Top Holiday Season Fundraising Ideas

The holiday season is the perfect time of year to get into the fundraising spirit, simply because people are more apt to open their hearts and give a little more. But also because people find they suddenly have less time for the important things on their Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa lists.

From gift wrapping, decorating, and shopping—folks suddenly find they have less time then they thought they did to complete all of their holiday plans. Obviously, as a charity organization, you can step in and offer these types of services in exchange for fundraising donations over the holiday period.

Here are some of our all-time favorite holiday fundraising ideas.

Christmas trees, wreaths and garland – oh my!

Set up shop, with the help of a local garden center and sell Christmas trees, wreaths, and holiday garland. If you are borrowing space from a local garden center, farm, or supermarket, you can work out a deal so that 50% of the sales go to the establishment, and 50% goes to your charity organization.

If you don't want to deal with the selling and maintaining of trees, you can look to many local farms that already have fundraising deals in place for nonprofit organizations. Simply do an online search and you will get a list of companies that provide Christmas trees, wreaths, and garland for charity sales.

All you have to do is take orders, submit the order form to the farm, and the trees will be delivered to one central location. Your buyers can pick up their Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands, or you can offer a delivery service for an extra charge.

Holiday Wrapping Paper

It's usually the last thing on most people's lists every single year – gift wrapping. Many people get stuck with whatever is left at the store because they waited until the last minute to wrap gifts. This is where gift wrap fundraisers are successful—especially during the holidays!

Go door to door selling wrapping paper, ribbon, holiday cards, stickers, and gift tags to last-minute shoppers. This is a surefire way to raise funds for your organization because it's super convenient for the buyers. There are many gift wrapping suppliers online that provide all the paper and order forms.

Simply have buyers look at the catalog, fill out the order forms, and submit them to the supplier to be filled. The paper goods will typically be delivered to you in a few weeks. You simply deliver the goods to your buyers and collect the cash.

Gift Wrapping Services

Selling gift wrapping is one thing, but how about wrapping the gifts as well – now that's convenience! Let's face it, the holidays are busy and people are willing to pay for gift wrapping to save time. Ask your local mall about setting up a booth with several different wrapping paper choices, colored ribbon, gift tags, tape, and scissors. All you need to do is supply the volunteers willing to wrap.

You can charge a set amount per box wrapped, or accept any donation people are willing to give. You'd be surprised at the generosity this time of year. Oftentimes, it's the shoppers at busy malls, bookstores, music stores, and bath and candle shops who would like fancy gift wrapping to showcase their lovely gift.

Santa Claus Portraits

Parents may not enjoy paying for a photo of their child with Santa, especially when it involves standing in a busy line of noisy children for over an hour. Mall photos with Santa are typically haphazardly taken, so junior ends up either crying or not even looking at the camera.

Fundraising organizations can take the bustle out of this fun event by hosting a more intimate photo opportunity with Santa. Ask an avid photographer in your group to volunteer to take photos with their digital camera. This way, you don't have to pay for film.

Have another member of your organization dress up as Santa Claus, and maybe a few more who wouldn't mind becoming elves for the day. Rent or use hand-me-down costumes, a tree, some garland, and some artificial deer. Wrap some empty boxes to look like gifts, and voila, you have turned your local community center or school cafeteria into a winter wonderland.

Offer photos for a flat fee. The main market will be children, but if Santa is game, offer photos with pets as well.

In-Home Shopping

Holiday gift shopping can be an absolute nightmare. Many people plan to do their holiday shopping online every year, only to remember about it mid-December when it's too late. A Christmas shopping party is the next best thing! Welcome friends and neighbors to a holiday shopping party where they can finish their entire gift buying in one night!

This type of event can easily turn into a fundraiser if you can find vendors who are willing to give a percentage of their sales to charity. Many large, online retailers such as Mary Kay, Avon, Tupperware, and Epicure have representatives who do home parties all over the country.

Just make sure there a variety of products is available for men, children, women, grandparents, teachers, and even pets. You can pass out catalogs so guests can pick their favorites ahead of time, and come to the party ready to buy.

Keep guests comfortable by serving hot apple cider, eggnog, or punch, and provide a few light snacks. Your guests will appreciate being able to get all of their shopping done in one evening, in one place.

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