9 Festive Holiday Fundraising Ideas

With the holiday season just around the corner meaning now is the perfect time of the year to be thinking about fundraising for your program! To help, we have brainstormed a few ways to help your travelers spread the word to their family and friends at home and on campus.

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1. Share your Trip Funder Link with Family & Friends

Did you know that when you sign up for an EF College Study program, students automatically receive a website designed specifically for you and your program? We have created this platform for travelers to easily keep track of their program itinerary, travel updates, and payment plan details. This unique EF Study Abroad personalized web page is where travelers can also find their customized Trip Funder link!

Encourage your students to share their Trip Funder link on their social media accounts and share why attending the program is so important to them, where they’re headed, and what they hope to experience.

2. 50/50 Raffle at Sporting Events

Are your college sports teams headed into playoff season? Is basketball and hockey season starting back off? Volunteering to offer a 50/50 raffle at the next basketball or hockey game is a great way to raise funds for your program while also sharing the word about your destination with potential travelers.

Here is a helpful resource on How to Host a Successful 50/50 Fundraising Raffle

3. Bake Sale on Campus

From cookies, to brownies, and even cake pops, everyone is always open to a sweet treat. Especially when the proceeds are going towards a good cause such as a short-term study abroad program! Host your bake sale in a high traffic area on campus where students and professors will be sure to pass by. Outside the dining hall, community areas, or during sporting events may ensure the perfect amount of traffic.

Host a meeting where each traveler volunteers for baking one specific type of baked good. This will ensure on the day of the bake sale you don’t end up with a table full of only chocolate chip cookies. Create posters advertising the bake sale with the date, location, and time as well as mentioning that all proceeds will benefit the EF College Study Program to (x destination) this coming (x month). Share on social media as well, everyone will be glad to receive a heads-up guaranteeing they won’t miss out!  

Since the winter months may be chilly in some regions consider offering coffee, hot chocolate, or even warm apple cider as well. If you’re feeling adventurous dive into the idea of baking authentic baked goods that originated from the destination your program is headed to!

If you’re headed on the A Taste of France program try making classic French dark chocolate truffles, check out the recipe here! If you’re headed to Lisbon, Seville & Madrid try making churros, check out the recipe here!

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4. Restaurant Community Fundraiser

Many restaurants will offer to host fundraiser nights at one of their locations. Such as Chipotle, B.Good, California Pizza Kitchen, Chik-fil-a, Buffalo Wild Wings, and many more offer opportunities for organizations to host fundraisers. Hosting a fundraising night at a restaurant this is an easy way to acquire some funds to put towards their programs. We’ve outlined a few restaurants for you that will host fundraisers:

Chipotle will donate 33% of the proceeds from the fundraising night to your organization, check it out here!

Noodles & Company will donate 25% of the proceeds from the fundraising night to your organization, check it out here!

B.Good will work with your group to decide on the percentage you will receive, check it out here!  

Unsplash / @priscilladupreez

5. Hold a T-Shirt Fundraiser

This is a creative idea that doesn’t require a lot of planning time. Hosting a t-shirt fundraiser is an easy way to offer a personalized product that are beneficial to your program. Is a traveler in your group majoring in graphic design? If so, encourage them to create a custom travel design specifically for your study abroad program! By uploading this logo to an online custom t-shirt company, you will be able to have custom t-shirts made to support your program.

Bonfire is a company that allows you to upload your own t-shirt design to their web page or choose from a wide library to create a personalized t-shirt design. Bonfire offers two options when starting your fundraising: sell online, or order custom shirts. The first option of selling online, is specific to someone who only wants the t-shirts to be available for purchase online. This eliminates the need to purchase t-shirts in various sizes ahead of time and being available to sell them in person. With the use of the custom web link that Bonfire creates for your fundraiser, you can share it directly onto social media with friends, family, and others on campus. Bonfire will then ship the orders directly to those who purchased the items, and then share with you a 100% payout of the profits.

The second option of ordering custom t-shirts is an opportunity to sell the t-shirts in person. Bonfire asks that you request the color and size combinations you would like to order and then they will send them to you to then sell on campus. Hosting a table to sell t-shirts outside of community areas on campus is a great way to spread the word alongside posters advertising when you’ll be selling!

