Cause Marketing and Halloween Have Frightening Possibilities

October is the month that most breast cancer groups raise money.  November is big for charities as they try to capitalize on millions of Americans giving thanks over Thanksgiving.  And let's not forget December and all those holiday appeals we get in the mail.  Not to mention the bells, The Bells, THE BELLS!! ringing on every street corner and at every mall. 

But with all their efforts to capitalize on seasons and holidays, fundraisers and cause marketers in particular may be missing out on the best giving holiday of them all: Halloween. What makes Halloween such a great holiday for raising money?  Consider these advantages:

You can own the space.  Compared to other holidays and other times of year, the market is uncrowded for fundraisers at Halloween.  Sure, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it's not at all connected with Halloween.  The breast cancer folks are all about philanthropy, but Halloween is for FUNdraisers who know how to leverage the levity of the season for big returns.

Stores are busy at Halloween, although not so busy as they are during the holidays that employees don't have time to execute those lucrative in-store programs you know I love.  Cause marketing partners like iParty raised tens of thousands of dollars for us during October as they can see tens of thousands of people in their stores just before Halloween.  And have you noticed that every type of retailer from farm stands to bakeries are trying to cash in on the Halloween bonanza?

Halloween is growing.  The same Adage article reports that 65% of consumers plan to celebrate Halloween this year, up from 59% last year.  And get this: Halloween sales are expected to grow over 14% this year while holiday sales are expected to rise only 2.2%!  The biggest spenders are young people 18-24 who will spend $86.59 per person.

The four-eyed, four-legged monster.  That's what we call our biggest group of Halloween Town attendees: mothers with kids.  They are an excellent demographic for your Halloween programs and for the corporate sponsors you want to attract.  Just about everyone wants to market to families, especially to mothers who are making most of the buying decisions.  And if you plan your Halloween promotion right and gear it to children or tweens you'll find it's a natural for this coveted target audience.

Halloween fundraisers rule.  We run this little event that you've probably heard me mention once or twice, it's called Halloween Town.  I like to kid around about all the different themed "towns" we could have during the year: Flag Day Town, Valentine's Day Town and, my personal favorite, Groundhog Day Town.  You know, that special place for children where they can play with groundhogs to their hearts' content, while mom and dad enjoy one deep-fried for the very first time.

But really, Halloween is a great time of year to put on a haunted house, a festival, a costume fun run, you name it.  The weather is still good and having your event on a beautiful fall day will be just the right tie-in for that new retail partner that raised you some money and promoted your new, spooktacular event.

Halloween is just plain fun.  Okay, I'm bias here.  I've always liked Halloween (candy).  There's no long run-up to the holiday, as most consumers make decisions last minute about costumes and entertainment.  The demands are light and there are no big, family meals to prepare--just candy to eat!  It's also non-denominational so it doesn't conflict with people's religions like Christmas and Easter do.  Sure, some people don't like the supposed devil, witchcraft, occult connection of Halloween.  But when people see how fun, benign and balanced our event is (e.g. we hand out wholesome snacks along with candy and balance Halloween revelry with fundraising that will help less fortunate children), Halloween is less about spirits and more about spirit and can deliver an equally positive message.