this idea one step further and host a gift wrapping party following these steps:
- Get several volunteers on board.
- Schedule a day close to the holidays during which people from your local community can come and get their gifts wrapped.
- Try and get wrapping supplies (wrapping paper, boxes, tape, scissors, bows, etc.) donated by a corporate partner so you maximize the donation amount.
- Make the atmosphere festive and inviting with some Christmas decor, carols, and lights.
- Charge a small fee for every gift wrapped.
Pro tip: Make it easy to collect on-site payments with a donation kiosk using the Donorbox Live™ app! Simply set up a Live™ campaign in your Donorbox account, download the app to your preferred iPad or Android tablet, pair it with a card reader device, and you’re ready to go. Your attendees simply swipe, dip, or tap their card, smartwatch, or smartphone to pay for their wrapped gifts or make an additional donation!
3. Holiday Gift Drive
Collecting toys and other gifts for those in need during the holiday season is a popular Christmas fundraising idea. Have you considered taking your next drive online?
Instead of (or even in addition to) asking donors to select, purchase, and drop off physical gifts at a designated location, create an online fundraising form to collect monetary gifts. Then gather a few staff members or volunteers to use the funds raised to purchase physical items, wrap them up, and distribute them to area children and families. You can even take this one step further and purchase holiday meals, decorations, and more for your recipients!
Check out how Heartland Hope Mission raises funds for their Christmas program using Donorbox. They have paired each suggested gift amount with details about the number of families and children those dollars will support this holiday season. These funds are used to purchase toys, meals, and more for these families!
4. Ugly Sweater Party & Contest
Very few things say Christmas like ugly Christmas sweaters! A lot of people have a Christmas sweater lying around, so this is a fun and easy Christmas fundraising idea.
Instead of selling tickets (but you can do that, too!), have participants donate to enter your party and take part in an ugly sweater contest. The winner can receive a portion of the proceeds or any other prize you come up with.
Pro tip: You could even take your ugly sweater contest online! Share images of your party-goers in their holiday best on your social media, then ask your followers to choose a winner by voting for their favorites, boosting awareness and engagement.
5. Polar Plunge
Take the fun with Christmas fundraising ideas to the next level with this one. Many Polar Plunge event organizers have discovered that people love the daring aspect of doing something they wouldn’t ordinarily do, especially if it’s for a good cause.
Polar plunges can help raise funds for your nonprofit in the following ways:
- Participants pay a flat entrance fee.
- Participants solicit donations through pledges. The pledges will often pay for the amount of time (in minutes or seconds) the plunger lasts in the water.
We recommend the second way as it generally gathers a larger amount of donations.
Start recruiting participants at least several weeks in advance, and if possible, get a couple of local celebrities to participate. Make sure to heavily publicize your event with flyers, press releases, and a social media campaign.
A Polar Plunge is also a great opportunity to let others fundraise for your nonprofit. All you need to do is create a peer-to-peer campaign and invite supporters to create their own fundraising pages to raise money. Donorbox Peer-to-Peer automates most of the process and makes it easy for both nonprofits and their fundraisers.
In the example below, fundraiser Peter Aiello raised funds by plunging for Magic Years Cooperative Nursery School.
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6. Holiday Soiree
A holiday soiree can be as fancy or low-key as you wish. Host a nice dinner party and invite all of your closest supporters, your board, volunteers, local businesses, etc., or host a full-blown gala and invite the entire community to attend!
People expect to attend at least several dinners and dinner parties during holidays, and many prefer this atmosphere to the Santa Village or Polar Plunge, so this idea is great for nonprofits of all sizes.
Work with local restaurants, museums, galleries, and orchestras, to secure the space, food, and entertainment. Keep it holiday-themed by serving eggnog, mulled cider, and other seasonal favorites and entertaining your guests with Christmas music.
You can also pair this soiree with an auction or a raffle to give your fundraising a boost.
Donorbox Events makes it easy to sell tickets to your soirees, galas, and other holiday events online with customizable forms, easy tax-deduction calculation tools, ticket sale limits and deadlines, and so much more. You can even create promo codes to boost ticket sales and check in your guests within the platform!
Take a look at how Greater Irving Republicans (GIR) uses Donorbox Events to sell tiered tickets to their Christmas Gala. Not only can you purchase an individual or couple’s ticket within the form, but you can also purchase an event sponsorship or become a member.
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7. Christmas Cookie Swap
Baking Christmas cookies is a tasty and nostalgic tradition for many during this holiday season. Why not organize a bake-off, a bake sale, or even a Christmas Cookie Swap fundraising event?
A Christmas Cookie Swap is a great way to spread some holiday cheer. Simply ask each person or family attending your event to bake a few dozen of their favorite cookies to bring with them. Then, every attendee gets the chance to take a cookie or two from everyone else, ensuring they leave with a cookie plate full of different types and flavors!
