Businesses, Churches and Capital
It’s fairly obvious that while businesses chase profits and growth, churches have a totally different aim. Regardless of the denomination or creed most churches are in the business of saving souls and bettering people. Despite the huge difference in the underlying goal there is a commonality between churches and businesses that many overlook, and even non-profits, they all need cash and capital to achieve their goals!
Churches need capital for a wide variety of purposes including: buildings and vehicles, on-going maintenance, pamphlets, teaching materials, canonical books, salaries of paid clergy, and even in some cases a marketing or advertising budget to help spread the word and grow their congregation.
While religious organizations receive a tremendous amount of charitable donations (105.53 billion in 2013!), as of 2013 this amount has seen a decline for five years in a row. Further, while 105.53 billion may seem like an astronomical figure there are by some accounts at least 327,000 religious organizations in the United States. All of this simply means that excepting the megachurches many small churches struggle to raise the funds needed to effectively run their organization. Consequently, in addition to tithes, offerings and other charitable donations, an ubiquitous part of churches and religious organizations are fundraisers. In order to help churches better raise funds we’ve put together a huge list of church fundraisers and fundraising ideas.
Church Fundraiser Ideas
Fundraisers are fantastic events beyond the cash or capital aspect because they bring people with various talents together, create relationships and worthwhile memories, and do a lot of good for your church, your community and whomever else you might be helping. But planning and organizing a fundraiser can seem like an overwhelming task. As they say the devil is in the details and there are plenty of details to be considered when planning out fundraising events!
Oftentimes the biggest challenge with church fundraisers is choosing a fun, creative, meaningful activity that motivates your congregation and community to get involved. To help make your fundraiser successful and a less stressful process, below is a list of 78 church fundraising ideas, along with a brief explanation and pros and cons of each idea so you can choose the ideas you think will work the best for your church or organization.
While our main intent is to provide churches with ideas there is no doubt that many if not all of these would work in a variety of settings. Whether it be a school, club, sports team, high school or non-profit, these fundraisers would probably work. So whatever your situation might be, if you’re in need of fundraiser ideas then look no more! Don’t forget to also check out these five online fundraising tools that can be used for both churches and non-profits.
List of Fundraising Ideas For Churches
- Adult Spelling Bee
Kids spelling bees are endearing, but adult spelling bees are funny and profitable. Have congregation members form small teams (doing this with just individuals will work as well) where each team tries to spell the words. Divide the teams up in groups for preliminary rounds and then have the winners advance on to the next round until you’re down the championship round and a winning team emerges, so it’s a tournament-style spelling bee. Make sure you have a prize to give the winning team. Charge a fee for each team to participate and/or have the teams get sponsorships for the amount of words they correctly spell.
- Bake Sale
This is a staple for churches and schools, but it remains so because it always gets people involved and brings in the money. Have church members bake delicious goods, i.e. cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, etc., and then sell them at an event. To make your bake sale a little different, ask the baker to attach their recipe (if they’re willing!) to their baked goods so buyers get the tasty sweet treat and the recipe so they can make it on their own.
- Bingo Night
Bingo is a game people of all ages can play, and it’s a very sociable game. Just have cards, the pieces to cover the numbers, the tiles or balls with the numbers in a sack or machine and the bingo caller. Here’s how the game works: the caller picks out the tiles and announces the numbers, the players cover or cross off the numbers as they’re read and then whoever has a fully covered or crossed off board shouts bingo and they win. Choose to play as little as 2-3 games or play up to 5 or 6 in one night. You make money by charging a flat entrance fee or charging people per game.
- Book Sale
Books sales are great. You can ask church members, as well as those in the community if you want to get more people involved, to bring in new or gently used books. You can do the whole event in one night or give people an allotted amount of time to bring in books and then on a certain date you hold the book sale. Have the books clearly displayed and organized by children’s books, adult books and genre, so everyone can easily scan and find the books they want to buy.
- Car Wash
You won’t be the first church to ever hold a car wash fundraising event, but a car wash is a tried-and-true method. It’s fun for those who participate, as well as a great team building and bonding activity, and it’s a great way to serve your community. Hold it in your church parking lot or ask another community business that’s in a high trafficked area to let you hold your car wash in their parking lot during the summer. Saturdays are a great day to hold a car wash.
Carnivals are fun — and not just for younger children. It’s a great family activity filled with fun games, cool prizes and tasty treats. Make money by doing a raffle, having a dunk contest where people pay to try and dunk whoever is in the tank and getting people to pay a small fee to have their faces painted or have someone draw a caricature of them. You can also save yourself money putting a carnival together by having local grocery stores and restaurants donate food and drinks. Some local event companies may donate time and rental equipment or do so at discounted prices if it is a fundraiser.
