It’s beginning to look a lot like…the holidays? Although the summer is just kicking off, it’s not too early to start thinking about your holiday programs. This year, it is more important than ever to start early. Read on for some tips and trends to help you maximize your program this holiday season.
With inflation affecting low income families disproportionately, nonprofit clients will likely seek help in larger numbers this upcoming holiday season. And just like everyone else, they will be hoping to provide their children with the same types of gifts that others receive. Aside from the ever popular items like LEGOs and Barbie dolls, here are some lower profile toys that are expected to be popular this holiday season.
- Toys that promote physical activity are expected to be a big hit this year. With children experiencing record-high levels of anxiety and stress, active toys have been shown to reduce these incidences and alleviate stress. Pogo sticks, slides, and even kits to safely build forts are topping the lists of trending toys.
- Board games and puzzles are making a comeback this holiday season. With so much time spent on screens during the pandemic, face-to-face play is a treat. Besides reinforcing cooperation, socialization and problem solving, they are just plain fun! The game ‘Azul,’ (2+ players, aged 8+) is one example. In this game, players compete to build the most complete and beautiful square of colorful tiles. As far as puzzles go, Melissa & Doug is a top-selling puzzle brand and their new designs for 2022 include a map of the USA and a large-knob jungle puzzle for younger children.
- Toys with a tech component are always evolving, and this year’s new toys are no exception. Examples are ‘smart’ stuffed animals that are interactive and teach new skills like music or spelling. Others need to be ‘cared for’ through feeding, playing with them, identifying their emotions, and responding in kind. The fantasy, magical-themed toys such as friendly dragons and unicorns are particularly trendy this season.
We will continue to face the same challenges we have been facing for some time – inflation, supply chain disruptions, worker shortages and high demand. With concerns about a recession also on the horizon, it’s safe to anticipate a higher need over the holidays – lower income families are not able to keep up with higher prices and economic instability.
- An increase in natural gas and raw materials costs has led to decreased production in factories, especially across Europe and in China. According to an article on the Supply Chain Drive, “China curtailed production of aluminum and other energy-intensive metals last year as part of its plan to reduce carbon emissions…” While we appreciate the attention to the environment, the lower production of goods will be felt all over the world.
- Inflation continues to be felt across all industries, and the toy sector is no exception. Most toy manufacturers and retailers expect to see a 10-15% increase in prices, according to Global Toy News. Whether these increased prices will cause consumers to purchase less this holiday, leaving more inventory on the shelves, remains to be seen.
- High demand for computer chips, which are used in items from toys to appliances, means that toys with a technology component may be more difficult to find and more expensive. Therefore they are likely to be the first to disappear from store shelves. Make sure to lock in early if you are set on providing tech toys to your clients.
Because of the increased costs and potential for shortages, nonprofits should be realistic about their goals this holiday season. Many donors will be stretched this holiday season, so your fundraising targets may need to be adjusted. As a result. you may need to pare down the number of items you are providing this year, or you may need to target specific types of toys/gifts that are more cost-effective or readily available. And as with all programs in recent years, starting early will help you take advantage of early deals and mitigate the impact of shortages and sudden increases in prices as we get closer to the holidays.
Get Started Early
Although you may be in the throes of your summer campaigns, we recommend starting now with at least some initial planning. You should consider the following questions to get started:
- How many clients will we need to serve this holiday season – are we expecting a significant increase from previous years?
- How did our holiday campaign perform last year? What changes would we like to make?
- Will COVID affect collections and distributions this year? How do we feel about in-person interactions for the winter?
As with all programs, taking the time to evaluate improvements and changes can really improve overall quality and operations. If you are looking to streamline your holiday toy drive or an adopt-a-family program, there are many online tools and platforms available today to help streamline the work. Or if you are looking to make a bulk purchase, contact the vendors early while the inventory is still strong.
Need help with your holiday planning? We are also happy to help! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about your program and specific needs. Happy Holiday Planning!