THE BLOG

Christmas in June: What Orgs are Missing on Their Calendars

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dear supporter,

Please donate to our organization this holiday season. Not necessarily because we need the capital at this moment but because we know that everyone is in the charitable spirit right now. Go here to donate.

We've all received hundreds of these messages...on e-mail, by snail mail, via Facebook, on Twitter, staring at us from newspaper ads, and even shrieked at us by Santas on the street. Yeah, I am guilty too...

Why is this the season of charities wanting you to stuff their stocking? Because it works. People give more during the December holidays. Christmas-spirit fundraising would make no sense in June.

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But what about the holidays that occur the other 11 months of the year? Aren't there other holidays that peddle in guilt and gifts and sharing and love (if not Mallomars)? There are traditions and opportunities around these and many other holidays for more orgs to share, just as we all do in December.

A select few orgs that successfully connect other traditions and holidays to their causes.

  • Thanksgiving is tapped by orgs focusing on hunger, like Feeding America, City Harvest and local soup kitchens.
  • Women for Women International and breast cancer orgs do a great job maximizing Mother's Day. We all need a last minute gift and does mom really need another silk scarf?
  • UNICEF'S trick-or-treat fundraising boxes have been a staple of Halloween for more than 50 years.
  • Dress for Success hosts "Clean Your Closet Week" (now "Share One Suit" or SOS) in March, which is Women's history month and also the official start of spring, when every local news reporter is looking for a feel-good story.
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DoSomething.org Case Study: Halloween

This Halloween, with a budget of $0 and a talented content team, we created two action guides: How to Do Something (Good) on Halloween and 11 Halloween Costume Ideas.

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11,287 members of our audience responded by spending over two minutes on each page, about twice the average for an individual page on DoSomething.org. This is a huge increase compared to 2008's numbers, when 137 people visited due to Halloween content. By doing just a bit more planning than we did in 2008, we were able to ride the wave of Halloween more effectively.

Should your org create its own holiday?

No! For those of you planning to create your own World AIDS day, please don't. It takes more resources to create the wave than to ride an existing one. And if you're looking for some less crowded waves, here is my present to you: Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, World Bosses Day (okay maybe not that last one, but you get it...)

How to make any holiday your own

These steps will help your org benefit from the year's many holidays:

  1. Research. Use Google Insights to check the volume of searches and Google Wonder Wheel to see searches related to the holiday.
  2. Concept. Create an idea relevant to your org and the holiday or tradition you're targeting. And get money off your brain. Think ACTION and don't ask people to marry you! Is there something that people can DO to support your cause? Something that will make them feel more connected to you, so that when you ask them for money next December, they give big.
  3. Content. Create content guides on your site that have the keywords relevant to the holiday. Put the keywords in the: URL, Title of the page, Title of the guide (H1 text), written content, Meta description of the page.
  4. Marketing. Blast it out to your network. Partner with other orgs, blogs, networks, sites and build inbound links by asking them to link directly to your holiday content.

Happy Holidays, and, please unplug this season. I think the people in our sector work very hard and often neglect themselves.