- Christmas Cards
Everyone enjoys giving and getting Christmas cards. So what better way to give your congregation what they want than by selling them unique Christmas cards to give their friends and family this year? You can choose to make homemade cards to sell, go online and design cards to be printed and sold or work with a card company that allows you to add your church’s logo or special message on their Christmas cards.
- Collect Loose Change
Check your pockets or your dresser right now. It’s a good possibility that you have loose change in both places. Instead of weighing you down or cluttering your dresser, put your loose change to a good cause. You can have jars labeled and placed around your church where people can drop in their loose change. You could even make it a competition between members of your congregation, dividing your members into groups and the group that collects the largest amount of change at the end of the time period wins a prize.
This will be a big hit with the women in your church — and the men will be pretty happy about it too. Ask each family to offer their best and favorite family recipes to put in a church cookbook. Put a few members in charge to collect recipes, compile the cookbooks together and sell them to church and community members. You could also ask around to local businesses to see if any of them want to advertise in your cookbook and charge them a fee for an advertising spot. Print off plenty because you can continue selling them at other church events, like a bake sale or book sale.
A benefit concert is a great, uplifting fundraiser, and you can do it any time during the year. When you do it and where to hold it depends on the funds you have for this fundraiser. If your church is big, save money and hold it in your church, or you can rent out a local building that has a concert hall. Another option is having an outdoor summer concert. Get a local band (or bands) to play for free and/or have your church’s choir put on a concert. Sell tickets before the concert and the day of the show. Raise more funds (and cut costs) by having a concession stand and having local food shops donate food and drinks.
- Eating Contest
It’s not everyday that you get to see members of your congregation stuff their faces. This would be great for families young and old. Choose a food that doesn’t break the bank and is popular among the people, like hotdogs or pie, and get enough to have some leftovers. Make contestants pay an entry fee to participate, and then give the winner a small percentage of the earnings as their prize. It’s sure to be a fun time, and make for great photos to display in your church’s newsletter, bulletin board and social media.
- Fashion Show
Turn a traditional fashion show on its head by having participants bring old, random clothes to dress in and then strut down the runway. Play music and offer refreshments to add to the festivities.The light-hearted atmosphere will invite all ages to participate. By charging an entry fee and donating the old clothes to charity organizations, you will be able to build relationships within the community.
- A Food Fast
Have members of your congregation volunteer to give up a meal or two on a certain day, or even once or twice during a certain week, and then have them donate the money they would have spent on their meal(s) to the church. After a member has finished their fast, they invite another member to begin one, keeping the cycle going. Those who are unable to fast can sponsor a member that is able to, donating money in place of the fast participant. This is a simple and effective way to include everyone in a fundraiser.
- Giving Up For Good
This fundraiser is similar to the the food fast. Ask members who are willing to give up a hobby or a habit of theirs they regularly do that costs money for a whole month. Those members who volunteer save up the money they would have spent and then donate it to the church. Not only will members save money to donate, they can cut a bad habit that will continue to benefit them after the month is over.
- Golf Tournament
A golf tournament is a perfect summer fundraising event, especially if you have a local course that’s willing to let you use their course. To help attract more participants and money, get any local celebrities, athletes or government leaders to also participate in the golf tournament. Make participants pay or get sponsored to play. This event can bring the community together for a positive cause and help you build good relations with local businesses. Plan an indoor backup plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
- Pancake Breakfast
What’s better than feeding your congregation and community and raising money in the process? Get members to volunteer to help cook and serve the food and drinks at the breakfast. Pancakes are easy to make (so are waffles), and serving something with them is a good idea, like bacon or sausage. Include a small raffle during the breakfast for entertainment and additional fundraising opportunity.
- Polar Plunge
The polar plunge is a pop culture winter trend that you can benefit from. Host your event at a local lake or pond where members plunge themselves in to earn money for a good cause. Have participants pay a flat fee or gather pledges from their friends, families, neighbors, etc., to pay a certain amount for however long they can stay in the cold water. Don’t have a pond or lake nearby? Have participants dunked in large ice baths instead. Make sure to provide a warm shelter for those who participate and have trained paramedics available in case of an accident.
Host various nights where members who enjoy or want to learn quilt making can gather together at the church and sew beautiful quilts. Quilts can be made from old clothing to reduce material costs. Once quilts are made, you can keep them as keepsakes, sell them at church events, in local stores or have them be raffle prizes at other fundraisers.
