15 Creative Winter Fundraising Ideas For 2022 | Donorbox

15 Creative Winter Fundraising Ideas For 2022 | Donorbox

Winter Fundraising Ideas

While fall is definitely a popular time for fundraising, particularly for “peer-to-peer fundraising events” like runs, walks, and marathons, winter is without a doubt the most important time of the year for nonprofit fundraising professionals all around the world.

Historically, this is when nonprofit organizations have made the biggest push in terms of fundraising appeals. November (46.2%) and December (30.8%) are the most popular months for making year-end asks. In addition to that, 28% of nonprofits raise between 26 – 50% of their annual funds from their year-end ask.

Even though most winter fundraising asks are made in November and December, it’s wise to start planning and preparing your winter fundraising campaign in September. Since this time of the year is so important for most nonprofits, taking the time to think through a fundraising strategy and choose creative and effective fundraising ideas matters.

Check out how nonprofit experts at Donorbox, Jena Lynch and Cara Augspurger help nonprofits with year-end fundraising fundamentals, tips, and tools to enable them to create a successful campaign.

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To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite winter fundraising ideas. Let us have a look at them (along with examples and helpful pro tips).


Top 15 Winter Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

  1. Holiday Concert
  2. Hot Chocolate Station
  3. Hygge Winter Party
  4. Carol-oake
  5. Snow Day Fun
  6. Winter Favorites Recipe Book
  7. Dining For Good
  8. Gingerbread House Competition
  9. Romantic Sleigh Ride
  10. Crafts Workshop
  11. Outrageous January Bet
  12. Christmas and Holidays Elves
  13. Raffle Hampers
  14. Ornament Swap
  15. Clothes/Toys Drive


1. Holiday Concert

During winter, especially during Christmas and New Year’s holidays, enlist local choirs, bands, soloists, and other musicians to participate in a community-wide holiday concert.

Find a local indoor venue willing to host the event (ideally without charging you). The performers should ideally be performing for free as well – all for a good cause.

This means that all of the ticket proceeds would be going directly towards your cause. When promoting the event, make sure you’re clearly communicating what exactly the ticket sales will be supporting (e.g. building a new shelter or 10 wells). It is hence important that you create an event page online with clear description of the event and add a ticketing form to it. Donorbox Events lets you do all this and more. You can add unlimited ticket levels to the form. The form is embeddable on your website or you can just use the Donorbox-hosted event page. It also lets you accept donations from the ticketing form. Here’s an example of a concert event using Donorbox Events to sell event tickets.

Winter Fundraising Ideas

Holiday concerts are a great way to bring a community together in a fun and inspiring way.

If you’re going to accept donations at the event, you need to provide your community with a simple donation process. This below donation page and form created on Donorbox was used by an organization to raise money through their holiday concert. It’s the simplest design possible with customizations made on the form to include suggested donation amounts, tribute donation options, and monthly recurring donation.

Winter Fundraising Ideas
Start a Winter Fundraising Campaign


2. Hot Chocolate Station

Who doesn’t like having good hot chocolate during the winter months? A hot chocolate station is one of the simplest winter fundraising ideas, but it can be very effective – especially for community organizations, schools, clubs, churches, and faith-based organizations.

A hot chocolate station can be set up anywhere: at a community sports event, a holiday concert (see above), at a Christmas market, or simply on a busy street.

All you need is a stand or a table, hot chocolate supplies, and if you really want to take it up a notch – bring toppings. Nuts, fruit, marshmallows, puffed rice, orange zest, whipped cream… The options are endless.

Pro tip: Have some dairy-free alternatives like dark chocolate and almond or soy milk.


3. Hygge Winter Party

The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ has been all the rage the past two years. This Danish word roughly translates as ‘coziness’. While it’s usually applied to home décor and the ‘way of living’ during winter, you can take this concept and turn it into a winter fundraiser.

This winter fundraising idea is very creative and sure to attract a lot of attention. If the weather allows, book an outdoor space (e.g. a beach or a big yard). Otherwise, indoors will work as well.

Have a fire (if outside) or a fireplace if inside. Encourage casual and comfy dress code (sweaters and scarves), and set up blankets and cushions everywhere. Have a hot chocolate and tea stand with biscuits. Light some candles and do your best to create a cozy space everywhere. Charge for entry and watch the donations pour in!


4. Carol-oake

Carols are a big part of the festive spirit during the winter holidays. And everyone enjoys occasional karaoke! So why not combine the two?

Organize a karaoke night where the only thing that anyone is ‘allowed’ to sing are carols. Encourage everyone to wear ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters. Think of a fun festive award and reward the best performer.

Set a minimum donation amount for visitors to perform or watch, but encourage everyone to give more if possible.


