The best church youth group fundraising ideas do more than just raise funds. They get the younger generation more involved with your church and also engage them outside of the ministry. 

In general, the dwindling youth participation in the Church and Ministry can be attributed in part to:

  1. The youth being twice more likely to hold atheistic views than previous generations
  2. Moral relativism – the youth are uncomfortable (or see it as morally wrong) to express or share religious views
Youth group habits

Credits: Barna

I am not saying that the church youth group events can break through atheism. I am suggesting that using events to introduce Jesus offers an alternative to connecting with God outside of sermons.

If you are struggling to engage millennials and the Gen Zers in your congregation, then this post can help.

Not only will it show you how you can get the younger generation interested in your ministry, but also highlight how you can raise funds while you’re at it. 

5 Church youth group fundraising best practices

Successful church youth group fundraising ideas are those that are adapted to engage the younger generation better. 

Here are some best practices that can make your church youth group fundraising ideas better received among your congregation.

1. Make it easy for youth to participate in your events (and also donate). You can do that by:

  • Having online forms on the website with limited form fields.
  • Enabling sign up via texts.
  • Allowing for RSVP via social media.

2. Communicate with them via channels that they frequent. It could be:

3. Outline the objectives of your church youth group events before beginning. The goal of the events could be:

  • Solely focused on fundraising.
  • Looking to engage the youth of the congregation.
  • Bringing in new members to the group.

4. Define the metrics for success once the objectives are outlined. 

  • If it is fundraising, you could aim to make $3000 from the church youth groups.
  • If you are focused on engagement, then each member in the youth group should take part in 2-3 activities.
  • Or, if you are looking at getting new members, then the goal can be getting 10 new members to the congregation (each youngster can bring a ‘friend’).

5. Check if you have the digital infrastructure to support your communication and event coordination

Though these best practices may seem obvious, they are still worth mentioning because the number of churches who implement them is relatively less. 

For instance, only 13% of churches have Instagram accounts – despite more than 55% of the channel’s demographic being youngsters between the ages of 18 to 29. 

Here is a breakdown of different social media channels and their demographics.

church social media channel demographics

So take a hard look at your existing church communication strategy (especially around events) and see how to tweak it to engage millennials.

How can a church youth group raise money? 

Church youth groups raise funds via events and activities. The youth of the congregation come together to volunteer at events or even organize them. These could be bake sales, yard sales, or a simple movie night. 

The proceeds collected from the event directly go to the church. Here are ways the impact of the events can be maximized:

  • Involving the community (and friends) to participate – either via buying tickets or buying the items on sale.
  • Encouraging the parents to sponsor the event (or part of it).
  • Having matching gift pledges for the money raised by the volunteers.
  • Promoting the event/activity on social media and encouraging donations online.

Successful church youth group fundraising ideas are always backed by a substantial social media presence. The Celebration Church, for instance, has a separate section on their Instagram stories dedicated to events.

Church youth group fundraising idea social media

Such posts build excitement about events within the existing members of the congregation. It also encourages new members to join and sign up. So ensure that your church social media strategy is in line with the church youth group fundraising ideas you develop.

Top 20 church youth group fundraising ideas

Church youth group fundraising is different from your regular fundraising efforts in three ways:

  1. The fundraising events are highly local – e.g., something as simple as a block party can be organized.
  2. The events can be centered around ideas (and themes), the youth are excited about – e.g., summer, Halloween, festivals, etc.
  3. The parents should also be considered – as they would (hopefully) have a say in the decisions the youngsters make.

Here is a snapshot of how church youth group fundraising events differ from your regular church fundraising events.

Differences in fundraising effortsChurch youth group fundraising eventsRegular Church fundraising events
Target geographyHighly local. It can be as small as including a few blocks.It can also have a broader target geography (regional or even global).
Event timelinesUsually centered around festivals and summertime (or before exams for “make the grade” fundraisers)Depends on the fundraising calendar and budget (like raising money for church infrastructure)
Target audienceCommunication is focused on the youth and the parents (two different segments)Communication is for all members – the parents and the older generation.

These differences show that how you communicate and how you organize the events are different for your church youth groups. Here are some ideas that can get you started.

Church youth group fundraising ideas for summer

Summer is a great time for youth fundraising – they (the youngsters) have more time, the weather is excellent, and there is general enthusiasm about holidays that you can harness. 

This is an excellent time to plan activities that center around youth outreach rather than hardcore fundraising (the ideas suggested here will be similar).

Note: Ensure that you plan these activities well in advance. Summer is also the time when families leave for vacation. Giving families a heads up about the activities planned will help them plan the holiday around your events.

1. Prayer walk

Get the youth in your community to walk to a local hospital and pray for the patients there. The prayer walk can also simply be at a park where you meet, pray, and walk back.

How can you raise funds?

  • Every youngster who participates can register with a token amount of $10.
  • Parents can sponsor their children (or other kids) to register.
  • The event can be sponsored by church donors.
  • You can ask your online community to participate virtually and pledge $10 for every km walked.

