30 Christmas Fundraising Ideas
Before we hit the downhill run to the silly season, let’s talk Christmas Fundraising. While it can be a crazy busy time, it can also be a great time to run your final fundraiser for the year.
There are soooo many ideas for Christmas fundraisers! Keep in mind as you read through these ideas that your ideal window of opportunity is between 6 and 8 weeks out from Christmas.
Here are 30 Christmas Fundraising Ideas:
1. Find the lucky stocking
This is a little similar to the lucky square game. Have a sheet drawn up with squares but instead of having numbers on the squares, have pictures of Christmas stockings. Before selling any stockings, pick which stocking will be the winning one ahead of time. People then pay to pick a stocking and write their name on the square. Announce your prize winner at the end of your event or when all squares are sold. Of course, it doesn’t just have to be stockings, alternatives could be Santas, Reindeers, Christmas trees, presents or snowmen.
2. Find Santa
Get hold of around 10 tins, boxes, pots or anything that you can decorate to look like a chimney. Once decorated, place them in a shallow tray or container of fake snow. Hide a small toy Santa (or anything else Christmas related) under one of the chimneys and people pay to guess which one Santa is hiding under. A variation on this could be using Santa hats and having a lolly or some sort of small consolation prize under the non-winning chimneys or hats.
3. Six Socks
Set up a simple clothesline and peg six different colour or patterned socks on the line. Source some cheap toys or lollies and pop them in each sock. Kids can feel the sock but can’t look inside and they can keep the contents of whichever sock they choose. All you need to do is refill the sock after each pick and you don’t have to be limited to only six socks. You can have as many as you like! An alternative to this would be to have a large Christmas tree with all your filled socks/stockings hanging on it and kids can pick the one they want.
4.Ring Rudolph’s Nose
Paint a picture of Rudolph’s head on a large piece of solid sheet. Make sure it includes Rudolph’s big red nose and have a large hook screwed into his nose. Throw rings to hook them on the nose and win a prize. Use ordinary rings and charge for 2 or 3 throws or you can charge a little extra for glow rings (for night time events) which can be kept after their go.
5. Golden Cracker
This could be a great idea for an end of year Christmas dinner too! All you need are cheap boxes of crackers. You should be able to carefully pull the end of some of the crackers open just enough to slip a winning golden ticket into it. The prize will be noted on the winning ticket. We have found information that about one winner in 20 should work, but could be varied depending on numbers expected at your event. You could even have mobile sellers wandering your fete or event.
6. Christmas bowling
10 pin bowling but with a Christmas theme. Decorate pins or even weighted soft drink bottles or tins with festive images. Those who knock down all 10 pins in 2 bowls win a prize.
7. Snowball Throw
Cut a snowman out of cardboard or solid sheeting and cut a hole for his mouth and a hole in his tummy. Throw small bean bags, balls or anything that can represent a snowball to get it through the holes.
8. Scrooge or Humbug
Find a container with a lid that you can cut a hole in. The hole needs to be big enough for someone to get their hand in. Fill the container with ping pong balls with either ‘Scrooge’ or ‘Humbug’ written on them. If a ball with ‘Scrooge’ is chosen, they lose but if ‘Humbug’ is chosen, they’ll win a prize. You can decide the ratio of winning balls to losing ones.
9. Christmas Photo Booth
Provide a range of props and charge for photos to be taken or if it’s easier you can hire a photo booth.
10. Christmas Bake Stall
There is a never-ending supply of ideas for baked (and non-baked) treats for Christmas. From the traditional fruit mince pies, rum balls, white Christmas, fruit cakes and puddings to reindeer noses, reindeer fudge, sweet Santa cones, marshmallow snowmen and more, you’re bound to make a good profit on this one. Don’t forget to have a separate table to sell ‘magic reindeer food’. These will be very popular! Recipes and verses to attach can be easily found on Pinterest.
