Churches run almost solely on donations. Therefore, fundraisers are necessary not only to support specific service missions, but often are needed for general upkeep and maintenance of church programs and facilities. Organizing fundraisers for your church will not only bring in needed revenue, but serve to richen your parish community as members work together to support a common goal. The act of fundraising involves asking individuals to contribute financially in the pursuit of a common mission or vision. Fundraising brings people together to fulfill a cause that they deem worthy. Therefore, a successful fundraising effort will create fellowship among congregation members, church leaders, and community organizations. For more information on energizing church leadership and administration, check out this course.
Strong communication and organization are key when planning and executing a fundraiser. Establishing a committee or group of dedicated, enthusiastic individuals to head-up the mission at hand will greatly benefit your fundraising efforts.
Create a Committee
Do you plan to organize and lead the fundraiser? If so, check out this post on leadership and try to find others who share your passion — whether it be for your individual cause or a general passion for fundraising. Ask a church leader to join the committee and/or suggest other individuals who would be of service to your cause. Give members of the congregation the opportunity to join your fundraising team by publicizing your effort and setting up a meeting. This can be done by posting a flier, including an announcement in the church newsletter, sending an email or letter to church members, or publicizing your cause on the parish website.
Seek out existing groups within your church that may want to help with your fundraiser such as a youth group, women’s league, or senior citizen club. These organizations are usually looking for ways to serve their church community and could be an excellent resource.
Types of Fundraisers
There are several types of fundraisers from which you can choose. For more information regarding fundraising for nonprofit organizations, explore this course.
Special events are a fun way to not only bring in donations, but to create fellowship among participants. Special events require a great amount of planning and generally involve more volunteers than other types of fundraisers. Below are some examples of special events:
- Church Carnival
- Spaghetti Dinner
- Breakfasts Following Worship Service
- Golf Tournaments
- Bingo Night
- Talent Show
- Mom’s/Dad’s Morning Out
- Silent Auction
Do It Yourself
Take advantage of the skills and talents of the members of your congregation. Creating your own product or service requires little cost for a greater profit. The following are some do it yourself fundraisers:
- Bake Sale
- Car Wash
- 50/50 Raffle
- Custom Christmas Cards
- Handmade Christmas Ornaments/Wreaths
- Holiday Gift Wrapping Service
- Calendars (featuring church community and event schedule)
- T-Shirts (featuring specific church mission)
Product resale is when you sell a specific product through a company. You want to be sure that the product is compatible with your cause and church organization. Product resale is usually successful when you have a large group of “sellers.” It is important to remember that you will only be receiving a percentage of the sales earnings for your fundraising profits. The following are some examples of product resale products that can be purchased for fundraising purposes:
- Discount Cards (local businesses)
- Coupon Books
- Wrapping Paper
One of the simplest ways to raise money is to ask directly for donations. It is beneficial to clearly explain the goal and specific need for the money. People are more likely to donate if there know exactly where their money is going. Some strategies that churches employ is sending out specific letters addressed to each congregation member stating their need. Special envelopes can be used for specific causes during a church’s weekly collection or could be mailed back to the church office.
Many people assume that weekly church collections cover all expenses that need to be met. You may find that many people are more than willing to share more with the church after becoming aware of a specific need which must be met.
Get the Word Out
Your efforts are benefiting the church so do not be afraid to highly publicize your event during church services and activities. Many churches allow for announcements to be made following weekly services. You can also include a write-up in the parish newsletter or pursue direct communication with members through email or letters. Of course, posting fliers in the church buildings as well as local community facilities and businesses. An advertisement in your local newspaper would also help to involve community members who may not attend your church.
Use Social Networking
A great way to publicize your fundraising event is to use social networking sites. Today, churches are creating Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and interactive websites with communication opportunities. Also, visit the pages of surrounding businesses and local organizations to get the word out about your fundraising efforts.
Involve Local Businesses
Share your mission with local businesses and community organizations. Not only may they be committed to donating their time or products, but they will be interested in the business exposure as well. Remain in contact with local merchants year-round to keep them informed about your current missions and events. Remember, church fundraisers serve not only the church community, but the community at large. Other organizations may even want to partner with you or work with you on future project. Are you looking for ideas to fundraise for various organizations? Check out this course for tips on fundraising for sports organizations.
Questions to Consider
The following considerations should be reviewed when choosing the type of fundraiser that would be appropriate for your cause and church community:
- How large is your church group? Particularly when planning an event, it should be on an appropriate scale. You need to access the number of volunteers and participants that will likely be involved in order to hold a successful event and ultimately a desirable profit.
- How much money do you need to generate? It is necessary to have a specific and realistic goal in mind. This will help to calculate how large the event needs to be and how you should go about publicizing it.
- Do you have money to put in to the fundraiser? This is important as it will help you to decide what would work. If there is no or little money to put into the fundraiser, you must choose something that will be comprised of people volunteering their time and creating a service. You do not want to be in over your head. You can always start small and expand if necessary.
By taking the initiative to fundraise for your church, you are helping to reinforce the mission of giving within your parish and surrounding community. Working with others and demonstrating leadership is a gift to yourself and fellow parishioners. You will be raising more than monetary funds as you encourage others to serve and support a common cause.
If you are looking to continue a mission of leadership, check out this course on Christian coaching and mentoring.