15 Fantastic Church Fundraising Ideas
Church fundraising isn’t easy—but it’s often necessary. Sometimes you need to raise money for things like mission trips, new equipment, service projects, or to break ground on a new church building.
Asking people to give above and beyond what they’re currently giving is hard, and fundraising is a fantastic way to get more people involved in the act of generosity. And for many churches, it can be a challenge to think beyond the same tried-and-true approaches. But it’s getting harder and harder to raise significant capital by putting together a bake sale.
Without further ado, here are 14 fantastic church fundraising ideas. Many of these come from America’s fastest-growing churches, so you’ll be able to move forward with any of the ideas below, knowing they’ve worked wonders for Christians across the country.
1. Do cleanup work for a large community event
Community events (like fairs, athletic competitions, etc.) are messy, but often the people organizing them don’t have the workforce or the time to manage cleanup efforts. If you have some large events like this in your community, talk to the organizers about your church handling the cleanup work. Some multi-day events will pay up to $5,000 for efforts like this and often look to nonprofits for the service. And Pushpay’s ChMS allows you to schedule volunteers efficiently, all from your phone.
2. Rent your church for outside events
Because your church prepares weekly worship services, you have a meeting location that many groups in your community would love to use. For centuries, church buildings have been a central place for communities to come together. In recent years, churches have opened up their buildings for weddings, workout programs, and community celebrations.
When you open up your building for outside events, you not only make some additional rental money, but you introduce your facilities to people who possibly never would have dared walk through your doors for a worship service. It doesn’t need to be your sanctuary, either. You could rent out classrooms for community events as well.
Just make sure before you do this that you’re charging an amount that takes into account the extra work your staff will need to do for cleaning and administration for this service. Not every event will be appropriate for your church sanctuary, but many of them will be. You may be able to include (for an extra fee) the support of some of your facilities staff as well.
3. Open a Christmas toy store
The key to this one will be in committing to go as big as possible with promotion. You’ll also need a charismatic person who is comfortable asking for donations. And you’ll need to start your efforts in September, at the latest.
It’s fantastic if you can secure a donated mall or downtown storefront for a week (a donation that would need to be confirmed by real estate owners—which they can write off), but you can also use a large room in your church building. You’ll want some volunteers to help turn your location into a legitimate-looking Christmas store.
During the fall months leading up to Christmas, you’ll be doing a toy drive where You ask people in the community to invest in toys for the drive. It’s great if you can secure drop-off bins in major stores (stores are generally happy to do this because it guarantees sales for them).
The goal is to provide an affordable toy store for families struggling financially that still gives them the dignity of purchasing gifts for their kids.
If it’s successful, this idea can be done every year. As this becomes an established service to the community, it will only grow in demand.
4. Create and sell custom t-shirts
Call on your creative congregants to design some fun and fashionable t-shirts. Many churches create t-shirts for various sermon series and sell them in the church store.
One church in South Carolina created a simple “I love my church” shirts. Church attendees sport these all over town, and the shirts are even popular with people who don’t attend that particular church but still love their churches.
The key is having a creative team and vetting the ideas well. Sometimes your great idea is a dud. It’s good to have some honest input before you commit to the expenditure of printing the t-shirts. (If you have any designers in your congregation, this can be a way for them to donate their talents, too).
5. Partner with well-known companies
Reach out to these or other companies, and see what kind of offers they have for fundraisers.
6. Arrange an auction
Auctions can be a wonderful way to raise funds. The nice thing about them is that they’re only limited by the person’s vision and moxie in charge. If they’re fearless about calling businesses and getting donations, they can secure some pretty big-ticket items, like travel, art, and one-of-a-kind experiences.
The personal services of church attendees can be auctioned as well. Have a CPA in your congregation? Why not auction off an hour or two of their help? Have a gardener or a photographer? People will donate a lot for their services, too.
7. Rent out your parking lot during the week
Most of your parking lot probably goes unused during the week. Your most significant need for space is during your weekend worship service or weekday evening activities. Most of the businesses near your church could make use of your parking during the week. Consider renting a portion of your lot for businesses that need some extra space or for people who work in your area but must get parking on their own.
To figure out a reasonable parking fee, check and see what other nearby parking locations charge. Also, consider polling some of the people in your church who work in the area about what they pay.
You may be able to provide shuttle services to the business (for a fee) as well. Just make sure you’re charging enough for the shuttle service that you can pay any personnel costs and still make a profit.
