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Master Calendar 2000:
October Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas

by Deane Brengle


Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month.

If your group has a fundraising activity that is centered on a holiday or season
please tell us about it at brengled@fundsraiser.com


Yom Kippur - October 9th
Columbus Day - October 9th
Sweetest Day - October 21st
Make a Difference Day - October 28th
Halloween - October 31st


Yom Kippur - October 9th

A yearly Jewish religious holiday, Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement is a very solemn day of the year, devoted to fasting, prayer and repentance.

.Although there may be possibilities for the Jewish to incorporate fundraising into this day, I list it because in some communities it may not be a good day to plan a fundraiser because of prior commitments by most of their Jewish members.


Columbus Day - October 9th

On October 12,1492, Christopher Columbus landed on a small island in the Bahamas, convinced that he had reached the East Indies. Three centuries later, at the opening of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the date was made a legal holiday by presidential proclamation. Now, by federal law, it is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Thanksgiving Day in Canada also is celebrated on the second Monday in October

Although this holiday is celebrated widely by the Italian communities, it holds great opportunity for all nonprofits. Although it is a federal holiday, most working American's don't have the day off.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Columbus Day there are a lot of benefits:

  • Columbus Day isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Columbus Day

  • Run/Walk Events and Golf Tournaments

    It's a good time to hold a sports type event. Don't limit yourself to a running event or a golf tournament. Other good sports events are:

    • Boche ball (of course!)
    • Softball tournament
    • Mud football game
    • Tennis tournament
    • Fun run/walk
    • Bike race

  • Parade

    This is a big one for ethnic Italian groups.

  • Dinner/Dance

    Also a big one for ethnic Italian groups, but don't count your nonprofit out if you don't have an Italian background. All groups can use Columbus Day as a focal point for a dinner/dance that highlights Italian food and music.

  • Wine Tasting/Festival

    What is more Italian than wine. It's a great reason to have drink Italian wine and raise money.

    If you've never had this type of event before, start with the wine tasting. Contact your local wine distributors to learn more. Be careful of the alcohol laws of your state.

Resources



Sweetest Day - October 21st

It is a day to reach out to all the special people in your life. It's an occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember not only the sick, the aged, the orphaned, but also friends, relatives, and associates whose helpfulness of kindness we have enjoyed. Sweetest Day has became an occasion for remembering others with a kind act or a small remembrance.

Of course, the greeting card industry has adopted this holiday and tried to turn it into a romantic holiday.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Sweetest Day there are a lot of benefits:

  • Sweetest Day isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Sweetest Day

  • Flowers/Candy/Teddy Bears

    Selling flowers, individually or by the bunch, can be a good fundraiser. Works best with a captive group like a high school. Candy and teddy bears can be sold separately or along with flowers.

  • Crush Grams

    Of course you had at least one crush on someone. This fundraiser plays on that idea and works best in a high school setting.

    Students buy a crush gram for someone who they have a crush on. They send it to that person, signed "From your Crush". Cost of the Crush Grams is one dollar. Your members deliver the crush grams on the designated day to every- one who is receiving them.

    The other part of this fundraisers is that the person who sent the crush gram can insure that your members never tell the person who they sent the crush gram to by purchasing "Crush Insurance". You can sell this for one dollar. Then the person who is sent the crush gram can never find out who sent it to them. The person MAY find out who sent the crush gram to them if the sender did not buy Crush insurance by paying one of your members one dollar. This increases the need to buy crush insurance when you are sending out the crush grams.

  • Dinner/Dance

    Dances can range from simple to the most complex

    • School Dances

      The most simple of school dances involve hiring a deejay or finding someone with a great system and lots of CDs. Check with your principal for any rules and try to get chaperones that are sympathetic to your cause. Also works with junior high and middle schools.

      To kick it up a notch, tie it in with a matchmaking event, candy sales, valentine bucks, raffles and flower sales. The more you decorate the dance the more you can charge.

    • Dinner Dances

      This is the territory of the older crowd. Usually live music by a dance band and a sit down dinner. Mostly held at restaurants with a dance floor, but can be carried off at a rented hall. Often includes a raffle and door prizes. These events regularly generate large amounts of money and are ideal for repeating year after year.

    Resources



Make a Difference Day - October 28th

Make A Difference Day is a national day of helping others -- a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone can participate. Created by USA WEEKEND Magazine, Make A Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October.

Millions have participated. In 1999, 2 million people cared enough about their communities to volunteer on that day, accomplishing thousands of projects in hundreds of towns and helping an estimated 22 million people.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Make A Difference Day there are a lot of benefits:

  • Make a Difference Day isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Make a Difference Day

The Make a Difference Day folks have a lot of ideas on their web site and an "idea generator" for those that want to think up something new. They can even point people to your Make a Difference Day event if you register it with them.

Their web site has lots of help with planning guides, getting publicity, official merchandise and logos and promos.

Resources


Halloween - October 31st

October 31 was Samhain for the ancient Celts -- the death night of the old year. Druid priests lit huge bonfires, while people dressed as demons and witches paraded noisily through the streets to frighten off the roving souls believed to be seeking new homes for the new year.

Halloween now means "Trick or Treat". But it does have fundraising possibilities.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to there are a lot of benefits:

  • Halloween isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Halloween

  • Run/Walk Events and Golf Tournaments

    It's a good time to hold a sports type event. Don't limit yourself to a running event or a golf tournament. Other good sports events are:

    • Softball tournament
    • Mud football game
    • Tennis tournament
    • Fun run/walk
    • Bike race

  • Halloween Party/Dinner/Dance

    Young or old, everyone loves to dress up in Halloween costumes and party.

  • Haunted House

    Haunted house or Spook house, it doesn't matter what you call it, everyone has a sick need to be scared by them.

    A good haunted house takes a lot of preparation and a good location. Be vary careful about fire codes and make sure you have insurance.

  • Sell Pumpkins

    Team up with a local farmer or go to your local fruit and vegetable wholesaler. Or you can sell carved pumpkins or hold a carving contest (make sure you have some local celebrities and media types there carving too).

  • Fall Festival

    Some folks don't like to celebrate Halloween for one reason or another. That's OK. Have a fall festival instead. Lots to celebrate this time of year with the harvest going on and you can theme your event using this idea as a fundraiser.

    Some ideas to include in your festival:

    • Hay ride
    • Bon fire
    • Pumpkin carving contest
    • Dinner
    • Dance
    • Sports events
    • Face painting
    • Bobbing for apples
    • Clowns doing balloon animals
    • Puppet shows
    • Craft shows
    • Craft tables (for kids to assemble cheap craft items)
    • Parade
    • Displays by the police, fire department, DARE, race cars, tow trucks, tractors, farm machinery
    • Games- ring toss, tic tac toe, shooting hoops
    • Midway/carnival
    • Food/drink booths
    • Vendors area
    • Car show


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    About the Author:

    Deane Brengle writes for several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.



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