It's a well-known fact that when the temperature drops, the fundraising heats up. From winter fundraising ideas like Giving Tuesday to year-end gifts, the winter months tend to inspire generosity in both spirit and wallet.
So, how can you take advantage of the season of giving to keep the giving coming, filling those (literally and metaphorically) dark days from November through February? Read on for our list of un-brr-lievably awesome winter fundraising ideas—and that’s snow joke. (Sorry, sorry.) And, as usual, take a look at our sometimes-cheeky, sometimes-serious fundraising ideas for more inspiration or download our Winter Fundraising Calendar!
Winter Fundraising Ideas for 2022
November fundraising ideas
Fall or winter, November is a great fundraising month because it brings warmth to an otherwise chilly month. Look over these November fundraising ideas and find one that brings the heat!
1. Native American Heritage Month (the month of November)
Every November in the United States, we celebrate the culture and people who have been here since the first days. This month, dedicate a series of emails, blog posts, or videos to the indigenous people in your area. Partner with local experts and commit funds and support to causes that affect you both.
2. World Vegan Day (November 1)
Even if you’re not an environmental or animal rights nonprofit, World Vegan Day is a great excuse to kick off the winter season with a healthy bang by hosting a vegan cooking class or doing a vegan bake sale. And if the day does align with your mission (i.e., you’re a health, environmental, or animal rights nonprofit), scroll down to our January ideas and consider using World Vegan Day as a teaser for Veganuary.
Bonus: For the vegan skeptics, offer them a side-by-side blind taste test; $2 to taste, and they get $1 back for every vegan food item they correctly identify.
3. No-Shave November
Put the razor down and step away. No-Shave November is all about raising money and awareness for cancer prevention, treatment, and research. Consider asking supporters to donate in honor of someone with cancer—or you can just raise awareness for a great cause! Movember is a similar concept—tackle what feels right for your organization and audience.
4. Diwali (varies each year)
5. Veteran's Day, otherwise known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day (November 11)
There's no way that we can properly thank our military veterans for their service to our country, but acknowledging their sacrifices with a USO-themed dinner and show is a starting point! Advertise far and wide, and make sure that veterans get free entry, a front-row seat, and an appreciative shout-out.
6. Happy Hour Day (November 12)
Baby, it’s cold outside, and that means everyone wants to leave work an hour early to grab a hot toddy or hot chocolate (“hot” being the key word). Host your own festive happy hour fundraiser to celebrate that wonderful time of day when the drinks and snacks are cheap and plentiful—or partner with a local bar and ask them to donate a percentage of their daily HH sales to your cause. Not ready to gather indoors with strangers yet? Try hosting a Zoom cocktail or mocktail mixology class.
7. World Kindness Day (November 13)
Was this holiday made for fundraising? On World Kindness Day, send out a simple fundraising email that encourages donors to connect to their community and give generously. Include inspiring quotes or stories of small acts that have had big results.
Bonus: Ask community members if they need assistance with small tasks and match them with supporters willing to help out. Think small home repairs, errands for the housebound, or rearranging furniture to accommodate mobility.
8. Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20)
Observed annually, Transgender Day of Remembrance was created as a memorial for those murdered in acts of transphobic violence and to raise visibility of the issues that transgender people still face. If you'd like to get involved contact your local GLAAD chapter to find out when and where they're holding a vigil.
9. Buy Nothing Day (varies each year)
Buying nothing is great, but isn’t giving something back greater? Otherwise known in the US as Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day is all about protesting consumerism, which makes it a great opportunity to ask your donors to give to a good cause. Alternately, ask supporters to pledge matching gifts for every dollar they spend on Black Friday.
December fundraising ideas
What's more natural than a fundraiser in December? As long as there are feasts and taxes and weather and good cheer, there be fundraisers here.
10. Giving Tuesday (varies each year)
Talk about December fundraiser ideas. This is so obvious that we're just going to point you at our Giving Tuesday Toolkit. Break some fundraising records, nonprofit friends!
11. Hanukkah (varies each year)
Chanukah, often spelled Hanukkah, is a Jewish Festival of Lights that is celebrated over eight days in November or December. Traditions include a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.
12. International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3)
13. Gender Expansive Prents' Day (December 6)
As of December 6, 2020, Gender Expansive Parents' Day officially recognizes parents who do not identify with mother or father titles. Sending a card for Parents' Day is an easy way to appreciate donors who are parents, but make this a one-of-a-kind design to truly celebrate non-binary parents or parental figures who don't normally have cards that recognize them for who they are separate from mothers and fathers.
