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Winter Solstice Fundraiser: A Creative Approach for Nonprofits

A pomegranate with scattered rose petals on a rustic table.

November 14, 2023

As the frosty air nips at our noses and the stars seem to shine a little brighter, the nights seem to get longer and longer. While everyone prepares for the oncoming holiday season, the upcoming winter solstice on December 21, 2023, is a unique opportunity for nonprofits to celebrate their work and supporters.

Why a Winter Solstice Fundraiser?

The winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Marking the beginning of winter and the return of the sun in the northern hemisphere, it’s a time of celebration, reflection, and gratitude for many around the world. It’s also the perfect inspiration for a fundraiser brimming with warmth and thankfulness.
a lovely field of pampas grass

Winter Solstice Fundraising Ideas

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Open house

Give your supporters a warm welcome to visit your office(s) and meet the faces behind the good work you do! Not only will this provide transparency, but it’ll also strengthen the bond between you and your donors. In addition to an in-person event, offer virtual experiences that can be shared all over, like little interviews with your staff and day-in-the-life video tours. Providing such intimate glimpses into your winter projects will leave a lasting impact and bring your community closer.

 

  • Prepare your space: Spruce up your office a bit with winter décor—think fairy lights or votive candles. You don’t have to go all out but make things inviting! Set out some refreshments, like hot cocoa, chocolate chip cookies, or cheese and crackers, and play music.
  • Register guests: Set up a free event (you can do this on our platform!) and ask potential guests to sign up. This will give you an idea of how many are attending so you can prepare. Plus, this event is a terrific opportunity to build your supporter list for future outreach!
  • Engage virtually: Recognize that not everyone can attend in person. Organize live streams of key moments, interviews with team members, and a virtual office tour. Share snippets and videos on your social media platforms to help make the event available to all!
  • Personal touch: If possible, personalize the experience for each supporter. Maybe have name tags prepared for them or a small thank-you note highlighting their contribution. You could also use this event as an opportunity to reconnect with people who have been active as volunteers or supporters in the past.
  • Spotlight staff: Encourage team members to share stories or anecdotes from specific projects, shedding light on day-to-day operations and the challenges they face.
  • Interactive sessions: Host mini-workshops or demos related to your work. For instance, if you’re an environmental NGO, maybe have a session on winter gardening or sustainable holiday decorations.
  • Memory lane: Create a visual journey of your organization’s milestones. This could be in the form of a timeline or a photo montage.
  • Foster involvement: Use this opportunity to showcase ongoing or upcoming projects for which you’d love volunteers. Showcasing what you do and how you do it can inspire people to participate!
  • Feedback corner: Set up a space where visitors can leave feedback, suggestions, or even personal stories about why they support your cause.
  • Parting gesture: As your supporters leave, gift them a small token—a printed notecard bearing a recipe or favorite inspirational quote from various people on staff, or just a heartfelt note.
a lovely fall outdoor dinner party
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Winter wellness workshop series

Warm the spirits of your supporters with a series of self-care sessions tailored to the unique challenges of the colder months. You could hold yoga and meditation classes to combat the winter blues, host a centering sound bath experience, or a talk detailing the ways people can practice being present during the mad holiday rush. Another option is to provide an educational workshop featuring nutritious winter recipes that warm both the body and soul.

 

  • Identify the setting: Whether it’s a cozy indoor space adorned with fairy lights or a serene spot indoors with a nice view, ambiance plays a key role. Scout local community centers, yoga studios, or even outdoor spots with heated tents for a frosty yet warm atmosphere.
  • Collaborate with wellness professionals: Partner with local yoga instructors, nutritionists, and mental health experts. Their skill and knowledge will ensure your workshops are authentic and effective.
  • Registration and pricing: Structure your event registration with options for individual classes or a full workshop series. Include early-bird discounts or group ticket deals to encourage more participation. Or, you can use a sliding-scale fee for donation-based tickets can also make participating more inclusive.
  • Theme: Consider different wellness themes like ‘Meditative Mornings,’ ‘Winter Warm-up Yoga,’ or ‘Soulful Soups & Stews Cooking Class.’ Offering variety caters to diverse interests and keeps your nonprofit top of mind throughout the winter.
  • Online: Stream workshops for those who can’t attend in person. This will widen your reach and deliver an avenue for digital donations.
  • Advocacy and awareness: In each session, discuss the importance of mental and physical health, especially during winter. Provide resources, guides, or a platform for participants to share their stories and experiences
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Virtual winter auction

