Generosity

Church Fundraising Ideas: 12 Proven Ways to Raise Money

Need to raise financial support for your church, mission trip, benevolence, or special occasion? Here are 12 proven church fundraising ideas you can start using today.

Church Fundraising Ideas: 12 Proven Ways to Raise Money
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Running a church involves a healthy dose of prayer, hard work, a dedicated team, and yes… money. 

Hopefully, your weekly tithes and offerings cover your expenses. However, there are times when your church will need an extra influx of money for a church remodel, missions trip, community outreach, or another special project. In these instances, a church fundraising effort may be in order.

Solely asking your congregation to give a bit extra this month may not be the most effective method. Church leaders make several types of “asks” of their members. From volunteering in the nursery to leading worship and giving financially, you can potentially wear out your congregation. Also, many families operate on tight budgets while others may not feel emotionally connected to the need you’re presenting.

Instead of making yet another request, try using an approach that is more personal, involves a fun activity, or provides a needed service. Those methods can be more effective fundraisers for churches.

If you have such a need at the moment (or want to be ready when you do), take it up a notch beyond the simple church donation letter and use these 12 church fundraising ideas to help you get started:

Church Fundraising Idea #1:

Ask individuals to raise money

You’ve probably seen these fundraisers on social media.

A friend posts that his birthday is coming up and, instead of gifts, he’s asking people to donate towards a specific cause. Donors can click on the link and go to a webpage where they can make their donation. This type of fundraiser has the potential to take your fundraiser beyond your congregation since most people have friends both in and out of their church home. Fundraising this way is a more long-term approach if you tie it to birthdays and such.

You can also ask people to do the same type of fundraiser but connect it with a time of year that makes sense for the fund you’re looking to fill. For example, if you want to expand the youth building, you could tie that fundraiser to a few months before the end of the school year since you’ll want to have a place for teens to hang out during the summer.

With Tithe.ly, each person raising funds can create a church giving form dedicated to a specific fund and provide that link to potential donors. Giving received via that form goes into the designated fund.

Church Fundraising Idea #2:

Sell engraved bricks

Do you have a significant remodel or building project coming up? Consider selling bricks people can buy and have engraved to honor loved ones or commemorate their involvement in the church.

A quick Google search yields several vendors who specialize in providing engraved bricks for fundraisers. Some offer the online tools as well, so there’s minimal effort on your part (other than promoting the fundraiser, of course).

You’ll want to work with the building contractor to determine how many bricks you’ll need to pave the area for which you plan to use the engraved bricks. This will help you decide how many bricks you can use to raise financial support.

Church Fundraising Idea #3:

Holiday Childcare

Have you ever tried to shop with small children? It’s exhausting! Give Mom and Dad a break by offering to watch their little ones while they handle the Christmas shopping.

Ask for a donation for a day of childcare to go toward raising financial support for families who could use additional financial support during Christmas.

Kids can enjoy playtime with their friends, and their parents will appreciate the chance to shop in peace (and maybe even sneak in a date!).

Church Fundraising Idea #4:

Host a dinner

Don’t worry—no fancy place settings or gourmet menus required for this fundraising idea.

Give the home chef a night off and host dinner at the church for a small fee that covers the cost of the supplies and raises money. Ask volunteers to grill burgers and hot dogs, make a few side dishes, and set up several tables for folks to use and eat together.

You can provide people with the chance to meet others from the congregation, a night off from cooking and washing dishes, and raise money for that new building project or outreach.

You can use the text-to-give or online giving features from Tithe.ly to collect donations. Station volunteers at the entrance with a church giving kiosk or mobile device as well to help people with their contributions.

Church Fundraising Idea #5:

Host a chili cook-off or best pie competition… or both!

Speaking of food… here’s another take on the food-related fundraiser.

Do you have a few legendary grandmas or devoted foodies in your congregation? Give them a chance to share their talents with a friendly competition. Provide the venue and a few judges (or have the crowd vote for their favorites).

Sell tickets to the event and possibly an entrance fee for the cooks. Announce the winner and provide him or her with a fun trophy (and bragging rights, of course).

Everyone wins at this competition, though, with the chance to try new recipes and raise money for the church.

Church Fundraising Idea #6:

The tried and true car wash

Do you need to raise money for a youth event or missions trip? Try running a car wash with the kids going on that trip running the show (with a bit of adult supervision).

Your youth group can make big signs to wave at a passerby, get plenty of buckets and supplies, then clean up dirty cars throughout the day.

When washing cars, if you want to go the extra mile, offer to vacuum and wipe down the inside of vehicles while the drivers wait nearby.

You can host this fundraiser at your church or contact local gas station managers to see if you can use their parking lot (and water connection). Charge a set fee or ask for donations.

