Church Fundraisers: 27 Ideas to Help you Gather Funds from Your Congregation and Beyond

Published on November 29, 2021

Solely focusing on your congregation for funds is not an effective method. Good church fundraisers help you reach a wide range of audiences and expand your follower base.

The church fundraisers we have discussed in this post help you gather funds from both your members and non-members. 

Let’s have a look.

What are some good fundraisers for church?

Here are the top church fundraisers for 2022. These church fundraisers are engaging, effective and do not need much effort in executing.  

1. Recycling drive

People usually have clutter lying around the house or in that one carton that they are looking to discard. Ask them to donate those to you.

Here’s how you can execute it:

  1. Place signages around your church and promote this event on social media to reach as many people as possible. 
  2. Keep collection boxes in your church so people can leave the items there.
  3. Now, recycle these items or sell them directly in exchange for money.

These could be anything like books, shoes, clothes, etc. Websites like Soles4Souls help you recycle shoes and sell them. You can sell the books to your city library and clothes through a local consignment store or an online secondhand store.

2. Bake sale

Bake sale is one of the most famous church fundraisers. It’s because they are one of the low-cost events. The participants will bake a dish of their choice ingredients you provide, or they bring. 

Charge an entry fee depending on the resources you’re going to provide- for instance, ingredients. Moreover, you may collaborate with a local supplier to sponsor the ingredients and reduce your costs. 

Ticketing the bake sale is one fund source. Arrange the sale in the neighborhood or sell them online to collect more funds. Make sure your participants know that the money raised will go to charity.

A popcorn fundraiser, pizza sale, cookie sale are other great ideas in line with a bake sale. To leverage your resources, ask your volunteers to get plates, cups, etc., to serve the dishes. You can display a fundraising thermometer to motivate your donors into giving.  

3. Social media campaign for church fundraisers

Today, around 7 in 10 Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with content, and entertain themselves, according to a study. Tap into this opportunity. You can run different types of social media campaigns, paid or organic. It can be as simple as a series of posts on your social media page or a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

For example, take a year-end giving campaign. As a part of this, you can run a contest where your audience showcases their donation on their profiles and invites their circle to do the same. Say, you can assign a hashtag and ask your followers to tag you on the post where they showcase their donation. The post with the highest engagement or those that get the most number of friends or highest peer-to-peer donation can win a reward.

These church advertising ideas will help you get started with more such ideas for a social media fundraiser. 

4. Goodie sale

Selling goodies with your church’s branding is a great way to raise funds and increase familiarity. For example, you can brand a T-shirt with your church’s name and a famous Bible verse on it. Platforms like Bonfire help you design these T-shirts and even sell them on your website.

You can also use an online store builder or WP ecommerce plugins to sell them through your website. 

Your volunteers can deliver the goodies to the donors’ doorsteps, and you can charge your customers/them a small delivery fee to raise funds for the church.  

5. Coffee day

Your visitors and passersby will surely appreciate a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Pair it with a muffin, and you’ve already got yourself an admirer. Set up a station in front of your church and sell the coffee and muffin. 

You can get a local cafe to sponsor this in exchange for promoting their outlet to your congregation. In exchange, you advertise or market their business with signage or by allowing branded cups/cutlery. 

6. Pet wash

Think about this: Most of your audience probably leads a busy life, and the pet grooming centers in your town charge a certain amount of money for the service. What if you charge a little less than those centers and let your audience know that the money is going as a donation? Your volunteers can do the job for free, and all you need is some space in your parking lot and the grooming essentials. 

P.S: Make sure your volunteers are comfortable with pets, and the pets are trained well. We don’t want any disasters in your church fundraisers, do we?

7. Car wash

Like pet wash, a car wash fundraiser doesn’t need you to spend a lot of money. Get some volunteers, car washing supplies, and a few signage boards in place, and you’re in for a long day.

8. Cookbook sale

Your congregation may have a few great cooks. Ask them to share their best recipes and compile them all into a book. Now, you can sell these recipes and add the money to your funds. 

Make sure you attribute each recipe to its owner.  

9. Child care

Put your best volunteers on the job and let your congregation know about your babysitting services. Working parents in your congregation would probably prefer leaving their children with you than a creche. Because they are your believers, they would love their children to grow in such an environment. Instead of charging them, request voluntary sums as donations. Since they were already paying a creche, chances are they will donate something close to the creche fee. If you find a generous parent, they might even donate a larger amount!

Pro tip: One of the great times to offer child care services is when you host other church fundraisers and events. Valentine’s day is another night you can prepare to execute this.   

10. Matching gift drive

A matching gift drive is a corporate philanthropy, where companies match their employees’ donations. Sometimes this donation is double or even triple the original donation. 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs. 

Encourage your donors to submit their applications if their employer offers a matching program. A matching gift search tool can help you find out if an employer offers such a program.

Ticketed church fundraisers

These church fundraisers require charging a small amount as an entry fee for the event. 

1. Auction to raise money for church fundraisers

In an auction, you have the option to source the items from people and local businesses. You can use an auction software or a text-giving platform to run the auction. 

Here’s how you can use SMS opt-in software to collect donations: 

  • Set up a keyword that people can text you if they wish to participate in the auction. This keyword is typically akin to identifying the use case. It must be easy to spell and generally is one word. For instance, “AUCTION” in this case.
  • Rent a number where people can text in the keyword.
  • Set up message prompts to be sent in response to the keyword. You can either set up prompts to collect data over a series of messages or a single reply with a link to your donation page. 
  • Put up posters or circulate these details over social media. 

You can also host the auction over text.

Here’s how it can work: Give a name or an ID to all the items present. Now, say A wants to bid $200 for the item VASE. A can text you ‘A VASE $200’. 

