This post has been updated and refreshed in July 2017.
Halloween generates a lot of publicity and excitement every year, but many nonprofits don’t consider it a prime time to fundraise. With the exception of breast cancer-related charities, October tends to be a time organizations use to gear up for their end-of-year efforts.
Yet with the right idea and execution, Halloween can be a perfect time to launch a creative campaign. It’s not only an opportunity to generate additional revenue, but also a chance to serve as a touch point for your audience before your year-end campaign begins.
To help you re-engage your community, here are three of our favorite Halloween fundraising ideas and key takeaways that will help you implement each one.
1. The Haunted House Party
Candle Lighters taps into the haunted house craze with its annual Halloween event, Ghost House. Initially a fundraising source for the local YMCA Building Fund, Candle Lighters evolved into its own nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for other nonprofits and local projects in the Tri-City Community (Fremont, Newark, and Union City).
Open during the last two weeks of October, the event takes place in a historical 19th century carriage house, complete with games, treats, and Halloween-themed activities for the entire family to enjoy. The annual event also appeals to the entire local community to get involved, with over 100 volunteers coming together to put on the event.
To create an additional revenue stream, Candle Lighters offers three levels of sponsorship to their supporters.
- Ghost ($50 to $249)
- Goblin ($250 to $549)
- Ghoul ($550+)
There are different benefits for each level of sponsorship, such as complimentary party tickets or having your name displayed in one of the Ghost House rooms.
While a 19th century carriage house makes for a killer party setting, don’t let the lack of a haunting location hold you back from this idea. With the right plan and help, you can transform any house into a frightening experience.
In addition, take a tip from Candle Lighters and remember that a great way to get donors involved is to celebrate them and to show them some recognition. Offer incentives to donors and/or fundraisers who reach certain levels to drive fundraising activity, no matter your campaign theme.
2. Saving the Undead
During this multi-faceted CPR Advocacy campaign, the organization raised awareness for hands-only CPR and why training is essential. This creative Halloween fundraising idea implements three main marketing strategies:
- Free local CPR training events
- An online coaching video
- Halloween-themed media events designed to promote awareness and education
The HSF also set up a dedicated microsite specifically for the campaign. It included a subpage that demonstrated the metrics for number of people trained during the campaign, the number of lives saved, and a call to action to donate.
Your organization doesn’t need an obvious connection to the holiday to take advantage of the hype. Hold a brainstorm and consider how you might playfully tie it into your messaging to get started.
Also, remember there’s value in offering quality information to the public for free. In keeping with the inbound marketing philosophy, extending how-to’s and useful information without charge will allow you to advance your organization’s mission and give people the space they need to understand the value of your organization and its cause.
Lastly, a microsite geared specifically towards your campaign can help you maintain distinct branding and maximize conversions.
3. Pink Is the New Orange
Pink pumpkins? That’s right, they exist…and they’re serving a worthwhile cause, thanks to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation (PPPF). Celebrating October as the month for both breast cancer awareness and Halloween, the PPPF began in 2012 to support breast cancer research. Partnering with DP Seeds, the foundation raises money through the sale of pink pumpkins, with growers donating 25 cents per pumpkin sold to the PPPF. They distribute the funds directly to organizations that conduct cancer research.
To get the most out of the pumpkin sales, the PPPF also hosts its “Pink Pumpkin Decorate Your Porch Contest.” This contest asks supporters to visit the nonprofit’s Facebook page and share a photo of their Halloween-themed porch decorations, using at least one pink pumpkin. The owner of the winning photo gets a $100 gift card as a prize.
In any campaign, creativity captures attention. A clever theme can help you overcome marketing plateaus and drive engagement among supporters. If you’re searching for inspiration, try putting a twist on a regular seasonal activity like PPPF did, or use an idea from pop culture as your fundraising inspiration.
Unlock More Creative Ideas
The right fundraising ideas can create an engaging campaign. To skim through even more Halloween fundraising ideas, check out chapter four in the guide below. Chock-full of ideas like corn mazes, pumpkin carving contests, and an Edgar Allen “Poe”try Night, this list has all the inspiration you need to select the right event for you.
Photo Credits: kayugee, jasleen kaur