14. Winter Warm-Up
When you think of warming drinks, lots of delicious options come to mind: hot cocoa, tea with lemon, café au lait, ciders, mulled wine, and even hot buttered rum! Sell supporter snuggles via delivery to your local network and pair each warming drink with a thermos or mug, streaming selection (potentially access to a new release!), and snacks like popcorn, marshmallows, and cookies. Then cuddle up and chill out!
15. International Human Rights Day (December 10)
The name says it all. As an official UN observance, organizations worldwide will be focusing on human rights and your organization can join in assistance. Try out a peer-to-peer fundraiser with a reminder that while many people are preoccupied with bright and shiny holidays, the fight for basic human rights goes on.
16. Gift-Wrapping Fundraiser
Some people love nothing more than curly ribbons and festive wrapping paper. Others, not so much. For the less-crafty among us, host a gift-wrapping event during which volunteers wrap people’s gifts in exchange for donations. Maybe you can even snag a prime spot in front of the local toy store! Don't forget that you can take payment in any form that works for you: cold, hard cash, toys for disadvantaged kids, warm socks for the homeless, canned goods for the local food pantry, or social shares and peer-to-peer networking!
17. Las Posadas (December 16-24)
Las Posadas, a tradition in Mexico and Guatemala, is a Nativity celebration that represents the Holy Family's search for lodging in Bethlehem. Rather than focusing on a dark, still night, this is a commemoration of pilgrims and pilgrimage, welcome and warmth, and convergence of community.
18. Festivus (December 23)
Some people love the holidays—packed malls, delayed flights, and all. For the rest of us, there’s Festivus, a secular holiday that originated on the comedy show Seinfeld and serves as an antidote to the more commercial and religious aspects of the season. While the Seinfeld version of the holiday includes the “Airing of Grievances” and an unadorned aluminum pole in lieu of a tree, your Festivus festival fundraiser (say that three times fast) can be whatever you want it to be—just keep it inclusive and lighthearted.
Just throwing this out there: if we hosted a Festivus fundraiser, it would definitely include all our favorite things, probably at once. Like... a costumed roller-skating mini-golf tournament. With shots of warm alphabet soup after every hole.
In Germany, it's tradition to go to the Weihnachtsmarkt before Christmas for locally made gifts, food, and drinks (like glühwein!), as well as festive holiday season entertainment and ambiance. Hold your own Weihnachtsmarkt to raise funds for your nonprofit and support local vendors.
20. Winter Solstice (December 21)
For the Summer Solstice, we suggest a candelit, nature-focused dinner. For the Winter Solstice, however, we're drawn to the idea of a moonlit, nature-focused family fundraising festival of fun and games. Think sledding, ice-skating, snow angels, and warming cider—and if you're lacking snow, break out the astronomy apps and snuggle up to starlight.
21. Kisan Diwas - National Farmers' Day in India (December 23)
Since 2001, December 23 has been observed as National Farmers’ Day in India. Set on the birth date of Chaudhary Charan Singh, widely regarded as one of the country’s most famous peasant leaders, this day of recognition is a day of awareness and education on the role of farmers and their contribution to the economy.
22. Wreath-Making Workshop
This time of the year, making a wreath is fun and simple, plus your wreath-making fundraiser can be held outdoors to cut down on the mess and the germs—just remind everyone to bundle up! You provide the boughs, wire, and embellishments; participants will bring the holiday spirit and donations.
23. Christmas (December 25)
An annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is recognized across the globe as a Christian holiday that brings along with it one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year. And Santa.
24. Boxing Day (December 26)
Boxing Day originated in 1800's as a day to give Christmas gifts and money to the less fortunate but is now mostly a day of rest and shopping.
25. Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1)
Created in 1966, Kwanzaa is a seven-day African festival that celebrates family, community, and culture and centers on The Seven Principles with feasts, poetry, music, dance, and narratives.
26. Make Cut-Out Snowflakes Day (December 27)
Making snowflakes is a craft as old as snow. This artsy holiday is the perfect opportunity to host a by-donation, kid-friendly snowflake-making event, complete with hot cocoa and other treats. Ask donors for $1 per snowflake: along with donations, you'll end up with sweet seasonal decorations for your lobby or Christmas tree, while donors get to support a great cause and have a fun day out of the house.
Bonus: Post pictures of your "snowdrift"—all the snowflakes in a pile—and let donors guess how many are in the pile... for a price. Split the pot 50/50 with the person who guesses closest!
