It's a well-known fact that when the temperature drops, the fundraising heats up. From winter fundraising ideas like Giving Tuesday to year-end gifts, the winter months tend to inspire generosity in both spirit and wallet.
So, how can you take advantage of the season of giving to keep the giving coming, filling those (literally and metaphorically) dark days from October through February? Read on for our list of un-brr-lievably awesome winter fundraising ideas updated for 2023—and that's snow joke. (Sorry, sorry.) And, as usual, take a look at our sometimes-cheeky, sometimes-serious fundraising ideas for more inspiration or download our Winter Fundraising Calendar!
October fundraising ideas
Pumpkin Spice lattes, Halloween Spirit, hiking with a beanie and a jacket, and that musty smell your heater gives off the first time you turn it on... all things that remind us of October. And with these October fundraising ideas, you'll be able to incorporate the funnest of fun fundraising into your core October memories.
1. Adopt a Dog Month (the month of October)
October is an extremely animal-focused month—practically every day and each week is National Llamawool Braiding Day or Global Decorate Your Iguana Week. So there's gonna be sommmmething you can find to celebrate your animal of choice. Whether you run a Scritches for $cratch campaign or a rescue-pet-naming-contest, this is shaping up to be one snuggly month.
2. Dyslexia Awareness Month (the month of October)
With as much as 15-20% of the population experiencing symptoms of dyslexia, and a significant percentage struggling with this invisible disability sans special education support or accommodations, dyslexia awareness is a matter of inclusion and equity that affects many of us every day. So whether you promote dyslexia awareness or are inspired to bring awareness to other invisible disabilities and illnesses, October is a great time to speak up!
3. Sober October (the month of October)
Kind of like Dry January, but with the added challenge of Oktoberfest and the added bonus of ✨Golden Tickets✨. Here's how it works: your peer-to-peer fundraisers agree to forgo alcohol during the month of October. Their networks make motivation donations to keep them strong during this monthlong "health initiative". As alcohol-soaked events pop up—weddings, parties, beer-drinking championships—the fundraiser (or their donors, on their behalf!) can purchase Golden Tickets from your organization that allow the fundraiser a day of grace so that they can defend their bier-soaked Oktoberfest title.
Bonus! Ticket sales (and additional donations!) will go through the roof if a random ticket grants 5 days of grace. Call it the Platinum Ticket.
4. To the Moon
You could run this fundraising campaign anytime, but it might be fun to set it up to coincide with World Space Week (October 4-10) and put on several fundraising events to lead up to a final out-of-this-world fundraiser. It's 238,900 miles from the earth to the moon, which seems like a... moonshot of a goal, if you're trying to match that in dollars. So maybe you try to get 238 new recurring donors—sounds like a great way to launch a rocketship recurring program!
5. Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)
There's nothing better than celebrating our friends and the culture that they proudly represent. Una hermosa manera of highlighting Hispanic Heritage would be to hold local history lessons. Put a much-needed spotlight on the role that Hispanic people played in your community's founding, establishment, and growth. Work with (and pay!) a local Hispanic community member to hold community tours, give Spanish lessons, or share authentic recipes and tie them back to the people and cultures that should be celebrated.
6. Make Your Own (Pumpkin) Spice
Do you know what magic goes into pumpkin spice? We do... and it's not really that hard to make. In fact, your supporters could do it at your exciting spice-making fundraising party! Support a local dry goods business by purchasing cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in bulk, and while you're at it, get some other spices, coffee, cocoa, and powdered milk. Then gather local supporters for to stir up their own perfectly proportioned spices, coffees, or instant PSLs.
7. Cozy Clothing Swap
It's starting to get cold out; do you know where your coat's at? If you need a new coat, have outgrown your cold-weather clothes, or just want something new-to-you to snuggle up in, throw a cozy clothing swap for your community. Serve (pumpkin-spiced) coffee and cocoa, throw in some pumpkin cookies, and make sure the donation jar is front and center. At the end, make sure the cozy clothing left in your possession makes its way to snuggle those who are in need of warm coats.
