Pop Art Woman with Christmas Gift e1510632339324

Almost Everything I Know About Fundraising I Learned from Christmas Carols


The Holidays are such a fun time of year. One of the best things, as far as I’m concerned, are the songs we sing during the Holidays. Sure, you’re pretty sick of them by the end of December, but they’re always old friends that remind you of childhood.

But who knew they had so much fundraising wisdom built into them?

Here are some of the things I’ve learned about fundraising from Christmas carols:

Angels We Have Heard on High

Excellent fundraisers are like angels singing out their wonderful news for the world to hear. They sing it sweetly and with gusto, because they know they’re changing the world. The other kind of fundraisers — the ones who mutter their message under their breath because they’re embarrassed to ask for money? They aren’t very good as angels. And they don’t do so well.

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

It’s usually smart to deck your fundraising messages with boughs of holly or other corny clip-art holiday decorations this time of year. It evokes a sense of the time of year, when people are feeling generous and connected. You can hardly go wrong with a good sprinkling of Holiday decorations in your fundraising.

Frosty the Snowman

In this song, a pile of snow, a carrot, some pieces of coal, and an old hat are magically transformed into a living being. In fundraising, we take paper, ink, and postage stamps — and magically transform it all into good deeds. It’s just as magic as Frosty! We should be just as thrilled as we would be by a walking, singing snowman (and considerably less creeped out).

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Never forget that just as the Holidays are to the “gentlemen” mentioned in the song, fundraising is “tidings of comfort and joy” for your donors. They love to give. They want to be involved. You are your donors’ friend; it’s nothing to be dismayed about sending out fundraising messages.

O Come All Ye Faithful

No matter what your cause, it’s largely the Faithful — folks who practice their faith — who are showing up and supporting you. Work with that fact, and not against it, for best fundraising results.

Over the River and Through the Woods

A disproportionate number of our donors are older and female: Grandmothers. It is well worth going to great lengths, over rivers and through woods to find them, because they’ll be your most loyal supporters.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

According to this song, Santa has one heck of a database on his constituents’ behavior — with real-time information on who’s crying, shouting, or pouting, when they’re asleep, when they’re awake, when they’re bad, when they’re good. That’s a lot more than just recency, frequency, and value! While few of us can expect to have a database like Santa’s, it’s great to keep track of as much as you can. It works for the Big Guy in Red, and it can work for you.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

That last week of the year, between Christmas and New Year, are merry indeed for fundraisers. Especially those of us raising funds online, when giving spikes to an amazing high.

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Learn more about how to connect with donors in a meaningful way any time of the year by taking our most popular online course, Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits. It’s available for members of The Fundraisingology Lab. Check it out.


  • Jeff Brooks

    Jeff Brooks is a Fundraisingologist at Moceanic. He has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising, and has worked as a writer and creative director on behalf of top nonprofits around the world, including CARE, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Feeding America, and many others.

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