How is Zeffy free?
How is Zeffy free?
Zeffy relies entirely on optional contributions from donors. At the payment confirmation step - we ask donors to leave an optional contribution to Zeffy.
Learn more >
Fundraising Tips

10 holiday fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

October 5, 2023

The holidays represent 30% of all annual giving every year—don’t let your nonprofit miss out on the busiest fundraising season of the year.

With around 30% of annual giving happening in December and 10% of annual giving happening in the last 3 days of December, the holidays are the busiest time of year for nonprofits. (You probably knew this already, but we thought we’d back that feeling up with numbers.)

The good news is: people are REALLY in mood to give during the holidays. The slightly less good news is: every nonprofit organization and charity out there is going to be running their biggest fundraising campaigns of the year. But, don’t worry! With a little creativity and a few volunteers, you can help you nonprofit’s holiday fundraising campaign stand out.

The best holiday fundraisers are the ones that stand out. We’ve got 10 holiday fundraising campaign ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

1. An advent calendar fundraiser designed for your nonprofit!

We’re starting with this one, because well, you need to make sure to start it well before December 1st.

A virtual advent calendar is definitely possible—especially if you get creative with the gifts! (Think online discounts, donations in kind, custom art, etc.) But, we have a soft spot in our hearts for the real deal. You know what we’re talking about: an advent calendar where each day reveals a small surprise, such as a holiday-themed joke, candy, story, toy, or video message from your team or beneficiaries.

You can go big and ask donors for donations to “open” each day or sell individual advent calendars donors can open at home.

2. Ugly sweater contest is a great peer-to-peer holiday campaign or fundraising campaign option.

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned ugly holiday sweater contest!? Especially when it’s for a good cause.

Encourage donors to participate in an online ugly sweater contest as a group or individually. Get them to share photos on social media with a specific hashtag and make a donation to enter and award prizes for the ugliest, most creative, and funniest sweaters.

3. Your nonprofit can host a virtual holiday market.

Set up a virtual market where local artisans, crafters, and small businesses can sell their holiday-themed products. Charge vendors a fee to participate, and a percentage of their sales can go to your cause.

And, as if this idea wasn’t good enough on it’s own, Zeffy’s 100% free fundraising platform even includes the ability to set up an online eStore and our Tap-to-Pay app allows you to accept payment in person (we even cover the processing and transaction fees).

4. Host a holiday storytelling night to raise money for your nonprofit.

Getting creative doesn’t have to mean getting complicated. A storytelling event where people share their favourite holiday memories or traditions or Santa or Mrs. Clause show up to read a few tales can be a low-key way for donors and their families to spend an afternoon or evening away from the hectic hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Your nonprofit can sell hot chocolate and baked goods and maybe even sell copies of the stories being told.

5. A holiday-themed DIY workshop is a great fundraising campaign idea.

Organize a handful of do-it-yourself workshops (online or in person) where donors can learn how to create holiday crafts or decorations. Think tree ornaments, cookies, knitting, cards, the list is endless!

Charge a fee for the workshops that include any materials participants will need. (They have enough to do this time of year, so if they can show up empty-handed they’ll be more likely to come!)

And, you guessed it, Zeffy’s 100% free online event management and ticketing platform can help make organizing these workshops a breeze!

6. A carol-gram fundraiser!

This one is sure to bring a few embarrassed smiles to the faces of those who are lucky enough to receive a carol gram.

Sell personalized carol-grams (virtual or in person) where your team sings or plays holiday songs for donors or businesses. You can customize the experience with special messages or song requests and even sell a few add ons if you’re feeling motivate! (Think, candy canes, egg nog delivery, Santa himself, etc.)

7. Santa's workshop with a suggested donation.

Larger cities have a few ways for kids to visit Santa and his helpers, but smaller towns might not have the means to organize a visit from Santa. Your nonprofit can step up and create a Santa's workshop experience for children.

Organize a few games, storytelling, and a visit with Santa himself. You can even offer photos and snacks for an additional donation.

8. A brisk polar bear plunge to raise money for your nonprofit.

For the brave-hearted, organize a "Polar Plunge" where donors take a cold dip in your local river or lake. This is a great peer-to-peer holiday fundraising campaign where participants can ask family and friends for donations to support their icy endeavors.

You can even host a best holiday hot chocolate competition so the brave (or crazy-brave) polar plungers can warm up with something delicious after their plunge.

9. Decorate a gingerbread house for a good cause.

This one’s a classic, but always a hit! Host a gingerbread house decorating contest and encourage donors to vote for their favourites online on in person.

If your nonprofit is feeling really motivated, you could even set up an online eStore to sell gingerbread house kits that imitate last years winners or local landmarks.

10. Pet photos with Santa. (Seriously, this one will be a hit!)

Partner with a local pet store or shelter to offer pet photos with Santa. Charge a fee for each photo, and consider selling pet-related merch branded with your nonprofit’s colours.

BONUS: A holiday cookbook to raise money for your nonprofit.

This one is a bit more work, but a super original idea.

Everyone has a favourite holiday recipe they make or bake every year, why not collect a few and compile them into a holiday-themed local cookbook. You could even ask your local restaurants to contribute a recipe or two!