8. National Indigenous People's Day (second Monday in October)
An unfortunately recent holiday, National Indigenous People's Day is a day to recognize the role of Indigenous people who have lived on this land since long before Christopher Columbus headed up the colonization operation. Unless you're Indigenous yourself, the best thing you can do on this day is to hush up and listen.
9. National Coming Out Day + National Spread Joy Day (October 11)
A perfect combo of celebrations if we ever heard one! If focusing on one works better for your fundraising efforts, we get it. But if you can encourage your supporters to spread joy in the form of a donation aaaaand spread their love and acceptance to someone ready to come out, you get... well, the joy of knowing you're awesome. And donations, duh.
10. World Sight Day (October 12)
Who has more foresight and vision than nonprofits?! The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, probably. While terrifying, the IAPB's prediction, "Nearly everyone on the planet will experience an eye health issue in their lifetime", presumably isn't simply referring to getting eyelashes trapped in our eyes. If you're not jumping on board their #LoveYourEyes campaign, you can still use this day to ask donors to help make your vision a reality.
11. Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah (October 6-8)
Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are the culmination of the Jewish high holidays that start with Rosh Hashanah and continue through Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Whether celebrated on one day or two, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are a time for bonding between God and the Jewish people as well as a joyful moment to celebrate the Torah.
12. International Pronoun Day (October 18)
Partner with a local LGBTQIA+ or human rights organization to host a table in a visible area. Set up information about pronouns and their usage—including how to react when the inevitable mistake is made—a photo booth, or "photo booth" (aka a staff member with a smartphone), and a button maker or name tags so that people can communicate their pronouns in an environment where they're not alone. Of course, have your own information on the table as well... but this day is less about you and more about deepening your connection to your community.
13. Diwali (varies each year)
If the only reference to Diwali that you have is The Office's Diwali episode, it's time to do some research. The post-harvest festival of lights holiday is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists, and could be a great event to expand your community's cultural awareness and build relationships. If you're hosting an event, though, partner with people who understand the culture and pay local event planners, caterers, and entertainment for whom Diwali is more than just a moment on a comedy show.
14. Punk for a Day
Loving someone often means empowering them to live their truest life and supporting their journey whether it's taken privately or publicly. With that in mind, a fundraiser dedicated to NOT conforming sounds perfect for a day like National Transgender Children Day (October 26). Kids of all stripes can dress as they like, listen to their favorite music during a silent disco, and dance 'til their hearts are full. We say build a microsite reflecting the attitude of the campaign that features a progress bar (and of course, your brand) and showcase it at the event as it grows toward your goal.
15. Frankenstein Friday (October 27)
We would dearly love to see a nonprofit put on a Frankenstein-themed event—and not because this is some funny green guy. Frankenstein is a classic, a ground-breaking, genre-birthing masterpiece with lessons and layers for the ages. And yeah, a funny green guy with goth Marge Simpson for a wife. We're thinking a Frankenstein fashion show, a Stein pose-holding competition, and a pin-the-body-parts-on-the-corpse contest.
16. Halloween + Knock Knock Joke Day (October 31)
When we saw that Knock Knock Joke Day is the same day as Halloween, a day that you actually knock on people's doors, we felt foolish. Whyyyyyyy have we never thought of this?! There has to be a fundraiser in here somewhere; we can smell it.
Ok, we've got it! Share a knock knock joke a day throughout October and encourage donors to send in a small donation for ones that they like with the idea they'll use those jokes as they trick-or-treat on Halloween. Yeah, you're looking at low-dollar donations, but also low effort and big laughs.
17. Samhain (October 31- November 1)
To celebrate this Gaelic harvest holiday, we suggest bringing the festivities online with a virtual social celebration. Offer peer-to-peer fundraisers and their donors exclusive access to a virtual fall festival with different breakout rooms featuring board games, card games, bingo, or trivia, attractions like fortune tellers or magicians, and community builders like costume contests or movies (with "commercial" breaks for your nonprofit!)
November fundraising ideas
Fall or winter, November is a great fundraising month because it brings warmth to an otherwise chilly month. Look over these November fundraising ideas and find one that brings the heat!