11. Santa Hat Toss
Make Santa hats from brightly coloured cardboard and cotton balls. Set them up at different distances for people to throw rings to land on the hats to win a prize.
12. Letters to Santa
Set up some tables and a post box so that kids can write a letter to Santa and post it. Parents can pay (either ahead of time or on the day) to have their child receive a personalised return letter from Santa. Make sure that the children clearly write their name and address to make sure that Santa knows where to send a letter back!
13. Pin the Nose on Rudolph
Pin the tail on the donkey style, but you could also have ‘pin the beard on Santa’, ‘pin the carrot on the snowman’ or ‘pin the star on top of the tree’.
14. Gingerbread House decoration
Families can pre-purchase a gingerbread house kit and then decorate it together. Turn it into a decorating competition and have a judge to choose the winner. Make sure you set the decorating area up undercover, especially if it’s a warm day.
15. Wine pull
One for the grown-ups! Collect a whole lot of empty wine bottles and full ones too. Wrap them in Christmas paper and charge people to choose a bottle. If they choose a full one, they keep it and if it’s empty they miss out.
16. Personalised Baubles
If you’ve got a couple of volunteers who are a bit crafty this is a lovely idea (and is based on the set ups that you would find in the big name shopping centres). All you’ll need is some plain coloured baubles, glue and LOTS of glitter. Charge per bauble to have a them personalised or alternatively buy a whole stack of glitter glue pens and let the kids decorate their own!
17. Breakfast with Santa
A really cute idea, particularly for kindergartens or primary schools. Recruit your Santa and some elf helpers and have people pay a small fee to come and enjoy breakfast with Santa. Your elves can serve a simple breakfast while Santa mingles with his admirers. Sell your tickets in advance to make catering as easy as possible and then at the end of your breakfast, Santa can have a photo with the children (the little ones AND the big ones!) and give a small present (perhaps a little Christmas showbag – see below).
18. Family Photo Day
Photos and family portraits make an ideal Christmas present, so why not create some precious memories while doing some Christmas fundraising. Remember that this time of year can get busy for portrait fundraisers, so you’ll need to get in early!
19. Bauble decoration competition
This is a great idea for schools with the option of class prizes, year level prizes and even another category for parents and carers. Charge $1 or $2 per entry if everyone is bringing their bauble from home or $5 (including costs) for setting up decorating tables at lunch). Make sure each entrant has a name tag for their bauble. Choose your judge – it could be the principal, a local business owner, captains of the local high school or even your local MP. How amazing to have all entries displayed on a community Christmas tree for everyone to enjoy (perhaps in the school hall or library) or for bigger schools, you might opt for a class Christmas tree. And the best part? Each entrant can take their bauble home after the competition and put in on their own tree.
20. Gift Wrapping Stall
There are a couple of options for gift wrapping stalls. Try contacting your local shopping centre and see if they will allow you to set up a stall. Another alternative could be to set up a wrapping stall at your school or club, combined with a Christmas stall. These stalls can be very successful especially if you’re anything like me and wrapping is neither your strong point, nor something you enjoy, usually leaving it till the last minute. Whatever your set up, make sure you have a range of paper, gift tags and ribbons and plenty of sticky tape. Charge a set wrapping fee per item or make it ‘by donation’.
21. Christmas Stall
Christmas stalls operate in the same way as your typical Mothers or Fathers Day Stall where you purchase a range of items at a low price and on-sell them to make a profit. These are becoming more popular (they’re HUGE in the US) and what I like about them is that they offer low price gifts that children can take ownership of and buy for their family members (including siblings). They get so excited about that!
22. Christmas Showbags
Who would have thought such a thing existed? Take a look at some Christmas showbags and think about taking orders – possibly combined with your Christmas event or even for your Santa grotto.
