How Holiday Shopping Fundraisers Can Help Your Nonprofit

This photo is of a young couple sitting on a sofa in front of a Christmas tree as they do their holiday shopping together on a laptop.

The end of the year and holiday season is critical for nonprofit fundraising. Approximately 30% of annual donations to charitable organizations occur in December, and 12% are made just in the last three days of the year!

Given these statistics, it’s important for your nonprofit to strategically plan for this busy giving season. Many organizations focus heavily on their Giving Tuesday campaign and year-end solicitation letters, which can be extremely effective for bringing in revenue.

However, to stand out from the crowd and boost supporter participation in year-end giving, you should consider adding other holiday fundraising ideas to your strategy. And because your supporters will likely be doing a lot of shopping around the holiday season, what better way to engage them at the end of the year than by leveraging their shopping to fundraise for your mission?

In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of holiday shopping fundraisers and explore four fundraising ideas that rely on supporter purchases. Let’s get started!

Benefits of Fundraising Through Holiday Shopping

Depending on the type of holiday shopping fundraiser you choose and the effort you put in to get supporters involved, your nonprofit can experience a variety of benefits from this strategy. Here are just a few of the potential advantages:

  • There is little to no ask involved. Because your supporters are likely already purchasing more gifts, decorations, and treats than usual during the holiday season, they can contribute to your nonprofit without spending any money they wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • They’re easy to run. Once most holiday shopping fundraisers are set up, they require minimal work to manage on your organization’s end. All you have to do is promote the fundraiser to your supporters and track your results!
  • They can lead to year-round supporter engagement. Many holiday shopping fundraisers can be left open beyond the holiday season. Plus, you may be able to bring new supporters into the fold through your fundraiser and steward them into the new year.

Remember that holiday shopping fundraisers aren’t a replacement for your usual year-end giving campaigns and events. Instead, they serve as a supplement to provide additional options for supporters to contribute to your nonprofit, ultimately boosting your fundraising success

4 Holiday Shopping Fundraiser Ideas

Now that you know why fundraising through holiday shopping is effective, let’s look at four ways you can implement this strategy at your nonprofit.

1. Online Shopping Fundraiser

Online shopping fundraisers allow supporters to contribute to your mission by making everyday purchases at participating online retailers. The only difference on their end is that they’ll use an app or browser extension provided by a fundraising platform as they shop online, which allows a portion of their sales total to go directly to your nonprofit.

ShopRaise’s guide to shopping for a cause explains that your organization can get started with an online shopping fundraiser in three steps:

This flowchart shows the three steps to launch an online holiday shopping fundraiser, which are listed below.

  • Choose a fundraising platform. Your partner should have access to a wide network of e-commerce businesses for maximum flexibility. Their team will walk you through the onboarding process and answer any questions you may have.
  • Spread the word. Marketing is essential to a successful online shopping fundraiser. Leverage your nonprofit’s website, social media, emails, and flyers to provide supporters with instructions on how to get started. Then, send out regular reminders to encourage them to keep participating throughout the holiday season and beyond.
  • Track results. You’ll be able to view real-time data on your supporters’ fundraising totals, allowing you to thank your top shoppers individually and hone your marketing strategy.

When supporters use the fundraising platform’s app or browser extension as they shop online, they’ll pay the same prices as they would otherwise and have access to all applicable discounts (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals). Plus, this fundraiser is completely free for your organization to launch and can easily be used for year-round revenue generation.

2. Gift Card Fundraiser

Gift card fundraising works very similarly to an online shopping fundraiser, except that supporters purchase gift cards on behalf of your nonprofit. The prevalence of gift cards around the holiday season makes this a great year-end fundraiser, but you should also leave it open year-round so supporters can continue buying gift cards for their loved ones’ birthdays and other special occasions.

Make sure the fundraising platform you use provides digital gift cards that can be conveniently delivered to supporters’ inboxes moments after purchase. Supporters can then forward the email to a friend or family member to give them the gift card as a present. Or, they can use the gift card themselves to shop at their chosen retailer through your online shopping fundraiser, thereby contributing even more to your organization!

3. Fundraising eCards

In addition to a tangible present or gift card, your supporters likely want to send cards to their friends and family around the holidays. Fundraising eCards allow supporters to do just that in a convenient digital format and contribute to your nonprofit at the same time!

All you need to do for this campaign is use fundraising eCard software to create a variety of holiday-themed designs. eCardWidget also recommends including your organization’s branding on each card—that way, you’ll strengthen brand awareness to help expand your network.

Once you have your designs, embed your eCards into your fundraiser’s landing page. Then, your supporters can send the card of their choice in exchange for a small donation. Fundraising eCards can also become a year-round revenue stream for your nonprofit-just create additional designs that supporters can use for other holidays, birthdays, and thank-you notes.

4. Product Fundraising

Many organizations launch product fundraisers throughout the year to bring in revenue for their missions by having supporters sell a variety of goods in the local community. Some fundraising products are particularly suited to the holiday season, including:

  • Holiday decorations such as wreaths, wrapping paper, and poinsettias
  • Treats such as cookie dough or chocolate bars
  • Candles and wax melts with festive scents

Because they rely on supporters to conduct most of the sales, product fundraisers don’t work as well for year-round fundraising as other shopping-based campaigns. However, they’re still useful for bringing in revenue through common holiday-season purchases and attracting new supporters from among your existing donors’ networks.

The ideas in this guide are just four of the many ways your nonprofit can fundraise through your supporters’ holiday shopping. No matter which strategies you try, remember to thank every participant in your fundraisers. That way, your supporters will know you value their contributions, making them more likely to continue engaging with your organization into the new year.

Share this post