27. National Resolution Planning Day (December 30)
Only 10% of people are successful at keeping their New Year’s resolutions for a full year, but you can help change that by enrolling monthly donors on National Resolution Planning Day! Send out a fundraising email encouraging supporters to make an easy, impactful resolution by giving monthly to your cause. They’ll feel great about it, and you will, too.
New year fundraising ideas
Insert your favorite New Years cliché here! When the clock strikes midnight, grab a new year fundraising idea and don't look back.
28. Last Day of the Year (December 31)
When most people are donning sequins and sipping sparkling something, nonprofiteers are generally scrambling to solicit and process last-minute donations. December 31st is, after all, the biggest fundraising day of the year. Our suggestion? Keep it simple with The Minimalist Guide to Year-End Fundraising.
29. Veganuary (the month of January)
For any nonprofits with a mission around animal rights or health, Veganuary is a great fundraising opportunity. Encourage supporters to start the new year off kindly, healthily, and mindfully by participating in 31 days of following a plant-based diet—and pledging a donation for every time they slip up and sneak a piece of bacon over the month. You can also send weekly emails with tasty recipes and reminders. Here's a reminder to start you off: Oreos are vegan!
30. New Year's Day (January 1)
The first day of the year, according to the Gregorian calendar. People commemorate this time with resolutions to do or be better in the coming year.
31. National Trivia Day (January 4)
A trivia fundraiser is cost-effective, easy, and, best of all, super fun. Celebrate the art of knowing random facts by hosting a virtual trivia night fundraiser for your supporters, and encourage them to invite friends and family to join in the fun. You can even throw in some questions about your organization or industry to up the impact.
January fundraising ideas
While January can seem like a weak winter month, it's full of hidden fundraising opportunities. These January fundraising ideas will take your year's start from pale to powerful.
32. Dress Up Your Pet Day (January 14)
Cats in tuxes. Dogs in lobster costumes. Heck, lobsters dressed as mermaids! Help your donors shake off the winter doldrums with a pet costume contest or pet fashion show. And if your nonprofit works in animal rights, welfare, or services, you can host an adoption day to show off your most dapper dogs, coolest cats, and loveliest lobsters.
Bonus! Take photos of gussied up adoptable animals and use the photos to drum up interest in animals that need a forever home.
33. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 17)
Recognize Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and teachings by encouraging your supporters to reflect, remember, and fight for justice. If you’re a civil rights or racial justice nonprofit, by all means, ask for donations. Otherwise, direct your supporters to education resources and volunteer efforts with racial justice organizations.
34. International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27)
January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, honors the millions of Holocaust victims and strives to prevent future genocides through awareness and education.
35. National LEGO Day (January 28)
There are so many LEGO fundraisers out there that LEGO has its own hashtag for the occasion: #buildtogive, so combining the hashtag with these January fundraisers is the perfect storm for a LEGO-centric fundraising event. You could have everyone contribute to one big LEGO masterpiece together, or you could host a contest with prizes for the best creations.
Extra mile: Find a LEGO competition near you and get your community involved in supporting kids learning STEM.
36. Winter Wine Tasting
The long days of winter can get anyone down, but rather than sitting around and whining about it, why not wine about it? Here's one of our favorite fundraising ideas for January: Host a virtual wine tasting or partner with a local vineyard to raise funds and refine palates. The outdoors element is a surefire way to attract a specific subset of donors who love being outside wrapped in a blanket next to a fire pit or with a heat lamp overhead.
February fundraising ideas
In most places, February is the end of winter and the beginning of a vibrant fundraising season. Dig into these fabulous February fundraising ideas for a fantastic fundraising finish.
37. Black History Month (the month of February)
38. National Freedom Day (February 1)
Although it was not ratified by the states until later, President Lincoln signed the amendment abolishing slavery in the United States on February 1, 1865. Many communities hold celebratory festivals in recognition of this freedom.
39. Lunar New Year (varies each year)
Most people who celebrate Lunar New Year will tell you that aside from the colorful, dynamic festivities, the best part of the holiday is the food. Lunar New Year, a sacred traditional holiday in China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Mongolia, and more countries and cultures around the world, is the perfect moment to patronize local restaurants, catering companies, and food vendors with a progressive dinner. Map out an evening of eating and learning and sell tickets that include transportation or guides in addition to the food and drink. Don't forget to compensate contributors for their sharing their cultural knowledge.
