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Fundraising Tips

6 tips for a successful holiday fundraising campaign.

October 4, 2023

We’re going to start this article with a few numbers:

So, why’d we start with numbers? Well, for a couple reasons. First, to show that individuals are the most important donor base for small to medium sized nonprofits. That most people will support more than one nonprofit or charity every year. (Why can't your nonprofit be included in that list?) To remind you that a pretty big majority of the population give every year. And, most importantly, 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 up that feeling with numbers.

With a huge amount of donations being made up until the very last minute of the year, starting your holiday fundraising campaign strong is important, but it’s the consistency and the reminders towards the end of the year that have the biggest impact.

We’ve taken a look at the holiday fundraising campaigns of organizations we work with, done a bit of extra research on holiday fundraising ideas for nonprofits and come up with a few tips to ensure that your nonprofit gets the most out of this year’s holiday fundraising campaign.

Our six holiday fundraising tips are here to help you get the most out of your nonprofit’s holiday fundraiser.

Tip no. 1: Bring your donors together with a holiday themed peer-to-peer fundraiser.

When it comes to fundraising, you rely on your community to reach your goals—and a good old peer-to-peer campaign is the perfect way to bring your community together and attract a few new donors along the way.

We know what you’re thinking: doesn’t a peer-to-peer campaign take weeks to organize!? It doesn’t! With Zeffy's peer-to-peer campaign tools, the Halifax Lancers was able to set up their campaign within only a few days! They set their initial goal at $15 000, but thanks to the enthusiasm of their participants (over 50 individual and team campaigns were created) they surpassed their original goal by over $10,000!

Tip no. 2: Get creative with your nonprofit holiday fundraising campaign ideas.

Thinking about your holiday fundraising campaign before the holidays might not sound like a lot of fun, but, luckily, we have a few ideas to inspire you right here and another whole article of fundraising ideas for the holidays.

Let’s start with a real life example. Every year, the Endowment Fondation of Jonquière Health runs their Campaign of Lights to raise money to continue to offer quality health services in the Saguenay and Lac St-Jean regions of Québec, Canada. Each donation buys a light for the Christmas illuminated in front of the Jonquière hospital. Along with beautiful imagery, the campaign thermometer Zeffy offers is integrated into their website to demonstrate the fundraiser’s progress.

A few other holiday fundraising campaign ideas you can organize in time for the holidays:

Tip no. 3: Donations to nonprofits make lovely holiday gifts.

We know, not everyone would be happy to receive a donation in their name as a gift. But, a lot of us would. A donation in someone’s name makes a lovely thank you gift, a great teacher’s gift, a gift for a host, for those loved ones who have everything, co-workers, secret Santa… The list is pretty long.

So, why not help donors out by giving them the option to make donations in the name of their family, friends, loved ones, whoever! Whether you offer a beautiful gift card with your donations or sell actual gifts, the opportunities are endless.

Here’s an delicious treat of an idea from our Zeffy communities:

The Canadian Mental Health Association of Grey Bruce sells Cinnabons every year and every year they surpass their fundraising goals. (Who wouldn’t love to receive a box of Cinnabons!?)

Tip no. 4: Ensure your donors can visualize their impact by being transparent about how your nonprofit will use their donations.

When you announce your holiday fundraising campaign, be sure to explain what your nonprofit will be using the funds for. Use clear examples so that your donors can visualize their impact and build an emotional connection.

Tip no. 5: The holidays are the perfect time to thank your most dedicated donors and volunteers.

Every nonprofit has volunteers, organizers or donors that go above and beyond and their generosity and work will likely inspire others.

Be sure to highlight these dedicated donors by telling their stories and saying thank you. You can use your social social media platforms, your holiday fundriasing campaign forsm, your holiday newsletter, etc. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, and it could be a simple share of one of their social posts, but this small act will show your donors you care and create a larger sense of community.

Not only will your supporter feel valued, but others will be encouraged to do the same work too! And after all, isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?

Tip no. 6: Send holiday fundraising progress updates to your donors until the very end of the year!

Remember the numbers from earlier? (Around 30% of annual giving happening in December and 10% of annual giving happening in the last 3 days of December.) Here’s where your new-found knowledge is going to make a difference.

Most holiday fundraising campaigns trickle out towards the end of the year and, we get it. People are busy. But, a few pre-programmed emails and social media posts can make a world of difference when it comes to last minute donations.

Donors and supporters have a lot on their mind this time of year. Maybe they wanted to give, but have forgotten. Or, your initial message didn’t resonate with them. Or, they were inspired to give by a friend or family member. Either way, make sure to check in mid-campaign and then again towards the end with an update on your nonprofit’s progress and explain why their support is still so important.

Try including new stories, wording your call to action differently, letting donors how much money your nonprofit still needs to reach its goal, announcing a new way to give (Donations as gifts!), etc.

And really, don’t forget about that final push. In the last few days of your campaign, check back in with donors. Remind them that it is not too late to donate and that their support can still make a huge difference.

Keep learning (our sources):

1. Charitable Giving Statistics.

2. National Philanthropic Trust: Charitable Giving Statistics.