14 Winter Fundraising Ideas

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

When the weather outside gets frightful, it’s not just kids that go a little stir-crazy. Especially during these cold, dark months, your donors are looking for ways to get involved.

Here at CauseVox, we believe that you can give them something to look forward to with a winter fundraiser.

Incorporate one or more of these 14 winter fundraising ideas into your annual fundraising plan.

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1. Polar Plunge

winter fundraising ideas polar plunge

You’ll be surprised by the number of people willing to jump into a freezing cold body of water to raise money for your organization. Not only is it for a good cause, but it’ll be something that your supporters look forward to (and talk about) for months and years to come.

Start planning your cold water plunge now. Secure the space and get any necessary permits. Then, recruit eager participants.

Use CauseVox’s online peer-to-peer fundraising platform to create a personal fundraiser toolkit that guides these supporters on the best way to fund their plunge.

2. Snow Tubing Excursion

winter fundraising ideas

If you live in a community with snow (real or artificial), then you know how excited people of all ages get when the snow tubing courses open.

Partner with a local company to plan a snow tubing winter fundraiser. The business may want to give a portion of the proceeds back to your organization or ask you to sell tickets on your own.

Out of all the winter fundraising ideas out there, this one is a great opportunity to engage and entertain your adult donors and their families.

Here’s an example of a snow tubing company that works with causes to sponsor fundraisers.

winter fundraising ideas

3. Ski-a-Thon

winter fundraising ideas

Try engaging your donors, volunteers, and winter sports enthusiasts with a ski-a-thon. This isn’t just a day on the slopes! Your most loyal supporters will raise money (sponsorships) to participate in a day-long skiing event.

The result? A lot of tired people and some good money raised for your organization.

The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa hosts an annual ski-a-thon that brings in upwards of $150k.

winter fundraising ideas

4. Snow Removal Services

winter fundraising ideas

There’s a chance that a number of people in your community don’t have the ability and/or time to remove snow from their driveways, sidewalks, and roofs. So, provide a community service AND fundraise at the same time with this winter fundraising idea.

You’ll need volunteers at-ready, as well as shovels, snow blowers, and any other snow removal equipment you can think of. When a storm is set to approach, mobilize the troops. To help with scheduling efforts, provide your community with a phone number to call and get on the books.

Don’t forget to have volunteers sign a liability waiver!

5. Holiday Gift Wrapping Party

winter fundraising ideas

Some people take pleasure in wrapping gifts during the holidays. My mother says it’s therapeutic. But, I’m one of those that would pay a good deal of money to avoid the task altogether.

Help those who just don’t have the ability to properly wrap a present with a holiday wrapping party. Schedule a day close to the holidays that people throughout your community can bring in their presents to be wrapped. Talk with local businesses about donating wrapping supplies (hint: Walmart and Target may be good places to start).

You can also partner with a specific store, mall, or shopping center to wrap on-site like the CarePartners Foundation.

winter fundraising ideas
CarePartners Foundation Holiday Gift Wrapping Fundraiser

6. Parent’s Night Out

winter fundraising ideas

It’s easy to feel confined in your house when there’s frost in the air and the sun goes down by 5 o’clock. In the dead of the winter, it’s simply hard to get out and enjoy yourself. Which is why a parent’s night out is a great winter fundraising idea for your nonprofit or charity.

Gather your most able volunteers and ask parents to donate money in exchange for a few hours of babysitting.

7. Cider/Beer/Wine Tasting

winter fundraising ideas

Microbreweries, cider houses, and wineries are popping up all over the country and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. This winter, partner with one of your community’s adult-beverage manufacturers for a tasting event.

You’ll drive traffic to their business (in a somewhat “slow” time of the year) while promoting your organization.

8. Santa Visit

winter fundraising ideas

As soon as the pumpkins leave the front porch, kids are beginning to think of Santa’s upcoming visit. One way to guarantee good behavior from children throughout the last month of the year is by letting them visit the jolly man a bit early.

Kids and parents alike will appreciate getting to see Santa in early December. After paying a fee, visitors can get a picture with Santa and possibly even chat about what may be hiding under the Christmas tree.

9. Hot Beverage Sale

winter fundraising ideas

Many towns host holiday parades, craft fairs, farmer’s markets, etc. in the weeks leading up to the end of the year. And the only thing better than shopping for the holidays is doing so with a toasty beverage in-hand.

Set up a drink station with coffee and hot water for cocoa and tea. It one of those simple winter fundraising ideas that is sure to warm bellies.

10. Toy Drive

winter fundraising ideas

Does your organization work with children or do you partner with other charities that do? If so, this is the perfect time of the year to mobilize your supporters to provide a little extra to those in need this holiday season.

Collect toys, gift cards, clothes, shoes, and coats for children. Keep track of those donations and be sure to report the results to your donors at the end of the giving season.

CarePartners Foundation Holiday Gift Wrapping Fundraiser
Share A Gift Fundraiser- Boulder, CO

11. Gala

winter fundraising ideas

Plan a party for your supporters that acts as both a fundraiser and an engagement opportunity. Work with a local restaurant, gallery, or event space to create a budget-appropriate menu and entertainment options. You can then charge per plate or by donation, depending on donor preference.

12. Super Bowl Party

winter fundraising ideas

We’re all ready for some football as the Super Bowl nears at the beginning of February. What better way to celebrate the end of pigskin season than with a gigantic Super Bowl party?

Prepare tailgate-friendly foods and set up a projector to show the big game. Ask attendees to pay a fee or donation to join in on the fun.

winter fundraising ideas
Mission Viejo Elks Super Bowl Fundraiser

13. Valentine’s Day Singing Telegrams

winter fundraising ideas

Chocolate and roses are so 2015! This Valentine’s Day, your supporters can surprise their loves with singing telegram courtesy of your organization.

For a donation, volunteers will make their way around town serenading that special someone. It’s a winter fundraiser that’s bound to put a smile on the faces of everyone involved.

14. Cookie Party/Swap

winter fundraising ideas

People eat baked goods of every size, shape, and flavor during the holidays. If you’re anything like me, it seems as though you’re stuck in the kitchen for the better part of December.

Encourage your supporters to make a batch or two to share at a cookie swap party. For a small fee, treat your bakers to a small party where they can share cookies, network, and enjoy a break from the kitchen.

Don’t get caught with the winter blues! Energize your nonprofit or charity’s supporters with one of these 14 winter fundraising ideas.

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For more inspiration and guidance as you map out your year-end fundraising plan, take a look at our 60-Day Year-End Fundraising Plan.

If you’re still unsure of your next winter fundraiser, check out our guide: 101+ Fundraising Ideas.

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