How to throw a Christmas Party with a Purpose


By Brad Hauge

It’s December. We are all busy. Too busy to be creative, too busy to think about fundraising, and far too busy to read a long blog post. So we’ll save your busy holiday season by both writing a short blog post and giving you a great, relational holiday event that can also serve as a fundraiser for your 30 Hour Famine efforts. It’s like killing a dozen birds (turtle doves, probably) with one stone!

What is it? It’s a Christmas party. But with a purpose! One purpose is to allow the party to serve as a youth group reunion with all the alumni-types home for the holidays. Who has time to get together for a cup of coffee with them all anyway?

The other purpose is to raise money for your 30 Hour Famine. Pick a cover charge (more on that below), publicize the event as a fund-raiser for a known cause, and raise money while having a blast.

Pick a Date: Duh, but you actually have to put some thought into this if you want former youth group students to be able to join. Local colleges and universities are pretty good about posting their calendars online, so you can find out just when finals are and when they might be back in town.

Plan the Activities: We’d recommend doing this alongside your students. They have the best ideas anyways! Over the past few years we’ve had snacks, photos with Santa, cookie decorating, a lip sync battle, and a runway show with prizes for best ugly sweaters, creative outfits, etc.

Set a Cover Charge: We simply ask each person to donate $5 to get in. Some people give more, some give less. We don’t monitor it all too strictly but it’s known a donation is expected. Throughout your planning, publicity, and the event itself, make sure it is well known that the cover charge is going to a great cause and no one will bat an eye at paying to get in.

Raise Awareness: No need to hit people over the head, but it would be a missed opportunity not to remind people of what their money is going toward. Simply put some promo literature at the check-in table, show a short promo video from The 30 Hour Famine, or take five minutes to have alumni share their favorite memories from Famines past.

Put Out a Donation Basket: Sure, many of your former participants are now under-funded college students. But some of them might be happy to donate a bit to this school year’s 30 Hour Famine event. No reason not to put out a donation basket!

Invite Everyone: The true beauty of an event like this is to serve as both fundraiser and reunion. We work hard to spread the word to youth group alumni who are already looking for any excuse to reconnect over the holiday break. We also make sure to include current and former leaders and volunteers in our invites. Plus, the more people that come, the more money you raise for The 30 Hour Famine!

Voila! A fundraiser, a reunion, and a great time all rolled into one. Merry Christmas!