Seven Unique Ways to Raise Funds
It’s the one part of ministry that most of us don’t want to deal with, think about, or mention. It’s tricky, it’s awkward, it’s painful… but it’s also necessary. No matter how much we may want to ignore it, the truth is this:
Funds are vital to the operation of your ministry.
Whether we like or not, we need money in order to engage in ministry. The problem is that in many of our ministries, we’re working off of small budgets to minister to congregations full of people who may have even smaller ones. So how are we supposed to find the funds we need to minister to the people we serve?
Well, we’re so glad you asked! When it comes to raising funds at your church, think of it as a three-part process:
- Present your people with the need.
- Give them the vision for their funds.
- Offer them an opportunity to give.
While the first two pieces of the process will be unique to your specific ministry, we can help with the third one! We’ve racked our brains and called our experts to come up with some unique opportunities to offer your people a way to support your ministry. Check out seven creative, engaging fundraisers you can host at your church, designed both to bring in a little more money for your ministry and help your people have some fun along the way! Then, take a look at how online giving can make giving even easier for your congregation!
1. Karaoke Competition
This one is sure to make some memories for your congregation! Because who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned sing off? All you need is a big room, plenty of tables and chairs, a solid karaoke machine, a good host, and set of judges. Have your people sign up to sing, with each entry costing a small fee to participate. Then, let the performance begin! Have your judges score your vocalists on everything from performance quality to voice to overall entertainment, and be sure to have small prizes for the winner.
If you want to mix things up a little bit, you can turn this competition into an auction! People can bid on one another to sing (so make sure you tell your people to bring their cash if you go this route). For example, maybe someone in your congregation says, “I’ll pay $20 to hear our pastor sing the latest hit by his favorite singer.” Then your pastor has the option to either perform the song, or raise the bid in order not to sing. Go back and forth until the bidding stops, meaning either your pastor is singing or he’s paying up in order to avoid the stage. Either way, you win!
2. Prom Night
Fella, it’s time to dust off the old tuxedo and break out your dancing shoes. Ladies, tease that hair and put on those puffy sleeves. Because it’s prom night at your church! What better way to raise a few funds for your ministry than to give your people the chance to take a stroll down memory lane as you host an adult prom for the couples in your congregation?
Go all out with this one! Find a theme and make posters. Sell prom tickets after church leading up to the event. Decorate the space you’ll be using as if you were decorating your high school gym. Find a photographer to take classic prom photos for the evening. And even ask your worship band to play that night, pulling together some of the best hits from the eighties and nineties. Get your student ministry involved by having them run on-site childcare or serve the food and drinks that night. It’s the perfect way to get your people excited about being a part of a fun fundraiser at your church.
3. Creative Auction
This is a great way to draw in the artsy, creative people in your congregation. Host an auction dedicated to the arts at your church. This event can include a little bit of everything: art, photography, graphic design, dance, poetry, carpentry, quilters, and more. Maybe someone who teaches dance could offer a few free lessons. Maybe someone who quilts could offer one of their creations. Maybe a photographer could offer one family portrait session.
You’ve got plenty of creative people sitting in your pews every week so think about what they do and then ask them to take part. Once you’ve got your list of people together, start planning the event. Keep it classy and cool, with live music, funky lighting, and unique décor to set the mood for creativity. Display the items for auction throughout the space, including with each one a bidding sheet to describe what the item is and the minimum starting bid. Then, let the auction begin! Have people leave their name, phone number, and bid amount on each sheet. At the end of the night, announce your winners and make sure to collect the money bid as people leave.
4. Fair Fun
Who doesn’t love the fair? Bring a little of that fair fun to your congregation by hosting a little on site carnival at your church. To make this happen, you’ll need multiple booths set up with a bunch of different games and activities. Charge just a small fee for each game or activity (or sell tickets and charge a certain amount of tickets for each one). Gather a bunch of small, inexpensive prizes to give out to winners at each booth. And think fun! Try renting things like a small dunk tank (because people love to dunk the pastor) or even a little petting zoo (kids love animals, right?). Come up with creative carnival games (ring toss, balloon darts, knocking down items with a baseball, etc.). And don’t forget the classic fair food: corn dogs, pretzels, funnel cakes, cotton candy, and more! Whatever you need to do to set the fair mood at your church, make it happen to raise some funds!
5. Bake Sale By The Pound
This is perfect for all your talented bakers and those with sweet teeth at your church. Ask members of your congregation to volunteer to bake some of their most delicious treats (cookies, brownies, cupcakes… you know the drill). Have them bake about three dozen of whatever item they choose and turn in a full recipe card with their dessert (just for all those allergy sufferers out there to be aware of what they might be eating). Then, host your bake sale with a twist! Congregation members can mix and match as many treats as they want to pay by the pound for their desserts. Determine your pound price and make sure to have some digital food scales on hand to weigh as they buy. It’s a fun way for your people to grab an assortment of goodies on their way out of church.
6. Lawn Ornaments
This one could be a little edgy (depending on the people in your community) so be sure to get the green light from your pastor or church leadership before you get started. Once you have the okay, buy about 30 or so different lawn ornaments. Think flamingos, gnomes, silly signs—the tackier, the better! Then start advertising! For a small fee, volunteers from your church (kids from your student ministry would be great for this) will decorate the lawn of the person of your choice with all 30 decorations. (Note: You may want to have families sign up to say they’re okay with their lawns being decorated prior to the event. That way you don’t end up with angry neighbors!) The catch is this: That person then has to pay to have the lawn decorations removed and place in the yard of someone else! The cycle of lawn decorating could go on and on, making your church more money as it goes. When all is said and done, you’ve had a little fun and made a little money. What’s more fun than that?
7. Happy Birthday
Is there a better celebration than a birthday party? People love them! So why not throw one for your entire congregation? Consider it a celebration for the life and ministry of your church. Invite members to attend and donate the dollar amount that matches their age to pay as an entry fee. So for example, a six year old would bring $6 while a forty-five year old would bring $45. Set it up just like a real birthday part. Think cake, candles, ice cream, balloons, hats, and streamers—the whole nine yards. Include party games like pin the tale on the donkey or a piñata smashing, too. And of course, end the night with a great “Happy Birthday!” sing along.