Brainstorming for a church fundraising campaign? Here are 17 ideas to get you started.
While your specific church’s fundraising needs may be varied, we have created a list of church fundraising ideas with strategies that are applicable to church building projects, missions trips, and ministry work.
With church fundraising so often falling on the shoulders of the staff and elders, don’t overlook the opportunity to get all church members to be involved! In our following list of the top 17 church fundraising ideas, you’ll find there are strategies that are church-led, those that individuals can take the lead on, as well as ideas for small groups, youth groups, and families.
To demonstrate real ways that churches have achieved fundraising goals, we’ll also take a look at case studies of how three churches cumulatively raised over $150,000 to explore what tips you can apply to your own fundraising campaign!
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17 Fundraising Ideas For Churches, Ministries, and Small Groups
1. Start A Social Media Movement
It’s common for people to be checking their phones day and night, so a great way to reach out to potential supporters is to have a strong social media presence.
Beyond posting your campaign goals and progress updates, another method to create buzz is by starting a social movement. Dedicated hashtags provide an easy way for people to get involved (they can start by simply sharing the tag) and to build hype.
The famous ALS bucket challenge is a stellar example of how social media movements can go viral and raise a lot of noise for your cause. There could be a funny and engaging way for your group to start a social phenomenon that also brings in funds. Using a comical or an unexpected challenge can be particularly effective in engaging younger fundraisers, who are familiar with viral content and wry humor.
One way to go about this could be to start with the youth pastor, who’s typically very influential among the church’s youth and the congregation as a whole. Getting him or her involved in a potentially-viral social media challenge draws lots of attention and sets a great example to get everyone involved!
2. Film A Video Campaign
When a nonprofit leader makes a personal ask, the appeal is much stronger than a web banner. With video, such personal appeals can be captured and shared.
Video is also ideal for telling the story and impact of your organization’s work. Interviews with people you’ve helped let others clearly see the impact you’re making, and it encourages them to get involved. Embedding video into your dedicated campaign page is a good way to keep everything centralized.
3. Create A Dedicated Campaign Website
One of the best ways to promote your fundraising campaign is to have a professional platform.
A well-designed platform gives supporters confidence to donate online. With consistent branding, your campaign page carries the same look and feel as your existing website and other marketing tools, creating seamless integration.
As well as being pleasing to the eyes, a professional site has easy navigation. A pleasant look and excellent UX design let donors feel more comfortable in making online contributions.
Moreover, with a dedicated donation page, supporters can speedily share the link with friends and family via email or social media. Easy access to your fundraising page makes it convenient for people to support.
4. Encourage Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Without a doubt, personal relationships are a strong way to engage supporters. People are more likely to support causes they know and trust, or when they personally know someone who’s involved.
Mobilizing your teammates to reach out to their own networks, set up coffee dates, share the vision in-person, and make on-the-spot appeals can result in great fundraising impact.
Your team members can set up their own fundraising pages in tandem with your campaign platform. Personal pages provide a way for members to take ownership of fundraising goals. They can establish smaller benchmarks that will add up to your overarching aims.
5. Find Matching Grants
Does someone you know have the capacity to make matching contributions? Even if it’s only up to a certain amount, the offer of a matching grant creates strong incentive for others to give.
A matching contribution also doubles your support and hastens your fundraising progress.
6. Spread Testimonials
A satisfied client speaks volumes about the value of your organization. Capitalize on their happiness by recording their testimony and sharing it.
Testimonies can be written on your campaign page, in a fundraising email, or in a campaign letter. These stories tell others how your church’s ministry has impacted their lives, and it gives them solid reasons and clear motivation to support you financially. A more creative way is to film life-change stories or to design them into a social post, such as a Pinterest or Instagram graphic.
7. Buy One, Give One
The concept behind TOMS shoes is game-changing and inspirational. Although TOMS is for-profit, their strategy of selling a product that carries fundraising value can be emulated by non-profits.
Let’s say your ministry provides lunches for homeless citizens. Hosting a lunch sale that offers “buy a lunch, give a lunch” with sandwiches priced at a slight premium can be a creative way to promote your cause.
8. Host A Vision-Sharing Night
Seeing many supporters gathered in one place creates the sense of making a united effort for the cause. You can draw like-minded people together through hosting a dinner or dessert night, during which you share your vision and present the opportunity to support.
