15 New Year Fundraising Ideas

January 7, 2022
4 minutes

With the old year gone, the new year is the perfect time to reevaluate your organization’s finances and goals—and to host some creative fundraising events. As we celebrate another trip around the sun, here are 15 ideas to start your new year of fundraising off right.

New Year Fundraising Ideas

1. Resolve to give

It's January 1st, and everyone’s groggy but determined: this year will be the best yet! Take advantage of that New Year momentum by encouraging donors and would-be donors to step up and make a resolution they can stick to: giving back (or giving back more, as the case may be). This is also the perfect opportunity to turn peer-to-peer donors into monthly donors and/or advertise volunteer opportunities with your nonprofit.

2. Recycle those trees

Whether it’s Christmas trees or Hannukah bushes, there's always a lot of extra foliage come January. Rather than sending all that fine greenery to the landfill, set up an eco-friendly post-holiday tree drive. For a donation, your team of mighty volunteers will chip that tree and turn it into mulch. It’s a win for your nonprofit, your supporters, and the environment!

3. Gather toys for tots

Most kids get so, so many gifts in December—and chances are they’re going to need to make room for them. For education or child-/family-centric nonprofits, organize a post-holiday toy drive for kids in need. You can put the high-value items to use and dispose of the headless dolls—for a donation, of course!

4. Walk Your Dog Month (all of January)

It makes a lot of sense that January is Walk Your Dog Month, given that many of us resolve to get moving at the first of the year. Encourage your supporters to embrace this excellent excuse to spend extra time with their fuzziest BFF by hosting a dog-friendly walkathon. You can make it a P2P fundraiser or a crowdfunding campaign. At the walk, be sure to sell some treats and T-shirts for pups and their people alike.

5. National Spaghetti Day (January 4)

After four days of salad, everyone’s ready for a little (or a lot of) spaghetti. Host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser or ask a local restaurant to donate a percentage of their profits for the evening. You could also do an online cooking class or sell make-your-own spaghetti dinner kits. Perfect for busy families!

6. Sweat it out

A 5k in January is our idea of a slam-dunk of a fundraiser. (Wait, are we mixing our sports metaphors? Sorry.) With everyone trying to start the new year off physically fit, you’re sure to get lots of participants to run (or amble) for your cause.

7. National Clean Your Desk Day (January 10)

Here it is: 2022 and you still have so. Many. Tchotchkes. Everywhere. Enter National Clean Your Desk Day, which gives everyone a great excuse to pour a few cups of coffee and get cleaning. Encourage donors to clean out their desks (and their houses) and donate their no-longer-needed treasures to you. Then, host a pay-what-you-want fundraising yard sale. Out with the old, in with the … well, still old, but new to you!

Bonus: Hold a Fix-It Fair, otherwise known as a Time Exchange. For all those doo-dads that don't work quite right but still have lots of life in 'em, this is a meetup where people share tools and expertise to fix up items that need a little love.

8. Take the plunge

Shockingly, hundreds of thousands of people willingly leap into frigid water every year just for the “fun” of it in an event known as a Polar Plunge. So, why not corral your heartiest supporters into raising some funds for your nonprofit while they suffer? A plunge is an excellent peer-to-peer fundraiser, too. People sign up, ask their social networks to fund their adventurous activity, and then everyone jumps into a freezing body of water.

Make this a double fundraiser by inviting spectators to watch the festivities and selling hot cocoa.

9. Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day (January 17)

We vowed to meditate, eat more veggies, learn piano, and wear actual pants to our home office. ...it was a tough two weeks! Now, it’s time to give up and give back. Celebrate the art of throwing up your hands in defeat with a fundraiser that’s all about embracing our slightly less healthy habits guilt-free. Host a bake sale or stream an online binge-a-thon—the choice is yours.

We know this doesn't come as a surprise to you, nonprofit friend, but January 17 is MLK Day. While ditching New Year's resolutions is basically the whole reason we make them, we're going to gently suggest that you move this fundraiser a few days out. It won't hurt any of us to pretend to exercise and eat right for another day or two.

10. Celebration of Life Day (January 22)

It’s easy to get caught up in the constantly depressing news cycle or beat ourselves up for not doing—or being—enough. Instead, celebrate what’s great about just being here by updating your donors on all the wonderful things your nonprofit has achieved to make life better for those in need. Make sure to add an ask to your email or social post so that you can keep up the life-affirming work!

11. Mind your time

A lot of us experience the post-holiday blues. After all the bright lights and festive gatherings, we’re facing three more months of winter—and there isn’t a plum pudding in sight. Host a by-donation weekly meditation class, via Zoom or in-person, to encourage your supporters to connect with others and practice mindfulness during the dark days of winter.  

12. National Compliment Day (January 24)

This day is a great excuse to flatter your donors into donating a bit more. Write a social post and/or fundraising email letting everyone know that today is National Compliment Day. Then, tell ‘em why you love ‘em … and remind them to keep being amazing-beyond-all-reason angel-unicorns by supporting your organization.

13. Try something new

According to some (vaguely scientific) research, January 24th is the most depressing day of the year. What raises people’s spirits? Doing something new and exciting (and supporting your amazing organization’s work, of course)! Encourage your supporters to take up a new hobby—you can send a list of creative ideas—and then ask them to use that new hobby for good. First-time knitters can sell their funky new wares; aspiring writers can ask supporters to donate $1 per page written of their sure-to-be-best-selling debut novel. And we’d be remiss not to mention that Funraise’s simple and snazzy personal fundraising pages make it all easy as learning how to bake a pie.

14. Open your doors

A new year is a perfect time to welcome new donors and volunteers to your organization. Throw open your doors, offer some hot drinks, and give a tour of your nonprofit’s HQ. This isn’t about asking for donations; it’s about making connections with the community and inspiring long-term interest in your cause. Plus, it’s a great way to spend an evening during this typically quiet month.

15. National Blueberry Pancake Day (January 28)

Settle into 2022 on a wholesome note with a pancake breakfast fundraiser. All you need is a team of volunteer pancake chefs and a few gallons of piping hot coffee. (Psssst! Go rogue and offer blueberry waffles—but don't tell anyone you heard it from us.)

And there you have it: plenty of ways to start the new year off right! Now excuse us—we have some pancakes and spaghetti to make.

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