Whether your church or religious organization needs a little boost in income or your congregation is trying to fund something specific, there are a lot of ways to raise the money you need.
From general church fundraising ideas to fundraisers for youth groups, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to reach your monetary goals.
General Church Fundraising Ideas
1. Text to Tithe
Many members of your congregation probably don’t carry cash and even fewer write checks so when the offering plate is passed around, they’re unable to donate. Make it easier for them to tithe with a text to donate campaign through a service like Snowball or OneCause. Just be sure to let your congregants know that texting is a tithing option!
2. Sell TShirts
Let the members of your congregation show their pride in your church by selling shirts with your church’s logo or a favorite verse. Sites like Bonfire let you design your shirt and sell it online, doing all the work while giving you 100% of the profits. You can also purchase the shirts in bulk to sell in person.
3. Host an Auction
Auctions or silent auctions are a great way to raise money for your church while getting the community involved. Ask members of your congregation and local businesses to donate items or gift certificates to be auctioned off. Invite the public to the event, offer light drinks and snacks, and let the bidding begin!
4. Have a Church Yard Sale
Everyone has things that they no longer use and would love to get rid of. Have people donate these items to your sale at a predetermined location, like your fellowship hall. Have volunteers sort it and work the garage (or fellowship hall) sale. You can advertise the sale on your church’s website, social media accounts, and with flyers on bulletin boards in public places. Donate what doesn’t sell to a charity or thrift shop. You can also try having sales with only specific items like books or children’s clothing.
5. Host a Shoe Drive
Shoe drives are another great way to declutter while raising money for your church, not to mention doing good around the world. Organizations like Funds 2 Orgs collect gently worn shoes and will pay your church a certain amount per pound of shoes donated. They send the shoes to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries to sell in their own communities. Your congregants get rid of things they don’t need, your church will get the funding it needs, and entrepreneurs get shoes to help their business and community thrive. That’s a win-win-win.
6. Sell Engraved Bricks
This is an especially great fundraiser if your church is raising money to expand or repair a building or walkway. Allow congregants to have a message engraved on a brick and charge by the line or letter (whichever you prefer.) Once the building is complete and the bricks are in place, have a ceremony to unveil them!
7. Have a Walkathon or Bikeathon
Organizing a race or walkathon/bikeathon can be hard work, but it’s worth it. Have participants get people to pledge a certain amount for each mile walked, run, or biked and collect the money in the days following the event. You can raise some extra funds by selling merchandise like shirts and water bottles on race day.
8. Custom Calendar Sales
Everyone needs a calendar! Create your calendar a few months before the new year with a service like Snapfish. Design the calendar using photos from the previous year, favorite verses, facts about your church, and anything else you want to include. Set up a table to sell them after services, in your church’s office, or even through your website.
9. Create a Cookbook
Church cookbooks are a classic fundraiser for a few reasons: everyone has a special recipe they want to share and everyone loves to eat! Have church members bring a copy of a recipe they want included in the cookbook along with a little information about the recipe like where they got it. Have one or two people compile the cookbook and either print and bind it yourself or have it done with a service like FedEx Office. You could also create a PDF version for people to use on their phones, tablets, and computers!
10. To-Go Meal Fundraiser
This is another classic church fundraiser because everyone likes to take the night off from cooking! Have members of your church volunteer to prepare a meal (BBQ and the sides are always a popular option) and sell to-go boxes. Be sure to advertise it to the community with signs, flyers, banners, social media, and word of mouth.
Fundraising Ideas for Youth Groups
You can use any of the aforementioned church fundraising ideas for your youth group but since youth group members have more flexibility than your average churchgoer, they’re capable of carrying out different fundraisers. If your youth group is trying to raise money for camp, a mission trip, or anything else, try one of these creative youth group fundraisers.
11. Have a Car Wash
This is a tried-and-true summer fundraiser. Advertise the car was to your congregants, on your church website, social media feeds, and by word of mouth to ensure you get plenty of traffic. On the day of, set up in your church parking lot or, if it’s too secluded, a more public lot (with permission), charge $5 per car, and watch the donations roll in. You could also turn this into a dog wash so your customers go home with a clean car and a clean pet!
12. Make the Grade
This youth group fundraiser not only brings in money, it encourages members to get good grades! At the beginning of the semester, have students that want to take part sign up. Once they’re signed up, they’ll ask people to donate $1-$2 (or more, if you want) for every A or B they receive. At the end of the semester/grading period, they’ll bring in their report cards and the youth group will receive their pledges.
13. Christmas Decoration Set Up and Take Down
While everyone loves having their Christmas decorations up, no one likes putting them up or taking them down once the holidays are over. People are more than happy to pay someone else to do it, especially if the money goes to a good cause. Offer to set up and/or take down Christmas decorations on the weekends right before and right after Christmas for a small fee. Advertise to the entire community via flyers, social media, and word of mouth.
14. Gift Wrapping
This is another Christmastime fundraiser, although it can be done around other holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. Set up a gift wrapping station at church or ask a store if you can set up in a well-trafficked area. Charge a small fee per package and watch the donations come in as people check one more thing off their Christmas to-do list.
15. Sell Cookie Dough
Who can resist cookie dough? It’s a simple and profitable fundraising idea for youth groups: choose a cookie dough program (you can find several with a quick search) and have youth group members sell to people in your church, their neighborhood, friends, family, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can raise with this sweet fundraiser!
16. Movie Night
This is a fun youth group fundraiser because you can make it a youth group-only event, or open it up to the entire congregation. Just choose an appropriate movie (you may have to obtain rights to screen it), charge people a small admission fee, and sell concessions like popcorn, candy, and drinks. Everyone will love seeing a movie while supporting your youth group!
17. Retro Game Night
Similar to movie night, this is a lot of fun! Have people bring their favorite board games, or use ones you already have, and charge a small admission fee. You can also sell concessions to raise some extra money. Make it a monthly event for a consistent fundraiser!
18. Sell Lollipops
You might think you won’t be able to make a lot of money selling lollipops, but you’d be surprised! There are several companies that sell a variety of lollipops in fun shapes, colors, and flavors for a nominal fee. You then sell them for around $1 each. Most kids usually have a dollar or two on them and they can’t resist a fun lollipop!
19. Host a Parents Night
Sometimes parents need a night off. This is where your youth group comes in! Organize a fun social night for parents at the church and charge a small admission fee. The night could include dinner and a movie, game night, or just time for adults to spend time together. For extra convenience offer babysitting services for an additional fee to ensure that parents with small children can attend.
20. Odd Jobs
There are almost certainly people in your congregation with odd jobs they need help with! Create a weekend odd job schedule for your youth group members and have congregants sign up to have their job done for a fee. This could include yard work, small household repairs, painting, cleaning, etc.