Classic Christmas fundraising ideas include cookie bake-offs, polar plunges, and gift wrapping services. Make your Christmas fundraiser stand out from the crowd with creative fundraisers for the holidays that no one has ever seen before.
Unique Christmas Fundraisers for Any Group
The holiday season is busy and expensive for most people If you plan to host a fundraiser around Christmas, look for ideas that are unique and holiday-specific to engage the most participants. Keep in mind almost any Christmas fundraiser can be adjusted to fit the needs of your group size and type.
Twelve Days of Christmas Raffle
Collect 78 individual gift donations that you can raffle off over the course of the twelve days leading up to Christmas.
- Participants will purchase standard raffle tickets and you will write down their ticket numbers with their names.
- After they purchase their tickets, give each person a flyer with numbered images of your 78 gifts on it.
- On the first raffle day, the winner gets to choose one prize, on the second day they get to choose two prizes, and so on until the last winner gets the last twelve prizes.
Christmas Experience Auction
Smaller groups can host a blind auction for Christmas experiences while larger groups can host a live auction. Examples of experiences to auction include a ski package, a family Polar Express train ride, or a one-night stay in a cozy log cabin.
- You'll need to gather a variety of unique Christmas and winter experience gifts, most likely in the form of gift certificates.
- You can buy these or ask for donations.
- Consider your audience and choose experiences appropriate for them such as family-friendly events for schools or adult-oriented events for the office.
Christmas Bingo events can be fun for kids and adults. Print off a free Christmas Bingo game so all your game boards are themed. Provide mini Christmas ornaments, Christmas candies, or mini bows to use as bingo markers and ask players to dress in holiday attire. You can charge an admission fee or charge per Bingo card. All prizes should be wrapped like Christmas gifts to make the event more festive.
Christmas Fundraisers for Small Groups
Small groups can host more intimate Christmas fundraisers like contests or sales because they're easy to organize.
Hot Drink Mix-Off
Christmas cookies get all the attention, but there are some great hot holiday drinks that adults might enjoy more. Host an adults-only Christmas fundraiser where entrants can face off with their best hot alcoholic drink recipes. You can make this a kid-friendly event by ditching the alcohol in favor of egg nogs and cocoas.
- Guests can pay an admission fee or purchase voting tickets.
- Contest entrants are responsible for all the ingredients and cups for their drink concoctions.
- Guests will get to sample everything from warm wine varieties to hot toddies and vote for the best drink.
Gingerbread Cookie Look-Alike Contest
Take your classic cookie decorating contest to the next level when you ask participants to create stunning likenesses of famous Christmas characters in gingerbread cookie form.
- Entrants can pay a small fee to enter their cookie creation into the contest.
- Their cookie must be made of gingerbread, look like a famous Christmas character, and have a photo of the look alike next to it.
- Voters can vote with change or pay admission to the event.
Christmas Tree Cutting Competition
If you live near a Christmas tree farm or in a rural area, you can host a tree cutting competition. Teams of two can sign up to use a two-man crosscut saw to cut down a Christmas tree in the fastest time. Teams pay a small fee to enter, and the team with the fastest time wins the tree they cut down. To be fair, you'll want to pick out trees ahead of time that have nearly the same-sized trunks.
Recycled Wrappings Store
Make money and help the environment by selling recycled Christmas wrapping supplies. Collect donations of wrapping paper, bows, gift boxes, gift bags, and tissue paper that are suitable for reuse. Set up a store where patrons can shop for these items at extremely discounted prices. They'll be saving money while you're making it.
Christmas Fundraisers for Large Groups
Larger groups can do bigger fundraising projects because they typically have more volunteers and resources. Consider more involved fundraising events and even offering services for a fee.
Christmas Trivia Contest
You can host trivia contests for kids, adults, and groups with Christmas themed trivia like classic Christmas songs, the Christmas Story from the Bible, or winter trivia questions.
- Have teams pay an entry fee then host the trivia contest like a game show.
- Set up time slots and a bracket system so teams can compete throughout the course of one day or a few days.
- You can also sell snacks to the audience to raise more money.
People of all ages can participate in a Sled-a-Thon. Each participant will have to gather sponsors ahead of time who donate a set amount of money per hour spent sledding, per trip down a big sledding hill, or per distance the participant pulls someone else on a sled. You'll have to track the sledding for each participant, then they collect the money from their sponsors.
Christmas Decorating Service
Hire out volunteers to help decorate houses, businesses, and even yards around town for the holidays. People can pay to have one person or a small group come hang lights on their house, set up their Christmas tree, or build a snowman in their front yard. Have additional packages available where the same volunteers will come and take down all the decorations on a set date.
Host a fun run/walk where participants dress like reindeer and even pull sleds to resemble Santa's sleigh. Groups can connect themselves together like a team of reindeer and you can allow dogs to join their owners. Plan your Reindeer Run through both paved roads or forest paths. You make money from registration fees and corporate sponsors for the race.
Christmas Fundraisers for Schools
School groups like individual classrooms, grade levels, school buildings, sports teams, clubs, and parent groups can all host Christmas fundraisers through their school. Look for school fundraising ideas that are unique, easy to implement, and help get kids excited about and involved in the effort.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas Read-a-Thon
Kids and families love "A-Thon" fundraisers because each individual child can participate as much or as little as they'd like.
