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 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:
#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.
#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.
#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!).
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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
#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)!
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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 options sparks a few ideas and helps you get started with your next fundraiser. If you’re not using Tithe.ly yet and want to use it for your upcoming fundraiser, contact us here and we’ll have you up and running right away.