Want to take it one step further? Add a bake-off element and ask each guest to vote for his or her favorite cookie! The winner gets a prize, of course.
This Christmas holiday fundraising idea is particularly useful for smaller nonprofits, churches, or schools. If your nonprofit is bigger, and you have access to a large network of volunteers, you can organize several of these events across a couple of days in multiple cities.
Pro tip: If you’d like to make this a free event, you can still raise money through paid activities like gingerbread house decorating or a craft area for the kids. You can also sell things like winter drinks, baking supplies, snacks, and more – check out this blog for ideas on what to sell at your next fundraising event.
8. Storytelling Campaign
Compelling stories, especially ones accompanied by videos and photos, can really set your Christmas fundraising efforts apart.
Design a Christmas campaign using stories of the people your nonprofit organization helps. Whether you pick seven, 10, or 12 stories, the important thing is to use inspiring stories and share them widely.
What makes a storytelling campaign successful?
- They use powerful stories that tug at our heartstrings.
- There is a clear call to action.
- The need is clearly identified and specific.
- Social media shareability options are available for supporters to spread the word.
- Updates to donors are frequent.
This Christmas fundraising idea is great for nonprofits of all sizes! If you have the capacity and talent on your team to write, produce, and share the stories yourself, you don’t need much of a budget to pull this off.
Ski-a-thons are an amazing holiday fundraising idea for winter sports lovers and snow enthusiasts out there. They also make for a perfect wintertime alternative to marathons, fun runs, and 5ks!
These ski-a-thons can be held like a traditional race, or you could simply invite skiers to hit the slopes for fun. Charge an entry fee for participants and offer discounts if they’re bringing their friends and family. Use peer-to-peer fundraising to allow your participants to collect donations and give your fundraising efforts a boost.
10. “Offset Your Christmas”
This Christmas fundraising idea is a great way to attract the conscious consumer. More and more individuals are worried about the environmental footprint of Christmas: the Christmas tree, wasted food, excessive shopping, just to name a few big issues.
If you’re an environmental charity, run a ‘tree twinning’ campaign. Ask donors to give the price of their Christmas tree in support of planting more trees or other environmental needs.
Also popular are the ‘one-for-one’ types of campaigns. When a donor purchases a product, they are providing that same (or a similar) product to someone in need. Consider doing this with winter gloves, scarves, or hats, or even a Christmas meal.
11. Christmas Cards
Greeting cards are highly popular this time of year, with many people sending them out to their friends and family. Why not take advantage and sell Christmas cards to raise funds?
There are many ways to execute this Christmas fundraising idea, including –
- Designing your own Christmas cards and selling them online. These can have a general Christmas theme or be tailored to your own nonprofit (e.g. animal-focused cards for animal shelters, etc.) If your budget allows, commission your own artists and photographers to produce a suitable design for the cards.
- Allowing your logo to be used on commercial cards. This is a more hassle-free option, but you do receive only a percentage of sales (and you often share the card with other nonprofits).
- Create your own handmade cards. This is an excellent option if you’re a smaller charity with a few dedicated volunteers ready to cut and place stickers and images. This is also a great option for schools – let kids get involved in crafting!
Here’s an example of a crowdfunding campaign page to help spark creativity in you for your Christmas card campaign.
Nonprofit Lia’s Wings sells packs of their Christmas cards using a Donorbox fundraising page. Not only can you easily select how many cards you’d like to purchase, but you can also select the design you’d like featured on your Christmas cards in the drop-down menu.
12. Christmas Caroling
Christmas caroling can be another effective Christmas fundraising idea. This type of fundraising event is perfect for church choirs, high school clubs, local music talent, and groups of family and friends.
Choose a night, gather up your carolers, and stroll around town performing for local businesses, senior centers, and even individuals. Don’t want to travel? Pick one location and invite the community to come to you!
Set up a crowdfunding campaign and encourage people to donate in the days leading up to your caroling excursion. They can even submit song requests on your donor wall! Then, select a few of the donors to win a visit to their homes or businesses from your carolers! If you’re performing in one place, randomly select a few of the song requests and publicly recognize the donor who submitted it.
You can also put text-to-give to use. Create signs to carry or place at your venue with the text-to-give number and code, encouraging listeners to give in support of your mission.
13. Christmas Decorations
What’s a Christmas without Christmas decorations? There’s a lot you can do with Christmas decorations when it comes to fundraising.
Here are a couple of ideas –
- Offer Christmas decorating services to locals or local businesses in need of decorating. Recruit volunteers and collect small donations in exchange for the decorating work.
- Have a group of volunteers collect unused and unwanted Christmas decorations from around the local community and then resell them at a Christmas show or a charity shop (or at one of your events).