5. Snow Day Fun

If your nonprofit is located somewhere near-real or artificial snow, this winter fundraising idea is for you! People of all ages can get really excited about snow – especially when there are activities to make it fun.

Whether you organize snow tubing or cross-country ski-a-thon – this fundraiser is ideal for winter.

You can choose to organize the event on your own or partner with a local company. If you partner with a company, you can split the proceeds from the ticket sales. This way, you don’t have to worry about the equipment or expertise, and the company gains some new customers. Win-win!

This organization here has created this fundraising page on Donorbox to accept donations and in exchange, give out snow passes from December to March. We love their campaign description that clearly explains what to do to get the passes, where the proceeds will go, etc. A customized donation form like this can be highly useful in reaching out to all levels of donors and helping them partake in your events. Your campaign could be different from theirs but the donation form and the page are sure to provide some great inspiration!

Winter Fundraising Ideas

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6. Winter Favorites Recipe Book

Compile a list of all the winter favorite recipes (casseroles, hot drinks, soups, slow cooker pots, cookies, and more) and publish it as a book or an e-book.

You can make this simple by asking your community members to send in their favorite recipes or, resources allowing, you can research, test, and create your own recipes for the book. When selling the book, make it very clear that the money will go towards a good cause.

This winter fundraising idea not only has the potential to bring in a lot of funds, but is also adding a lot of value to your donors – since so many people are looking for recipes for all the winter dinners, get-togethers, and holidays.

Pro tip: If you’re printing the book, cover printing costs by asking local printing shops to sponsor the printing in return for advertising space in the book.


7. Dining For Good

Partner with a local restaurant to organize a Dining For Good Dinner. Co-create a menu with the restaurant chefs, set the date, and then start promoting the event.

For maximum success, create a separate event page on your website to which you will direct people when promoting the dinner.

On your website, visitors should be able to purchase the event tickets and select a menu option (allow everyone to note their dietary requirements).

Create an inviting and warm space in the restaurant and perhaps have a couple of artists perform during the dinner to add that special touch to the dining experience.


8. Gingerbread House Competition

To really go all-in when it comes to winter fundraising, organize a gingerbread house competition.

Provide clear instructions to participants.

You could run this event in many different ways. For example, you could accept registrations from individuals and teams and then have them construct their gingerbread houses in a limited time period (with the audience watching). Then, the judges would judge the gingerbread houses based on things like overall appearance, originality, difficulty, precision, and consistency of theme.

You could also have contestants make the gingerbread houses at home, display them during the event – with judges and the audience choosing the winners.

Charge the audience a small fee to watch the competition or see the display (or suggest a minimum donation amount).

This example here is running a virtual gingerbread house competition and requesting people to make donations. They’ve suggested donation amounts, the minimum being $5. However, they’ve also added a custom amount field so that all donors feel comfortable giving to the campaign. It’s a branded fundraising page with logo and preferred colors. Donorbox can help you set up a simple fundraising page like this in about 15 minutes from now!

winter charity ideasCreate a Branded Fundraising Page


9. Romantic Sleigh Ride

Organize a sleigh ride fundraising activity this winter. All you need is nice scenery (ideally a snowy park or forest – but a city will work too if that’s more convenient) and someone to partner with for the horse-drawn carriages.

These can be made romantic for couples or made into a jolly ride for families.

When promoting this winter fundraiser, remind your participants to put on warm clothes, but also provide cozy blankets. Decorate the carriage in a festive way.

The rides are usually 30 minutes to 1 hour long – but you can adjust the length of the ride to suit your nonprofit.

At the end of the sleigh ride, provide hot punch or tea. To raise additional funds, sell warm soup or have a professional photographer take photos and ask for additional donations for these.


10. Crafts Workshop

This winter fundraising idea can be adapted to many different audiences and you can make it as small or as elaborate as you wish.

Host a class/workshop (for at least a couple of hours) and charge an entrance fee. The topic can be anything from making ornaments, wreaths, or even baking Christmas cookies.

This is a particularly great fundraising idea for families.


11. Outrageous January Bet

If you’re looking for something creative and with the potential to go big on social media, consider organizing an Outrageous January Bet.

This January fundraising idea is based on the peer-to-peer fundraising principle.

In essence, you would encourage your supporters to commit to an outrageous act in January (like shaving their head, wearing only Christmas jumpers for 30 days, or accepting to get taped up to a wall) and ask their friends and family to donate to make that happen.

This is a great way to add some fun and excitement to winter fundraising and a great way to engage and mobilize your supporter base!

