Last-minute Christmas campaigns for small charities
Here’s some last minute Christmas campaign ideas to raise awareness and donations for your charity
1. Enlist troupes of carol singers
Nothing feels as seasonal as carol singers fa-la-la-ing up the neighbourhood, and for charities with an active supporter base, a call-out for carolling can be a relatively fuss-free way to mobilise some festive fundraising. The Children’s Society has done this in style, providing a resource pack on its website that gives supporters all they need to get out there and sing on its behalf – and inspiring them with a cheap-and-cheerful (also tuneless and very funny) video from staff demonstrating ‘How not to sing a Christmas carol’.
2. Indulge in some woolly thinking
Ever since Save the Children launched its first Christmas Jumper Day in 2012, making a donation for the right to proudly sport your silliest sweater at work or school has become a treasured Yuletide tradition. Garish knitwear is so ubiquitous at this time of year that a jumper appeal is a quick win for any organisation that wants to raise a smile or two along with some much-appreciated donations. Last year, for example, Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust raised over £1,000 with its Christmas jumpers page on Virgin Money Giving. (Also works with any Christmas kitsch accessories such as bobble hats, bauble earrings or enormous reindeer antlers.)
3. Take advantage of Advent
As well as the perfect device for ratcheting up kids’ excitement as the Big Day approaches, Advent calendars are a gift for charities who want to get their message out there over the Christmas period. A simple but effective approach is to rustle up a printable countdown, like this one from Action for Happiness, which dispenses daily wisdom alongside calls to action. But Advent is also an excuse to get creative with 24 successive posts on social media: Autism Together’s advent campaign on Twitter last year, for example, featured a mix of autism-related advice and shout-outs for festive events the charity was running.
4. Get your French hens in a row
In a similar vein, the 12 Days of Christmas provides the ideal schedule for a digital campaign everyone can engage with – and one that has the advantage of sidestepping the pre-holiday clamour for people’s attention. Using daily prizes alongside powerful images and stories highlighting children and families who have benefited from their work, cancer charity the Osborne Trust raised £2,365 from their ‘Ozzy’s Xmas Cheer’ fundraiser last year.
5. That's a wrap!
The festive tradition of exchanging presents is generally a great thing – but there’s one universal downside that proactive small organisations and their volunteers can capitalise on. Gift-wrapping services laid on by local charities can be a welcome relief for Christmas shoppers willing to donate in exchange for not having to do battle with the Sellotape. Over eight days last year, for example, the Florence Nightingale Hospice raised more than £3,000 at their wrapping stall in Aylesbury’s shopping centre, claiming their volunteers were “willing to wrap anything”. Seriously – don’t test them.
6. Santa’s elves, eat your heart out…
For a fundraising idea with the emphasis on fun, why not take a leaf out of mental health charity Mind’s Christmas wreath-making workshop and host a fabulously festive 'Crafternoon'? The concept is simple: encourage supporters to get creative with their friends, and spend an afternoon making cards, decorations and other Christmassy paraphernalia. The craft party’s host collects donations on the charity’s behalf, and everyone’s that little bit richer for the experience. Crafty, eh?
7. Make it a year to remember
While it may be a little late in the year to start production on that award-winning, high-concept campaign video for release in time for Christmas, there might be just enough time to compile existing footage into a ‘best of’ showcase of your organisation’s highlights over the past 12 months. Keep it short and snappy, and you might even be able to send it to supporters as a clip-based Christmas card on social media. For inspiration, here’s last year’s mega-montage from the Small Charities Coalition, which celebrated the amazing work of its member organisations during 2018.
8. Organise a very merry quiz-mas
As a quick and simple fundraising win, a good old-fashioned quiz night is hard to beat. Throw in a cosy venue, some tinsel and a Christmas theme, and it could also earn your organisation priceless festive kudos. Check out these tips on a winning formula from the British Lung Foundation, and get cracking on those questions. The answers may be trivial; the rewards are not.
9. Pick up on the seasonal afterglow
For community-based organisations, offering your charities’ services for the post-Christmas and New Year comedown can be a useful way to maintain your profile throughout the festive period – as well as giving you a bit of a longer lead time to get organised. Many residential charities, for instance, will collect unwanted Christmas decorations, which they will put to good use in future years. And Wiltshire-based hospice Dorothy House runs a popular £10 Christmas-tree recycling service each year with the help of local volunteers – in January 2018 they raised £13,689 from pick-ups (and were presumably picking pine needles out of their jumpers for weeks).
Bring everyone together for your Christmas campaign
Create a shareable hub for your festive fundraising. You can see your grand total, and everyone who’s supporting it – Rudolph noses and all.
Simply login, click ‘Campaigns’ and ‘Create your campaign’.