Skate Through Winter Holidays with Seasonal COTA Fundraising Ideas

There is no time like the holidays to remind others of your COTA fundraising effort. While everyone is in the giving spirit, make sure your COTA campaign team is providing opportunities for those throughout your community to give ‘gifts’ for transplant-related expenses.

Wreath Sales.  Wreaths are beautiful holiday decorations. Partner with a local supplier to host a wreath fundraiser where a portion of proceeds benefit your COTA campaign. Bonus points if they ship the wreaths … you can offer sales to out-of-state supporters!

Holiday Photo Sessions.  Know a local photographer? Ask them to donate their time and talents (which can be receipted with a COTA Gift in Kind Form) for a day of holiday photo sessions. For a donation to the COTA campaign, families can get their annual holiday photos taken while benefiting a good cause.

Winter/Holiday Gala.  Whether dressed in ugly ‘holiday’ sweaters or in formal attire, your attendees will enjoy a night of dancing, socializing, drinking eggnog and eating fruitcake. Pairing this fundraiser with a silent auction will add to the fun and the profits!

Letters from Santa.  For a donation to COTA in honor of your patient, supporters can provide you their children’s letters to Santa Claus (scanned copy or photo) and your team of elf volunteers can reply with a letter postmarked from the North Pole (Alaska).

Gift Wrapping.  Many retailers provide opportunities for local fundraising groups to staff a table and wrap shoppers’ purchases for contributions. Contact local booksellers, gift stores, department stores and others, and look for weekend or evening shifts when there will be more shoppers. Make sure to take a COTA Coin Canister or other container to collect the contributions, as well as flyers about upcoming COTA fundraising activities to share with shoppers.

Caroling.  Gather volunteers, bundle up and go door-to-door caroling for contributions to COTA. Make sure to take a COTA Coin Canister or other container to collect contributions, as well as flyers about upcoming fundraising activities to hand out.

Breakfast with Santa.  Do you have a connection to St. Nick? Consider hosting a breakfast where children can meet Santa and give him their holiday wish lists. Individual cereal boxes, fruit, pastries, milk and juice make a nice breakfast for children as they wait to have a picture taken with Santa. You may want to decorate a holiday tree with COTA Paper Icon ornaments.

Read-a-Thon.  Winter is the perfect season to cozy up on the couch with hot cocoa and a good book. Partner with your local school or library and host a winter read-a-thon. Each participant obtains a sponsor — business or individual — who agrees to donate a certain amount to the COTA campaign if the individual’s goal number of pages has been read by the fundraiser’s end date. Or the sponsor pledges to donate a certain amount for every number of pages read before the end date, like $10 for every 500 pages. Upon the fundraiser’s completion and donation by the sponsor, the reader gets a prize. This fundraiser can attract both children and adult readers!

Polar Plunge.  People love doing crazy things for a great cause — like jumping into freezing cold water after running three miles! During the winter months, consider organizing a 5K or Family Fun Run that finishes with a chilly dip in a local lake.

Craft Fairs.  Consider setting up a booth at your town’s holiday craft fair to sell baked goods and donated crafts to benefit your COTA campaign. If you know people who bake, make wreaths, knit, paint, or are crafty in other ways, ask them to contribute items to the booth.

Product Parties.  You probably know independent distributors of products like Mary Kay, Scentsy, Pampered Chef, Thirty One or Tupperware. Consider reaching out to one of these consultants and asking them to host a party — in-person or virtual — where a portion of the proceeds benefit your COTA community campaign. Check out Hibernate bed sheets for another product fundraising idea. Participants can purchase holiday gifts for friends and family while benefiting a great cause.

Non-Event Fundraisers.  Although the snowy season tends to keep people indoors, your COTA community campaign can still make a fundraiser out of not having an event. Consider an ‘Avoid the Cold, Stay Indoors’ fundraiser where supporters stay home and donate (to the COTA community campaign) what they would have spent on a night out.

Holiday Cookies Bake-Off.  Host a bake-off where participants enter their favorite family cookie recipes. Award prizes for most delicious, best decorated, etc. If you hold the bake-off in the morning, you could take the goodies to a bake sale for the afternoon, doubling fundraising potential.

Last Hour’s Pay.  To end 2022 on a good note, ask supporters to donate to the COTA campaign their last hour of pay for the year. Because the hourly amount is probably an odd number, the supporter is likely to round up!

Do not limit yourself to just these ideas. We encourage you and your volunteer team to be creative. Remember to send photos and updates from all your COTA fundraising events to

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Fundraising for Transplant-Related Expenses

COTA can help remove the financial barriers to a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support.