14. Donating Christmas
This Christmas donation idea has enormous potential! Donating one’s birthday has been quite popular, so encourage your supporters to donate their Christmas this year.
Mobilize a network of fundraisers who will, through peer-to-peer fundraising, fundraise for your nonprofit. They can ask their friends, family, and their wider network to donate to your charity instead of purchasing a Christmas gift.
15. Santa’s Village
What kind of Christmas fundraising idea list would this be without Santa Claus? Consider creating a “Santa’s Village” where, after paying a fee, children can get a picture with Santa. You can also have two different fees: one for a photo with Santa, and one that also includes a gift from Santa.
In Santa’s Village, you can also sell hot chocolate, hot cider, and other Christmas treats and drinks. Also, selling wreaths, candles, and decorations can make the entire experience more enticing and help you collect more funds.
16. Last Hour’s Pay
If you’re looking for work-appropriate Christmas fundraising ideas, this one is for you!
As a gesture of generosity, have your fundraisers ask their colleagues at work if they’ll be kind enough to donate their last hour’s pay before Christmas to your nonprofit.
This allows for simple and straightforward giving – which many appreciate during the hectic holiday months. Whether you want to go all out and dive into peer-to-peer fundraising – where each one of your fundraisers has their own fundraising page, or you want to do it more low-key – the range is wide and the opportunities are plenty!
17. Christmas Tree Disposal
When the holidays start coming to an end, people are usually looking for a place to dispose of their Christmas trees. Since this is generally a ‘pain point’ for so many individuals, this Christmas fundraising idea guarantees success.
To raise funds, offer a Christmas tree disposal/recycling service. You will need a truck/van and a way to recycle the trees. Charge a fee for the disposal of the trees. Not only is this service very affordable and convenient for those looking to dispose of their trees, but it’s also very environmentally friendly.
Instead of picking up the trees, you can also set up collection points. A good location could be a community park accessible to most residents of your local community. This tends to draw in high participation rates. At each collection point, mobilize volunteers to collect and sort discarded trees. From there, you can run the trees through an industrial chipper and transform them into mulch.
Everyone will appreciate the opportunity to solve a problem while at the same time doing good and ending the holiday season on a positive note!
18. Christmas Treats
Selling Christmas treats, albeit not a new idea, can definitely bring in a lot of funds during the holiday season. Arrange to set up a stall in a mall or at your town square/shopping street to capture the attention of seasonal shoppers!
Sell roasted chestnuts, mince pies, hot chocolate, Christmas pudding, or other Christmas/cold weather treats to people passing by. This will enrich the experience of the passers, as well as add to the overall Christmas feel.
Finally, you can set up an additional donation box or giving kiosk for anyone who’s feeling a little bit more generous that evening. Simple fundraising events like this often work wonders in the community.
19. Letters to Santa
Christmas is a special time of the year, but it’s arguably the most magical for children. There are as many Christmas traditions as there are families, but writing letters to Santa is one of the most popular ones.
You can really get creative with this Christmas fundraising idea. If you’re running a stall at a fair or at a Christmas market, you can also set up some tables and a box so that kids can write a letter to Santa and post it. Have the children write their name and address clearly to make sure that Santa knows where to send a letter back!
Parents or guardians can then pay (either ahead of time or on the day) to have their child receive a personalized return letter from Santa. Create four to five templated letters that people can choose from (prices usually vary from $5-$10). Naturally, those ordering the letters should be able to customize the name the letter is addressed to!
20. Ornament Decorating Day
Exceptionally suited to schools, colleges, and community organizations, this Christmas fundraising idea is one of the most fun ones out there.
For a small fee, participants have the chance to create a Christmas ornament of their very own. Provide a variety of ornament options as well as all the craft supplies needed to make them unique!
Everyone can either take their ornament home and put it on their own tree or you can choose to use all the ornaments to decorate your school/library/community tree.
An entertaining Christmas fundraising idea will help generate more donations for your cause, especially during the giving season. If you want to make the most out of your fundraising this Christmas, try a combination of two or more of the ideas presented above. We hope we’ve inspired you to come up with an idea of your own as well!
You should also check these Christian fundraising ideas to spark more creativity. And if you are looking for even more fundraising ideas, we have compiled a list of 100+ fundraising ideas for everyone.
Get to work, enjoy the holidays, and don’t forget your Donate page! Carry through the emotional impact of these events and campaigns to your website and make sure your supporters can donate online. Sign up for Donorbox to ensure your donation system is straightforward and effective!
Donorbox is a powerful fundraising software that is super simple to set up and helps you attract more recurring donors. Join the over 80,000 nonprofit organizations that use Donorbox, including charities, schools, churches, political campaigns, and more!