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Christmas Fundraising - Why charities should nurture small business supporters this festive season.


December is the season of goodwill. Historically, UK charities have always seen an increase in donations around the festive period - referred to as the ‘December effect’. So starting Christmas campaign planning NOW gives nonprofits time to come up with ideas, create collateral, and put their marketing plans into place to build on this.

This includes reaching out to small business supporters and by small business supporters we mean the people behind the local, small businesses that the UK loves from coffee shops to dog walkers, Etsy makers to website designers.

Why Now?

Because it's all about the planning.

Across every sector, Christmas is key. And for a large proportion of the nation's 5.8 million small businesses Christmas is when sales peak. The spending power at Christmas is huge...

In 2019 a YouGov poll revealed individuals spent £1,116 at Christmas with £381.60 going on gifts alone.

So like charities, small businesses need to create a buzz around their brand and will start planning marketing campaigns NOW, releasing their products and campaigns around October, and ramping up their marketing in November. Some even earlier (take Pret a Manger who released their Christmas sandwich 6 months early!).

Christmas is also a time small businesses embrace the season of goodwill and will want to fundraise for a charity that they personally connect with. We know from experience that many will want to include a sales-based festive fundraising campaign as part of their Christmas plans.

The Growth of Small Business Giving

“Being able to donate is one of the core outgoings and pleasures of running my own business.’ Gemma, Muthahood

In the last few years there has been a growth in small businesses who believe in putting purpose at the heart of their small business.

In the world of big business it is often referred to as ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ or CSR, but for small businesses their reasons for giving to charity are much more personal and heartfelt - a way to really show their customers the human side to their brand.

Many of these are sole traders, people who simply want to use their sales to raise money and awareness for a charity they truly care about.

“Adoption UK is so grateful to be working with small independent businesses through Work for Good, many of which have a personal connection to our cause/are already members of the adoption community.”.

Raising funds through sales of a product or service is for many sole traders, entrepreneurs and micro businesses a sustainable and tenable way for them to fundraise for a cause that is close to their hearts. And the emotions driving sales-based fundraising are the same as when an individual runs a marathon or hosts a tea party in aid of charity.

'Tis the Season of Goodwill

Although there is a growing commitment amongst small businesses to incorporate donations to charity throughout the year, small business owners and their teams also feel the December goodwill effect, and want to embrace this by demonstrating their commitment to giving back. And Christmas is when there is an increase in businesses launching or amplifying their fundraising campaigns.

In 2020 when we launched our Small Business Star Christmas Campaign, small businesses were over the moon to get involved, creating new products and sales-based Christmas campaigns to raise funds for charities they truly loved.

They took to their social media, created newsletters, podcasts and more to shout about the causes they were supporting, raising awareness of issues and reaching people that otherwise would not be aware of the cause they championed.

And in one day ALONE, small businesses raised over £100,000 for good causes.

This desire to use their platforms to raise awareness of issues, clearly demonstrates that the people behind the businesses genuinely care about more than just their profit.

94% of Consumers Would Switch Brands to Support a Cause' *

Of course, there are commercial reasons for small traders to launch sales-based fundraising campaigns, and who can blame them - they need to make a living too!

Raising money for a charity through sales is a commercially viable way for these individuals to engage their community, find a connection, whilst honouring their personal values and making a difference.

So with all this in mind, it is clear why charities should embrace small business supporters this festive season.

Through stewardship, storytelling, and community-building fundraisers can make small businesses feel connected to their cause, at Christmas and beyond.

So this season of goodwill, please make sure the people behind the UK’s incredible small businesses have a seat at your festive table.