Complement your winter solstice events with a virtual auction, allowing supporters to participate from wherever they are. Here’s how to make it unforgettable:

  • Platform selection: Choose a reliable online auction platform with user-friendly bidding, live streaming, and secure payment options. Another key factor you should look for in a fundraising platform is its mobile-responsiveness—you want people with all sorts of devices to be able to participate and experience a smooth, secure transaction. When you build out your fundraising auction page, add attractive descriptions and photos for each item and highlight its features and benefits. Also, be sure that your minimum bid for each item covers your costs and helps you reach your fundraising goal.
  • Curated items and experiences: Try to gather auction items that resonate with the winter theme. Think getaways to snowy mountain lodges, exclusive ice-skating experiences, or gourmet winter food baskets.
  • Promotion: Build anticipation by sharing sneak peeks of the auction items on your social media channels. Use engaging stories or polls to involve your audience in the run-up to your auction. Once it’s launched, continue to promote it on your website, across social media platforms, in email newsletters, and through other channels. Throughout the promotion process, use popular items to inspire action or highlight prizes that aren’t getting as much love to stir up interest.
  • Interactive elements: During downtime, engage attendees with fun winter or cause-related trivia and quizzes. Encourage friendly competition and excitement among your bidders by providing updates, reminders, or countdowns. You can also incentivize the highest bidders or the most active participants with rewards or shout-outs.
  • Post-auction follow-up: After the event, personally thank all participants, inform winners about the next steps, and share the impact of their contributions. Maybe even hint at what’s to come for your next big event!
a lovely fall outdoor dinner party
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Peer-to-peer winter solstice fundraising ideas

Inspire supporters to raise funds on behalf of your organization with peer-to-peer fundraising! It’s a super way to involve your community and drive awareness, and you don’t even need to organize an in-person walk or event. You can set up an online peer-to-peer challenge where supporters track their progress through your fundraising platform.

  • Solstice fitness challenge: Sometimes in winter, motivation is a bit lacking. Inspire people to move for a good cause! Participants can pledge to do a certain number of fitness routines or exercises daily leading up to the equinox. They can get friends and family to sponsor them for each day they complete or for each milestone they achieve.
  • Craft creation contest: Making things feels especially cozy in winter. Invite supporters to create winter-themed crafts and get pledges for the pieces they make. They can share their crafts on social media, and the supporter with the craft that garners the highest pledges or most votes can win a prize.
  • Mindfulness and meditation marathon: Reflection is central to the solstice, and meditation is very calming! Ask participants to commit to meditating a certain number of minutes or hours a day leading up to the equinox. They can be sponsored based on the time they commit and share their experiences online to promote mental wellbeing during the winter months.

Winter Fundraiser Tips for Success

  • Embrace the winter spirit. Collaborate with local artisans, winter sports enthusiasts, and businesses known for winter products. Their inclusion will infuse your event with a genuine wintertime essence.
  • Illuminate your purpose. With the days at their shortest, let your organization’s mission shine bright. Communicate what drives your nonprofit and illustrate how contributions and helping hands positively affect your work, and thus the world or community.
  • Warm thanks to your patrons. Express appreciation to your supporters, be it through a heartfelt winter-themed card or a special mention on social platforms.

The winter solstice is a golden chance for nonprofits to gather, reflect, and express gratitude. Whether you choose to open your doors for an intimate glimpse into your work, host wellness workshops, or hold a virtual auction, remember that the heart of any fundraiser is the relationship between an organization and its community. Celebrate your milestones, cherish every supporter, and welcome the (slow) return of the sun with open arms!

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