23. Christmas Raffle
Raffles are a winner any time of year, but for Christmas, you can theme your prizes. Hampers: Christmas wrapping hamper (who doesn’t need wrapping stuff?!), Christmas food hamper, Christmas decoration hamper, Movie hamper with DVD’s, popcorn, lollies, chips (it is school holidays after all!), Alcohol hamper, New Years Eve hamper. Other prizes could be holidays, gift vouchers, electrical items or theme park tickets.
24. Christmas Cards
Christmas card drives are a win-win. Not only do you raise money, but your supporters will receive beautiful cards to send to their family and friends.
25. Santa’s Cave
Decorate Santa’s cave – in a classroom, hall, library, clubhouse – with Christmas trees, fairy lights and all things Christmassy (even fake snow would work a treat!). Source a volunteer or volunteers (set up a roster system) and some cheap Christmas themed gifts (no more than $3 per child). Charge $5 entry fee for kids to see Santa and receive a gift.
You may even have someone in your community who is a photographer and could donate their time to take photos on the day. Photos can be optional and you can charge extra for these. Consider allocating special times – before or after the main session – for those with sensory challenges who may not be able to wait in lines or tolerate loud noise.
26. Storytime with Santa
Similar set up to Santa’s Cave with decorations and finding a volunteer Santa. Set up session times for a limited number of kids to come and listen to Santa read a Christmas story or two. Charge entry per child. You could again provide a small gift or have a photographer on hand.
27. Guess the weight of the cake
The quintessential Christmas version of ‘guess the number of lollies in the jar’. You’ll need a Christmas pudding or Christmas fruitcake – homemade or store bought, whichever is easier. Charge per guess and the correct guess or closest to it wins the cake. Make it bigger and better by combining this with a Christmas baking competition and have multiple cakes or puddings to guess the weight of.
28. Carols By Candlelight
Carols by candlelight is a wonderful Christmas tradition that appeals to all age groups and you can turn your community event into a successful fundraiser. It could bed part of your Christmas markets or fete or even as a stand-alone event but with side attractions. Food, drinks (including coffee vans), rides, face painters, auctions, raffles, photos with Santa can all provide additional revenue opportunities for you. Be mindful of the weather though and make sure you have a wet weather contingency plan!
29. Santa Run
How amazing would it be to witness a ‘sea of Santa’s’? All you need to do is organise a Santa Run. It’s a fun run with a Christmas twist and you could make this a large-scale community event to raise even more funds!
You’ll need to work out a course (keep in mind you may need to consult your local council about this – particularly if it’s going to be a large scale event). Offer a couple of distance options if you can – longer for the sporty Santa’s and less active Santa’s might like a nice stroll around the oval or through the local park.
Charge an entry fee or to buy an “official” Santa hat or outfit. You can also ask participants to raise their own sponsorship – lap-a-thon style and collect the proceeds. Make sure you have all the usual extra revenue opportunities available:
- Raffle tickets
- Tea, coffee, hot chocolates and alcohol (if appropriate)
- Sausage sizzle
- Food trucks
- ‘Christmassy’ cake stall
For a bit of extra cuteness and fun, offer a Santa Toddler Race for the little ones. Who could resist sponsoring their favourite little Santa?!
If you’re not into the fun run thing, some alternatives might be a Santa Obstacle course or Christmas It’s a Knockout, Santa football match or Santa tug of war. Whichever option you choose, you can be assured you’ll have a lot of fun!
30. ‘Ugly Christmas Jumper’ Competition
I (in true ‘cashed-up bogan’ style) LOVE the revival of the daggy Christmas jumper. In Australia, the Christmas Rashie is a great (and sensible) alternative, but it can be a great theme for a disco or break-up party, with prizes for best dressed.
Mandy Weidmann is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ – publisher of the Fundraising Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers. Mandy believes that parent volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and is passionate about providing resources to make fundraising easier (and more fun).
Follow the Fundraising Whisperer Facebook page to take part in great information sharing with Australia’s school and club volunteers. We also have an amazing closed Facebook group for Fete Organisers, you are welcome to join us there 🙂
Originally published 14 September, 2017