Frighteningly successful fundraising ideas

Happy (belated) Halloween!  Before we leave October and its frightful holiday behind us, perhaps we can take some lessons away from this year’s festivities to make next year more profitable.  In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Joe Waters (blogger for shares his ideas for utilizing Halloween as an opportunity for some creative fundraising.   Waters highlights the reasons that make Halloween such a successful time for fundraising:

1. Halloween is social.  Parents parade their kids out in neighborhoods and costume parties for all ages are everywhere. Halloween is the holiday of weak ties and you should capitalize on its casual, fun and social nature.

Halloween is packed all into one exciting night. The major holidays seem to drag on forever. But Halloween has a zombie-like following that kids and adults crave like the undead love brains! Feed the need with your Halloween fundraiser.

Halloween is non-denominational. You’re not stepping on any toes by having a Halloween fundraiser. It’s not a religious holiday that’s going to exclude anyone and ruffle some feathers. It’s kind of like Thanksgiving with candy instead of turkey. Most people love it!

Halloween is part of everyone’s business model these days. Department stores, convenience stores, party stores and supermarkets, they all sell Halloween costumes, candy and decorations. They are all potential partners for your Halloween fundraiser.

Waters also presents 8 easy ways to get started with Halloween fundraisers, here are some of the ones that seemed most useful for non-profit fundraising:

1. Seasonal Halloween stores pop up everywhere this time of year. Find out which stores setup in your area from your local chamber or town hall and plan a fundraiser. Spirit Halloween, which has 900 temporary stores from Labor Day to early November, has already raised $2.5 million for children’s hospitals this month. It’s worth looking in to.

2. Wear your cause on your sleeve. If you favor a particular cause, pick a costume that reflects it.

3. Try reverse trick or treating. Instead of asking for treats, deliver information cards to  bring awareness about your cause.

4.  What’s stopping you from collecting money like UNICEF? If you show up at a neighbor’s door with a homemade coin canister for your favorite cause, will they really say no because you’re not toting an orange UNICEF box?

5. Zombie walks are dead and growing! The Chronicle of Philanthropy had a good article last week on how these lurching, gory walks are becoming popular in many cities.

Although we may have missed our chance to get in on the lucrative festivities this year, the article certainly presents some fun and creative ways to approach fundraising in the future.  Something to keep in mind for the next holiday season!


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