Not only does Bonfire offer t-shirts they also offer personalized sweatshirts, tank tops, hats, tote bags, kids t-shirts and dog shirts as well! Check it out here Bonfire Product Catalog

6. Gift-wrapping Event

A gift-wrapping event is the perfect fundraising opportunity for the holiday season. Gather your travelers together and have everyone brush up on their gift-wrapping skills! Your students will be offering gift-wrapping services to those who bring their gifts to your event. Brainstorm a high-traffic area on campus to host your event, or if there is a shopping center nearby see if you can set-up a table there. Consider if you are going to set a price per gift, or every 5 gifts is X amount, or just encourage donations. Totally up to you!

This isn’t just an opportunity to raise funds for your program, but also for your travelers to interact with one another and develop stronger friendships prior to departure.  

Don’t forget you can always combine fundraising opportunities to lead to a larger event, such as a gift-wrapping party with a bake-sale as well. While gifts are being wrapped encourage those to socialize and enjoy a sweet treat.

Check out more tips here!

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7. Holiday Party with Raffle Items

Everyone loves a holiday party, what a better way to bring people together as well as generating funds for your study abroad program!

First, you and your travelers must acquire donated raffle items from local businesses in your area. During a meeting consider discussing with your travelers what should be included in their donation request letter. This will be an informational letter that they can share with local businesses in the area to see if they have interest in donating gift cards, raffle baskets, and other items that you can auction off.

On the day of the event set a price per raffle ticket, or bundles of tickets to sell to guests when they walk through the doors. This way you will grab their attention as they walk in. Share with them that they can place their raffle tickets in the jars in front of the items they would like to win. The more tickets they place per item, the higher their chances of winning that are. You can make each raffle item a surprise by only putting out the jars with numbers, or you can put the raffle item on the table, so each guest knows what they’re hoping to win. Towards the end of the night, after sharing with the guests it is their last chance to purchase more tickets, draw one ticket per jar and begin to announce the winners!

Holiday parties don’t have to be extravagant gatherings, you’re just providing a space for others to gather and be filled with holiday spirit! However, you can encourage your travelers to make baked goods for those attending to snack on, or you can offer a cash bar, if the space allows, for those attending. The guests will mainly be focused on the raffle items!

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8.  “Winter Solstice” Soup or Chili Contest & Fundraiser

What a perfect way to stay warm during the cold winter holiday season than with soup or chili! By hosting a fundraiser centered around these warm dishes you are sure to bring in a crowd.

A soup or chili fundraiser is very similar to a raffle party, as your travelers will need to acquire donations from local businesses to share with attendees at the event. You can also encourage your travelers to make any famous soup or chili recipes that they may have as well! You can then sell tickets at the door to get into the event

At the door of your event students will be able to sell tickets to the guests that are arriving. You can sell tickets per bowl of soup that your guests plan on eating, with this they will be able to put the same number of tickets towards who they think has the best soup or chili. Another option is to charge a flat admission fee for guests where they can enjoy unlimited bowls of soup.

Throughout the event encourage guests to vote on the business who has the best soup or chili, and then announce the winner at the end of the event!

Unsplash / @calya1

9. Ugly Holiday Sweater Party & Competition

An ugly holiday sweater party is another option for holiday fundraising! Like the raffle party an ugly holiday sweater party can be hosted anywhere on campus. By including a competition of who has the ugliest holiday sweater, your travelers will be able to charge a small fee for those to enter the contest. After allowing everyone to mingle for the beginning of the event, gather those who would like to participate in the contest, and clear an area where they are able to show-off their sweaters. Create a voting where attendees can gather and vote on their favorite sweaters. You will then be able to announce the winner at the end of the event!

Check out this guide on How to Host an Ugly Sweater Party

A Unique Way to Say Thank You!

Looking for a unique way to say thank you to those who helped fund your study abroad experience? Everyone loves getting something in the mail, so pick up a few postcards while you’re traveling on your program. Then write a quick note and send them back to your family, friends or anyone else who helped you make your study abroad adventures come true!

We hope that these nine options for fundraising encourage you to start brainstorming what will work for your group and help lead your program to success!

We have also outlined a few other ways to generate the funds needed to make your short-term study abroad dreams come true! Read our article Make it Happen: Your Guide to Fundraising

Click here to see more Holiday Fundraising Ideas for other holiday.

You can also check out our Creative Ways to Fund Your Adventure page!

Find more “How To’s” and resources here.