just say "enable Charitable Radio" to your Alexa device...


Fundraising this Christmas – charity views & tips


Christmas is coming, and while with any luck we won’t be spending this one in isolation, 2022 comes with its own challenges as fuel bills rocket, and increasingly, people struggle to get by. So what does it mean for fundraising?

Certainly fundraising is essential if charities are to continue supporting as many people as possible, but it could well be tougher this year than ever.

Many Christmas fundraising activities are going ahead as normal. St Giles Hospice for example is planning its annual Light up a Life services, Rudolph Run, and Christmas raffle as well as a public ask for support. Spread A Smile will run its annual gift drive to seek donations towards its festive activities, as well as holding a comedy night on 19 December, hosted by comedian Suzi Ruffell.

But the cost-of-living crisis also means special consideration is going into what will be appropriate, and also have the best chance of success. In some cases, this means introducing some changes to a traditional activity, and in others, it will mean doing something different altogether.

We ask four fundraisers – from St Giles Hospice, WaterAid, Dementia UK, and Spread a Smile – to share their views on what this Christmas will hold – whether they think it will be tougher, if they’re planning any changes to their fundraising as a result, and what their top tips are for other charities planning this year’s activity.

Chloe Hope, Head of Fundraising, St Giles Hospice

Do you expect things to be tougher this year?

Absolutely, the cost-of-living crisis has really changed our supporter behaviours and their ability to give in the ways they have historically done. It is a worrying time for us all. As a fundraising team we are focusing on ensuring we’re working efficiently, still providing critical contact and engagement opportunities for giving to our community and diversifying our platforms to ensure we’re flexible to the changes.

Are you planning any changes to what you traditionally do because of the economic situation?

Our lotteries and Christmas raffles are really important to us in this time as it gives our community the opportunity to support the Hospice with the potential for an incredible win for themselves. As we saw in the financial crash, return based giving maintains its demand at a time when individual giving might dip.

This year, we are also taking our popular Rudolph Run out into the community. At a time when people are having to prioritise what and where they can spend their time and money, we want to make sure that we make this as easy for them as possible. We will be asking schools and community groups to don their antlers and take on their own mini challenges within the communities – something that groups can really enjoy together.

What are your top fundraising tips for other charities for this Christmas?

Keep your ask simple. We have so many fantastic ideas that we can sometimes confuse. Think what it’s like to be the supporter. Is it easy to find your information or make a payment, and do you feel rewarded for giving/taking part? Create champions. No marketing is better than word of mouth, so create champions that can spread the word of your cause and activities and drive participation at times when you might not be able to.

Nick Miller, Head of Supporter Activation, WaterAid

Do you expect things to be tougher this year?

We are very conscious that there will be additional pressures on households this Winter. The sector – and the wider economy – has already seen that the UK public are worried about the cost of living. We know that in everything we do we will have to be understanding of the economic environment and that we’ll have to plan our activity accordingly.

Are you planning any changes to what you traditionally do because of the economic situation?

When it comes to our relationships with supporters and how we engage new supporters, we always think long-term as well as short-term, so we will be continuing with this approach. There will be supporters who can and would like to continue to give but others who may not be able to. Either way, we aim to keep them engaged with our work and the positive impact that their support has had and continues to have on communities around the world.

Alongside this we will continue to work on how we reach new audiences and tell the story of our mission so that we can grow our pool of potential supporters beyond the current economic downturn.

Naturally we are paying close attention to our marketing channels and evaluating how they are performing so that every pound we spend is working hard for us and can make a real difference.

What are your top tips for charities looking to fundraise this Christmas?

The news agenda will continue to be very noisy with headlines focused on the ongoing impact of the cost-of-living crisis. Plus, the men’s World Cup will likewise have an impact on media channels as major brands compete for audiences’ attention. It’ll be more important than ever to think holistically about how channels work together to create impact and drive response, alongside exploring new creative avenues to engage people.

Martin Bishop, Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications, Dementia UK

Do you expect things to be tougher this year? 

Yes, we do expect it to be tougher when it comes to fundraising for charities, due to the cost-of-living crisis. The full impact of the increase in energy price rises will be felt at around the time most charities launch their Christmas campaigns. There is also more competition for advertising on Facebook, which is increasing advertising costs.

Are you considering making any changes to what you traditionally do because of the economic situation?

We have changed our creative direction, although this isn’t linked to the economic situation. But we have carefully considered our messages in light of the cost-of-living situation.

We will keep asking for support for our specialist dementia nurses across as many channels as possible; as well as making sure we are thanking our current supporters in the lead up to Christmas, so they know we appreciate their previous support and still need their help, if they are able to give it.

What are your top fundraising tips for other charities for this Christmas? 

As ever with Christmas, it’s never too early to start planning. People still want to and will give to charity – however the cost-of-living crisis means they may be reducing the number of charities they support or the amount they give. Keep telling stories about the impact of the donations your current supporters have made so they stay loyal to your cause.   Get your basics right – make it easy to give, check your digital donation journey works, use more emails, and thank them on time.   For many people, this could be the first year they spend time with their families following the COVID-19 disruptions. Although there are no guarantees COVID-19 won’t intervene again, it’s useful to consider the opportunities it could provide for your charity.  And finally, don’t forget that the FIFA World Cup is taking place during November and December this year.

Aysen Norton, Fundraising Director, Spread a Smile

Do you expect things to be tougher this year?

We’ve come out of the ‘Covid’ frying pan into the ‘cost-of-living crisis’ fire this year and consequently fundraising has never been more challenging.  With so much uncertainty in the wider environment, less disposable income in pockets and increased pressure on resources, competition has never been tougher, while charities simultaneously face greater demand for their services.

Research tells us however that people don’t just give because they have lots of money, they give because helping others and making a positive difference makes them feel good.  But this adage will really be put to the test this year.

Are you planning any changes to what you traditionally do because of the economic situation?

We will diversify our fundraising proposition and income streams to seek new support and create more beneficiary led digital content to inspire it.

We’ll tap into the ‘ethical product market’ promoting meaningful experiences as Christmas gifts and also embrace face to face – it’s a Christmas of reunions following so much pandemic isolation and so we will use the restored freedom to make our regular supporters feel valued.

What are your top fundraising tips for other charities for this Christmas?

Look after your regular supporters – current trends show fewer people giving more.  Excellent stewardship of existing donors is vital in fostering loyalty and commitment. Know your USPs and communicate them well – this is what makes you competitive. Authentic narrative – bring the needs and voice of your beneficiaries to life to inspire empathy and support. The pandemic presented opportunities for some to prosper – seek them, they are out there.

Trending NEWS
We cannot guarantee to reply to every message.
Note. We cannot guarantee to air or share this good news, but we will do our best. Listen live and you might hear your good news on Charitable Radio.
Tell us clearly and fully what you want to share on #RadioforGood. Don’t forget to share the charity name and anyone else we need to mention.
Charitable Radio icon
Skip to content