It’s that time! If you serve in a church where students raise funds for missions and conferences, conversations to plan the year’s events have likely started. Fundraisers can become an effective part of your ministry’s path of discipleship. Leadership and community-building grow out of these events!
Here are the best ones I’ve found over the years:
After-church Salad Bar. Organize a salad bar for church families to create their own salads immediately following the worship service. Students bring their donated fixings (already washed, sliced and diced). Gather up serving spoons, cash box (we ask for donations instead of having a set price), and take-out food containers (purchased in bulk from local grocery store with a salad bar or online) and you have take-home lunches that will delight your congregation!
A-Thon Event. Students take pledges to do something (walk, run, rocking chairs, sleep in a cardboard box, not eat, etc.) for x-number of hours. Be creative and choose something interesting to do or not do! Collect funds then celebrate with a congregation dinner at the conclusion.
Car Wash. Clean as many cars as possible on a (usually) Saturday morning! Basic supplies include many towels, hoses & spray nozzles, sponges, tire brushes, buckets, mild soap, and posters to draw the crowd. The most profitable car wash events have multiple locations all on the same day. I’ve heard adding a “dog wash” is fun…!
Envelopes. Decorate and number letter-size envelops from one to 144. Pin envelops to a bulletin board in high-traffic hallway. Invite your church family to take an envelop and return it the next week with that amount of cash inside. For example: take envelope #23…bring it back with $23 in it.
Labor for Missions. Students babysit, mow lawns, spread mulch, etc. for friends and family. The friends & family write a check for the students’ labors to the church. Students and friends/family arrange the time(s) for the labor. We ask each student to work at least twice. (Prefer this to the Worker Auction due to the concerns of sending students to homes of potentially unknown “top bidders.”)
Local Restaurants. Network with area restaurants to host special fundraiser nights. You receive a percentage of the sales on your night. Advertise like crazy to increase participation. Enjoy eating with friends and family (without the set-up and clean-up!) then collect the check. We’ve worked with Tropical Smoothie, Rita’s, Moe’s, Genghi’s Grill, and Applebee’s. Yum!
Parent’s Night Out. Host an evening of pizza and babysitting for children in the church and community. Have youth group members staff rooms for the children to rotate throughout the evening, such as movie room, craft room, game room, quiet room, snack room. I recommend having parents pre-register the children giving their ages and any special needs to insure adequate coverage for the evening. Tip: Be sure to include “number you can be reached during the evening” on the sign-in sheet. (Also a great idea to offer for free during the Christmas season to bless parents with an inexpensive night out!)
Project Experience. Host an interactive “living museum” experience to highlight the needs at your summer mission project destination. Students prepare and host each station/room. Place a donation basket in the final station/room for participants to give to your mission project.
Pumpkin Patch. Sell pumpkins and squash during the month of October. Pumpkin Patch folks offer risk-free produce for a percentage of your sales. Excellent guidance and encouragement from the company. Special tip: find a local animal rescue farm to donate un-sold vegetables at the end of your sale. The potbelly pig rescue farm down the road receives our leftovers…they even come and pick it up (makes our Grounds Committee is very happy)!
Sell Stocks or Bricks or Miles. Price stocks/bricks/miles for your mission project. Sell shares and add to visual display to demonstrate fundraiser progress.
Spaghetti Dinner/Pancake breakfast. Sell tickets to a meal that the students cook and prepare. Increase profits by having students donate food ingredients. Teens sign up in shifts to set-up, cook, serve, clean-up. We’ve even had students wait tables on roller blades …dinner and entertainment!!
Sub Sandwich sales. Sell pre-ordered sub sandwiches on Super Bowl Sunday. Take orders beginning in January. Have students sign-up to donate items (sliced lunch meats and cheese). Purchase all the buns from a local bakery (ask around for the best deal), deli paper to wrap subs, and condiments in packets. On the Saturday morning of Super Bowl weekend, it’s all hands on deck in the church kitchen to fill all of the orders! People pick up subs that day or after church the next morning.
Support Letters. Prepare a letter with details of your mission project and goals for your group. Have students add a personal paragraph to the beginning of the letter and send to their friends and family. Be prepared to send tax donation letters to donors as funds arrive.
Variety Show. Sell tickets to an evening of entertainment! The more people who perform the larger your audience. Include people of all ages and different talents for an eclectic and fun night! Publicize the event all over the community. Option: combine with meal and have a dinner theater.
White House Ornaments. Order ornaments in bulk then sell at market value. We are located near Washington DC. Many people purchase the ornaments to give as Christmas gifts. The White House Historical Society creates a new ornament each year making them desired collectibles. What is unique and valuable in your region?
Yard sale. One way: Sell donated items. Have friends and family donate items. Students need to organize the chaos and price everything…as well as work the yard sale on the big day. Special Tip: Plan to have lots of trucks to haul away the unpurchased items!
Preferred way: Host a huge yard sale by renting tablespace for people have their own sale at your building all on the same day. They bring their stuff and they haul away items not purchased. You? Just set up the tables then put them away at the end of the day!
If you would like any more details on any of these, let me know! .
Please also add to the conversation: What fundraisers work best in your community??