It may not be the holidays quite yet, but the giving season is just around the corner. Your nonprofit deserves the support that only comes during this special time of the year. Here are five approaches to a successful holiday campaign.  

1. Ask your corporate partners to be involved in a unique way. This could mean online games, retail programs, public relations and more. Your partners are looking for ways to leverage your good name and their giving efforts during the holidays.

Go play Salvation Army’s Coin Catch Game. It’s a great example of a unique idea sponsored by a corporate partner.

2. Multiply your support by leveraging the entire season, not just one holiday. If the shopping malls can decorate before Halloween, you can keep the momentum of your message of support going from one holiday right into the next – Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years.

St. Jude’s annual “Thanks and giving” campaign focuses on the needs of children all year, not just during the holidays and leverages enviable corporate retail sponsorships, like CVS, Kmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Williams-Sonoma, among others.

3. Run a holiday focused PSA message. You may think that the media market is over-saturated with retail advertising, let alone nonprofit messages, but that’s not actually the case. We saw the number of PSA campaigns airing jump by 10% in November and December 2011.Don’t have the budget for a special holiday PSA? Repurpose your evergreen PSA to focus on the holidays like the American Cancer Society. They incorporated their messaging “A world with more birthdays” into a holiday message: “Give a special gift this holiday season – another birthday.”  

4. Tailor your campaign messaging to speak to the family and friends spirit of the season. This is a heartwarming time when we realize how much we have and how good it feels to help others.

The American Red Cross did a particularly good job of promoting an integrated message throughout the entire holiday season. They developed a campaign that focused on “giving something that means something” through holiday shopping and new year’s resolutions. Watch the PSAs here and here. 

5. Focus on telling your story in impactful ways, rather than directly asking for donations.  Consider using video content to help pull emotion and build a sense of worthiness.

Check out this neat take on a holiday catalog (doesn’t every nonprofit have one these days). They created videos to tell the story of each “item” to magnify the impact of a donors’ gift.