5 Last Minute Creative Ideas for Holiday Fundraising

Image by Bart Fields

You don’t have a plan for fundraising this December yet, and are feeling squeemish. With as much as 40% of your online donations coming, you could even be starting to panic. Perhaps you’re an individual fundraiser, and you agreed to help out a favorite cause and have no ideas.

Our friend Allyson Kapin at the Frogloop blog wrote a great post with some web site optimization tips for year-end fundraising. We’d like to add some more from a creative marketing standpoint. Here are five tips to build a holiday outreach campaign on the fly:

1) Make It Personal

It’s the holidays, and that means family. Tell or find a story about your family and why your cause means so much to it. How did the cause bring your family or friends together? Consider how charity is making a difference in your family.

Personally, I lost a friend last holiday season to suicide. During last week’s Give to the Max contest, a couple of us personally rallied around Frank Warren’s IMAlive fundraiser in an effort to celebrate George’s life, yet possibly prevent someone else’s similar tragic loss.

2) Children and Giving

Generosity is an important lesson that many parents want to bestow upon their children. Create ways for parents and grandparents to teach children the importance of compassion, empathy and giving by developing small gifts to bestow. This Oxfam campaign is an example of ideas and methods to make giving accessible to children.

3) Year End Tax Break

Many nonprofits receive a huge surge during the final days of the year. Make sure you have a campaign set up for after Christmas that encourages year-end giving, and in particular highlights that this is the last chance to get a tax break from charitable donations. See Amy Einstein’s six tips for your year-end campaign.

4) Gratitude Campaign

Not everyone can write a cheeky Santa campaign. That’s OK! People seem to forget that one of the primary celebrations of the holiday season is gratitude. So instead of trying to act like Don Draper, just be sincere and publicly thank your supporters for how they have helped your cause this year. Tell stories of individual impact and what it has meant. Use pictures and videos wherever possible.

5) The 2012 Vision

We like to think of donors as investors. They invest in you and your theory of change. So instead of focusing on the holidays, focus on your plans and how investors can become a part of that. Tell past and potential investors what you hope to achieve. It may be that someone wants to donate and volunteer, or volunteer, share, and then donate. Include multiple options. Open your 2012 effort so people can invest their resources and time.