Raffles are easy to put together and are always a good return on your investment. Buy prizes or get prizes donated that people buy tickets for a chance to win. Local companies will also often donate prizes for a little free advertising to your congregation during the event. You could even do a “split the pot” raffle where the prize is part of the money people spend buying the raffle tickets.
Do you have a bunch of soda cans or plastic bottles sitting around? Why not collect them to turn them in for a cash refund as a fundraiser? A recycling event helps your church earn money and helps you better impact the environment. Several companies are willing to buy recycled products, like cell phones, old TV and computer monitors and ink cartridges to name a few. Ask around your community and look online for businesses willing to pay for recycled object, or have members invite their place of employment to participate.
- Service Auction
A service auction is a fundraiser sure to bring in a large number of participants and attendees. Have congregation members volunteer certain services, like babysitting, doing yard work, cleaning someone’s house, etc., and then those in attendance of the event can bid on the service they want. Hand out flyers to the community to include them in the service. Make sure to organize a way to ensure that the service is completed.This event is great for the senior citizens in your congregation who are unable to maintain their property, or who are in need of an extra hand to bake those delicious cookies Grandma always makes.
- Crocheting Or Knitting For A Cause
Several people in your congregation may already do one or both of these as a hobby, while some may want to learn how to crochet or knit. Holding a Saturday event or maybe a couple of Saturdays or nights in a month is a great way for people to learn a new hobby or do something they love and participate in something for a good cause. There are numerous things to crochet or knit, i.e. socks, hats, mittens, scarfs and blankets. You can sell what you make, and if you have any left over, you can always donate them to a local hospital or shelter in need of the items.
- Scratch Cards
If you have the itch to do a fundraiser then scratch cards are the perfect remedy. Use members to reach out to community businesses to agree to provide coupons to their store or restaurant so you can make a coupon book to sell. Next, you need to get scratch cards. Plan in advance to make sure you have enough cards to distribute. Members scratch off a certain number of squares on their scratch card revealing how much they must pay to obtain a coupon book. Inform members that there is a risk they will have to pay more than they bargained for when using the scratch cards.
- Themed Party
People love parties, especially themed parties. Create a planning committee to choose a theme and organize the evening’s festivities. Host a murder mystery night, decade dance or something else along those lines, and then charge a small entrance fee for those who want to attend and enjoy the party. Costume contests, dance-offs, and other party activities will give participants a fun night to remember.
A walkathon provides healthy physical activity for participants and money for a good cause. There are multiple ways you can earn money from walkathons. You can require registration fees, have participants collect pledges or get sponsorships from local businesses. Your local school’s track or is a great place to host your walkathon or. You can do this same kind of fundraiser but change it up a bit, like hosting a Bowl-a-Thon or Read-a-Thon.
- Protection/Mafia Money Or Flamingo Attacks (AKA Flocking)
The basic idea for this one is to secretly put item(s) in someone’s front yard. The person that has the items put in their yard (or on the house, around the house, etc.) has to pay a set amount of money to remove each item. Otherwise, the item(s) remain in the yard until they pay up. They can also “pay for protection” so they aren’t nailed again. Just make sure that you do it to the easy-going and that your removal fee is more than the items you have to purchase. We saw this fundraising idea using a variety of things including a purple toilet, pink flamingoes, ugly couches, etc. Just be wary that this is a very public way of asking for donations. Yes, we fully understand the irony of using a form of extortion to fundraise for a church. 🙂
- Theater or Play
Congregation members volunteer to fill all the roles. Practice is done over a period of weeks or months and then admission is charged for viewings by the local public. Ideas for the actual play or presentation are all but limitless. As always, some kind of forecast for costs and revenue should be done before putting on a big play that attracts nothing but empty seats!
- Buy A Meal or Dessert
Have your congregation members volunteer to make a homemade meal and then donate the meals to sell. You could do this as part of another fundraiser or church activity, or you could hold a special event just to sell these delicious homemade meals.
- Summer Smoothie Stand
Lemonade stands work, but they’ve been used by organizations and children one too many times. Take the same idea but make smoothies instead! You will need the ingredients, blenders, cups, and of course ways to keep the ingredients cold and outlets to plug in your blenders. If you can gather all of that together and find a great location, this is a perfect (and tasty) summer fundraiser. Even better if it’s super hot and a great location that has lots of foot traffic! Be wary of possible permits needed as those who make a living with seasonal shaved ice or smoothie stands won’t always appreciate the competition!