18. Native American Heritage Month (the month of November)
Every November in the United States, we celebrate the culture and people who have been here since the first days. This month, dedicate a series of emails, blog posts, or videos to the indigenous people in your area. Partner with local experts and commit funds and support to causes that affect you both.
19. World Vegan Day (November 1)
Even if you're not an environmental or animal rights nonprofit, World Vegan Day is a great excuse to kick off the winter season with a healthy bang by hosting a vegan cooking class or doing a vegan bake sale. And if the day does align with your mission (i.e., you're a health, environmental, or animal rights nonprofit), scroll down to our January ideas and consider using World Vegan Day as a teaser for Veganuary.
Bonus: For the vegan skeptics, offer them a side-by-side blind taste test; $2 to taste, and they get $1 back for every vegan food item they correctly identify.
20. No-Shave November
Put the razor down and step away. No-Shave November is all about raising money and awareness for cancer prevention, treatment, and research. Consider asking supporters to donate in honor of someone with cancer—or you can just raise awareness for a great cause! Movember is a similar concept—tackle what feels right for your organization and audience.
21. Break It Down
If your immediate instinct was to dance, you're our people. If not, it's ok, we stil love you. But back to fundraising: donors love to see impact levels—$50 provides a makeup kit to a clown, $450 furnishes 3 hours of clown therapy—so we say break it alllll the way down. To the dollar. That's right, you do the math and you let supporters know that their $1 donation will sustain the orange curls in a rainbow wig. Irresistible.
22. Veteran's Day, otherwise known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day (November 11)
There's no way that we can properly thank our military veterans for their service to our country, but acknowledging their sacrifices with a USO-themed dinner and show is a starting point! Advertise far and wide, and make sure that veterans get admission fee-free entry, a front-row seat, and an appreciative shout-out.
23. Happy Hour Day (November 12)
Baby, it's cold outside, and that means everyone wants to leave work an hour early to grab a hot toddy or hot chocolate (“hot” being the key word). Host your own festive happy hour fundraiser to celebrate that wonderful time of day when the drinks and snacks are cheap and plentiful—or partner with a local bar and ask them to donate a percentage of sales to your cause. Not ready to gather indoors with strangers yet? Try hosting a Zoom cocktail or mocktail mixology class with individual, personalized hot chocolate stations.
24. World Kindness Day (November 13)
Was this holiday made for fundraising? On World Kindness Day, send out a simple fundraising email that encourages donors to connect to their community and give generously. Include inspiring quotes or stories of small acts that have had big results.
Bonus: Ask community members if they need assistance with small tasks and match them with supporters willing to help out. Think small home repairs, errands for the housebound, or rearranging furniture to accommodate mobility.
25. Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20)
Observed annually, Transgender Day of Remembrance was created as a memorial for those murdered in acts of transphobic violence and to raise visibility of the issues that transgender people still face. If you'd like to get involved contact your local GLAAD chapter to find out when and where they're holding a vigil.
26. Buy Nothing Day (varies each year)
Buying nothing is great, but isn't giving something back greater? Otherwise known in the US as Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day is all about protesting consumerism, which makes it a great opportunity to ask your donors to give to a good cause. Alternately, ask supporters to pledge matching gifts for every dollar they spend on Black Friday.
27. Giving Tuesday (varies each year)
Talk about November fundraiser ideas. This is so obvious that we're just going to point you at our Giving Tuesday Toolkit. Break some fundraising records, nonprofit friends!
December fundraising ideas
What's more natural than a fundraiser in December? As long as there are feasts and taxes and weather and good cheer, there be fundraisers here.
28. Hanukkah (varies each year)
Chanukah, often spelled Hanukkah, is a Jewish Festival of Lights that is celebrated over eight days in November or December. Traditions include a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.
29. International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3)
An appropriate way to recognize International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a UN day of observance, is to do a building audit and develop an access handbook for your offices and facilities. Get community members to pledge donations for the updates and then highlight the increased accessibility.
