Winter Fundraising Ideas

Ever wonder why winter fundraising ideas seem to sparkle just a bit more than those in other seasons? Maybe it's the glittering snow or the warm glow of community coming together. Imagine hot chocolate warming hands and hearts alike as donations pour in—not despite the cold, but because of it. Who doesn't love that feeling?

two people building a snowman in the snow

But how can you capture this magic?

You’ll learn about gala events that harness social media’s reach and walkathons that turn frosty breaths into warm support. Think Santa visits with a twist, where joy meets generosity.

Ready for some heartwarming success? Today, we’re going to share:

Winter Fundraising Ideas to Warm Up Your Charity Efforts

As the temperature drops, generosity tends to rise, making winter a perfect time for your charity to host fundraising events. With many people in the holiday spirit and looking to give back, winter fundraisers can tap into this seasonal goodwill.

1. Host a holiday-themed virtual gala

In today’s digital world, bringing community members together is easier than ever. A virtual gala allows you to reach supporters near and far without worrying about chilly weather dampening attendance.

To make it special, arrange live performances or plan auctions with desirable items like gift cards from local restaurants or unique experiences. During the holiday season, these are great because people can get them for gifts but also use them as a tax write-off.

Sell tickets ahead of time and suggest donations at registration. Either way, this fundraiser idea brings joy right into homes while supporting your cause.

2. Organize a winter wonderland walkathon

Gather up those scarves and mittens. A walkathon isn’t just for warmer months; it’s also an amazing winter fundraising idea when themed right—think ‘Winter Wonderland,’ complete with festive decorations along the route.

You could ask participants for an entry fee or encourage them to get sponsors through peer-to-peer fundraising efforts leading up to event day.

the steps to peer - funding process

(Image Source)

The funds raised will help keep both bodies and hearts warm despite any freezing cold temperatures they may encounter.

3. Set up a seasonal online store

The internet is bustling around holidays as shoppers look for meaningful gifts. Raise money by tapping into this trend!

Set up an online store selling handmade holiday cards, baked goods, and ornaments crafted by volunteers. Use social media channels smartly to promote deals and engage high school art classes to create custom designs for your marketing efforts.

This not only helps raise funds but fosters community connections, too.

4. Offer holiday gift-wrapping services

You can do this at your organization or set up stands around town! Offer a gift-wrapping service at local shopping centers or events.

Volunteers can wrap gifts for shoppers in exchange for a suggested donation to your nonprofit.

5. Organize a snowman-building contest

Participants pay an entry fee, and winners can receive prizes donated by local businesses.

This one may be tricky because Mother Nature is in charge. But if you want to start planning in advance, you can have teams sign up with text message permission so you can send a text message on the first snow announcing the start date of the competition!

6. Christmas tree recycling

So many families don’t know what to do with their Christmas tree if they miss town pickup- or if your town doesn’t offer it.

a flyer for a christmas tree and help the environment

(Image Source)

Arrange a Christmas tree recycling service where volunteers collect and dispose of Christmas trees post-holiday for a donation. You can even partner with local businesses for drop-off locations.

7. Caroling for contributions

A caroling fundraiser brings melody to your mission as you spread cheer through song. Gather volunteers, bundle up in scarves and hats, and hit local neighborhoods or city centers where community members are eager to hear classic tunes.

This time-honored tradition uplifts spirits as you sing carols and encourages folks to give back in exchange for joyous harmonies. Make sure each group has secure donation buckets and information about your cause ready at hand.

Involving high school choirs or amateur singers adds a touch of authenticity people love; it’s about creating moments that stay with them long after the last note fades away.

8. Serve up comfort at community events

Gather around steamy kettles and whipped cream canisters as you turn local happenings into opportunities to raise money. Set up booths offering delicious hot chocolate at events like winter solstice celebrations or high school sports games. People love something sweet and warming when they’re out braving the cold, making it an ideal fundraiser idea.

Boost sales by adding a bake sale component and collaborating with local restaurants or cafes willing to donate supplies or share their space. This not only reduces costs but also strengthens community ties—essential for any successful charity work.

9. Create your own formal winter charity ball

Dreaming of something more formal? Organize a winter charity ball where elegance meets philanthropy. Sell tickets for an evening filled with dancing, dining, and decadent hot beverages from classic cocoa to gourmet coffee concoctions—all while dressed in black tie attire.

a group of people standing around a table

To make this event unforgettable, ask local businesses if they would sponsor drink stations or provide gift cards as prizes for raffles held throughout the night, ensuring every sip helps support your mission even more.