- Celebrity Cook Off
Ask local celebrities — athletes, politicians, etc. — to bring their best food dish to this friendly competition and have church members and others in the community come and vote on their favorite dishes. But ask people to pay a small fee in order to place a vote so you raise money for your church cause.
An even more popular idea we’ve seen work really well is to have the local celebrities actually compete in a Chopped type set up. Money can be raised through concessions, tickets to see the event and even for tasting the finished result. Churches can also combine other common fundraisers to go with the main cook-off event!
- Karaoke For A Cause
Get enough church members to be participants in a karaoke night, and once you have your participants, have them raises pledges for their commitment to sing a song or two during the night’s festivities. You can also sell tickets the performance for those wanting to attend.
- Candle Fundraiser
First, you have to find and sign up with a candle fundraising company of your choice. Next, that company will send you brochures of the different candles and order forms. Those on your committee then need to collect orders from church members, friends, family members, etc., and once you’ve gathered all of your orders, send the forms to the candle company. The companies then send you the candles and you distribute them to those who ordered. The candle companies typically give you a percentage of the sales total, so that percentage is the amount you raised.
- Baby Photo Competition
Nothing makes someone say “awww” like looking at babies. Combine the cuteness of a baby with the opportunity to have fun with those in your congregation. Ask members in your church to submit personal baby photos; you’re going to want 15-20 photos. Use the originals to scan and use the copies to paste them on a board or wall with a number under each photo. Have answer sheets where congregation members can match the baby photo with the member, but make those wanting to participate pay to get an answer sheet. An incentive to this fundraiser is prizes or even a smaller percentage of the proceeds that go to the winner. Who doesn’t like some healthy competition?
- Candy Bar Fundraiser
A candy bar fundraiser is like a candle fundraiser where you partner with a company and they give you part (or sometimes all) of the proceeds you sell. Choose the company and candy bar(s) you want to sell, have order forms for people to fill out, and then hand out the candy bars to the purchases once you receive them. Sometimes you can pre-order candy bars and then your goal is to sell the amount you ordered. Ask local schools for their assistance in selling the candy, either with student involvement or allowing candy to be sold on campus. This fundraiser is pretty easy to do, and you almost always know it’s going to be successful because people of all ages love chocolate.
- Charity Dog Show
This is a fun fundraiser with numerous ways to raise money. You can charge entry fees, serve and sell refreshments or perhaps find local companies to sponsor or advertise for the dog show. You will need a venue, range of classes for dogs to be judged (pedigree and/or novelty classes), judges, prizes, food and water for the dogs, an area to keep the dogs while they wait to be judged and plenty of parking space for spectators.
- Cookie Dough Fundraiser
Like chocolate, who doesn’t love baking and eating cookies? Look around at your options and choose the best company to partner with to get your cookie dough from. Get the brochures and order forms from the company; go around and collect people’s orders and money from around your community; send in the orders; and finally deliver people’s cookie dough to them after receiving the orders. Join with local youth organizations to have them help sell and deliver the cookie dough, with the highest seller being recognized by your church. The company you partner with will either give you a percentage of the total money raised, or in some cases they allow you to keep the total amount raised.
- Chinese New Year Fortune Cookie Fundraiser
Fortune cookies are small, tasty cookies — that are relatively cheap to purchase in small or large quantities — but many people can’t resist them. They either love the taste or love finding out what their future holds or both. You could buy fortune cookies and then sell them during a church hosted Chinese New Year party. You could also sell them during other church or community events, or even get really into it, and have people willing to sell them dress up in fun oriental clothing and go around their workplace or neighborhood selling the fortune cookies.
- Go-Kart Derby
Find a good-sized outside area to hold the event. Tell congregation members to build handmade go-karts. It could be a family thing, where each family builds and races a go-kart, or any individual can build and participate. Send around sign-up sheets because without a good number of racers, your event won’t be successful. Charge entrance fees and/or charge people to attend the race, and raise extra money through selling refreshments, raffles, etc. Also, try and get local businesses involved by making and submitting go-karts to be raced.
- Lollipops Fundraiser
Find a company that sells lollipops in large quantities to organizations needing them for a fundraiser. Order the amount you want and think you can sell, and then sell them at church, another church fundraiser, church activities or a community event. Sell to businesses that cater to children, like hair salons, doctors offices, or toy stores. These businesses usually give usually give away lollipops away and could be interested in a bulk order. This may or may not raise tons of money. It all depends on how many sell, how much you charge per lollipop and whether or not the company you bought the lollipops from requires a share of your earnings.
