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If you’re involved with your church, you’re aware of all the effort that goes into making it a beautiful and comfortable place of worship. With all of the social distancing that’s gone on this year, your place of worship could probably use an extra injection of cash to help with the upkeep. Here are the 15 best ways to do it!
People love to donate to good causes, but they love it even more when they can get something out of it in return. The following five ideas are ways you can turn people’s love for shopping into a net positive for your organization.
1. Rummage Sale
One person’s trash is another’s treasure! This is one of the most commonly-held church fundraisers, due in no small part to its overall simplicity. Encourage the congregation to go through their attics, basements, and storage units in search of sellable items.
They’ll come back to you with items that they would otherwise donate.The night before the sale, have a get-together where everyone can lend a helping hand setting up tables and tagging items with prices. Then, open the sale to the public the next day!
2. Yard Sale
This is just like a rummage sale, except instead of everyone bringing items they’re donating to one central location, they can set up shop at home. This can help you cast a wider net for potential customers, especially if members of your congregation hail from a variety of neighborhoods and towns.
Some members might feel like they do not have enough “stuff” to put on a yard sale of their own. Match them up with a fellow member who feels the same way so they can sell their items together at one location.
3. Bake Sale
Bake sales can be hugely successful fundraisers. After all, what’s not to like about letting your best bakers show off their skills, or walking into a community center filled with all kinds of delicious baked treats?
Ask your members to kindly donate a batch of their famous cookies, or loaves of their favorite bread recipe. Have them sign up with what they plan on bringing. Be sure to solidify the date far enough in advance so your bakers can source all of the ingredients they need and have their items fresh for the sale.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is allergies. It’s important that your bakers carefully mark which baked goods have ingredients other members of the congregation may be allergic to.
4. Pizza Sale
This one is a can’t-fail plan because A) everyone loves pizza and B) you don’t have to make it yourself.
Ask your local pizzeria if they would like to team up. Many offer discounts for fundraisers. Order a variety of pies, and several of each. Ask members to bring enough plates, cups, napkins, and drinks for everyone to enjoy. Charge one dollar per slice, and watch as the sales reach your goal.
Be sure to set up tables and chairs in your community hall so that people can sit, relax, and enjoy one another’s company. The longer they stay, the more likely they’ll be to go back for seconds!
5. Coffee Mornings
The members of your congregation are certainly on-the-go during the week. Why not be a part of their routine with a few coffee mornings?
They’ll love the idea of indulging in their caffeine habit for a good cause. You could even sweeten the deal by offering some homemade baked goods for sale, too.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your local coffee shop to sponsor this fundraiser. They could donate supplies like cups and lids, or even offer their hand in supplying some beans, or the know-how of a barista who can make coffee for a crowd.
The easier you make it to donate, the more likely people will. Today’s highly connected, technology-driven world is a place where you can spread the word about your cause, and make it simple for people to give money towards it.
6. Text to Give
Everybody knows how to text these days (it’s why we hate calling each other). What’s more, there are so many platforms available that enable people to donate right from their phone.
Setting up a fundraising campaign like this is so straightforward. The work is in how you get your unique donation number out to the congregation, and beyond. The act of donating couldn’t be simpler, though, especially when you consider that fewer people than ever carry cash on themselves, but pretty much everyone brings their phone.
7. Digital Offering Plate
If your place of worship usually passes around an offering plate for donations during weekly services, they might be feeling particularly hard-hit by social distancing. Fortunately, a digital offering plate creates an easy and secure outlet for your congregation to keep the programs your church has worked so hard to create going.
It is, in essence, a website where members can go to set up one-time or recurring donations. Yours can be as simple or as in-depth as you’d like it to be. It’s a great place to keep the congregation updated on the various projects they’re donating to, and inform them of other ways they can aid the cause.
If your organization needs a major financial lift, crowdfunding is a great way to channel the power of the internet for good. Platforms like GoFundMe have been crucial to the success of many fundraising endeavors, as they allow small donations to snowball toward the desired goal.
