be the GLITTER!

The holiday season is upon us, and we know what that means, every mailbox and email box will be filled with nonprofit pleas for donations. So many worthy causes and only so much money you’re willing to part with in the name of charity.

But what if you’re the leader of one of those direct-mail-dropping organizations? How do you make your mission stand out? How do you show your shine and become THE ONE people select from a dozen other cries for contributions?

My first piece of advice is to be realistic; not EVERY prospective donor is going to become a sure-thing-donor and even those who will, may not contribute to your organization during the holidays.

Next, consider if your organization would be better served by soliciting contributions at another, less popular, time of year? If your organizational mission is strongly tied to the holidays (like, say, Toys for Tots or the Salvation Army) then definitely this is YOUR time of year. If, however, your mission is no more critical in December than any other month, then it may be better to wait until spring or even fall.

If you do decide that the holiday season is a good time of year for your organization to gain donations here are some tips to help you stand out like that one special glittery ornament on the tree:
  • A new year is approaching, tell people something new or surprising about your organization in your marketing campaign. In 2022, ABC Organization will be adding locations in four other states. Did you know that XYZ Foundation has been in the same building since it began 27 years ago?
  • Instead of asking for something, give something – this presents an opportunity to gain new prospective donor contact information so you can ask them for donations a bit later. Stop by and say hi during the community Santa event and get your free s’mores kit.
  • Invite donors to a holiday open house. By hosting a holiday gathering you’re able to put faces to the names of your donors – and vice versa – which deepens your relationship with them and makes it easier for them to want to give...maybe even right there at your open house, so make sure donation boxes and present
  • Partner with another nonprofit for more visibility. For example, a local food bank may solicit donations and pair with a homeless shelter to help feed their current occupants, or a youth organization may team up with a community theatre to create a holiday show or video with proceeds to be shared between them
  • Sometimes there’s value in the shock factor. Create vivid imagery that “THIS is what YOUR community looks like without our organization”...just make sure that it’s plausible and appropriate
  • Instead of direct mail, set up a committee to make holiday phone calls to your most supportive donors – it’s a lot more difficult to say no to your bright, shiny happy holiday voice.
  • Make it fun! Create a holiday contest (think entry fees), set up a community game or race (registration fees), host a comedy hour (ticket prices)


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