Holidays can be the perfect time to have a fundraising event or organize a fundraiser that ties into the holiday celebration. It gives your organization a ready-made theme and some parameters from which to create something sensational. Not all holidays are good for fundraising, however, and you’ll want to keep your event appropriate for the occasion and your community. Here are some suggestions for creating effective and lucrative holiday fundraisers:
As a rule, it is best to avoid Father’s Day and Mother’s Day for fundraising events-unless you can tie something in that is very specific to the day. Also, Memorial Day and Labor Day are long weekends and long weekends tend to be not so great for fundraisers. You’ll also want to avoid the exact day for religious holidays and major government holidays. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fundraisers “around” a holiday-it just means the day of may not be the best choice.
Some good proven holidays for fundraisers include New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, April Fool’s Day, Independence Day, May Day and Halloween. The trick is to come up with something that is creative, yet fits into the mood and theme of the holiday. For example, a formal evening event for New Year’s, a couple’s event for Valentine’s Day, etc. You might also consider doing a special mail appeal in association with a holiday instead of planning a big event.
Planning and public relations are keys for any special fundraising event-but they can be particularly important if you are planning something in association with a holiday. You’ll want to take into account the culture of your community and whether any other organization already conducts a fundraising event or appeal around a specific holiday. A particularly religious community may not support a haunted house event for Halloween, but they may support an alternative event instead.
As for publicity, you will be competing with the holiday, and, depending on which holiday you choose your competition may come from businesses and companies (restaurants, retail stores, etc.) that have far bigger advertising budgets than your organization may have. Be creative and try to co-op as much of the holiday buzz and hoopla that you can to direct attention to your fundraiser.
Holidays can be perfect for fundraising-your organization just needs to make sure you choose carefully and put plenty of planning into your project. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got a good understanding of what your community and clientele will support.