40. International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11)
Science Fair time! Give the women and girls in your community a chance to show off their STEM skillz with an old-fashioned science fair. Either open the categories to anything and everything they can dream up or narrow the field to something specific that relates to your mission.
For a February fundraising idea, get a corporate sponsor or major donor to provide prizes, ask for donations at the door, sell raffle tickets and snacks, and repurpose the content for your social and web platforms.
41. Galentine’s Day (February 13)
Any Parks and Recreation fans out there? We see you. On this day, celebrate the power of female friendships by asking supporters to make a donation in honor of their loveliest lady friends. Then, share your favorite waffle recipe. (P.S. if you haven’t watched Parks and Rec, we’ll wait here while you catch up.)
42. Super Bowl (varies each year)
Kick off the Super Bowl on the right foot by hosting a fundraiser. Whether it’s a fantasy football league, a bowling tournament, or a soup-er bowl dinner (that’s a fundraising dinner during which you serve soup, if you didn’t know), Super Bowl Sunday offers endless fundraising opportunities. Oooh, or what about a nacho-eating contest? So many possibilities!
43. National (Organ) Donor Day (February 14)
See what we did there? National Donor Day? Seems like a holiday custom-made for stewardship. But hey, if you're dead-set on a fundraising campaign for Valentine's Day, ask your supporters to make a donation in their Valentine’s name instead of buying another box of chocolates or bouquet of long-stemmed roses. To make your fundraising efforts stand out, you could then send physical V-Day cards to all the honorees.
44. Parinirvana Day (February 15)
Nirvana Day is observed by Buddhists as the day that the historical Buddha achieved his complete Nirvana. Meditation, retreats, and community contemplation and support are all ways that this day is recognized.
45. Maghi-Purnima (varies each year)
Infused with enthusiasm and gaiety, and an important day for performing Hindu religious and spiritual rituals, Maghi-Purnima, or Maha Maghi, falls on the full moon of the traditional month of Magha.
46. Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17)
Send a fundraising email with a list of random acts of kindness, from paying for a stranger’s coffee to giving up your seat on the bus. The number one item on your list? Making a donation, of course.
P.S. Double down by adding "Become a monthly donor" to the list as well.
47. World Day of Social Justice (February 20)
We're going to go out on a limb here to suggest you take World Day of Social Justice to your social platforms! Post on your social accounts and ask your supporters to do the same, with a specific invitation to create a social justice social fundraiser they can share far and wide.
48. World NGO Day (February 27)
Conveniently coinciding with No Brainer Day, World NGO Day gives you the perfect opening to offer donors a "no-brainer" solution to the problems your nonprofit is working to fix: Just hit that Donate button! Looking for something a bit more exciting? Hold a biNGO tournament where the emphasis is on the N-G-O—your donors and your NGO will both be winners.
Winter school fundraising ideas
Do you remember trudging to school 5 miles through the snow, uphill both ways? Us, neither. But we sure heard about it from Gramps. Carpooling wasn't your grandma's cool high school ride, and neither are these winter school fundraising ideas.
Don't just host a bake sale, make it a fiercely competitive Bake-Off! Open a variety of categories, like gingerbread houses, to competitors of all ages and ask the PTA or local celebs to be the judges. Oh, and sell baked goods while you're at it!
50. Classroom Crawl
You've heard of a bar crawl, but what about a classroom crawl? Each classroom hosts parents, community, or donors with the party culminating in a central space, like a big gym, community center, or even the sports field. Have a student draw a map of your school, provide simple snacks in each classroom, post a host at each location, and even get the teacher's lounge in on the fundraising action!
Winter fundraising ideas during covid
Covid has changed a lot for everyone. And when you're looking at fundraising, it's just like everything else: different. Winter fundraising ideas during covid shouldn't be A Thing, and yet... here we are.
51. Blog Takeover
This is an idea that can go either way: Have a supporter take control of your blog or do a social media takeover. Whatever it takes to get those peer-to-peer fundraising networks activated and listening! Orrrr... take over a business' blog, social media, or email newsletter for a week and appeal directly to their readers to create an urgent fundraising appeal.
52. Donate $5, Share 5
A pandemic calls for online fundraising ideas during COVID. Donate $5, Share 5 is similar to the chain letters we got as kids. Remember? You'd get a letter telling you to pass along the message to 5 of your friends... or else. Recruit peer-to-peer fundraisers rather than sending this type of letter to your whole supporter base, and then give them a letter to print and send, just like in the old days. This time, though, ask for a $5 donation and a share to 5 friends, but leave off the "or else"... no one needs that kind of stress in their lives! Plus, it might impede incoming donations.