The kids overseeing the car wash can also hold up signs to promote sending a text message to the church’s text-to-give number with “Wash” as the keyword to designate giving toward this fundraiser.

Church Fundraising Idea #7:

“Help Us Stop Filling the Bucket” Challenge

Perhaps the roof on your church building is in need of repair (or replacement). If your roof has sprung a few leaks (or is about to), place buckets in the sanctuary and lobby for people to fill with their loose change. Just make sure those buckets aren’t under actual leaks!

Promote this fundraiser as an opportunity to fill virtual buckets as well via text-to-give, using the word “Bucket” or “Roof” to designate donations to that fund. You could also set up kiosks near each bucket so people can donate electronically.  

Related: 7 Reasons Why You Need a Church Giving Kiosk

Church Fundraising Idea #8:

A Gift for Mom

Give the mother’s in your church an extra special Mother’s Day with professional photos taken of the whole family. This one won’t be a surprise gift, but she’ll still love it.

If you have a few professional photographers in your congregation, consider asking them to volunteer a few hours of their time to take family photos. You provide the backdrops, props, and location, while the photographers bring their cameras and lighting equipment (unless you have that at the church already).

Use the online giving feature from Tithe.ly just like you would for event registrations. Families can book their appointments and show up ready to smile big for the camera.

Once the photographers work their magic, they could email a link to each family for their photos. Let your volunteer photographers promote their services at the event and in their follow-up emails. This shows your appreciation for their time and talent—plus it’s a great way to support their businesses.

Each family could pay a set amount for their photography session with all proceeds going to the designated fund. Mom gets a great family photo, the church raises money, and Dad has Mother’s Day covered (a win for all involved)!

Church Fundraising Idea #9:

Family Fun Night

Host a game night at the church for families to enjoy.

Gather up board games, corn hole, and others to play around the church. Provide snacks and drinks, play some fun music, then let the games begin! This is a great way to help families get to know each other and enjoy a night out.

Charge a small entrance fee or ask for donations. For much less than the price of taking the kids to a movie, parents can give their families a fun evening out.

Church Fundraising Idea #10:

Wrap It Up

Wrapping Christmas gifts isn’t everyone’s favorite task. Round up your talented gift-wrappers and ask them to volunteer their time and talents for a great church fundraiser.

Announce that you’ll have gift wrapping stations set up after each service in December for people to bring their gifts for wrapping. Provide the wrapping paper and tape, then ask volunteers to bring their scissors.

Another option is to talk with local retailers about hosting your fundraiser at the mall or another high-traffic shopping area.

Ask for donations from those who take you up on the gift-wrapping offer. With Tithe.ly, you can set up giving kiosks at each gift-wrapping station or have people use their mobile phone to give via the app or using text-to-give.

Church Fundraising Idea #11:

The Direct Approach

Themed fundraisers are great ways to raise money for a specific project or need. However, sometimes a more direct approach works well when you present the need in a targeted manner.

Announce your church fundraiser on Sunday morning and take extra care to explain the “why” behind the “what.”

Related: 9 Best Practices for Making Church Announcements

Let’s say you need to raise money to expand the children’s ministry areas. Here are direct ways you can raise financial support in this scenario:

  • Shoot videos of parents sharing how their children have grown in their faith and made incredible friends at church Mention the specific areas that need to be updated or refreshed
  • Show 3D renderings of what the children’s area will look like once construction is complete
  • Discuss how important it is to invest in the next generation and how this project will support that effort
  • Ask the congregation to donate to this fund via text giving or via a church giving app
  • Update your congregation each week on the fundraising progress until you reach your goal

You don’t want to use this fundraising method too frequently, but it is still an effective way to present the need to your congregation and invite them to donate towards a specific need.

By helping your church see and feel how this project will influence lives and reach people with the gospel, you have a greater chance of meeting your fundraising goal.

Church Fundraising Idea #12:

Learn a New Skill

Do you have professional plumbers, carpenters, or general handyman in your congregation? Maybe you have people skilled in sewing, website development, or photography as well.

Consider hosting a church fundraiser where your professionals teach people the skill they’ve always wanted to learn. Carpenters could show how to build a simple custom shelving unit for the garage. Sewers could share how to sew on buttons or hem jeans.

Sell tickets to the event and provide the venue for these lessons to occur.

Over to you

We hope this list of church fundraising ideas spark a few ideas and help you get started with your next fundraiser. If you’re not using Tithe.ly and want to use it for your upcoming fundraiser, contact us here and we’ll have you up and running right away.

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.

Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.

Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.

Church Donation Letter Samples

Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.

With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.  

To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.

Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving.  So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.

Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.

Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.  

Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.

Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.

Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.

What’s next?

Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.

How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.

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Church Fundraising Ideas: 12 Proven Ways to Raise Money