Trends & Insights, Video Inspiration, Video Marketing

5 ideas for non-profits to increase donations during the holidays

Nov 26, 2019


The holidays are the most important time of year for nonprofits to fundraise. In fact, nearly 1/3 of annual giving occurs in December, which means that you’ll have to strategically plan your holiday retail marketing campaigns before the end of the year. These creative non profit fundraising ideas will help you raise awareness, increase donations, and attract repeat donors. Ready to tweak your existing campaigns or quickly refresh old content? Then let’s get started!

1. Promote charitable gift-giving

The holiday season is the perfect time for non-profits to reach new audiences and increase donations. You can easily let shoppers know that instead of buying a brand name sweater that will just get re gifted or returned later, they can give their loved one or colleague something much more meaningful: a donation made in their name or a gift that offers a percentage of its profits towards the charity itself.

As you can see in this great example from charity:water, you can easily set up an online store through your website or Shopify. Stock it with branded products related to your cause and advertise how much of each purchase will go back into the charity. Now shoppers can check everything off their list and contribute to a great cause in the process.

If managing inventory isn’t doable for your team you can try out charitable programs from popular online stores such as Amazon. Their AmazonSmile Charitable Organization feature allows users to make an account and provide a unique shopping link. All your patrons have to do to contribute is click the link and do their Amazon shopping like they normally would. In return for using their site for your charitable gift-giving campaign, Amazon donates 0.5% of all qualifying purchases to your non profit.

2. Help your supporters spread the word

Sometimes your audience doesn’t have the ability to donate their money. But they can donate their time. And, if you set it up correctly, their time can be spent spreading the word about your nonprofit, which will eventually accumulate more donors in the long run.

For example, Susan G. Komen is known for their charity walks and other standard non profit fundraising ideas. But this video mixes it up with a new campaign dedicated to reaching new donors. Their ask is simple: take the pledge and share it online. Not only does this orchestrated viral video campaign make it easy to participate in, it also helps advertise their cause in an effective way.

Even if those who take the pledge aren’t able to donate, they’ll be spreading the word to an entire network of family, friends, and colleagues who might be interested in either sending money or making a video of their own. Either way, the refreshing new campaign helps viewers feel passionate about the cause all over again.

3. Inspire action (or in the NFF’s case, active vacations)

The National Forest Foundation knows that cold weather often drives people indoors. But the truth is there are plenty of ways to enjoy their parks and recreational activities in the winter. The video below shows a selection of those activities, each of which has a fee or suggested donation that goes back into the non profit.

This kind of informational content provides a value add for viewers (fun ways to enjoy the season) even if they don’t donate right away. Plus it gives viewers ideas for how to provide more non profit donations in the future without directly asking for it. So share any advice, tricks, or how to’s your audience will care about that also happen to support your holiday retail marketing strategy.

4. Sponsor holiday events

Whether it’s a gala, a simple office party or a 5k, there are plenty of social events taking place in the next few weeks that nonprofits can use to promote themselves and increase donations at the same time. But not just any event partnership will do. Make sure your nonprofit works with a brand whose values and products align with your cause. Not only does it help solidify your image it also gets you in front of a higher ROI audience. Attendees will be even more interested in what you have to offer and more likely to donate as a result.

Or, if you prefer to host the event yourself, you can do what the American Red Cross does and throw your own shindig. In this case their activity is bit less festive (blood donation drives) but important all the same. They also make sure to host events all over the country so it’s easy for people to participate without traveling too far. They also advertise a helpful list of local events happening near all over the country this holiday season. While the holiday events the Red Cross sponsors deal directly with their emergency relief efforts, your event can be as simple as a holiday celebration.

5. Disrupt assumptions

According to Donor Box, there are certain words you can use in your marketing to increase donations, including “you”, “today”, and “small”. The key here is that most of these words subvert expectations.

For example, most people feel as if they don’t have time to figure out how to donate to a nonprofit. But if you specifically ask them to check out a short video or complete a two step donation process, the reader will immediately understand how little time or money is needed to support the cause.

For example, Get Up knows that most people think nonprofits only want big donations. Or that small contributions don’t really have a meaningful impact on causes like theirs. Which is why the organization chose to disrupt expectations by inviting visitors to “chip in now”.

This common phrase is most often used when talking about an office birthday cake or a surprise retirement party. It basically implies that donations are a group effort and they (the visitors) are welcome to donate whatever they can afford without pressure. With those expectations lifted, it’s easier to convert web traffic and increase donations.

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