- Silent Auction
Silence is golden and so are silent auctions. This is a great event to pair with another fundraiser, dinner or church dance. Have members bring in quality items to be auctioned off. Invite a specific number of members to participate in bringing items. Have an area set up with all the items and a piece of paper with each one listing the details of the item and spaces for people to write down their name, contact information and proposed bid. At the end of the night the highest bid wins, and the winners pay their bid to collect their item. For added excitement, keep the items hidden from view to create a “silent and blind” auction.
- Tupperware Fundraising Party
Tupperware gladly partners with organizations looking to do a fundraiser. They send you a catalogue of their products, as well as flyers and order forms. Have a church member host a Tupperware party where other members come to browse and purchase these handy plastic containers. You can also have the host or other members take forms and catalogues around their neighborhoods and workplaces to get more purchasers. Tupperware gives you 40% of the proceeds from your fundraiser.
- Popcorn Fundraiser
Who doesn’t love the delicious smell and taste of popcorn? Not too many people. That’s why a popcorn fundraiser is sure to make your church some money. You will need a way to pop the popcorn, popcorn kernels, oil and bags to put the popcorn in. You could host a church movie night and sell the popcorn there or sell it during another church event. Another option is buying a popcorn machine and renting it out to other organizations in your community to use for any special events they have. Each option is a good way to raise funds.
- Pizza Fundraiser
There are two options when it comes to a pizza fundraiser. The first option involves a pizza card. You get pizza restaurants in your community and others nearby to participate. The cards provide discounts to these restaurants to people who buy the pizza cards. People love discounts, restaurants love getting their name out there and you will love the money you raise from this fundraiser. Your other option involves pizza kits. You ask around and get people to order and pay for these kits, which you then order and deliver to the purchasers when you receive them. Pizza is a top food in this country, so either of these fundraisers is sure to be a hit.
- Apparel Fundraising
This fundraiser involves getting different apparel items made with your church’s logo, name or something else representing your church printed on it. Apparel items could be T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweats, beanies and baseball caps. This apparel can be sold at just about any other church fundraiser or event, but you could also partner with local shops and have them sell your apparel or work with schools to set up a stand and sell your apparel at their sporting events.
- Church Crowdfunding Campaign
Crowdfunding is a quick and simple way to raise money for a good cause. The definition is in the name. It’s where you receive funds from a crowd of people. You can do this fundraiser online or offline, but online is more recommended because you can reach a wider crowd of people. Find an online crowdfunding platform to use and then spread the word about your fundraiser and how people can donate. You need to get people emotionally connected to your cause because the more you do, the more money you’ll raise. Here’s a previous post about online fundraising tools for non-profits and churches to help you collect the money once you’ve determined what your pitch/cause will be.
- Dueling Pianos Fundraiser
If you’ve ever been to a piano bar, then you know this fundraiser is going to be an entertaining one. Ask two people from your congregation who are great piano players and have them compete to see who can play the loudest and most creatively while still harmonizing with one another and keeping the audience riveted. Have people pay for tickets to attend and maybe even pay a small fee to request songs for the dueling piano players to play.
- Town-opoly Fundraising Board
This creative fundraiser puts a twist on the favorite board game Monopoly by using your local town for its inspiration. The game will be named after your town, and the board spaces and pieces are designed using different known sporting teams, parks, businesses, etc., from around your town. You sell the 40 available spaces as ad spots to help pay for the printing and shipping of the game and its pieces, and it’s great for those buying the ad spaces because those businesses are seen by each person every time the game is played.
- Gift Basket Fundraiser
This will cost some money to put these baskets together, but they will earn you that money and more when you raffle or auction them off at another church event. Choose how many baskets you want to make and then choose what theme you want each basket to have. Ask for volunteers or assign families or age groups to be in charge of gathering related items to the theme they’re given to fill the gift baskets. Once assembled the baskets can be auctioned off.
- Dodgeball Tournament
A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, and competition is a great way to get people involved supporting a good cause. Host a dodgeball tournament where church members put together their own teams, which can include those not in your congregation so you get more participation, and then charge each team a fee to participate. To raise even more money, you can charge a small entrance fee for church and community members who want to attend the tournament. A prize or even a small part of the total money collected to the winning team may entice more teams to participate.
- Angel Festival
The point of this fundraiser is to challenge all participants to create a life-size angel. Participants can use whatever items they have or find, i.e. feathers, branches, cardboard, etc., and then all angels need to be erected in a central location. The two ways to earn funds from this event are charging a small fee to enter and having viewers vote using their spare change or dollars. The angel that garners the most money, wins the competition. The winning angel get a simple prize or even just good ‘ol bragging rights.
