For some of us, Halloween really kicks off the holiday season, although nonprofits don’t always recognize it as an important fundraising celebration. Nevertheless, Halloween traditionally generates plenty of hype and enthusiasm; a sterling opportunity to engage the local community and fundraise all at the same time!
Many nonprofits ignore Halloween’s fundraising potential – it’s the second most popular Holiday after Christmas – and tend to focus on more traditional giving holidays at year’s end. But for local charities, Halloween can be an incredible time to implement entertaining and creative Halloween fundraisers and get people involved with your cause! (Pumpkin fundraisers, Halloween fundraisers for school and nonprofits.)
What Halloween offers is the one day in the year where people actually connect with their neighbors. All over America, we will be knocking on our neighbors’ doors, giving and receiving from each other. OK, it’s only candy, but celebrations like Halloween revive these shared traditions and the sense of community they awaken.
Here’s a sobering fact that all small to medium nonprofits should take into account: most locals aren’t even aware of their local charities!
This Halloween, get out there and take your cause to your local community. Attract new sponsors, volunteers and donors now before the year-end, giving frenzy begins. What the holidays give local nonprofits is the opportunity to connect with the local community in more meaningful ways.
Take a two-pronged approach
Halloween may not be a “proper” holiday when everyone gets off work but it’s traditionally all about community and connecting with each other. Loneliness and lack of community in the real, local world is a modern scourge!
We may live in close proximity to hundreds of people we don’t really know or identify with, preferring to hang out online instead of communicating with the real people next door. Halloween brings out the inner child inside of all of us, which makes it a great opportunity to create positive connections in our community and our neighborhood. Halloween is the perfect occasion to put the “fun” back in fun-draising.
1. Make Connections
Your small local organization might feel that “No one knows who we are or what we do!” But effective tools for engaging the community with your charity are easily developed and essentially free.
The first weapon in a small nonprofit’s arsenal is writing; press releases, traditional and online ads, social media, community notice-board announcements, flyers and local newspaper articles. All of these are good means of reaching the locals with your nonprofits’ mission and latest events.
And never dismiss the power of the spoken word. Get out there into the community and talk about your work, your mission, what your nonprofit hopes to achieve in the coming months or year. Whether it’s addressing the local Carnival Committee or members of the Literary Society, or the Art Club and even speaking one-on-one with business people, let the public know your charity is there working for a better community.
2. Implement family-friendly Halloween fundraisers
Having tackled the first prong of your community engagement strategy by getting your message out to the community, it’s time to follow through with some family-friendly Halloween fundraisers:
- Keep our Children Safe Halloween Fundraiser
Instead of selling Halloween themed cookies or candy, why not sell something really useful; peace of mind for busy parents?The joy and fun that accompanies Halloween every year comes with some frightening statistics. Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents – more than double the average number and 60% of the accidents happen in from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Many costumes are dark; think of the Grim Reaper or Darth Vader or Batman or witches. This is one problem that’s relatively easy to fix, by wearing something shiny or bright, children will be more visible to drivers on Halloween. There are lots of ways to make it happen with glow sticks, reflective wristbands or hi-visibility tape added to costumes. Your fundraiser can be all about selling items like these in the lead-up to Halloween and helping keep the children safe.
- The Halloween Pumpkin Fundraiser
What’s the one item that’s indispensable for Halloween? The pumpkin, of course! And the humble pumpkin can raise funds for your nonprofit.The easiest way to use this golden fruit (Yes, fruit) to benefit your organization is to sell pumpkins to all those folks in your community who can’t get to a pumpkin farm. Setting up your very own pumpkin patch is simple to do – find a pumpkin farmer, buy pumpkins in bulk, get a discount (for bulk) and sell your pumpkins for a profit.
- Halloween Karaoke Fundraiser
It’s late in the day and October is here already but there’s been no time to plan an awesome Halloween event. Do you need a simple and quick fundraiser for Halloween? How about a costumed karaoke fundraiser?Super heroes, princesses and even Frankenstein and Dracula can strut their stuff with this cost effective event and there can be prizes for the best costume, worst costume, best performance, etc. Halloween karaoke is an easy way to earn money and have plenty of fun!
- Spooky Halloween Golf Fundraiser
Take your classic golf fundraiser and stage it at night, with low lights and appropriate decorations – spiders in the bushes, skeletons in the trees, ghostly hazards haunting the course.Golf will entice a large number of supporters for your charity; many business professionals already play golf and would happily play a round or two for a good cause. With Halloween 2014 falling on a Friday, this could morph into a classic Halloween party.
This year, don’t make the mistake of ignoring Halloween. It should be an important milestone on your fundraising calendar and a wonderful low-pressure way to get your local community involved with your cause. Think of Halloween as the lead-up to the main events coming up as the year winds to a close.