From Turkey Dinner to School Fundraiser: Turn Any Holiday Get-Together into a Rally for Your Cause

By Elizabeth Chung
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In addition to large-effort campaigns and smart email appeals, the holidays are conducive to another type of festive fundraising: holiday events! Lots of community and family gatherings take place around this time, and they can offer more than just the extra calories. Individuals and organizations alike host their own seasonal get-togethers to fundraise for social causes.

However, fundraising events come with a caveat: they usually require a lot of time and resources to pull off successfully. With so many moving parts, nailing down the logistics and budget can be difficult. The holiday time crunch can add extra pressure to the schedule. Pile this on top of your other fundraising efforts, and your to-do list can start to look a little scary.

Fortunately, a solution exists. Instead of putting on your own holiday fundraiser, you can add on to an existing event and funnel support to your cause!

There are two ways you can do this. You can:

1. Tie in your fundraiser to an existing outside event (e.g. school holiday event, community potluck, block party, etc.)

2. Tie in your fundraiser to an event you’re already hosting (e.g. turkey dinner, holiday decoration party, etc.)

Take advantage of the events that are already happening over these next few months. People will be in a giving mood, making this season the perfect time to unite your cause with upcoming festivities.

Keeping this in mind, we’ve compiled a few tips on how you can make your event/fundraiser partnership a success.


1. If you’re partnering up, partner up early

While utilizing an existing event to fundraise for a cause relieves a lot of micro-managing on your end, you still have to plan ahead to make this collaboration successful. This includes finding, officially partnering with another organization and marketing the event.

Try to start a few months ahead (that would be now)! Research holiday events that might be a good fit for your cause, and reach out to the appropriate parties as soon as you can. When you speak to a potential partner, make sure to get a very good understanding of the event’s logistics so you can consider the best way to incorporate your fundraising efforts.

Another big reason to lock down the partnership early is so you and your partner can promote the fundraising aspect of the event as early as possible. This way, people can learn about the fundraising initiative, have time to research your cause and mission, and come to the event excited to donate.

2. Complement the Occasion

When scouting for an event to partner with, try to look for one that complements your cause. A strong alignment between an event’s purpose and the featured fundraiser can enhance the emotional connection for attendees and motivate them to show support. Organizations will also be more willing to partner with your fundraising initiative when it’s relevant to their own programs.

Here are just a few ideas. If you’re raising money for:

• Gifts for underserved children – look into events hosted by a local youth services program, or playful neighborhood activities like a cookie exchange
• Schools and education – partner with major school events or fundraisers
• Art education and development – approach theaters or dance studios about partnering with their holiday or year-end productions
• Hunger alleviation – partner with food banks, schools, youth and religious groups, or virtually any community gathering! These are great opportunities to run a food drive and accept donations along the way.

3. Don’t Overshadow the Event

This one speaks for itself. Your fundraiser is important, but remember that people come for the event. Detracting from it will leave attendees a little miffed. This means that if you’re partnering with an outside event, clarify the schedule and lock down details with the event coordinator.

If the event is your own, designate a specific time to make an announcement about the incorporated fundraiser. Perhaps this will be at the beginning of the night, when all your guests have arrived. Or maybe it will be appropriate to say something when people are mingling and waiting for the festivities to start. In any case, make it clear where and how to place donations, so that people can make contributions on their own time throughout the event.

Pro Tip
Plan how you will collect donations via credit card. You can use a Classy mobile donation page, or another mobile payment processor (Square, PayPal Here, Intuit GoPayment, to name a few).

Some pointers on logistics:

• When will announcements be made about your fundraiser, and who will be making them?
• Will you be given time to talk about your initiative?
• Where will you be stationed?
• When will attendees be able to stop by your booth?
• Is there a certain timeframe for donation-making?

One of the most amazing things about the holidays are opportunities to come together with community for a common cause. Take advantage of the ample time with friends, family, colleagues and other community members to raise awareness, money and otherwise rally for doing good!

Have an awesome holiday fundraising idea or tip? Please share in the comments so we – and other nonprofit professionals – can learn from your wisdom!

The Year-End Fundraising Checklist

Subscribe to the Classy Blog

Get the latest fundraising tips, trends, and ideas in your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing

You signed up for emails from Classy

The email you subscribed is