- Charity Head Shave
What better way to get your community’s attention than talking about shaving people’s heads? This fundraiser is an attention getter, easy to organize and can raise a good sum of money if done right. The best way to do this is getting “celebrity” figures in your church and community to volunteer to have their heads shaved for a good cause. And to make your chances even better at raising more money, have each of the volunteers say they won’t shave their heads until so much money is raised, either in total or just for them to have their head shaved. Try to find barbers or hairdressers who will shave heads for free, and make sure to highly publicize this event before it happens. Even more importantly, if there are local celebrities who are known to love and/or have nice hair then this will be a smashing success!
- Film Festival
Is there an upcoming Steven Spielberg in your congregation? If not, that’s ok! An amateur film festival is a fun way to include your whole congregation while providing an opportunity for the community to attend your film festival. Invite members and families to create short films to submit to the film festival, then charge a small entry fee to attend the event. Who doesn’t like laughing at homemade videos? Encourage those who participate to have fun making films without feeling inclined to have them be perfect. Advertise the festival in your community to increase the amount of participation. Don’t forget to provide some popcorn!
- Fundraising Wristbands
This fundraiser not only raises funds, it also raises awareness for a good cause, whatever cause you choose to support. Check around and find the best company to make and buy your wristbands from, and then decide what color(s) you want, what message or logo you want embossed on the bracelets and how many you want to order. These bracelets are inexpensive to order, and while you can’t charge a fortune for them, you’ll probably have numerous people pay more than what you’re asking because they’re willing to pay more to support and raise awareness for a good cause.
- Flower Fundraiser
There’s no greener or more colorful way to raise money than with a flower fundraiser. Go around to local greenhouses and garden centers and ask them if they’d be willing to donate flowers to sell at your fundraiser. Be sure to get plenty of flowers, varying in types and colors, to give attendees plenty to choose from. You could also obtain, through purchasing or from donations, other items that go along with growing flowers, i.e. pots, water conserving spray nozzles, potting soil, garden gnomes, etc., to sell along with the flowers at your fundraiser.
- Art Show
Hosting an art show is a great way to show off the talent of your church and community members. Call around and ask local artists to create and donate one-of-a-kind art pieces for the show where all proceeds go to your fundraiser. You can also send around signup sheets at church so anyone who may be a closet artist can make and bring something to the show. Have your fundraising committee price each piece of donated art, then set up each piece of art inside a large event area and let people attend the show and purchase the art.
- Coin Canisters & Donation Boxes
Coin canisters and donation boxes, types of cause marketing, are a simple fundraiser, and when placed inside heavily trafficked stores, bring in a good amount of money. If you’re looking to partner with a new local business, this is the fundraiser for you. Be sure to select stores where people use cash and coins, not credit or debit cards, i.e. bakeries, coffee shops, small cafes, etc. Place your canisters or small boxes inside the store, and then send someone to collect the money donated every week.
- Fundraising Tours
Think locally or maybe within a short drive from your town with this one. Depending on where you’re located, find a winery, bakery or some other shop that would be interesting to tour — and has tasty foods and drinks to test during your tour — to partner with. A company that will let you bring some of your church members there for a tour for free is best, but if they charge a fee, just charge a little more for members to buy a ticket. Advertise this fundraising tour at church with plenty of time for you to sell as many tickets as you can (and are allowed to take on the tour), and raise as much money as you can.
- Family Fun Boxes
What family doesn’t want to win a box full of fun goodies? I guarantee every family in your church does. Fill a box with games, movies, books, toys, gift certificates, etc., and then have people enter to win the box. Charge each person for their entry. You can do one or multiple boxes, and you can even give each box it’s own theme, like “Movie Night” or “A Day at the Zoo.” If you can have a local company donate one big gift – a cruise, shopping spree, etc. – the chances of raising a lot of money go up significantly.
- Stuck To The Wall or The Fly Trap
Get a high-profile church or community member to agree to be the center of attention for this fundraiser, which should be done with another fundraiser or church event. This person must be willing to be taped to a wall. Attendees buy a certain length of duct tape, and then take their tape strip to stick the lucky volunteer to the wall.
