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Nonprofit Fundraisers: Making the Most of October

By Heather Brown
October 07, 2016

Positive cash flow is vital for nonprofits large and small. Without money, nonprofits can’t provide services, programs, or necessities to the communities they serve. They rely on grants and donations from their community. Many nonprofits organize fundraising campaigns and special events to gather the funds needed to operate. As the holidays quickly approach, many are already preparing for their major annual fundraising season in November and December. They are skipping a powerful month for fundraising initiatives – October.

October is Special

Why is October important for fundraising? Halloween is the second largest consumer holiday (second to Christmas). Consumers spend a significant amount of money on the Holiday– more than $6 billion in 2015! Nonprofits have a huge opportunity to maximize on this spending behavior and raise more money for their organization.

Often times, supporters are inundated with numerous requests for donations in November and December. They become overwhelmed with donations in addition to the increased personal expenses they experience for gifts, parties, and dinners. If your request doesn’t make it to their hands before other nonprofit requests, you can lose out or needed donations. October requests receive a greater response because there is less competition and supporters aren’t feeling the strain on the bank accounts.

Fundraising Ideas

Here are seven October fundraising ideas for your nonprofit.

  1. Partner with local attractions. Almost every community has a fall fun or Halloween attraction. Contact one in your community to discuss a potential nonprofit partnership for a day. Nonprofit days attract larger crowds when advertised the right way – making it a win – win for both of you! Request that a portion of ticket sales goes towards your event and make sure you set up an area where you can collect cash donations in addition to any items you advertised a need for.
  2. Host a haunted house. If you have a physical location – turn your office or building into a haunted house. Ask visitors to bring donations (cash or necessities) as their admission fee.
  3. Host a costume party. Organize a party or dinner at a local banquet hall or hotel. Sell tickets ahead of time and encourage guests to dress in costume for special prizes. In addition, you can have raffles, silent auctions, and other fun ways to raise money through the evening.
  4. Sell pumpkins. Pumpkins are popular in October! Contact a pumpkin patch to see if they will offer you a discounted price for purchasing in bulk. Then, sell pumpkins to your local community to raise funds.
  5. Trunk or Treat. Partner with a local school to host a trunk or treat evening. This becomes a fun community event! Kids go “trunk” to “trunk” for candy and parents like it because it is safe. Ask participants to pay a small fee to register and then collect additional donations from willing participants.
  6. Social media contests. Host online social media contests for your followers. Have them submit photos of house decorations or pumpkin carvings. Publish these on your website with a link to PayPal to collect donations. Every $10 donation = 1 vote. Make sure you offer a valuable prize to increase participation in the event.
  7. Flower sale. Many families plant Mums in the fall. Host a flower sale for your local community to purchase their flowers this year and support your nonprofit.

Don’t wait this year to fundraise during the Holiday season. Get a head start in October with one of these seven ideas.

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