Winter donation drive ideas
Cold days mean that there are people who are going without—without heat, homes, food, or basic necessities. When you dive into winter donation drive ideas, you can gain more than just dollars; you can bring in the light.
53. Donation Drive-In
Yeah, we put those two together! Combine a donation drive with a trip to the drive-in, and rake in the dollars and necessities you're looking for. Rent out a drive-in theater and charge a reduced entry fee with donation of a toy, article of clothing, or whatever you need.
54. Disaster Relief Fundraiser
Disaster, averted! With your disaster relief drive, you can provide financial or in-kind support for disasters near or far. Invite your friends to a virtual fundraiser and explain the situation. Ask for donations, and then ask your friends what you can do to earn their donation—you might be surprised what they ask you to do! Follow your conscience, follow your heart, and follow the donations!
Winter community event ideas
Wintertime is a beautiful time for community. And when you're a nonprofit fundraiser, it's a beautiful time to put winter community event ideas into play. You may get more than you bargained for.
55. Movie Night
People love nothing more than a reason to Netflix and chill, especially when it comes to holiday movies. Movie nights are easy fundraising ideas—attendees donate a small fee for the opportunity to choose the movie by voting ahead of time on social media. Just make sure that your movie options are donor-appropriate!
56. Flash Mob
Flash mobs: either you love them or hate them. But for the people who love them, they reeeeally love them. Get a volunteer to choreograph a dance, pull permits if necessary, and get community members practicing, while your nonprofit spreads the word about the flash mob! Don't sell tickets to get people to join, but ask the mobsters to wear branded shirts and hand out cards or flyers with your organization's information on it, and have your coordinating volunteers ask spectators to post to social media and tag your nonprofit!
Extra mile: Send your flash mob off on a caroling (fundraising) tour after they're done with their dance.
Outdoor winter fundraising ideas
Our summer fundraising ideas are the best for raising money in the fresh air, but these outdoor winter fundraising ideas rock too.
57. Community Yard Sale
Your community will love a neighborhood or group yard sale, and it’s an easy way to get donations. The best way to maximize donations from a community yard sale is to ask sellers to either pledge a portion of their sales to your nonprofit or offer to sell the goods they bring. Either way, you win, they win, and yard sales aficionados win!
58. Car Wash and Weather-proofing
You may be thinking that a car wash is only a great winter fundraising idea if you live in Florida, but think this through with us: the snow and ice does a number on cars. When you offer specialty services at your wintertime car wash, like rainguarding, tire maintenance, undercarriage cleaning, and emergency kit top-offs, you're sure to get lots of happy customers.
Winter sports fundraising ideas
When you're dealing with ice, snow, mountains, and sleds, sports seem a little bit faster, more daring, and out of control. Winter is the perfect time and winter sports fundraising ideas are the perfect way to keep your fundraising under control.
59. 10k on Wheels
This isn’t your average 10k fundraiser! If you’re looking for fundraising ideas for a 10k, try hosting a 10k on wheels. Any kind of wheels work: skateboards, bikes, scooters, roller skates, roller blades, wheelchairs, Segways, hoverboards, unicycles, Big Wheels, wagons, Heelys shoes, or any other wheels you’ve got.
60. Polar Plunge
What could be finer than jumping in a freezing body of water when it's cold as ice outside? Fundraising, that's what. Get a local celebrity involved by asking them to name their price to take the plunge, and then get your donors and supporters to raise the money. Of course, the celeb is donating the money raised to your nonprofit organization and the goosebumps are just icing on the cake.
Our favorite winter fundraiser ideas
In our opinion, the best winter fundraiser ideas are ones that involve family (chosen or otherwise), food, and festivities. Here are our top picks for your nonprofit's winter fundraising season.
- Gender Expansive Parents' Day Family Talent Show fundraiser
- Winter Solstice Family Fundraising Festival
- Lunar New Year Progressive Dinner fundraiser
- Winter Wine Tasting fundraiser
Winter fundraisers: key takeaway
- Lean into the cold! Winter fundraisers can be a great opportunity to provide services that just aren't necessary in warmer weather.
- It's all about community. During the dark days of winter, we need the support and love of our community. When you offer donors the chance to warm hearts, they'll respond in kind with kindness.
- Winter isn't over after the year-end holiday season. There's a whole lotta winter after December 31, and other fundraisers aren't usually taking advantage of this time, so you can make your mark!
Winter offers a world of fundraising opportunities—now's your chance to make it a donation wonderland!