- Casino Night
Let your congregation test their luck with games of poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and more. Make money off this fundraiser through ticket sales, food sales and getting people or local businesses to sponsor each table. This will be one fun and wild night your congregation won’t forget! But remember, your goal is to maximize your revenue and minimize your expenses, so make sure your casino night is fun, has food and decorations and is complete with other needed necessities, but don’t go overboard on your spending. Note, in some cases there are event companies that may do all the setup and game tables for an affordable price, if not donate their time.
- Wall Of Money
You will need a wall inside your church, which could be an actual wall, a bulletin board or chalkboard, and envelopes. Label each envelope with a dollar amount, $1-$100 or $200 is good to do, and then put the envelopes in order on the wall with thumb tacks or tape. The idea is to have members put the appropriate cash or check amount they’ve selected inside the envelope, seal the envelope and then give it to the person running the fundraiser. You can put instructions inside the envelope if you want, as well as information about what the money is being raised for.
- Fundraiser Calendars
There are two ways to produce your calendars: design and make them as a fundraising committee or get them made by a professional publishing shop. Decide a good theme for your calendar, pick or take the 12 pictures for each month that match your theme, get businesses to advertise on or sponsor your calendar (charging them to do so), take calendar sales orders so you know how many to produce and collect your money. Take advantage of your calendars and place special church event dates, like fundraisers you’re hosting throughout the year, on their respective dates along with national holidays.
- Ninja Challenge
This fundraiser is challenging, competitive and fun — and it brings out the inner ninja in those involved. Set up an outdoor obstacle course filled with multiple obstacles volunteers have to overcome, i.e. walls to climb over, ropes to swing on to pass over a small pond, leaping across blocks, etc. You can even include a short run to start and end the obstacle course to make it a little more challenging. Charge an entry fee, and be sure to provide a prize for the winner, who should earn the title of Church’s Ultimate Ninja or something like that.
- Teeter-Totter Marathon
The youth in your church and community will especially love this fundraiser. First, set the time duration of your fundraiser (24 hours is a good time limit), then ask for participants, divide them into small groups and assign them into 30-minute or hour-long shifts based on their availability. Ask each participant to go around and get pledges for their participation. People can pledge $24 because it’s a 24-hour fundraiser, $1 for each minute or hour the participant is on the teeter-totter, etc.
- Yard Cleanup Project
This is a fairly easy and quick fundraiser to put together. Get a group of volunteers and have them go around your town asking family, friends and neighbors if they’d like to have any yard work done. Volunteers can mow lawns, rake leaves, pull weeds, prune tree limbs, etc. Have either a price for each service offered or ask those whose yards you clean up to donate whatever they’d be willing to your fundraiser for the services rendered.
- Chair-ity Auction
Ask members of your church to donate a chair to be auctioned off, like a rocking chair, office chair, child’s chair, bar stool, etc. But it’s not just the chair they donate; they choose a fitting theme and decorate and accessorize their chair accordingly. An example is taking a car seat and placing baby food and baby toys inside. It encourages creativity and creates lots of fun items for people to win.
- Cow Chip Bingo
If you live in a more rural area and know someone who has a cow, this is a fun fundraiser for your church. You need a big and flat grass field, and then you need to rope off the field and divide the area up into appropriately marked bingo squares. Sell each square to attendees for the price of your choosing, reasonable enough that they sell but high enough that you’ll make money. The winner, who receives half of your total earnings, is decided when the cow leaves its first cow pie in a square.
- Fall Pumpkin Patch
Find a good location, preferably a roadside location, to set up your pumpkin patch. Make signs to place along the road and around town to promote your pumpkin patch and decorate your patch with hay bales, scarecrows, and other fun fall decorations. Buy your pumpkins in bulk from a local grower or farmer’s market if you can since buying in bulk will save you money. To raise more money, sell cider and pumpkin-flavored treats along with your pumpkins.
- Christmas Trees and Wreaths
People are in the buying and giving mood during Christmas, so why not take advantage and sell trees and wreaths? Run your own Christmas tree sales stand in your community or buy some in bulk from a local grower and go door-to-door selling them. You can do the same with Christmas wreaths. If you have church members who are particularly crafty and have the time, have them make wreaths to sell. In the end, this way will most likely save you money and be more unique and appealing to community members since they’re handmade.
- Valentine’s Day Gift Baskets
Go to local craft stores, grocery stores and wholesale stores to gather items for your Valentine’s Day gift baskets. Buy items like chocolates, candy hearts, wine, sparkling grape juice, picture frames, heart-shaped pillows and whatever else you can think of. To help you more easily decide on basket items, choose themes for the baskets. Make a few sample baskets to display — with varying prices — and then take orders and money so you can make the right amount and have the money beforehand to do so.