Donorbox Peer-to-Peer helps you set up a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign online and invite your supporters from the tool itself. Your invitees receive email invitations and they’ll be guided on the tool to create fundraising pages for themselves. All donations from all peer campaigns will go to your original campaign account. It’s easy, simple, and fast. And proves to be really effective in terms of boosted outreach and donations!


12. Christmas and Holidays Elves

Now, this is not what it seems! While organizing a holiday fair, a Christmas market or a meet-up with Santa and the elves is a great winter fundraising idea – this is not what this one is about.

Promote a Holiday Elves service to your community. Your Holiday Elves can set up Christmas trees, dispose of Christmas trees, set up Christmas lights, shovel snow, and provide other useful seasonal services in exchange for donations.

Of course, this will require mobilizing enthusiastic volunteers willing to donate their time to your cause. Advertise your Holiday Elves services offline and online and, as usual, make it clear what you’re fundraising for.

Being able to visualize and see the impact their donations will make encourages donors to give and keep giving to your nonprofit.

If you want to give this fundraiser a twist of creativity and fun and grab the eyeballs of parents, a campaign like the one below can be very effective. They ask you to make a donation and in exchange, receive a personalized Santa photo or letter from Santa’s Elves. If surprising community kids is on your mind while also letting families make a donation to your noble cause, try out this method of fundraising this winter!

winter fundraising ideas schools

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13. Raffle Hampers

Raffle hampers, as a fundraising idea, work for any time of the year. However, they’re especially effective during the holidays.

Having winter-themed hampers is a fun way to celebrate and enjoy the colder months. Winter themed hampers could include:

  • Chocolate Nights: fondue kit with forks or pralines, tea-light candles, chocolate buttons, marshmallows, strawberries;
  • Holiday Movie Night: Netflix voucher, board games, hot chocolate, popcorn;
  • Winter Spa Day: eye mask, bath salt, slippers, tea.

You can customize the hampers to suit the needs and preferences of your audience and then sell them using the raffle system.

Note: In most countries, there are special rules and regulations when it comes to raffles – so make sure to check those before organizing one.


14. Ornament Swap

During holiday times, many people wish to decorate their homes and add a unique and new touch to them. However, purchasing new ornaments and decorations every year can add up.

Organize a big event in your community where everyone can bring a couple of ornaments to swap with other visitors. Set a number (e.g. 2 or 5). This way, everyone will end up with a couple of new ornaments at the end of the day (and you also reduce waste and unnecessary consumption).

You can combine this winter fundraising idea with a couple of others (e.g. setting up a hot drink stand, a booth where children can take photos with Santa or write letters to him, or even a stand where visitors could decorate their own plain ornaments).


15. Clothes/Toys Drive

While this winter fundraiser works best if your nonprofit caters to the homeless or other similar vulnerable groups – it can be adapted for most nonprofits by choosing a different item category instead of clothes or toys.

If you’re organizing a clothes drive, focus specifically on warm coats, hats, gloves, and other pieces of clothing that will help vulnerable people against the freezing temperatures.

For a toys drive, collect toys for kids of all ages (including coats and shoes).

Whatever you focus your drive on, you could always add on a fundraising component, where additional donations are encouraged – whether online or at the event.

Look at this coat drive fundraising page that uses a recurring donation form to encourage people to give to this campaign. It is nice to have a donation page like this handy for those who cannot donate in kind. Ask them to make a donation that will help you buy warm clothing items or gifts for your beneficiaries. A lot of people appreciate this convenience of giving.

creative winter fundraising ideas

Start a Winter Donation Drive


Bonus: Looking for more fundraiser ideas? Here are 100+ fundraising ideas for your nonprofit.


Conclusion

Winter… Across religions and ethnicities, this time of the year is filled with holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and other celebrations. In communities around the world, the holiday season is a time of generosity, compassion, and giving.

While this provides plenty of opportunities for nonprofit fundraising, don’t forget about the spirit of the season. How can your nonprofit celebrate the holidays while promoting your cause?

Don’t forget to send out thank-you letters to anybody who gave during the past year. Doing that is hugely important for retaining donors and can serve as encouragement for them to give again. Create a culture of gratitude within your nonprofit.

And don’t forget your donation page! Carry through the emotional impact of these events and campaigns to your website and make sure your supporters can donate online. Make that donation system straightforward and effective. Check out Donorbox.

Donorbox is a powerful fundraising software that is super simple to set up and attracts more recurring donors. Start fundraising with a fast, optimized donation payment system in 15 mins. Over 50,000 nonprofit organizations use Donorbox fundraising software.

Ilma Ibrisevic is a content creator and nonprofit writer. She’s passionate about meaningful work, sustainability, and social movements. If she’s not working, she’s obsessing over coffee or cooking. You can connect with her on Linkedin.

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