3 Fundraising Tips

Share this:
Share

I am a full time youth pastor. So much of the leadership lessons I learn come from real life experiences. I aim for my content to apply to a broad range, but today I am going to take a slightly different approach and narrow my audience.

Over the last 15 years in paid ministry, I have picked up a few tips along the way to help with fundraising. I have only served in churches where the youth ministry was expected to fundraise to help offset camp and mission trip fees. Here are some tips gleaned along the way.

  1. Context is King – Every church where I have served has had different responses to different events. Some of my favorite fundraisers early on were Ice Cream “Freeze-Offs”, where recently the response hasn’t been so great. Ultimately, find what works in your context. Just because someone had a good experience with it at a different church or town, does not guarantee it will work everywhere.
  2. Offset Costs Where Possible – Recently, I have found having kids sign up to bring the different supplies helps to save a significant amount of money. For example, we will do a “Taco Pile-On” fundraiser lunch in a few weeks. Early on, I would have bought the necessary toppings out of the youth budget. Starting a few years ago, however, I realized if I had kids bring the toppings, then our out of pocket expense would be zero, which meant every dollar received was profit.
  3. Balance On-Site with Off-Site – Depending on the church policies, if you’re able to fund raise off site, try to find a good balance between fundraisers held at church and fundraisers held elsewhere. Make the most of town events. In my current context, our town hosts a city wide garage sale day. In the past we have held our own garage sale (with donated items), sold breakfast burritos, and sold burger deals.

Ultimately, fundraising is something you get better at as you go along, especially with evaluation. What are some things you’ve learned along the way?

If you found this helpful, share it with a friend!

3 thoughts on “3 Fundraising Tips”

  1. This is good, there is no cookie cutter picture of fundraising. It has to work in your context. Around my context, I was getting hit weekly by 3 or 4 students for fundraising they were doing at their school. So I knew that the church was getting hit with the same thing. So, the pre-set fundraisers that had very small return like cookie dough or boxes of chocolates weren’t going to work because people were saturated with them. Plus, so little actually went to the students.
    I also learned an important aspect was to cast a vision for what you are raising funds for. A faceless blanket fundraising wasn’t as profitable (I mean that more than the monetary sense), than when I & the students presented the heart of what they wanted to do. It became profitable in the sense that we had people engaging the students, sincerely wanting to to know about the trip & how they could pray. One year we simply put up the pictures of the individual students & how the church could pray for the students during the trip & the students hope for the trip. Under it we put envelopes with different monetary values. 100% of the profits went to the students. Then other times we did take-out meals that people could pick up after church & burritos that people could get before church. People grew to look forward to it because it gave them the ability to put a face with the students that would be going. Ultimately, when we made these changes, we always met our goal.

  2. Like what Ryan (above) said, the best fundraisers I’ve ever had were those with the most buy-in. When my teenagers and their parents were involved, it became a church-family thing.

    At FBC Earth, we scheduled quarterly fundraisers where the teenagers cooked the meal. Obviously, we had adults who were guiding and teaching, but the teenagers were expected to do the work. Then something happened that I didn’t expect: a few teenagers became so passionate about cooking that they found their own recipes and wanted to take over! It was amazing. We had two or three teenagers who worked hard to perfect a certain dish or side. One teenager was especially passionate about making from scratch the best spaghetti sauce he could. I made sure to help him keep it cost-effective, but when it came time to make the sauce he took the lead and helped teach other teenagers how to do it. It was a pretty cool experience.

    Those quarterly fundraisers didn’t just feed people, they offered a genuine opportunity for the church family to sit and talk. Church members who only got to see each other once or twice a week, were able to sit and visit. Like you said, though. Context is key. There were no restaurants in town open on Sundays. The closest place was 15 minutes away. It was perfect for our church family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *