By Gabi James
18 Dec 18
This year, you could consider asking loved ones to help out a cause close to your heart during the festive season
It's the time of year when a lot of us are lucky enough to be repeatedly asked what presents we might like to receive. But the truth is, although a waffle toaster would be fun and those boots would totally match your favourite jacket, often we don't really need anything. But there are lots of people, animals, and causes out there who do. Why not take the opportunity to help them out during this festive season?
This is a time of year when people are often thinking about what they can do for others, and there are certainly tonnes of great, festive fundraising ideas out there. But one very simple way you can do some good is forego unnecessary presents and raise support where it will really be appreciated.
Choosing your charity
The idea of asking for donations instead of gifts is by no means a new one, but it does seem to be growing in popularity. And there are so many different charities to choose from! If you need some inspiration picking out a cause, we recommend taking a look at our list of Wonderful charities. You can filter it to see the charities working on specific issues, like human rights, poverty or arts and culture. While all these organisations are doing really worthwhile work, and we don't think any of your would-be gift givers would refuse any of them some support, this does mean you can select one that fits your personal focus.
Or you might already know exactly what organisation you want to help out! Hopefully, they have already joined Wonderful, but if not you might consider offering them a gift that will really keep on giving, by suggesting they do focus their fundraising efforts through Wonderful. That way, they'll get more money out of each donation, as every single penny is passed straight onto them.
The logistics of fundraising
After you've chosen your charity, it's time to decide how you want to go about supporting it. There are lots of great options, and your choice will probably be influenced by the cause itself.
Have a festive get-together
For example, you might choose to host a donation party. The idea here is that instead of bringing a bottle wine, a yummy dessert or a present, guests make some kind of donation. If you're supporting something like a food drive, you might still ask that they bring something edible. But rather than a perishable cake or not-so-nutritious box of truffles, some tins of soup or boxes of cereal might be more suitable. Around this time of year, it's always a nice idea to think of some festive foods you might be able to offer, too. You're not asking them to go above and beyond - in fact, it's probably less effort and/or cheaper than what they would have otherwise brought. But it's still making a really huge difference to people's lives, and a valuable contribution to your community.
Another technique is to organise a fundraising raffle. You ask each guest to contribute something that can be included as a prize, and then sell raffle tickets. The money you've made will be donated to a charity, helping it continue its great work, and people still leave with presents! Everybody is a winner.
Alternatively, you can ask guests to simply bring along cash to donate. You can then collect the funds, and make an equivalent donation to the charity through Wonderful, so guests can easily check up on how much the party made - and maybe add a little bit extra if they're feeling especially generous.
Or you could make your work-day doubly productive by fundraising at the office!
You might also feel a little partied-out with all the events that tend to happen in December. Thanks to the wonders of online fundraising platforms, you don't need to ask your loved ones to leave the comforts of their cosy armchairs and tin of mince pies. Simply create a fundraising page on the Wonderful site, write in a little passage explaining who you're trying to raise funds for and why, and send out the link! Lots of fundraising is going cashless these days, so nobody will be at all surprised by this technique, and will probably be grateful for the minimal effort required of them.
It also means that you can start fundraising as early as you'd like, and keep the page active after the holiday season has wrapped up, if you want! And it gives donors (and you) a really easy way of keeping track of how much has been raised. What's more, this will allow you to reach tonnes of people who you might not have ever found time to see over the holidays. In fact, you might even get donations from strangers!
Giving some goodness
If you're struggling to come up with an idea for what to give somebody, you could also consider making a donation on their behalf. There are loads of really amazing charitable gifts you can give. These are great for charities, for the people they help, for the warm fuzzy feeling they give the recipient, and because they are usually available at the last minute for you...
Think things like Oxfam Unwrapped, where you can, for example, 'buy somebody a goat'. (Luckily for them?) they won't have an actual goat roaming around their lounge come Christmas morning. Instead, the card they get tells them about how that goat will change a family's life in Afghanistan. Pretty special.
Ultimately, there are all kinds of different ways of adding some good to the world this festive period. Take a little bit of everything, adapt things to suit you and your loved ones, and enjoy the season knowing how much of a difference you might have made to people who are really in need.