30. Gender Expansive Parents' Day (December 6)
As of December 6, 2020, Gender Expansive Parents' Day officially recognizes parents who do not identify with mother or father titles. Sending a card for Parents' Day is an easy way to appreciate donors who are parents, but make this a one-of-a-kind design to truly celebrate non-binary parents or parental figures who don't normally have cards that recognize them for who they are separate from mothers and fathers.
Since cards are technically stewardship, try a family talent show fundraiser to highlight all types of families and all types of talents. If Moira and David Rose can pull off a jazzy parent-child song-and-dance number, think of the possibilities for your donor base! Bonus: This is the type of fun event that can go virtual (and viral!)
31. Winter Warm-Up
When you think of warming drinks, lots of delicious options come to mind: hot cocoa, tea with lemon, café au lait, ciders, mulled wine, and even hot buttered rum! Sell supporter snuggles via delivery to your local network and pair each warming drink with a thermos or mug, streaming selection (potentially access to a new release!), and snacks like popcorn, marshmallows, and cookies. Then cuddle up and chill out!
32. International Human Rights Day (December 10)
The name says it all. As an official UN observance, organizations worldwide will be focusing on human rights and your organization can join in assistance. Try out a peer-to-peer fundraiser with a reminder that while many people are preoccupied with bright and shiny holidays, the fight for basic human rights goes on—and peer-to-peer campaigns are the most human fundraisers of all.
33. Gift-Wrapping Station Fundraiser
Some people love nothing more than curly ribbons and festive wrapping paper. Others, not so much. For the less-crafty among us, you would be a hero if you hosted a gift-wrapping station during which volunteers wrap people's gifts in exchange for donations. Maybe you can even set up a gift-wrapping station in front of the local toy store! Don't forget that you can take payment in any form that works for you: cold, hard cash, toys for disadvantaged kids, warm socks for the homeless, canned goods for the local food pantry, or social shares and peer-to-peer networking!
34. Las Posadas (December 16-24)
Las Posadas, a tradition in Mexico and Guatemala, is a Nativity celebration that represents the Holy Family's search for lodging in Bethlehem. Rather than focusing on a dark, still night, this is a commemoration of pilgrims and pilgrimage, welcome and warmth, and convergence of community.
35. Festivus (December 23)
Some people love the holidays—packed malls, delayed flights, and all. For the rest of us, there's Festivus, a secular holiday that originated on the comedy show Seinfeld and serves as an antidote to the more commercial and religious aspects of the season. While the Seinfeld version of the holiday includes the “Airing of Grievances” and an unadorned aluminum pole in lieu of a tree, your Festivus festival fundraiser (say that three times fast) can be whatever you want it to be—just keep it inclusive and lighthearted.
Just throwing this out there: if we hosted a Festivus fundraiser, it would definitely include all our favorite things, probably at once. Like... a costumed roller-skating mini-golf tournament. With shots of warm alphabet soup after every hole.
In Germany, it's tradition to go to the Weihnachtsmarkt before Christmas for locally made gifts, food, and drinks (like glühwein!), as well as festive holiday season entertainment and ambiance. Hold your own Weihnachtsmarkt to raise funds for your nonprofit and support local vendors.
37. Winter Solstice (December 21)
For the Summer Solstice, we suggest a candelit, nature-focused dinner. For the Winter Solstice, however, we're drawn to the idea of a moonlit, nature-focused family fundraising festival of fun and games. Think sledding, ice-skating, snow angels, and warming cider—and if you're lacking snow, break out the astronomy apps and snuggle up to starlight.
38. Kisan Diwas - National Farmers' Day in India (December 23)
Since 2001, December 23 has been observed as National Farmers' Day in India. Set on the birth date of Chaudhary Charan Singh, widely regarded as one of the country's most famous peasant leaders, this day of recognition is a day of awareness and education on the role of farmers and their contribution to the economy.
39. Wreath-Making Workshop
This time of the year, making a wreath is fun and simple, plus your wreath-making fundraiser can be held outdoors to cut down on the mess and the germs—just remind everyone to bundle up! You provide the boughs, wire, and embellishments; participants will bring the holiday spirit and donations.