10. Host indoor movie nights

No one can resist the allure of movies and warm drinks on chilly evenings. Turn movie nights into fundraising gold by charging a small entry fee that includes unlimited access to custom-made holiday-themed drinks—think peppermint mochas or spicy cider.

You’ll need volunteers ready to whip up these tasty treats—a great opportunity for team building within your organization—and maybe even host themed trivia during intermission.

11. Plan a Super Bowl party

When it comes to winter fundraising ideas that aren’t holiday-themed, some nonprofits freeze a bit. A fundraising idea we love is hosting a Super Bowl party!

You can charge a small fee that includes fun appetizers (ideally donated by local businesses) and offer a cash bar. Then, put together fun games for all ages to enjoy throughout the game. Stream on a projector, and voila!

Your local team doesn’t need to be in the big game for the community to have a good time.

12. Do a karaoke night

Think American Idol, but nonprofit style. Your supporters and community members can create teams, and your board members can be the judges. Teams can enter with a small registration fee, and all profits go to your organization.

When these town favorites take the stage belting out tunes that will melt even the iciest of hearts, you may even gain some new donors in the audience. It’s a great winter fundraiser because everything can be indoors. People are always looking for things to do on chilly nights!

13. Valentine’s Day-themed fundraising event

Now, Cupid is in charge of these fundraising ideas! Here are a few options you can consider:

  • Couples cooking class: Collaborate with a local chef or cooking school to host a couples’ cooking class. Participants pay to attend, and a portion of the fees can go to your organization. This is a fun and interactive way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
  • DIY Valentine’s Day kits: Create do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day kits that include materials for crafting, baking, or other festive activities. Sell these kits online, and the proceeds contribute to your nonprofit.
  • Chocolate tasting event: Collaborate with local chocolatiers for a chocolate-tasting event. Participants can sample different chocolates, and the event can include pairings with wine or other beverages. Charge an entry fee or sell tasting packages.
  • Flower sale: Partner with local florists or nurseries to sell Valentine’s Day flowers. Offer pre-orders for bouquets, arrangements, or even potted plants. A portion of the sales can contribute to your nonprofit.
  • Love Notes campaign: Create a “Love Notes” campaign where supporters can purchase personalized messages or virtual notes that will be compiled and shared on Valentine’s Day. This is a heartwarming way for people to express their love and support for your cause.

14. Create buzz around a polar plunge

Whether it’s on New Year’s Day or a random winter day, crowds love a polar plunge. There’s something about watching people face their fears and ditch the drama, submerging themselves in the icy cold ocean (or pool, if you don’t live near the coast). Typically, these follow a 5K or something like that, but you can also have it be a solo plunge!

You can have participants pay entry fees or encourage them to fundraise for your organization! Add a festive touch with music, costumes, and perhaps a post-plunge celebration to acknowledge the bravery of the participants.

15. Run a good ol’ car wash

While car wash fundraisers are typically associated with the summer, why not host one in the winter season? After all, all the salt on the roads is a lot more detrimental to cars than a little dirt!

a blue car with a sign that says car wash fundraiser

Just make sure your team is bundled—or, even better, partner with a car wash facility in town for the day. Your organization can market the car wash day as a fundraiser, and a percentage of the proceeds that day go back to the nonprofit team.

16. Do a workshop fundraiser

People love activities and learning. Host a day where friends and family can come together for a workshop where they learn a cool new craft or skill. Here are a few ideas:

  • A wreath- or succulent-making workshop: Host an event where participants will learn the art of crafting stunning wreaths or stylish succulent arrangements. Great for a holiday season event.
  • Financial planning workshop: Host a financial planning workshop with a certified financial planner. Participants can learn about budgeting, investing, and managing finances effectively. Charge a fee for attendance and provide resources or tools.
  • A coding workshop: Offer a beginner-level technology or coding class. This can be especially appealing to those looking to enhance their digital skills. Charge a fee for participation and provide laptops or computers if needed.
  • Wellness and mindfulness workshop: Organize a wellness or mindfulness workshop covering topics such as meditation, stress management, or self-care. Bring in experts in the field to lead the sessions and charge a fee for participation.
  • Photography workshop: Enlist the help of a professional photographer to conduct a photography workshop. Participants can learn the basics of photography, composition, or even smartphone photography. Charge a fee and encourage participants to bring their cameras.

