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Shining a Light on Your Organization: Advent Candles As Fundraisers

Aug 2, 2008
Many not-for-profit organizations rely heavily on fundraisers to help them meet their budgets. This is because, as their name suggests, their goods and services do not make a profit, and so there are no other funds with which to cover their overhead expenses. Every not-for-profit has these expenses, such as office rental, phone, postage, and simply the funds with which to practice their charitable work. Some of these are also met by donations, but fundraisers can also double as promotional and marketing events. They help draw public attention, and sometimes even media attention, to the organization holding the event.

Churches are among the not-for-profit organizations that often rely heavily on fundraising to make ends meet or to support their outreach work. One of the advantages that churches have over other organizations is that they have a strong claim to one of the most economically advantageous events of the year--the Christmas season.

Of course, preparation for Christmas begins well before December for most churches. Choirs begin practicing music in October, and outreach committees begin planning and organizing benevolent projects even earlier. For many traditions, part of the preparation for Christmas is expressed through the church season of Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas.

This is where an Advent/Christmas oriented fundraiser could work extremely well, if it were held in October, or perhaps early November. The traditional devotional practice of lighting an Advent wreath, which is a circle with four or five purple or blue and pink candles in it, is important to many churchgoers. Candles are lit every day, accompanied by prayers or devotions, usually for the whole family. A new candle is lit every week, so that by the time Christmas is near, all four candles are being lit every day. In some cases, a fifth, white candle, called the Christ Candle, is lit on Christmas, and all five candles are lit for every day of the twelve days of Christmas.

It is clear to see that people who use Advent wreaths require new candles every Advent, and logical to think that they would attend a sale--and make purchases at it--just to make sure they got their Advent candles before the Advent season started. Some people like to buy new wreaths, and some use the same wreath every year, but everyone has to buy Advent candles to go with their wreath.

This is also true of churches, as well as individuals and families. Many churches light a much larger Advent wreath as part of their Sunday worship during Advent, and these candles also have to be replaced every year. These large candles are more expensive than the ones intended for home use, and if your Church supplies them to other churches well before the start of Advent, you could be reaping the rewards for your group, rather than letting some huge church supply company take them all.

There are many companies who sell Advent and Christmas items specifically for fundraisers, and there are many places you can get these materials at a discount, so that you can take any profit your not-for-profit group.
About the Author
Matt Franks is director of Fluid Branding, the UK's largest supplier of Promotional Advent Calendars and other Promotional Products at www.fluidbranding.com. For Eco Friendly promotional products, including Recycled, Organic and Sustainable items visit www.ecoincentives.com
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