40. Christmas (December 25)
An annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is recognized across the globe as a Christian holiday that brings along with it one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year. And Santa.
41. Boxing Day (December 26)
Boxing Day originated in 1800's as a day to give Christmas gifts and money to the less fortunate but is now mostly a day of rest and shopping.
42. Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1)
Created in 1966, Kwanzaa is a seven-day African festival that celebrates family, community, and culture and centers on The Seven Principles with feasts, poetry, music, dance, and narratives.
43. Make Cut-Out Snowflakes Day (December 27)
Making snowflakes is a craft as old as snow. This artsy holiday is the perfect opportunity to host a by-donation, kid-friendly snowflake-making event, complete with hot cocoa and other treats. Ask donors for $1 per snowflake: along with donations, you'll end up with sweet seasonal decorations for your lobby or Christmas tree, while donors get to support a great cause and have a fun day out of the house.
Bonus: Post pictures of your "snowdrift"—all the snowflakes in a pile—and let donors guess how many are in the pile... for a price. Split the pot 50/50 with the person who guesses closest!
44. National Resolution Planning Day (December 30)
Only 10% of people are successful at keeping their New Year's resolutions for a full year, but you can help change that by enrolling monthly donors on National Resolution Planning Day! Send out a fundraising email encouraging supporters to make an easy, impactful resolution by giving monthly to your cause. They'll feel great about it, and you will, too.
New year fundraising ideas
Insert your favorite New Years cliché here! When the clock strikes midnight, grab a new year fundraising idea and don't look back.
45. Last Day of the Year (December 31)
When most people are donning sequins and sipping sparkling something, nonprofiteers are generally scrambling to solicit and process last-minute donations. December 31st is, after all, the biggest fundraising day of the year. Our suggestion? Keep it simple with The Minimalist Guide to Year-End Fundraising.
46. Veganuary (the month of January)
For any nonprofits with a mission around animal rights or health, Veganuary is a great fundraising opportunity. Encourage supporters to start the new year off kindly, healthily, and mindfully by participating in 31 days of a plant-based diet—and pledging a donation for every time they slip up and sneak a piece of bacon over the month. You can also send weekly emails with tasty recipes and reminders. Here's a reminder to start you off: Oreos are vegan!
47. New Year's Day (January 1)
The first day of the year, according to the Gregorian calendar. People commemorate this time with resolutions to do or be better in the coming year.
48. National Trivia Day (January 4)
A trivia fundraiser is cost-effective, easy, and, best of all, super fun. Celebrate the art of knowing random facts by hosting a virtual trivia night fundraiser for your supporters, and encourage them to invite friends and family to join in the fun. You can even throw in some questions about your organization or industry to up the impact.
January fundraising ideas
While January can seem like a weak winter month, it's full of hidden fundraising opportunities. These January fundraising ideas will take your year's start from pale to powerful.
49. Dress Up Your Pet Day (January 14)
Cats in tuxes. Dogs in lobster costumes. Heck, lobsters dressed as mermaids! Help your donors shake off the winter doldrums with a pet costume contest or pet fashion show. And if your nonprofit works in animal rights, welfare, or services, you can host an adoption day to show off your most dapper dogs, coolest cats, and loveliest lobsters.
Bonus! Take photos of gussied up adoptable animals and use the photos to drum up interest in animals that need a forever home.
50. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15)
Recognize Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy and teachings by encouraging your supporters to reflect, remember, and fight for justice. If you're a civil rights or racial justice nonprofit, by all means, ask for donations. Otherwise, direct your supporters to education resources and volunteer efforts with racial justice organizations.
51. International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27)
January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, honors the millions of Holocaust victims and strives to prevent future genocides through awareness and education.
52. National LEGO Day (January 28)
There are so many LEGO fundraisers out there that LEGO has its own hashtag for the occasion: #buildtogive, so combining the hashtag with these January fundraisers is the perfect storm for a LEGO-centric fundraising event. You could have everyone contribute to one big LEGO masterpiece together, or you could host a contest with prizes for the best creations.