8. Put on a dinner and movie night
Many churches have state-of-the-art projectors and sound systems. It seems like a shame not to put them to good use! Why not turn part of the church into a restaurant for easy-to-make fare and then show a family movie?
If you can keep the overhead in line and do some thoughtful promotion, it’s possible to generate some good money with little effort. Maybe turn this idea into a summer series, and if you have the equipment to do the movies outside with a barbecue, all the better!
9. Host a community walk-a-thon
This idea not only helps you make some extra money, but it will encourage the people in your church to get some exercise! Have your congregants ask their friends and family to sponsor their walks at a certain amount per mile. You can also open up the fundraiser beyond your church family. You might have people in the community willing to walk for the fundraiser, particularly if you’re specific about the fundraiser’s goals.
Check with your local municipality to make sure you’ve filled out any proper paperwork for the event. Depending upon where you hold the walk-a-thon, you may need to have certain roads blocked off. You’ll want to start your planning early enough to make sure this is possible. To get the word out about the event (and your church), have t-shirts printed for the event. Give every participant a t-shirt.
Make sure you have a plan B in case the weather is bad on the planned day. Have an alternative day for the event or try to secure an indoor location. (Consider asking your local high school to host the event in the gym).
10. Rent out your pastor!
This can be a simple addition to an auction or stand-alone as its own church fundraiser. All you need is some promotion and a pastor who’s game. Just advertise two hours of the pastor’s time cleaning bathrooms, clearing brush, cooking meals, or anything else the winner dreams up. Your church is guaranteed to have fun with this one!
11. Open a community thrift store
Pastor Jerry Harris of The Crossing in Quincy, IL, started a thrift store and staffed it with local workers from Celebrate Recovery programs. He asked his church to donate their unused items for inventory. This helped raise awareness of what The Crossing was doing for their community, and it brought much-needed income to those unemployed members.
12. Open a daycare
Many churches sit vacant all week but are still paying for utilities. Other churches are already providing on-site childcare for employees. Why not open it up to the community at a discount? This is a great way to build a relationship with local families that can also raise funds!
13. Offer up workshare spaces
More and more companies create positions for remote workers or remote teams, but working from home is not always ideal for everyone. Many churches have the room to rent comfortable work or collaboration spaces to people who can’t afford to rent office space.
14. Utilize Pushpay!
Pushpay’s Total Engagement Package can do many things, including raising funds with the mobile giving solution.
Crowdfunding sites have taught us that sometimes all you need to do is ask. If everyone shares your Pushpay app on social media and asks their friends and families to download it and make a donation (as well as share the update), you’re sure to be surprised at how responsive people will be. The simple and intuitive nature of the Pushpay app makes it easy and satisfying to give.
To learn more, contact us for more information.
How To Vet A Church Fundraising Idea
As your church begins to pull together possible fundraising ideas, it’s important to have a method for weeding out the less-than-stellar ones. Here are some simple questions to ask as you choose the best strategy:
1. Has someone else recently used this church fundraising idea?
There is something to be said for novelty. While you don’t necessarily need to throw out a suggestion because a church or organization in your town has just used it (or plans to), it should give you pause. Did they already sell the same product or service? If so, it can diminish the freshness and value of the idea.
2. How much will the church fundraising idea bring in?
You’ve probably sat through many church fundraising discussions where the question of potential income was never brought up. Part of the reason this question is avoided is that there’s no way to know how much an idea will bring in. But you still need to have an idea and set a goal.
The inability to make educated estimates often leads churches to choose poorly performing fundraisers. Do some research. Find out how similar fundraisers have performed elsewhere or how they’ve worked for you in the past. Make projections based on potential traffic and what you will charge for services or products.
3. How much will this church fundraising idea cost?
Once you have a guesstimate for how much a fundraiser might bring in, it’s time to think about the cost. How much will this cost you in money and time? The ideal fundraisers bring the greatest return with the least amount of investment, but you knew that.
4. Can you combine multiple church fundraising ideas?
While no one is keen on suggesting car washes, bake sales, or rummages, you might be onto something if you could combine the three ideas. Imagine a yard sale where you could purchase a snack, browse used items from the community, and have your car washed.
Combining various ideas to make them more robust, engaging, and lucrative can turn a couple of so-so ideas into one fantastic event.
There’s a lot more to consider when identifying great fundraising ideas—like technology and how it changes the church’s generosity. Learn how your church can best respond to the digital giving trends currently affecting the ways your community expresses generosity.
Download your free copy of the popular resource, How Your Church Can Go from Surviving to Thriving today.