The much-anticipated 2022 Christmas Challenge is underway, with applications open until Friday, 1st July. The campaign will be our biggest yet, with more Champion funding available than ever before! We’re extremely excited here at Big Give HQ, and we’ve compiled a list of the best need-to-know information to get you started with your Christmas Challenge application.


Who are ‘Champions’?

A Champion is a partner of the Big Give. A Champion can include high-net-worth individuals, foundations, philanthropists, trusts, statutory bodies, companies and corporations.
A Champion will commit match funds to support one or multiple charities in a given match funding campaign. A charity can unlock the Champions’ match funds through online donations raised during the Christmas Challenge. The Big Give manages relationships with Champions, and Champions allocate funding to charities based on their own discretion.

We’ll be sharing the complete list of Champions joining us for the 2022 campaign in due course!


What do Champions look for?

  1. Lots of Information!: The first and most crucial step is the stage 1 application. It’s essential to read all of the questions carefully. You should ensure that you provide as much relevant information as possible within the allocated character limits to help give Champions a good, well-rounded understanding of who your charity is, who you support, what your project is about and why it’s so important.
  2. Correct Categories: During the stage 1 application, you will have the opportunity to select sector categories. Whilst this is one of the more straightforward steps in the application, it’s often overlooked. It’s important to choose the categories applicable to your charity as it helps The Big Give ensure that your project is passed on to those Champions that may want to support you!
  3. Demonstrating Impact: The impact section is vital for your Christmas Challenge application. Champions want to see high-impact charities that can clearly explain the project and how it will impact the beneficiaries your charity is supporting.
  4. Raising Online Donations: Remember, before the campaign, your match funding pot (made up of pledges that your charity has secured and Champion funding, if successful) only counts as funding promises. Your match funding pot is unlocked through online donations during the campaign week. Therefore, it’s crucial to start thinking about how you will raise those online donations beforehand. You’ll have the opportunity to add this information to your application form. If you can demonstrate that you know exactly how you’ll raise those donations, Champions can be reassured that you have a plan in place to get those donations so they can support you with that additional funding.


What charities should know:

  1. Champions communicate to the Big Give about the sector and/or beneficiary group they want to fund. Your campaign will always be shared with the Champions most interested in your charity and project. (For example, a Champion might indicate they want to support charities in the UK working with young people. We’ll then pair them with any charities that meet that criteria, and the Champions will choose how they want to allocate their funding).
  2. If you don’t secure Champion funding, you can still participate in the Challenge! For the small percentage of charities that may miss out on funding this year, that doesn’t mean your project has to end! You can still choose to take part in the challenge using your pledges as the sole match funding for the campaign, and you can top these pledges up after offers are sent out if you want to increase your overall target!
  3. Plan out your network first before you submit your application. If you’re unsure what target to set, it’s good to complete a network-mapping exercise with your team to plan out exactly who you could reach out to for securing pledges and who you might reach out to for online donations. By knowing your network first, you can set an achievable target.
  4. You will receive what you raise! Digital fundraising can be daunting, especially if you haven’t done it before. But the Christmas Challenge is not an all-or-nothing campaign. You will receive everything you raised in online donations during that campaign week, plus that amount matched (up to your ring-fenced amount of match funding).
  5. Projects vs Core Costs. Ultimately, the type of application you put in is up to you! Whilst you can apply to support your core costs, we advise that you carefully consider the wording of your application. You should highlight the impact this will have on the people you support rather than just focusing on how it helps you internally. You can view last year’s campaigns for some inspiration.


Top 5 statistics from the 2021 Christmas Challenge applications:

  1. Of the charities eligible to receive Champion funding, 74% received an offer of Champion funding, either full or partial.
  2. There was an impressive 15% increase in the amount of pledges raised by charities in the 2021 campaign compared to 2020. The average total amount pledged equalling £5,329.
  3. There was a 14.3% increase in the amount of Champion funding available for the 2021 Christmas Challenge compared to 2020. The average total amount of Champion funding offered to charities was £5,647.
  4. Of the charities offered Champion funding in 2021, 58% included ‘Health and Wellbeing’ as a category for their application. Education/training and employment being second with 37%.
  5. Of the charities offered Champion funding in 2021, 55% included children (3-18) as beneficiaries of their campaign, with young people (18-30) coming up second in 29% of applications.


Next Steps:

Why not check out some case studies from last year’s Christmas Challenge award winners?

Watch our Christmas Challenge Introduction Webinar Recording:

To find more resources, Log in or sign up to the Big Give; click on ‘Support’ and ‘Christmas Challenge’ to find more information.


We look forward to seeing you for a campaign soon!

The Big Give Team


The Big Give is the UK’s #1 match funding platform. We specialise in bringing charities, philanthropists and the public together to multiply their impact. The Big Give has raised over £156m for thousands of great causes through the power of match funding. Find out more.
Author: Bethany Duxbury- Campbell