Your presentation can be enhanced with visual and video elements. Images speak loudly, stir emotions, and are extremely helpful in illustrating your cause.
9. Offer A Community Sports Event
Sports events bring the community together and provide a way for families to mingle and have fun. A bouncy castle, a cotton candy machine, and a homemade obstacle course are all you need to get a neighborhood fair started.
Selling affordable tickets to your event raises funds for your cause, while you provide an enjoyable afternoon for your community.
10. Eat Yogurt At A Fundraising Party
Frozen dessert cafes including Menchie’s and Yeti Yogurt provide opportunities for you to host a fundraising party at their establishment. Your friends get to attend a froyo party and taste delicious flavors, and you get to receive fundraising proceeds. Sounds yummy!
11. Sell Sidewalk Doughnuts
A fun way for youth to get involved in fundraising is by selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts. This company offers a 50-60% profit margin to support your cause, while the product itself is delectable and enticing.
12. Do A Community Car Wash
On a sunny weekend, you can host a by-donations car wash in your church parking lot. (Some gas stations also welcome this type of fundraising event, so you can always call and ask.)
Youth and families can get involved in promoting the event and in cleaning vehicles. Providing this car wash service for the community is also a great way to meet people and build new relationships as well!
13. Sell Movie Vouchers
Most people are bound to watch a few movies throughout the year, and companies such as Cineplex offer easy ways to sell tickets for fundraising. A Cineplex voucher works at any brand location and has long expiry dates, giving ticket-holders more flexibility.
14. Provide Gift Cards For Christmas Giving
Gift cards are a convenient way to give to the person who has everything. Companies such as Scrip Pro and Giftcards for Causes provide commission for every card you sell, contributing to your fundraising goals.
15. Sing At A Charity Concert
Got someone on your team who’s talented? Gather vocal, dance, and instrument skills together for an amazing charity concert benefitting your cause.
Volunteers can offer their musical creativity, and you can sell concert tickets and raffle stubs to support your ministry.
16. Run For A Good Cause
Fundraising always requires effort, and sometimes it’s physical too. Running a marathon shows donors you’re willing to sacrifice for your cause, and it invites them to put in a little effort too by donating.
For a humorous spin on fun runs, check out how this group hosted a successful no-run run!
17. Partner With A Major Donor
For a final push, you may need to bring a high-level donor on board. Major partners require long-term relationship cultivation and deeper communication and transparency. It’s not usually something achieved in a day, but developing these crucial connections can secure steady support over the years.
And now for one final tip…
Set A Short Deadline
When campaigns are short, they foster a sense of urgency. This gives more reason for people to donate now, rather than putting it off until year-end.
A clear timeline also keeps you and your team accountable and on track. It’s much harder to procrastinate when campaign end is just around the corner. So keep pushing, team!
What We Can Learn From 3 Churches That Raised $150,000+
Anchor church nearly doubled their $15,000 fundraising goal. During their month-long campaign, social sharing made a big difference. Here are a few factors that contributed to their success:
- Having a centralized donation platform, designed to fit seamlessly with existing website and marketing colors and style
- Able to track both online and offline donations on the same platform, indicating progress in a clear and attractive way
- Ability to easily raise support through social sharing of the platform link
Despite the slow trickle of funds during the first days of fundraising, TGC Crown Heights surpassed financial goals by the end of their one-month campaign. Here are a few of their key strategies:
- Narrate church’s past-to-present journey on campaign site, to attract and engage supporters
- Use video donation appeal to increase the “personal ask” factor
- 30-day campaign deadline to create a sense of urgency
TCG Williamsburg encouraged church members to build their own personal fundraising pages to support the overall campaign. The resulting ripple effect was one of several factors that helped TCG Williamsburg reach their ambitious goal.
- Centralized campaign site with consistent branding gave donors confidence to contribute online
- Church members took ownership of fundraising by creating personal pages
- Video testimonies of life change featured on campaign site conveyed impact of the church’s work and inspired support
We hope these ideas and case study insights stir your imagination for what your church can do. For more fundraising tips and wisdom, visit our blog that’s regularly updated with helpful resources and interviews with nonprofit leaders.
If you’re ready to get started with an fundraising platform, you can start a campaign today for free.