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Wish Nation

Fundraising Ideas for the Holidays

Christmas Wish
Even in Arizona at Make-A-Wish America, it’s beginning to feel like fall. I can’t tell if it’s the cool, mid-70s degree weather, the pumpkins piled outside grocery stores, or just the assertion by the rest of the world that winter is coming, but I think it’s time to start breaking out the knitted sweaters.

As we get closer to fall festivities and the onset of winter, Make-A-Wish volunteers have been putting together themed fundraisers that can be a great inspiration for future initiatives. What I love about this is that it draws upon our natural inclination to get excited over the characteristics of changing seasons, like colorful leaves and pumpkin-flavored everything. 

Whether you’re pro-pumpkin spice or opposed to the homogenization of squash consumption, take a look at these great examples of holiday inspired fundraisers:

Pumpkin Carving Competition

Out of Cleveland comes a spooky competition-style fundraiser based around the time-honored tradition of carving faces into pumpkins. Everyone’s favorite squash is finally being used for its true purpose – to inspire donations to wish granting. These soon-to-be jack-o’-lanterns will be turned into an assortment of ghoulish faces at the event, appropriately titled “GUTS.” (Because the best part of pumpkin carving is reaching in to pull out the slimy orange insides and laying out the fresh pumpkin seeds to bake). By signing up, the carvers donate to Make-A-Wish and have 90 minutes to come up with their most frightening creations.

Taking the Icy Plunge

I am not a person who enjoys the cold, so once my family settled in the desert I knew I had found my perfect climate zone. No humidity, no snow, no problem. Whenever I hear about the brave souls who do crazy things like wading into icy water, I feel a certain amount of respect.

Though not directly holiday related, the Penguin Plunge Toe Dippers challenge will take advantage of the frigid temperatures of winter to fundraise for Make-A-Wish Illinois. Volunteers will either jump into the Heritage Harbor marina in Ottawa, Illinois or dip their toes in.

Need some other great holiday fundraising ideas? Here’s a list of concepts to get your started on launching your own fundraiser to support wishes:

  1. Best pumpkin pie competition. The amount of variations in pie recipes is astounding. Adding that dash of allspice can make all the difference.
  2. Public film screening of fan-favorite holiday movies. Throw in a bake sale and you’ll be golden.
  3. Organize a “Santa Sprint” – a short run/walk where volunteers can raise money while dressed in hilarious attire.
  4. Go all out with a haunted house and invite people from around the neighborhood.
  5. Create a holiday themed T-shirt design contest where the winning entry will receive a gift from a sponsor. Make sure to get permission to sell the winning design shirt to raise more funds for wish kids!

From food trucks and startups to high schools raising record breaking amounts of donations in a week, check out how other creative Make-A-Wish volunteers are inspiring their communities through exciting fundraising initiatives.  


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Wish Nation gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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