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Trick or treat: 3 Halloween fundraising campaigns to get you in the spooky spirit

Halloween is my family’s favorite holiday. We go all out—decorating our house and our yard, dressing up in fun costumes—it’s a great time of year. So, what better time than to take a favorite holiday and merge it with another one of my favorite things—nonprofit giving.

This year, I have highlighted three great Halloween-themed fundraising campaign ideas to get you thinking about how to take fun holidays to the next level.

1. Support the pups

Humane societies, no-kill shelters and animal rescue organizations can be seen making Halloween fun for the adults and animals in one another’s lives. The Beaver County Humane Society has hosted a “Beastly Haunted Trail” where visitors came on Friday and Saturday evenings during October to walk their pets through the attraction. This event provides a great opportunity to showcase the organization on-location while providing a fun activity and raising money for the cause.

Looking to be a bit more formal? The Humane Society of Greenwood has hosted its annual Wag-O-Ween Charity Ball for the past five years, raising money to support its adoption center, its spay and neuter program, and humane education. This evening event includes food, drink, music and raffle items. The organization also provides one large silent auction item and a costume contest supported by its sponsors.

Idea to use

Tap into volunteers and team members to think outside the box as to an event or attraction that you can host on-site. Sell tickets for the attraction and showcase where you’ll use those ticket sales. Contests are fun events and Halloween is all about the costumes—think about how you can incorporate easy contests and prizes into bigger-picture events and attractions; get your whole community involved.

2. Entertain the community

Now in its 46th year, the NYC Village Halloween Parade is a 501c3 nonprofit arts organization and the “largest grass roots event in the nation” according to its donation page. The organization and event itself started unintentionally in 1974 when Ralph Lee, a Greenwich Village mask-maker and puppeteer, started a walk in his neighborhood for his children and their friends. By year three, the parade moved into a small nonprofit and now it is a full-fledged event that everyone looks forward to each year.

Idea to use

One of the things that I love about this organization (besides the great parade!) is that it offers fun rewards to those who donate at various levels—Halloween totes, off-Broadway tickets, the opportunity to direct the parade. Think about special events and holidays that can relate back to your nonprofit. Are there fun gifts that can be associated at different donation levels? Showcase these options on your donation landing page and encourage donors to choose the gift that fits their personality. Ask for in-kind donations to support the rewards you may need to offer to make these options happen.

3. Make it about the children

Do you remember receiving UNIFEF boxes at school prior to Halloween night? Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF originally started as a way to support children affected by WWII nearly 70 years ago. Since then, the organization has raised over $175 million, in part, from kids going door to door on Halloween with UNICEF collection boxes. The organization’s campaign tactics have morphed over the years, but what I love about the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF page is how simple it displays the message, ways to give, how giving impacts children and how to get others involved/run peer-giving events on your own.

Idea to use

Think about how you can create peer giving or community giving events and opportunities around your cause. For an even simpler tactic, host an event that can be done at a local park or in an open community area where you could get other businesses involved (i.e. town center, shopping area, etc.) as an in-person type of peer giving campaign. Collect an entrance fee or collect fees per each activity as part of the whole event—pumpkin derbys, carving contests, candy jar guessing games—these are all fun events that the whole family (and community) can be a part of.

You don’t have to be a huge nonprofit to make a difference and have some fun around Halloween! What has your organization done in the past to commemorate the holiday and spread awareness around giving opportunities to your cause? Share with us on Twitter. Happy Halloween!

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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