2. Volunteering at vacation bible school

The local VBS can be an excellent opportunity for youngsters to spend their free time during summer holidays doing fruitful work. They can positively impact the children who come there and also collect money for your cause.

How can you raise funds?

  • Parents of children who come for VBS can sponsor a volunteer.
  • Volunteers themselves can raise money (matched giving) online for their time.

3. Text to tithe 

Though text to tithe can be used around the year, during summer, it can be specifically used to raise funds. E.g. GenZers and millennials can text “SUMMER” to 33339 and contribute money to the local orphanage.

How can you raise funds?

  • Promote the keyword and shortcode across channels and ask the youth to chip in.
  • Encourage youngsters who have already donated to bring in their friends.

4. Church picnic

The picnic you organize need not be as big as the 113th Westphalia picnic. It can be a lot smaller, with only youngsters managing it.

How can you raise funds?

  • Parents and the older members can pay to participate in the picnic – with the youngsters organizing the event
  • The food and drinks can be charged, with ticketed activities that can also raise money for your church.

5. Gospelized car wash

Car washes are always a hit with the younger generation. You can use it to raise money for your church and get the youngsters talking about the gospel to customers. 

How can you raise funds?

  • You can, of course, charge for each car wash. However, if this is too restrictive, then you can get the parents in your church to sponsor the event.
  • You can also ask regular donors to pledge matching gifts. E.g., Samantha can pledge to donate $10 for every $1 raised by her grandchild during this car wash.

If you are planning a ticketed event, then remember to keep the entry fee nominal to encourage maximum participation. Since the objective of these events is to have a conversation around God and the Gospel, facilitate the same, and encourage the youngsters to reach out for talks.

Church youth group fundraising ideas for Christmas and Halloween

Giving during the holiday season is generally high. So church youth group fundraising ideas around festivals are an excellent way to raise funds.

These events can focus more on fundraising, rather than merely engaging the youth. 

1. Gift wrapping kiosk

Encourage youngsters to volunteer at the gift wrapping kiosk to help church members wrap their gifts. 

How can you raise funds?

  • You can charge a nominal fee for every gift that is wrapped.
  • You can also have a tip box at the kiosk and encourage the members to tip.
  • Make it fun – members can pledge money based on whose child wraps the most gifts.

2. Christmas decoration putting up and removing

Youngsters can also volunteer to help the members put up Christmas decorations (and take them down later).

How can you raise funds?

  • Charge an hourly fee for every volunteer who helps put up or take down the decorations.
  • Church members can sponsor volunteers to help others (e.g., putting up decoration at the local orphanage).
  • You can make it fun by having ‘best decoration’ contests – with the family of the winning volunteer making a donation.

3. Custom calendar/t-shirt sale

Selling festival merchandise can be an excellent way to raise money for your church. It can be a Christmas calendar, Christmas tee shirts, or even custom made Christmas postcards.

How can you raise funds?

  • Encourage volunteers to create custom merchandise. Handmade Christmas postcards are always a hit. The money from the sale (or a percentage of it) will, of course, go towards the church
  • Ask your members to pledge or match the money raised.

4. Christmas gifts for disadvantaged

You can encourage volunteers to make (or buy) gifts for the disadvantaged. These gifts can then be auctioned off by the church members. The donations will, of course, reach the needy, while you can use the money raised for the church.

5. Cookie dough/gingerbread/Ornament sale

Similar to custom merchandise sales, youth volunteers can make their own ornaments or cookie dough and sell it after service.

Notice that some of these ideas (like an ornament sale), actually bring in low amounts per sale. That means, the number of youngsters (or volunteers) that you need to recruit for these drives should be relatively high. 

You can also use social media to amplify the message and run online donation drives for each of these ideas.

Best church youth group fundraising ideas for round the year

Apart from the above ideas, here are a few more ways you can encourage your church youth group to raise money. 

  1. Church giving kiosk
  2. Text to tithe
  3. Youth charity auction
  4. Online fundraising (social media/crowdfunding)
  5. Hosting a parent party
  6. Make the grade fundraiser
  7. Sunday fundraisers
  8. Churchyard sale
  9. Movie night
  10. Walkathons

The 10 ideas listed above can also be modified for specific events. E.g., the churchyard sale can be Christmas themed if it is held at the end of the year. If you are looking for a wider variety of events, you can also take some school fundraising ideas and use them for your church youth group.

Take-away

Keep in mind that the success of these ideas depends upon how well you communicate with your youngsters. That means, talking about the events on social media, sending event updates (and notifications) via texts, and even encouraging donations via texts. Follow the church communication best practices to ensure that your messages reach your audience.


“Youth ministry is not about getting things accomplished – only the act of God can bring about the transformation we seek. Youth ministry is about participating deeply in young people’s lives as we await, together in suffering & joy, the coming of God.”

Andrew Root, Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry

Feature image credits:Cottonbro, Pexels

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