However, crowdfunding isn’t a magic word you say to get money to fall from the sky. These tips will help make sure your campaign is successful.
For a successful crowdfunding campaign:
– Promote your campaign on social media constantly.
– Use videos to show the good work the money will go towards.
– Don’t start from zero. Start your campaign after you have secured several donations.
– Give thanks to each donor, and keep everyone updated on the status of your campaign.
9. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Along the same lines of crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising leverages people’s social networks to hit fundraising goals. Instead of being directed to one page, donors will give to your organization through individualized pages for participating members of your congregation. In this way, you expand the number of potential donors, because the campaign relies on multiple social networks, instead of just one.
To sweeten the pot, you could even give a prize to the congregation member who is able to raise the most money!
10. Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday is the internet’s wholesome answer to Black Friday. Instead of being all about ‘buy, buy, buy,’ this day is dedicated to donating to your favorite charities and causes. It’s yet another great way to leverage social media (use the hashtag #GivingTuesday) in a way that shines a light on all the good your organization does, and the ways in which more funding would help.
Events are something everyone can look forward to. They’re also a way to bring out the biggest donations, albeit usually from a smaller amount of people than, say, a crowdfunding campaign could.
Events have the added benefit of making lasting memories for attendees, which is a great way to get return donors.
11. 50/50 Raffle
Another classic fundraising activity, the 50/50 raffle is a simple way to build excitement around your cause. It’s the perfect thing to do in conjunction with another event, like a town fair, or annual dinner.
It works like this: anyone who wants to win the 50/50 prize has to buy a ticket. The money paid to buy a ticket goes into a pot. At the end of the event, one winner is drawn at random from the tickets bought. Whoever has the winning ticket gets half of the money in the pot, while the other half goes to the church.
12. Cook Off
Bakers aside, your congregation probably has a number of excellent cooks, as well. Why not give that pool of talent a little friendly competition with a cook off?
First, set a theme, like “Best Barbecue” or “Best Chili,” and get your participating chefs to sign up. Set a place, date, and time for your cook off, along with the cost of admission. Paying attendees can sample the food and even vote to see who’s food is best!
Auctions are a blast because everyone can participate in the action. This event requires some members of your congregation to compile gift baskets and other winnable items. Then, your congregation meets to bid on those items, with the highest bid winning the spoils.
Tips for Getting High Bids
– Get items you know people will want. Whether it’s a gift card to a popular local restaurant or free car washes for a year, high-value items get high-end bids.
– Display your items well. The more appealing they look, the more people will want them.
-Have extra spotters on hand. All eyes are on the person with the gavel calling out bids, but they can only see so much. A few extra volunteers to help them spot new bids will up the ante quicker, and hopefully lead to more funds raised.
Expect raucous fun and surprisingly high winning bids!
14. Bingo Night
This one might not be the big-time money getter like some of the other items on the list, but if you do it on a regular basis, it can be a steady source of revenue for your church.
Charge players by the board. You can set aside a portion of this money to go towards prizes, or you can seek out donors for prizes. From there, it’s just a game of bingo!
If you want to mix it up, play with different patterns. Four Corners, First X, or Coverall can make the game shorter or longer.
15. Sporting Event Parties
Major sporting events are an excellent time to bring your congregation together, along with their families and friends. They’re likely already looking for a fun place to watch the game, and your church can provide it.
Work with a caterer to provide satisfying game-time snacks, or make it a potluck, where everyone brings a different type of finger food. Set up in the community hall, where you can watch the game on a big-screen projector. Charge a small fee for entry, and enjoy the game!
About the Author
Kyle Greco is the resident writer at RushOrderTees, where he blends word nerdery with his love for T-shirts. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he is interested in exploring the intersection of clothing and culture. In his spare time, he makes music, builds guitars, and cooks with his wife. He enjoys hot dogs, sports, and collecting too many hats.