5 Whimsical Winter Fundraising Ideas

winter fundraising ideas
There is a chill in the air and the holiday season is in full swing! Now is the time to get creative and have some fun with your campaigns by utilizing some of these winter fundraising ideas. 

We know that depending on where you are located, there could still be health and safety restrictions in place keeping you from meeting your supporters in person,. so we came up with fundraising ideas that could work with a small gathering, outside or even in a virtual space. 

Gingerbread House Building Contest  

There is nothing that screams holiday season than gingerbread. Let your supporters get creative with a gingerbread house decorating contest, customized for your organization of course! If you’re an animal shelter you can have contestants build gingerbread dog houses, or if you work.

Invite participants to pair up or work in teams and give them a set amount of time to complete their gingerbread houses. This works great in person because you can hand out materials and easily keep track of time, but this can also easily be done online. Mail off kits to those interested in participating and they can build their houses and upload to social media using a hashtag made for the fundraiser. Or you can have people email their submissions to you to upload on your own page and have followers vote over a set period of time. 

To judge your contest, consider reaching out to local talent or businesses who may be interested in promoting your fundraiser. You can create criteria for judging like most ingredients used, creative ideas or how well it fits the theme of your competition. 

You can choose to fundraise by having participants purchase a spot in the competition, by purchasing gingerbread houses or you can have donors vote by casting their donation to each of the houses. Then choose the winner based on the house that raised the most money! 

A Cook Book Filled With Your Community’s Favourite Recipes 

One great way to fundraise is to create and sell a cookbook with a collection of recipes from your community. These can be holiday desserts, snacks or dinners from your donors, volunteers, staff or board members. What’s great about this idea is all the different ways you can customize it to fit your nonprofit’s goals,  like pushing your monthly donor program or using it as a lead generation tool. 

For example, The UN Refugee Agency of Canada used their cookbook in collaboration with a major donor to fundraise and grow their prospect list by offering a cookbook in exchange for an email address. A donor also offered a donation for every download of the ebook. Or you can make the cookbook an exclusive gift for monthly donors and use it to push your recurring giving program during the holidays. 

This is also an incredibly versatile fundraiser because you can choose to sell it as an ebook or offer physical prints to buyers. Then you can promote it on your social media, website and other media outlets and explain how each sale will help your nonprofit do incredible things in the new year. 

This not only is a fun way to get your friends and community involved in your campaign but can also make a great gift or keepsake for those who are passionate about your work. If you do choose to publish physical copies you can reach out to local businesses to see if they will sponsor your prints in exchange for ad space within the physical copies. 

Snow Sculpture Competition

This is a great option if you work with kids or teens because it can be a fun activity for families during the holidays! Participants can pay an entry fee for the competition and be given a theme and ground rules on how to build their structure. This is where you can really get creative with the competition by choosing what your competitors have to build. 

You can ask them to create forts, snowmen or take artistic liberty and make a sculpture based on a theme of your choice. Similar to the gingerbread house contest, this competition can easily be adapted to be in person or online. Start by creating the criteria for judging and decide on the rules of the competition. Do you have any props or rules contestants need to be mindful of when creating their masterpieces? 

After they are done creating you can have them post their work online or encourage them to share a short video going over their work and creative process. Similar to the gingerbread house competition you can fundraise by having participants purchase a spot in the competition or have people use donations as a way to cast their votes. 

Clothing, Food or Toy Drives

We all know the power of in-kind donations. Donating food, clothes or other resources can not only be a big help to your organization but can be incredibly beneficial to the people your organization serves. 

This is also a good way to engage your volunteers. We recently had Lori Gotlieb, volunteering expert and author on the podcast to talk about how to engage volunteers during the holiday seasons and she suggested creating peer-to-peer volunteer kits for nonprofits to use during the holidays. 

Create an outline for your volunteers on the items you need, whether it be clothes, canned goods or toys, and provide instructions on how to package and deliver those items. People are eager to help and a drive can help get your supporters excited about the holidays while giving back.

Holiday Elves

Another way to help engage volunteers and raise funds is by offering a holiday elves service to donors. This idea can be a huge help to people who need a little extra help this holiday season by offering tasks like 

  • Shovelling snow
  • Putting up Christmas lights
  • Shovelling your sidewalk or driveway 
  • Setting up and disposing of Christmas trees
  • Wrapping presents 
  • Walking dogs 

Perhaps doing a poll on your social media to see what tasks your donors would be interested in seeing and then offer a minimum donation amount for each activity. You can also reach out to local high schools to see if any of the students would be interested in volunteering as elves over the holidays. 


Winter is such a cheerful time and people are eager to give back and get into the holiday spirit. With a little creativity and planning, you can create fundraising campaigns that get your donors excited about the holidays while supporting your incredible work! 

Keep in mind, the most important part of any fundraising campaign is the follow-up.No matter what fundraiser you choose to use, it’s important to have a process in place that will thank and continue to steward donors and volunteers. This keeps your nonprofit organized and provides you with the tools to engage your supporters, resulting in higher retention and happier donors! 

To learn more about taking your programs to new heights, check out Donor Driven and Volunteer Driven! Our software can help you automate the fundraising process and save hours of time. We’d love to learn about your plans for the holidays so please reach out to us! 

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By Trust Driven on

Fundraising Nov 26, 2021, 12:00 AM

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