Extra mile: Find a LEGO competition near you and get your community involved in supporting kids learning STEM.
53. Winter Wine Tasting
The long days of winter can get anyone down, but rather than sitting around and whining about it, why not wine about it? Here's one of our favorite fundraising ideas for January: Host a virtual wine tasting or partner with a local vineyard to raise funds and refine palates. The outdoor activity is a surefire way to attract a specific subset of donors who love being outside wrapped in a blanket next to a fire pit or with a heat lamp overhead.
February fundraising ideas
In most places, February is the end of winter and the beginning of a vibrant fundraising season. Dig into these fabulous February fundraising ideas for a fantastic fundraising finish.
54. Black History Month (the month of February)
There are many ways that your nonprofit can honor the accomplishments, struggles, and victories of generations of Black Americans (ahem, and you can do these all year long, not just during February.) You could commission a community member to give a city-wide tour of local monuments and historical sites to learn about Black heritage. Some other February fundraiser ideas include directing community members to local Black-owned businesses, online exhibitions featuring Black artists, and/or educational resources. And don't forget to encourage folks to support your fellow nonprofits that are working to promote Black culture and education and community development.
55. National Freedom Day (February 1)
Although it was not ratified by the states until later, President Lincoln signed the amendment abolishing slavery in the United States on February 1, 1865. Many communities hold celebratory festivals in recognition of this freedom.
56. Lunar New Year (varies each year)
Most people who celebrate Lunar New Year will tell you that aside from the colorful, dynamic festivities, the best part of the holiday is the delicious food. Lunar New Year, a sacred traditional holiday in China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Mongolia, and more countries and cultures around the world, is the perfect moment to patronize local restaurants, catering companies, and food vendors with a progressive dinner. Map out an evening of eating and learning and sell tickets that include transportation or guides in addition to the food and drink. Don't forget to compensate contributors for their sharing their cultural knowledge.
57. International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11)
Science Fair time! Give the women and girls in your community a chance to show off their STEM skillz with an old-fashioned science fair. Either open the categories to anything and everything they can dream up or narrow the field to something specific that relates to your mission.
For a February fundraising idea, get a corporate sponsor or major donor to provide prizes, ask for donations at the door, sell raffle tickets and snacks, and repurpose the content for your social and web platforms.
58. Galentine's Day (February 13)
Any Parks and Recreation fans out there? We see you. On this day, celebrate the power of female friendships by asking supporters to make a donation in honor of their loveliest lady friends. Then, share your favorite waffle recipe. (P.S. if you haven't watched Parks and Rec, we'll wait here while you catch up.)
59. Super Bowl (varies each year)
Kick off the Super Bowl on the right foot by hosting a fundraiser. Whether it's a fantasy football league, a bowling tournament, or a soup-er bowl dinner (that's a fundraising dinner during which you serve soup, if you didn't know), Super Bowl Sunday offers endless fundraising opportunities. Oooh, or what about a nacho-eating contest? So many possibilities!
60. National (Organ) Donor Day (February 14)
See what we did there? National Donor Day? Seems like a holiday custom-made for stewardship. But hey, if you're dead-set on a fundraising campaign for Valentine's Day, ask your supporters to make a donation in their Valentine's name instead of buying another box of chocolates or bouquet of long-stemmed roses. To make your fundraising efforts stand out, you could then send physical V-Day cards to all the honorees.
61. Parinirvana Day (February 15)
Nirvana Day is observed by Buddhists as the day that the historical Buddha achieved his complete Nirvana. Meditation, retreats, and community contemplation and support are all ways that this day is recognized.
62. Maghi-Purnima (varies each year)
Infused with enthusiasm and gaiety, and an important day for performing Hindu religious and spiritual rituals, Maghi-Purnima, or Maha Maghi, falls on the full moon of the traditional month of Magha.
63. Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17)
Send a fundraising email with a list of random acts of kindness, from paying for a stranger's coffee to giving up your seat on the bus. The number one item on your list? Making a donation, of course.
P.S. Double down by adding "Become a monthly donor" to the list as well.