2. Movie night

With technology at our fingertips, hosting a movie night doesn’t need a lot of effort or equipment. Charge a nominal fee for entry to raise money for your church. If you have the resources, add some payable snacks and beverages, with the disclaimer that the proceedings will go to charity to encourage more people to buy.

Another way to raise funds is to ask for donations at the end of the movie. 

Pro tip: Choose a movie around your cause or the one that focuses on giving or helping others. When the movie ends, your audience will be highly inspired by it and motivated to give. Then, all you need to do is ask and show them how they can contribute to your church fundraisers. 

Text-to-give is an excellent method of collecting donations here as it requires the least amount of effort. In a text-to-give campaign, your audiences text a keyword to your number. The donations here are predetermined, and their phone bill gets charged for the donation they wish to make.  

Know how it works in detail here.

3. Game Sunday

There are plenty of games that don’t require much spending- for example, treasure hunting. Host a game of treasure hunt where your audience will make small donations to find the hint that leads them to the treasure, i.e., a considerably big reward. Make it easy to donate by using a simple donation method such as text-to-give or simply with a cash jar at every hint junction. If asking for a fixed donation, ensure the per-hint amount is small enough to get people to donate. 

Guessing games, trivia, board games like Scrabble, Risk, Monopoly, etc., are some other low-cost games you can host on any regular day. Charge a small entrance fee and reward the winner.  

4. Date night

There may be many bachelors and bachelorettes in your church looking for a partner. Host a date night to help them get to know each other. Keep some get-to-know cards on each table to help them start a conversation. 

Here’s a guide to help you organize an event successfully

5. Karaoke night

You can either set up a karaoke machine or use your projector and play the karaoke on YouTube. All the singing talents from your church will definitely show up even if you charge a small entrance fee. 

6. Magic show

Magic shows nowadays don’t have to be performed by a highly trained professional. With the help of free resources like YouTube online, a few of your volunteers can learn the tricks and prepare for the big day. 

At the end of the show, offer the audience to get on stage to show off other talents to spice up the event even more. 

7. Dance party

To execute this church fundraiser, all you need is an excellent collection of upbeat music, some good food and drinks, and a vast hall. You can put up posters around your church telling your audience how to sign up for the event. Once you get the sign-ups, organize the event to accommodate all talents and get participants to bring in their friends and family to increase your footfall.

8. Face painting

This church fundraiser can be something similar to Halloween. You can ask your audience to dress up and come or facilitate it in your church. Once everyone is ready, host a ramp walk in their costumes and reward the person that’s dressed up the best.

9. Talent show

This church fundraiser, like many others, can be virtual or offline. Get your audience to register beforehand, so you have an idea of the duration of the event. Your audience can also submit videos of their performances. 

If you’re going offline, try to provide some snacks and refreshments to your audience to improve the effectiveness of the event. 

10. Camping trip

To execute this church fundraiser with minimal expense, you can team up with a travel agency. If not, you can still choose a nearby destination keeping the costs under your budget. Plan some fun outdoor games to keep this interesting. Use a ticketing software to sell the tickets and collect the entry fee from your audience. 

11. Gala

Hosting a gala takes a little more effort and spending than most church fundraisers we have discussed here. You need to take care of the decor, food, drinks, entertainment, etc. However, since this is a huge event, you can charge people accordingly to get an entry.  

12. Art and craft workshop

Here, some of your congregation will conduct the classes to pass on their knowledge, and the rest will learn from them. You can make all the required supplies available and charge per entrant. Use a platform like Zoom if you’re hosting this online. 

13. Walkathon, marathon, bikeathon

The best way to execute this church fundraiser is by associating the event with a cause. For example, your participants can pick up the trash throughout their way in a walkathon. This will inspire them to participate and stay till the end. 

Holiday church fundraisers

1. Decorating

Decorating is another holiday-season church fundraiser. Since almost everyone decorates their house, it’s an excellent opportunity to help out in exchange for donations. Provide your volunteers with the supplies they need and let them spread out across the town. 

2. Pictures with Santa

A good picture with Santa is every kid’s wish. Why not get one of your members to dress up as Santa and set up a photo booth? You can charge per photo or per 2 minutes or so. 

Some may even want to frame these photographs. You can help them with that too, for a few extra bucks. Also, consider giving away chocolates after every picture to enhance the kids’ experience.  

Since one-third of the annual giving occurs in December, this would be one of the best times to execute this idea.

3. Special holiday celebration

Gather your congregation for a celebration of a special day. For instance, collaborate with a local caterer to celebrate international food day in your church. The participants can pay a small entrance fee to taste the varieties of dishes. Easter egg hunt is also a great church fundraiser and is easy to set up. 

4. Christmas light removal

After all those celebrations, people may not be in a mood to clean up and undo the decorations. This is an excellent opportunity for you to step in with your volunteers’ help. You can ask for donations or charge a small fee in exchange for the service. For a few extra dollars, you can also offer to pick up and discard the tree. 

You May Also Like: 17 Unique Ideas for Christmas Fundraising (with Examples to inspire you)

Tips for executing church fundraisers 

  1. For all church fundraisers, put up posters with your text giving information.
  2. Keep track of donors using a donor management system.
  3. Collect ticket buyers’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses so you can reach out to them later and start nurturing them to attend or be engaged with your church. 
  4. Promote these church fundraisers on all your marketing channels.
  5. Holidays are a great time to host these church fundraisers. But also keep some events for the empty months, so you have a well-rounded year of church fundraisers.
  6. Try to set up a recurring donation on the spot after every donation. 

Check out our guide on church fundraisers for youth groups for a few more ideas in your pocket. 

Featured image: Photo by Katt Yukawa on Unsplash