The end of the year is a busy one for everyone, whether you’re selling, fundraising, or buying. And despite everyone’s best efforts, January comes much sooner than we ever want it to. That’s why, if you have any intentions of hosting an event that will get your customers and supporters together, now is the time to start planning.

Whether held in-person or virtually, an event gives your business or organization an opportunity to create intimacy and make a more personal connection with those you come in contact with. When you invite customers and members to a special event, you’re building relationships — with personal, face-to-face contact.

Here are some events that businesses and organizations can put together to bring in customers, clients, members, donors, prospects, and others:

1. Customer/Client Appreciation Night

Put a fresh spin on year-end sales or promotions by hosting a “Special VIP Night.” Your event could be a private preview of holiday gifts or a new product line, an invitation to consult with a personal shopper or a gift giveaway to “the first 100 attendees.”

2. Special Guest, Entertainment, or Demonstration

Between work parties, holiday travel, and family get-togethers, holiday calendars are as tight as Santa’s red suit. Entice people to put your event on their calendars by bringing in a special guest, entertainer, or expert. It could be an author, a political candidate, musical entertainer, professional-shopper, gift-wrapping expert, or someone who has benefitted from your organization’s work. Whatever complements your business and engages people will be a fun break from the holiday grind.

3. Joint Event with Other Local Businesses

Invite all the merchants on your street to host an event with you. If you’re an entrepreneur who works out of a home office or small office, invite other related businesses to host a get-together for all your customers. Chambers of Commerce are especially good at these types of events, which bring businesses and their community together.

4. Fundraising Event

The holiday time puts people in a giving spirit, so bring the community together one last time this year to raise some more funds for a good cause. Whether you’re a nonprofit organization or a business that supports one, your event can bring a charity’s mission home. Invite donors, members, volunteers, and other interested supporters to meet people engaged in the charity’s work and to hear its success stories first-hand.

5. House Party

If your business is based on home and internet sales, a holiday house party is a great idea. Give shoppers an alternative to the hassle of the mall and invite them to come over, relax, and shop from the comfort of your living room.

If health and safety restrictions won’t allow you to have a large gathering in your living room, make it a virtual house party with everyone attending from their own living rooms.

TIP: Make your virtual event even better by sending out party packs in advance. Whether it’s noisemakers and confetti or a bit of company swag, fill these packages with everything your attendees will need to celebrate with you from the comfort of their own homes.

A special event adds a personal touch to your holiday marketing efforts.

Don’t be put off by COVID-19. As long as you follow your local health and safety guidelines to hold your event outdoors, with social distancing, or virtually, you can have a great end of year event.

And it doesn’t have to cost a lot. With some thought, planning, and promotion, you can end the year on a high note.