03 Apr Church Fundraising Ideas: 4 Strategies Churches are Using Today to Raise More Money
Are you planning a church fundraiser? Maybe you really need to increase funds. Perhaps you’re looking to raise enough money to send a missions team off for a few weeks.
No matter what you’re fundraising for, it can be difficult to make any headway. Especially in the oversaturated and over-marketed world, we’re living in today.
But, no matter the difficulty of raising money, the need to fundraise is always there. Churches and nonprofits alike still need to raise enough money to function.
Some organizations have better fundraising strategies than others. But, what makes them better? Churches especially have been implementing some new strategies to increase fundraising and to help keep themselves in the black. So, what are these successful strategies, and why are some working better than others?
Today we’re going to dive in and learn about four of these strategies, why they’re working so well, and how to implement them.
#1 Ticketed Dinner Night or Cook-Off
Many churches offer a weekly dinner, but it’s often at an expense to the church in order to bless whoever comes. Those nights are great! By all means, continue having them. But, a great thing to do for a fundraiser is a ticketed dinner event. Here are some different theme ideas you could use:
- Hawaiian or tropical theme for families. This is a great one if you have a lot of families at the church, and it can be really easy to make it fun and interactive. Serve fruit punch, a fruit bowl, and cook-out on the grills. If it’s summertime, you could have a bonfire and charge a little for the tickets. One last level-up would be renting an inflatable screen and showing Moana or another fun tropical movie.
- A Valentine’s dinner for the adults. Another solid idea for a youth fundraiser is a valentine’s themed dinner. Young adults or high school students can watch the kids and serve the dinner. Dim the lights to make it fun and romantic and consider playing an old romantic comedy or couples based tv show.
- The Cook-Off. If you have a church that loves barbeque or grilling, consider a cook-off. A cook-off is a great idea for any church that is looking to boost engagement, have a very interactive event, and empower different members of the church to express themselves. It can be an excellent fundraiser, and it doesn’t have to be BBQ. You can do pie, potato salad, or any food you decide!
- A Weekend Breakfast. The classic and essential fundraiser is the weekend breakfast. Whether on a Sunday morning before church or a Saturday morning, the weekend breakfast can really bring a crowd. The best part about hosting a breakfast is that it can be done in a pretty affordable way.
Lastly, making these dinners or breakfasts annual can really boost engagement. It’s easy for these events to become traditions. Community members will enjoy getting to come back year over year with their family or spouse. Meals also make for a great thing to invite friends and family to. Encourage your congregation to invite people that they think would enjoy the event.
#2 Team Up With a Local Business
A lot of local businesses, especially restaurants, will partner with fundraising teams to donate a portion of their profits to the fundraiser on a specific night. One such restaurant is Pizza Ranch here in the midwest. At this restaurant, your fundraising team can help by clearing plates and getting drinks for customers. This is a great option, especially if you can get church members to come out to the restaurant and support the sponsored evening. Don’t forget to put a donation bucket out as well!
Other businesses like car-washes might also be willing to partner with you. Consider reaching out and seeing how your fundraising team can help their business, and in turn, they can help you!
#3 Host a Silent Auction or Use a Letter Campaign
Hosting a silent auction is a great way to offer value back to the people that give. It can also be a fun and interactive add on to another event that you’re already hosting. Reach out to different businesses or stores to donate items that you can use in the auction. This makes it a great way for local businesses to get involved and show some presence as well.
Try using a letter campaign to ask for different items that you can use in the auction. Or, consider writing letters to ask for money. A lot of people seriously underestimate how well letters work to get people involved. Invite those who need to fundraise over to the church for a letter-writing night and then, at the end of the evening, address them to different individuals and businesses. The format of these letters can be straightforward. Here’s a great example of fundraising letters.
#4 Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology is often an underused fundraising tool. There are actually quite a few ways that your church could be using technology to help boost engagement and giving. Consider beefing up your social media presence before a big fundraiser. Or, ask community members to share your content and invite friends to follow your organization. Even simply posting engaging content that people enjoy interacting with and seeing every day can help improve engagement. Make sure that your website is up-to-date and that it’s easy to give online.
Invest in Text-To-Give and Text Notifications
Two tools that we highly recommend using because of the great results that they bring to fundraising are text-to-give and text notifications. With text-to-give solutions, community members are able to give to your fundraiser by simply sending a text. This allows gifts to happen easily and hassle-free.
Text notifications are the perfect tool for communication around fundraising because of their simplicity. Unlike email and other forms of digital communication, text notifications get sent right to the phone of your members and appear just like a text from any other number.
When working towards becoming a more successful fundraising organization, thinking outside the box is crucial. If you’re really going to overhaul your fundraising strategies, it’s going to take a new mindset. One big mindset shift is how often and when you choose to ask for donations. If your congregation feels as though you’re constantly asking for support or money, then it might be difficult for them to always be giving. In general, most church members won’t have the resources to give above and beyond every week.
Instead, focus your appeal to specific things and only ask for a big give once a quarter or every other year. Focusing on specific things in specific seasons will help your community understand what they’re giving to and feel a sense of duty to help and put forth funds. It’s also critical that you give your community time to prepare for this. Making them aware a few weeks or a month in advance is going to allow everyone to fit it into their budget.
Understand the Big Picture
Another thing that most fundraisers struggle to do is see the big picture. It becomes too easy to see small issues in fundraisers and completely overlook the grand scheme of things. Take, for example, a mission trip that is going to Texas. We can get caught up on raising enough money to get there, but we forget why we’re going on the missions trip in the first place. Make the big picture part of your ask and keep your community engaged with what you’re trying to accomplish. Focus on the why of what you’re doing and less on the how.
This works in every part of fundraising. We didn’t include it as a strategy because it’s more of a best practice. But, if you’re able to engrain this idea into your community, it will help when receiving giving and tithing on a weekly basis as well. Everyone will be more apt to give if it’s not about the money and instead about the end goal or big picture.
Sometimes giving can seem redundant and frustrating. But, giving does have a big impact on people’s lives. Here are some inspiring giving stories to help keep your mind on the prize!