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Does your company have the resources to help organizations host an ugly sweater party?

5 Steps to Organize an Ugly Sweater Party

1. Determine your resources and objectives.

Hosting an unforgettable fundraiser begins with identifying your resources and determining how you’ll allocate them to achieve your goals. Meet with your team to determine your budget and fundraising goals in advance. Set goals that are: 

  • Specific: Set a specific target for your goals to give your team a clear objective to work toward. For example, you could aim to raise $5,000 through your event. 
  • Measurable: Your goals should be quantifiable so you can track your progress using numerical data and review your results more easily. 
  • Realistic: Set a goal that’s ambitious but attainable for your fundraising team. Use past results from similar events to set a slightly higher target for your sweater party. For example, if last year’s gift-wrapping fundraiser earned $2,100, you could set your sweater party goal at $2,600. 

2. Make arrangements for your ugly sweater party.

To ensure that everything runs smoothly when your party begins, take the time to address all of the logistics in advance. Some essential arrangements to consider are:

  • Securing a suitable venue. First and foremost, you’ll need a venue for your ugly sweater party. Keep in mind how many attendees you’re expecting and your organization’s budget as you narrow down venues that will best suit your needs.
  • Recruiting volunteers. There are numerous tasks that volunteers can take on to help create a memorable and enjoyable party experience. Consider recruiting volunteers to cover responsibilities such as setting up decorations, welcoming attendees, serving refreshments, and managing voting (if you’re hosting a contest). 
  • Finding corporate sponsors. Reach out to local businesses to secure sponsors for your ugly sweater party. These corporate sponsors can assist with your nonprofit’s event expenses, like food, drinks, and venue rentals. They can also enhance your marketing efforts by promoting your event to their audiences via social media or email. 
  • Providing food and beverages. An ugly sweater party isn’t complete without delicious holiday treats! Whether your organization is looking to hire a catering company or partner with a local vendor, factor food and beverages into your event plan. Offer special Christmas-themed treats like gingerbread cookies, hot cocoa, and other seasonal snacks. 

Meet with your event-planning team several months in advance to work out these logistics and ensure everything runs smoothly on the day of the party. 

3. Promote your ugly sweater party.

Spread some holiday cheer by promoting your upcoming ugly sweater party to your supporters and local community. Diversify your communications to reach as many people as possible, using methods such as:

  •  Email
  • Text messaging
  • Social media
  • Flyers

Include a link to your party registration page in all event materials so those who are interested in attending can purchase a ticket anywhere, anytime.

4. Host your ugly sweater party.

When all your planning is complete, it’s time for the fun to begin! Boost engagement among your attendees by incorporating activities such as holiday karaoke, crafts, or a candy gram station. In addition to ticket purchases, you can set up a donation booth at the party to encourage further support from your guests.

5. Follow up with event attendees.

After your event, reach out to your supporters and thank them for attending. Beyond thank-you letters, consider sending out post-event surveys to gauge their experience and help inform improvements to your ugly sweater party next year. Include questions like:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the overall experience?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the food and drink options?
  • How likely are you to attend a similar event next year?
  • Do you feel you clearly understood how the event supports our mission and fundraising efforts?

Compile attendees’ responses and note common points of feedback to improve your next event. 

Bonus Fundraising Ideas for Your Ugly Sweater Party

With a little creativity, there are some additional strategies you can implement to upgrade your ugly sweater fundraising. For instance, consider the following options:

  • Charge a small fee for guests to vote on the ugliest sweater at the party.
  • Hold raffles for attendees to win holiday gift baskets and treats.
  • Sell branded merchandise such as ornaments, mugs, and (of course) sweaters.
  • Promote your text-to-give number during your ugly sweater party.

Looking for other Christmas or winter-themed fundraising ideas to celebrate the season? Browse eCardWidget’s Christmas fundraising ideas guide for additional campaign ideas like eCard outreach, a Christmas sweets sale, or a Polar Plunge event.