- 4th of July Fireworks Stand
If you live in an area that allows people to shoot off their own fireworks, then run a fireworks stand the week before the 4th of July. Call a supplier to get it set up. They typically put up the tent for you, stock it with fireworks and then give you a share of the total sales. Be sure to choose a good, highly-trafficked location.
- Worm Grunting
Never heard of worm grunting? Most probably haven’t, which makes this fundraiser very unique! The goal is to have participants — that can be on their own or work in pairs — spend 30 minutes trying to charm worms to the specific plot of land using various light and sound techniques. Partners are best because one can charm and the other can collect. Get a grass field, divide it up into land plots and have judges to time the event, monitor the competitors and count each team’s worms after. Charge an entry fee for each participant or team, and you can even try selling the worms afterward as fishing bait to any fishermen in the area. Also make sure to provide a prize to the winning worm grunter.
- Krispy Kreme Fundraiser
Krispy Kreme donuts are a hit. You should have no problem raising your needed funds by partnering with them and selling their donuts to your church and community members. You generally make about 50% profit off each box you sell. If you don’t want to sell donuts or want to sell more than donuts, Krispy Kreme also lets you sell gift certificates and partnership cards, which let people get a free dozen of Krispy Kreme’s original glazed donuts when they purchase a dozen of any other kinds of donuts of their choice.
- Grocery Shopping Spree Raffle
Every family needs groceries, so why not give each family in your community a chance to win a shopping spree? Buy and sell a few hundred raffle tickets. You make money by keeping the net proceeds after paying for the raffle tickets and the grocery shopping spree. Depending on how many tickets you sell, give your winner an unlimited 10-15 minute shopping spree where they can fill up two shopping carts with whatever items they want. But if you need to limit certain items that are more expensive, like meats, just make sure the winner knows their limits.
- Shooting Range Fundraiser
Going to a shooting range doesn’t appeal to everyone, but for those that it does, it’s an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Those with shooting experience and those without are welcome. The latter will receive gun safety lessons and learn how to shoot guns, while the experienced ones will participate in target practice shooting. Raise your funds by selling tickets in advance for those who want to attend. Selling tickets in advance ensures you receive the money and that people will actually show up to your event.
- Spaghetti Dinner
It’s common knowledge that food is one of the best ways to get people to show up to an event. Spaghetti dinners are simple, easy-to-coordinate fundraisers that are perfect for all ages. Simply sell tickets in advance in order to get a head count of how many will attend, then purchase enough spaghetti and sauce to meet the demand. Garlic bread is also a hit at these dinners. Ingredients are relatively cheap so the ticket sales will be enough to cover those cost yet you will still be able to profit from the dinner. This dinner is ideal for working families or seniors who don’t have the means to cook frequently. Offer take-out options if individuals or families don’t have time to sit down and eat.
- Flag Fundraiser
Living in a patriotic country allows for the public display of flags to show devotion to freedom, especially on national holidays. Offer a service to place flags in homeowners’ yards each patriotic holiday for a yearly fee. At the beginning of each year, assemble a team to go door-to-door to collect donations and offer the flag service. Most people will buy into the idea to be more patriot so it’s a simple way to fundraise. The morning of the holiday, have youth (especially those in scouting-type programs) team up with their parents to place the flags, then collect them when the holiday is over. It’s best to organize specific routes for each team to place flags to avoid confusion. The only cost incurred from this fundraiser are flags unless homeowners provide their own to be placed.
- Lawn Aeration Service
Beautiful lawns are always sought after, so offering a lawn aeration service is a great way to provide that while raising money for your congregation. Go door-to-door in your community before springtime to make reservations for aeration, collecting money on the spot to guarantee they won’t forget about the service. Make sure that you uphold your end of the bargain by going around at the beginning of spring to aerate the lawns of those who paid. Invite the youth and young adults to take part in the service, using hand-held aerators to do the job. Handheld tools will allow more volunteers to participate (they can bring their own too) and shows the community that your congregation is willing to serve them.
Fundraising Resources and Idea Lists
Still need more fundraising ideas and additional list of fundraisers for your church (sports team, club, non-profit, etc)? If so, check out these great resources below that have plenty more unique fundraising ideas to help you raise the money you need.
Deciding on a fundraising activity is the first step. Once you choose the best option for your church or religious organization, make sure you also plan all the details, keep things organized, enlist plenty of volunteers, effectively communicate and promote the details of your fundraising event to your congregation and community, and express your gratitude once the event is over. We hope these ideas keep your fundraising efforts successful, fun and entertaining!