64. World Day of Social Justice (February 20)
We're going to go out on a limb here to suggest you take World Day of Social Justice to your social platforms! Post on your social accounts and ask your supporters to do the same, with a specific invitation to create a social justice social fundraiser they can share far and wide.
65. World NGO Day (February 27)
Conveniently coinciding with No Brainer Day, World NGO Day gives you the perfect opening to offer donors a "no-brainer" solution to the problems your nonprofit is working to fix: Just hit that donate button! Looking for something a bit more exciting? Hold a biNGO tournament where the emphasis is on the N-G-O—your donors and your NGO will both be winners.
Winter school fundraising ideas
Do you remember trudging to school 5 miles through the snow, uphill both ways? Us, neither. But we sure heard about it from Gramps. Carpooling wasn't your grandma's cool high school ride, and neither are these winter school fundraising ideas.
Don't just host a bake sale, make it a fiercely competitive Bake-Off! Open a variety of categories, like gingerbread houses, to competitors of all ages and ask the PTA or local celebs to be the judges. Oh, and sell baked goods while you're at it! They'll go like hotcakes if you offer an online donation form.
67. Classroom Crawl
You've heard of a bar crawl, but what about a classroom crawl? Each classroom hosts parents, community, or donors with the party culminating in a central space, like a big gym, community center, or even the sports field. Have a student draw a map of your school, provide simple snacks in each classroom, post a host at each location, and even get the teacher's lounge in on the fundraising action!
Winter fundraising ideas during covid
Covid changed a lot for everyone. And when you're looking at fundraising, it's just like everything else: different. Winter fundraising ideas during covid shouldn't be A Thing, and yet... here we are.
68. Blog Takeover
This is an idea that can go either way: Have a supporter take control of your blog or do a social media takeover. Whatever it takes to get those peer-to-peer fundraising networks activated and listening! Orrrr... take over a business' blog, social media, or email newsletter for a week and appeal directly to their readers to create an urgent fundraising appeal with an online donation form.
69. Donate $5, Share 5
A pandemic calls for online fundraising ideas during COVID. Donate $5, Share 5 is similar to the chain letters we got as kids. Remember? You'd get a letter telling you to pass along the message to 5 of your friends... or else. Recruit peer-to-peer fundraisers rather than sending this type of letter to your whole supporter base, and then give them a letter to print and send, just like in the old days. This time, though, ask for a $5 donation and a share to 5 friends, but leave off the "or else"... no one needs that kind of stress in their lives! Plus, it might impede incoming donations.
Winter donation drive ideas
Cold days mean that there are people who are going without—without heat, homes, food, or basic necessities. When you dive into winter donation drive ideas, you can gain more than just dollars; you can bring in the light.
70. Donation Drive-In
Yeah, we put those two together! Combine a donation drive with a trip to the drive-in, and rake in the dollars and necessities you're looking for. Rent out a drive-in theater and charge a reduced admission fee with donation of a toy, article of clothing, or whatever you need.
71. Disaster Relief Fundraiser
Disaster, averted! With your disaster relief drive, you can provide financial or in-kind support for disasters near or far. Invite your friends to a virtual fundraiser and explain the situation. Ask for donations, and then ask your friends what you can do to earn their donation—you might be surprised what they ask you to do! Follow your conscience, follow your heart, and follow the donations!
Winter community event ideas
Wintertime is a beautiful time for community. And when you're a nonprofit fundraiser, it's a beautiful time to put winter community event ideas into play. You may get more than you bargained for.
72. Movie Night
People love nothing more than a reason to Netflix and chill, especially when it comes to holiday movies. Movie nights are easy fundraising ideas—attendees donate a small fee for the opportunity to choose the movie by voting ahead of time on social media. Just make sure that your movie options are donor-appropriate and you have plenty of movie theater popcorn to sell!
73. Flash Mob
Flash mobs: either you love them or hate them. But for the people who love them, they reeeeally love them. Get a volunteer to choreograph a dance, pull permits if necessary, and get community members practicing, while your nonprofit spreads the word about the flash mob! Don't sell tickets to get people to join, but ask the mobsters to wear branded shirts and hand out cards or flyers with your organization's information on it (and a QR code to your donation page!), and have your coordinating volunteers ask spectators to post to social media and tag your nonprofit!
