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Winter Wonderland

The most wonderful time of the year is one of the nonprofit sector’s most profitable. In fact, 30% of nonprofits raise up to half of their yearly revenue in December alone. If your organization wants to stoke the giving spirit in your community, consider throwing a Winter Wonderland festival as a year-end fundraising event celebrating the holiday season.

Why host a Winter Wonderland event?

Here are just a few reasons why a Winter Wonderland event can be a profitable fundraising avenue for your organization:

  • It can be fun for the whole community: Unlike some fundraising events aimed at adults, such as auctions, a carnival can be accessible and enjoyable for many different audiences. For example, you can diversify your event by adding an appearance by Santa for the kids and organizing a caroling performance for the adults. Whichever audience you want to engage, you can target them with your Winter Wonderland festival. 
  • It’s customizable: One of the best aspects of this fundraising idea is that your organization can make your Winter Wonderland festival whatever you want it to be. For instance, if you have more bandwidth to host a large community-wide event, you can structure your fundraiser as a carnival with many moving parts. Conversely, if you wish to operate on a smaller scale, you might want to structure your Winter Wonderland event as a low-key dinner with your major donors. Work with your team to determine which event scope works best for your organization based on your schedule and bandwidth to organize a fundraising event. 
  • It provides a great sponsorship opportunity: The last months of the year aren’t just profitable for nonprofits. With family members running to the store to shop for presents or to buy cookie-decorating ingredients, many businesses make most of their profits in the year’s final quarter. Provide businesses with the valuable opportunity to get in front of consumers by sponsoring your Winter Wonderland event. They’ll love the chance to increase brand awareness and get more customers during this essential time of year!
  • It promotes the giving spirit: Supporting worthy causes and spreading good cheer are two of the most beloved aspects of the end-of-year months. By directly tying your fundraising event into the giving spirit by using a wintry theme, your attendees are more likely to be inspired to donate. 
  • You have a lot of inspiration: If planning fundraising events don’t come easily to you, you’re not alone. Thankfully, you can leverage classic holiday or wintry elements as inspiration for your Winter Wonderland event. For example, if you’re having trouble planning your color scheme, a safe choice is a red-and-green palette to adhere to classic holiday colors. Your event should still be uniquely attributed to your nonprofit, but you can incorporate certain widespread components of the year-end months to stylize your event and attract attendees. 
  • It’s easy to monetize: With fundraising events like carnivals and festivals, your nonprofit has many opportunities to monetize it for your cause. For example, you can sell tickets for entry, charge money for food, drinks, and merchandise, and collect gifts with donation appeals during the event. These are just the basic ways to monetize your event—the sky’s the limit!

How to Throw and Run a Winter Wonderland Festival

Now that you understand some of the perks of hosting a Winter Wonderland event, you can get started planning! Follow these steps to kick off your own Winter Wonderland fundraiser:

1. Set your goals

Ensure that you set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals for your Winter Wonderland event. These should help you determine your event’s scope and budget. 

2. Acquire sponsors

Locking down sponsors and determining their commitment is crucial for budgeting purposes. Be sure to offer your sponsorship prospects plenty of options to get involved besides a monetary donation. For instance, if you receive the event venue as an in-kind gift from a sponsor, you don’t have to account for rental fees in your budget. Try to hammer out the details as soon as possible so you have more bandwidth to plan accurately. 

3. Plan the event’s activity schedule

Once you have you’ve confirmed your sponsors, start putting the pieces together to create a cohesive schedule for your event. This should include information about when: 

  • Different groups should show up
  • The doors open to the public
  • Performances and other time-bound activities begin 

Be as specific as possible and leave wiggle room for any unexpected changes, like performance cancellations or inclement weather that could impact outside activities. 

4. Create marketing materials

Start planning your marketing materials a few months in advance so you can properly circulate them and have time to build up hype for the event. Use the channels that are the most popular amongst your community members and supporters to advertise your event’s biggest selling points. 

Wrapping up

There you have it! Now that you understand the basics of hosting a Winter Wonderland fundraising event, you can go plan and host your own. Just remember to always keep your mission as the core of your strategy so you can promise a jolly year-end for your beneficiaries.