In Praise of Online Fund Raising
Just about any kind of event will work as a church fund raiser: Fashion show, garden party, pet parade, or Ice Cream Social. People brought together in a common religion and cause are always willing to help. As the organizer, it is key to plan ahead and try to put some creative spin on old ideas, choose a time that doesn’t conflict with other big initiatives for your church, and recruit as much good help as possible.
Creating and selling merchandise can be fun and rewarding. Check online sources for T-shirts, sweats, calendars and anything that will bear the imprint of your Church name, program motto or saying.
Aside from merchandise and the usual standbys like car washes, here are few twists to make your church fund raising efforts pay off.
A Winning Ticket
Raffles and contests can be good money makers and easier than planning a big event. Ask your church officials to solicit before and after services, and then use an online tool like WePay to sell tickets or accept donations. Be sure to ask the church Secretary to send out the link to your fundraising site with the bulletins and online newsletters or local media ads your church might place.
Bring Out the Old
Church rummage sales aren’t a new idea but they are a good one! Merchandise at no cost means 100% profit to your church. There are good ways to plan a tag sale/ rummage sale event:
- Collect goods all year. Hold clothing drives at regular intervals through the year. The more stuff you have, the more you will sell.
- Combine the sale with other sales. Let people who may not be part of your congregation bring their own yard-sale goods and charge a small space fee.
- Allow people to being other big sale items too: charge a space fee for cars, trucks or boats!
- Advertise on social media and Craigslist – these are the places people go to find big yard sales these days!
Food For Thought
Everyone loves food and there are some creative ways to expand on your bake sale. Bite-sized and right sized desserts like mini-cup cake and cake pops are all the rage these days. Make it easy on yourself by sticking to one popular bake sale item: cookie sale, Cinnamon Roll Sunday or Brownie Bonanza. Sell individual portions to congregants on Sunday morning and have packages ready to take home or give as gifts.
- People want to have fun and enjoy a meal while donating. Organize a Pot Luck at the church with everyone donating items, then charge a donation for the plate!
- Aside from baked good sales any type of dinner can be made profitable by good pre- planning.
- Create a theme dinner – Mexican or Italian are less expensive options.
- Solicit local restaurants to donate food or services
- Ask local culinary schools and colleges for assistance. Get help cooking for a large group.
Presale tickets on the previous Sundays. Advance sales are better for your bottom line and you’ll get a better line on the number of people coming to your dinner. You can easily handle ticket sales online through WePay where people can buy individual tickets or use their credit card to reserve a whole table.
When you make a meal, make it an experience. Provide some ambiance in the church hall, change it up with some music and candlelight! Have your servers dress up in international costumes or as fancy dress waiters.
Some religions don’t promote caffeine consumption but churches that don’t have anything against people imbibing actually use coffee for fundraising. Why not collect the money at your church instead of the local Starbucks? As many of us know from our “latte fund,” the money for fancy coffee drinks adds up. Some have taken to selling coffee on Sunday morning, running a coffee cart in the church lobby or even setting up actual coffee houses on the property. Several progressive churches have taken it miles farther by supporting Fair-Trade coffee plantations and selling the coffee through their parish.
Coffee carts are available through party rental companies, why not try one for a Sunday?
- Teach the youth group lessons in how to take coffee orders and make espresso
- Re-package warehouse store beans into smaller bags and sell at a profit. Make Custom labels with sayings and favorite verses.
- Sell custom imprinted coffee cups from your church group with the coffee for a higher price point
On A Mission
Many church and non-profit fundraising efforts are to support foreign missions and missionaries. The opportunity to help others in less fortune countries, or victims of natural disasters and human rights abuses is a calling. The opportunity to share more about the cultures and peoples who will be served helps provide insight to their needs. It could also help you with a theme to your event!
- Foreign foods: promote an international dinner or buffet, getting local restaurants to cater, donate and help
- Music and Dance expositions, selling International CD’s, hosting recitals
- Selling crafts and handiwork from the country you are highlighting
- Having kids exchange dolls across countries to raise funds and awareness while educating children on both sides of the exchange
Good works take effort and many take money… money that you can raise by really promoting your next fund-raising event or project. Have faith it will come together to benefit your church and the whole community.