Extra mile: Send your flash mob off on a caroling (fundraising) tour after they're done with their dance.
Outdoor winter fundraising ideas
Our summer fundraising ideas are the best for raising money in the fresh air, but these outdoor activities rock too.
74. Community Yard Sale
Your community will love a neighborhood or group yard sale, and it's an easy way to get donations. The best way to maximize donations from a community yard sale is to ask sellers to either pledge a portion of their sales to your nonprofit or offer to sell the goods they bring. Either way, you win, they win, and yard sales aficionados win!
75. Car Wash and Weather-proofing
You may be thinking that a car wash is only a great winter fundraising idea if you live in Florida, but think this through with us: the snow and ice does a number on cars. When you offer specialty services at your wintertime car wash, like rainguarding, tire maintenance, undercarriage cleaning, and emergency kit top-offs, you're sure to get lots of happy customers.
Winter sports fundraising ideas
When you're dealing with ice, snow, mountains, and sleds, sports seem a little bit faster, more daring, and out of control. Winter is the perfect time and winter sports fundraising ideas are the perfect way to keep your fundraising under control.
76. 10k on Wheels
This isn't your average 10k fundraiser! If you're looking for fundraising ideas for a 10k, try hosting a 10k on wheels. Any kind of wheels work: skateboards, bikes, scooters, roller skates, roller blades, wheelchairs, Segways, hoverboards, unicycles, Big Wheels, wagons, Heelys shoes, or any other wheels you've got.
77. Polar Plunge
What could be finer than jumping in a freezing body of water when it's cold as ice outside? Fundraising, that's what. Get a local celebrity involved by asking them to name their price to take the plunge, and then get your donors and supporters to raise the money. Of course, the celeb is donating the money raised to your nonprofit organization and the goosebumps are just icing on the cake.
Our favorite winter fundraiser ideas
In our opinion, the best winter fundraiser ideas are ones that involve family (chosen or otherwise), food, and festivities. Here are our top picks for your nonprofit's winter fundraising season.
- Gender Expansive Parents' Day Family Talent Show fundraiser
- Winter Solstice Family Fundraising Festival
- Lunar New Year Progressive Dinner fundraiser
- Winter Wine Tasting fundraiser
Winter fundraisers FAQ
How can I fundraise in cold weather?
Lean into the cold! Winter fundraisers can be a great opportunity to provide services that just aren't necessary in warmer weather.
Why should I fundraise in the winter?
It's all about community. During the dark days of winter, we need the support and love of our community. When you offer donors the chance to warm hearts, they'll respond in kind with kindness.
Why do people donate in December?
In the United States, many people donate in December so they can write off the donations on their taxes. Donations have to be in by December 31, the end of the fiscal year!
What about fundraising after December?
Winter isn't over after the year-end holiday season. There's a whole lotta winter after December 31, and other fundraisers aren't usually taking advantage of this time, so you can make your mark!
What is the easiest winter fundraising idea?
We think Giving Tuesday is pretty easy. Since the whole world is already in the know when it comes to that great giving day, you just need to let your supporters know that you're taking part as well. Send an email, publish a social post, or put up the Bat Signal; no matter what you do, you'll tap into the giving experience of the year.
What is the most profitable winter fundraising idea?
With a third of donations coming in at the end of the year, any December fundraising plan is on track to be your most profitable of the year. But we're thinking that whichever one taps into your community's winter holiday has the fundraising potential to be your most profitable.
At the end of the day, fundraising may be fun, but it's about funding change, so make sure that your fundraising events take into account overhead costs, printing costs, and such. Whether you're holding a board game tournament, scavenger hunt, silent auction, or food drive, you need to charge admission, set a minimum donation, or get holiday elves to volunteer so you maximize the fundraising potential.
Winter offers a world of fundraising opportunities—now's your chance to make it a donation wonderland!