- Kids will have a set period to get sponsors to sign up to donate a specific amount of money per Christmas book the child reads on Christmas Eve.
- Since most schools aren't in session over Christmas break, parents will be responsible for recording how many books the child read from the time they woke up until the time they went to sleep on Christmas Eve.
- Kids can then go around and collect their sponsorship money.
Children's Choir Christmas CD
Make recordings of your school choir students singing classic, new, or a mix classic and new Christmas songs. Choose 10 to 15 songs that represent all your school's musical groups for the biggest profit. Create and print inserts for the CD cases and start selling your unique Christmas album.
School Spirit Holiday Apparel Sale
Give your standard school spirit gear a holiday facelift and sell limited-edition versions just for the winter months. Choose one winter holiday like Christmas, or a variety of winter holidays to feature. Update your standard mascot with a Santa hat or spell out your school's initials on a menorah. Only sell winter-themed gear like sweatshirts, scarves, blankets, and cozy hats.
LEGO Brickmas Contest
Take the classic gingerbread house decorating contest and modernize it by using LEGO bricks instead!
- Individual kids or entire classes can build iconic Christmas scenes to be put on display in a main area of the school.
- Leave a change jar next to each creation and ask staff/students to vote on their favorites by dropping change into the change jar next to the one they like best.
- Get the community and parents involved by inviting them in to vote too.
Multicultural Winter Holiday Book Fair
Modern parents are always looking for ways to teach their kids about multicultural holidays and celebrations or the next trend in holiday books.
- Start by collecting donations of new or gently used children's books that feature winter holidays from cultures around the world.
- Set up a few days where kids can shop during school or in the evening with parents.
- Sort books by holiday or culture to make shopping easier.
Christmas Fundraisers for Churches
For many, Christmas is all about celebrating Christ. This means Christmas is a great time for churches to host holiday fundraisers. Look for ideas that incorporate many members of the church, your church's mission and beliefs, and the broader community.
Christmas Carol Singing Telegrams
People can purchase a Christmas Carol Singing Telegram for friends, family members, and neighbors. A group of volunteers from your church choir can go around on specific dates/times and fulfill the telegram orders by singing for recipients.
- Create a list of about 10 Christmas carols to choose from so your choir only needs to know those few songs.
- Choose specific dates and times where the carol telegrams can be delivered.
- Offer different carol packages for different budgets like one song, two songs, three songs, or even all ten songs to be sung in a public place.
- Charge extra for a Christmas card that says who sent the singing telegram.
Old Fashioned Christmas Village
Go beyond the typical nativity display and host an old fashioned Christmas village full of wholesome fun for the entire family.
- Work with your town or neighborhood to create something like a Victorian Christmas weekend complete with sleigh rides, Victorian characters, and old fashioned Christmas treats like roasted chestnuts.
- If you can create the village in an enclosed space, you can charge an admission fee.
- If it takes up a lot of public space, sell tickets then have each activity cost a certain number of tickets.
Christmas Fundraisers for Businesses and Organizations
Whether you're a business raising funds for new equipment or a company raising money to donate to a good cause, Christmas fundraisers for the office can be a fun way to celebrate the season. Before planning any fundraiser at work, make sure it's sensitive to your employees and customers.
Line the Lights
Collect cold, hard cash during the cold winter months with a fun Line the Lights fundraiser.
- Start by hanging a few strands of Christmas lights around your office or business.
- Hang one clothespin in every gap between light bulbs.
- Employees, volunteers, or customers can then hang their cash donations in dollar bills or baggies of coins from the clothespins.
- Once all the clothespins on a strand are full, collect the donations and plug in the light strand.
Tree Decorating Contest
Christmas trees are versatile vessels for holiday decorating. If you've got a business or organization that's open to the public or has window displays, a tree decorating contest can draw in crowds.
- About a month before Christmas, set up borrowed Christmas trees in your display area.
- Individuals, families, or teams can choose one tree to decorate with any theme they choose, it doesn't have to be a Christmas theme.
- Set a change jar next to each tree and let people vote by dropping money into the jar next to their favorite tree.
- Offer a nice prize for the winning decorators.
Ice Castle Festival
Create a unique winter festival that will have people lining up to enter. You can utilize volunteers and donations to keep the costs of any festival event down and even make money off of parking. An ice castle festival can feature an actual castle made from ice bricks carved from a local lake, ice sculptures by local sculptors, and a variety of both icy and warm treats.
Christmas Fundraising Tips
While money is tight for many during the holiday season, you can still host successful fundraisers that bring in the big bucks.
- Choose a fundraiser that employs member talents so it's easy and comfortable for them to volunteer.
- Pick a date where not only the largest number of members can help, but with few other conflicts within your community as found on a community calendar.
- Start organized months in advance so there isn't as much work to do during the busy holiday season.
- Try out unique fundraisers unlike anything anyone else in the area is doing. If it's a success, you can create an iconic annual event.
- Get a good read on your community and host Christmas fundraisers that are inclusive of different groups. Diverse communities might prefer winter fundraisers over Christmas specific ones.
Fundraising With Christmas Spirit
Although people are busy during Christmas time, they are also filled with the spirit of giving. Help make Christmas a memorable, special time of year with fundraisers that are fun and also make people feel good.