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4 Ideas to Increase Non-Dues Revenue Over the Holidays

The holiday season is here and there is an upside to the activity and buzz of this time of year – people are actively thinking about how they can increase their charitable giving!

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

The holiday season is here and there is an upside to the activity and buzz of this time of year – people are actively thinking about how they can increase their charitable giving and it could be your time to increase non-dues revenue. As the public is pondering ways to give back, it’s your turn to make your cause known. Time to get rolling on the fundraisers, so you can meet your goals and set yourself up for all of next year’s to-dos. But it won’t be enough to throw together a last-minute campaign to run right before the holidays and new year. Instead, you need a tight, multi-channel, unique strategy that will stand out and draw in givers.

To give your holiday fundraiser an extra boost, we’re bringing you some fresh ideas and strategies, along with a few tips for getting the word out. With these tactics you can amp up your end-of-year fundraising to make it your best year yet.

1. Partner with a charity

Have a cause that’s close to your team’s heart? Partner up! Hosting a joint campaign with a local charity or nonprofit and splitting the donations is a great way for your association to do some good, but it also brings a number of benefits to your organization other than increased non-dues revenue: It enhances your visibility.

Think about it-- if your marketing is being sent out not just to your contacts, but to all the contacts of a separate organization, you gain access to far more potential givers. Not only that, but those who do give can become leads for future fundraising campaigns, or even membership drives. It boosts your credibility. Partnering up with a well-known and beloved charity helps establish your ethos both with members and potential givers. A little emotional pull is important in fundraising, and having a notable charity or nonprofit on your side provides just that pull. It provides convenience to donors. Sometimes people get overwhelmed with options for giving. After all, around the holidays it seems that everyone is asking for money! But having a fundraiser where the donations will benefit not one, but two separate causes presents a unique opportunity for givers: the opportunity to ensure that their dollars are used in more than one way and be a help to even more people.

2. Do it online

It probably goes without saying at this point -- or at least, we would hope it does -- but online fundraising should be a big part of your seasonal strategy in order to increase non-dues revenue.  In-person fundraisers are fun and personal, but during one of the busiest seasons of the year, many people are looking for convenience above all else. Providing avenues for giving that only require the click of a button help you secure more donations with far less effort and money spent. Whether through your own website or a third-party, have a platform where visitors can donate suggested amounts or choose their own amount to give. Your site will need to be as user-friendly as possible and not require lots of hoops to jump through -- otherwise potential givers may abandon their effort before they get to the point of actually opening their wallets. Again, as with all fundraising efforts, your marketing needs to precede the actual campaign by at least a few weeks. Let the emails, social posts, and display ads trickle in and make an impact on your target, even subconsciously, prior to actually going live with your event.

Once you finally do go live, make it fun! Since it’s all online, you need to offer ways to give the connection of a personal fundraiser remotely. This is best achieved, of course, through social media. Raffle off a few gifts, share some entertaining behind-the-scenes footage of employees dressed up as reindeer, invite donors to share their thoughts, memories, or fun holiday photos. Getting people involved and excited makes them more inclined both to give and to promote your cause, so put your most social-savvy team members in charge of this effort and get the holiday spirit rolling!

3. Join the ecommerce crowd

You know what they say -- if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Since the rest of the world is focused on holiday shopping, why not throw in your lot with an ecommerce site or other retailer? Find a retailer who is willing to support your organization during the entirety of the holiday season. They may choose to donate a small percentage of their holiday sales to your cause, or simply ask their customers to round up their purchase amounts and donate this extra to your organization.

Even sponsoring any events in the holiday season is beneficial. However you choose to arrange this aspect, jumping on board with a retailer during the holiday season can provide a significant non-dues revenue boost for your association. Similar to joint fundraising with a charity or nonprofit, teaming up with a retailer gives you and your partner an increase in visibility and credibility, making the entire agreement mutually beneficial. And, when you each run your own marketing campaigns to promote the event, you expand to a wider audience and improve your income opportunities.

4. Spread the news (and holiday cheer)

With each strategy we outlined here, the execution is only half the battle. The real effort will begin as you start sending out marketing to promote your upcoming fundraiser.

While we touched on a few marketing approaches already, there are still a few things to remember:

Targeting is everything. What good are your messages if they’re not reaching the right people? Before you even begin to draft emails or social ads, figure out who you’re going to target and how.

Start with your current members and people who have donated to past fundraisers, then broaden your horizons to people within your industry or who may have some other connection that would motivate them to give to your cause.

Personalize your messages.

Once you have your targets nailed down, personalize your messages for each group, or even drop in individual names for an even more one-on-one approach. The more personal you can make your marketing, the better! This connection will go a long way in attracting donors. Make use of various channels.

Casting a wide net is crucial to increase non-dues revenue, so take advantage of every platform and channel possible for promotion. Use both paid and organic ads on social media, craft multiple rounds of emails, and don’t neglect direct mail (a still-effective marketing method that can pack a punch when done correctly). Most importantly, make your fundraiser a fun, cheer-filled event that your organization and potential donors can look forward to. Include festive imagery, exhilarating messages, and heart-tugging stories that get everyone in the holiday mood, and you won’t just increase non-dues revenue -- you’ll also be an instrument of the season’s joy and wonder.