17. Leverage social media challenges

You remember the Ice Bucket Challenge, don’t you? Where millions of people across the world posted themselves getting doused with cold water to support research for ALS.

Channel that energy!

We all know someone who’s always game for quirky challenges. So why not create social media buzz with unique contests like designing creative mugs or capturing epic ‘sip shots’ in freezing weather?

Use tags wisely: “#HotChocolateChallenge2024 #WarmHeartsFundraiser”, encouraging supporters online peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns that tap into everyone’s networks far beyond what traditional methods could reach.

How to Recruit Volunteers for Winter Fundraiser Events

One concern many nonprofit organizations have about winter fundraising ideas is how to get volunteers to run events. When in reality, winter schedules are sometimes less full than other times of the year.

Here are some tips to get more volunteers for winter fundraising events!

1. Craft an appealing pitch

Develop a compelling message that emphasizes the unique aspects of the winter fundraiser. Highlight the festive atmosphere, the cause you’re supporting, and the sense of community engagement.

2. Utilize your social channels

Leverage social media platforms to spread the word. Create eye-catching posts with winter-themed visuals, and encourage your followers to share. Consider creating a dedicated event page to provide details and attract potential volunteers.

3. Engage your local community

Connect with local community centers, schools, and religious institutions.

Collaborate with them to share information about the winter fundraiser and seek volunteers. Personal connections often yield enthusiastic and committed participants.

4. Partner with local businesses

Engage with local businesses to display posters or distribute flyers about the event. Some businesses might also be willing to sponsor or provide incentives for volunteers, increasing participation.

5. Offer incentives

Motivate volunteers by offering incentives such as recognition, certificates, or small tokens of appreciation. Emphasize the joy and fulfillment of contributing to a meaningful cause during the holiday season.

6. Ask your donors and supporters

Tap into your organization’s existing network of supporters and past volunteers. They may have friends or family interested in participating, creating a ripple effect of involvement.

This is a great way to start building relationships with donors.

7. Leverage local media

Approach local newspapers, radio stations, and community bulletin boards to publicize the winter fundraiser.

a blue and white poster with the words tips on it

(Image Source)

Feature stories or interviews can generate interest and attract potential volunteers.

8. Provide flexibility

Recognize that the winter season is busy for many. Offer flexible volunteering options, such as shorter shifts or remote tasks, to accommodate varying schedules.

9. Ask early

For fundraising ideas around the holiday season, encourage supporters to sign up to volunteer earlier than at other times of the year.

Then, if in the weeks leading up to the event, you realize you don’t have enough volunteers, you can staff accordingly or ask them to enlist help from friends and family!

10. Show appreciation

Express gratitude to volunteers consistently, whether through shout-outs on social media, personalized thank-you notes, or a post-event appreciation gathering. Feeling valued encourages volunteers to return for future events.

By combining these strategies, you can build a dedicated team of volunteers ready to make your winter fundraiser a memorable and impactful success.

How to Create Your Fundraising Plans Before the Season Hits

The key to fundraising success is ensuring that your fundraising plan is in place far before the season actually arrives. Ideally, you’ll have your annual fundraising goal set at the end of the year prior so that you can determine:

  1. How many fundraising ideas you need to entertain
  2. How many fundraising events you need to host
  3. How much each fundraiser needs to raise
  4. What information needs to be on your fundraising forms

Then, this will guide your fundraising plan.

These Winter Fundraising Ideas Will Help Your Organization Grow

So, you’ve explored the world of winter fundraising ideas to raise money for your cause. You’ve seen how a virtual gala can extend your reach and warm hearts from afar. A walkathon, even in the chill, brings steps closer to your goal.

Remember this: Every hot beverage sold is more than just warmth; it’s support for your cause. And those carols sung? They’re not just songs but echoes of generosity ringing through crisp air.

Your takeaway should be clear: embrace the season’s giving spirit and let creativity lead your campaign to success. Winter offers unique opportunities—seize them, share them, and watch donations grow!

Book a demo today to see how Micharity can help track your winter fundraising efforts.

Scroll to Top