50 Church Fundraising Ideas
Church bake sales are awesome, but you might be ready to shake it up a bit and approach your church fundraising goals in a new way. Pray for the work ahead, solidify your vision and passion and try some of these ideas to shape your next fundraising campaign.
Fundraising for Other Nonprofits
Raise money to support other nonprofits such as a local schools, outreach or overseas ministries.
- Love Your City Campaign - Have a one-day sale of donations that highlight local sports teams, city-themed clothing and artwork, items from local businesses and food from favorite local restaurants. Collecting items is easy with a donation sign up.
- For-the-Home Sale - Ask for donations of only home-related items (no clothing) and sell these items to benefit a local shelter.
- Jewelry Bazar for Global Ministries - Seek out nonprofits that distribute or sell the creations of jewelry-making ministries from impoverished countries. Gather a few of those ministries and organize a shopping event to help support and fund their mission.
- Black Friday Coffee Stand - Ask early risers in your congregation to donate 30 minutes to an hour of time to sell coffee (and treats!) to Black Friday shoppers. Remember to advertise that the money is going to a local ministry such as a crisis pregnancy center or women's shelter. Genius Tip: Organize volunteer shifts with an online sign up.
- Amazon-a-thon - Challenge church members to buy gift cards from Amazon in whatever amount they feel led to give. Use the donations to buy school supplies for a local school with a high population of at-risk students.
- Knock Out Hunger - Use events such as a church picnic to rent an inflatable "boxing ring" and oversized gloves. Have members pay "entrance fees" for the pastors to box each other to raise money for a food pantry.
Organize volunteers for a mission trip with an online sign up! SAMPLE.
- Ministry Photo Album - Create a photo book to resell that has pictures of your church contributing to the nonprofit you are raising money for. Tell the stories of lives that have been changed as a result of your church's assistance.
- Pay-to-Play Sports Day - To raise money for international sports ministries, host a day of tournament play or pay-to-play sports challenges.
- High Heel Sprint Race - Add to your sports day by hosting a "Pastors In Heels" sprint race in the church parking lot, with members "sponsoring" a pastor with their donations. Or open it to everyone and folks can donate $25 NOT to run.
- Every Dollar Helps a-Latte - One thing is certain, most churchgoers love a Sunday cup of java. Promote to your congregation that next Sunday you will be taking donations of any amount in exchange for their cup of coffee with all the money going to a local ministry you support.
- A Day In the Life - Decorate different Sunday school classrooms with descriptions of what life is like for children in other countries (what they might eat, where they might sleep, if/how often they might go to school) and host a walk-though event to share the stories. Open this to your community and charge an admission fee or ask for donations to send to children's mission organizations in those countries.
- Christmas Card Photo Fundraiser - Recruit a photographer in your congregation or area to donate some time for Christmas Card Mini-Sessions. Set up a holiday backdrop (or pretty outdoor spot) in October or November and for $50 families can get pictures for their cards and check that off their to-do list! Proceeds can go to a ministry that supplies Christmas gifts to needy families.
Fundraising for Ministry Needs
Go above and beyond regular giving for a ministry need in your own church.
- Outreach Field Trip - Plan a day where knowledgeable volunteers take a van of church members on an hour-long "field trip" to see ministries in the community your church supports. Charge a fee or take a love offering to help boost fundraising for these ministries.
- One-day Christmas Tree Sale - Coordinate with a grower in your state, and use the funds to purchase gifts for children whose parents are incarcerated during the holidays.
- Online Crowdfunding - Promote an online-giving campaign in the weekly email newsletter by using crowdfunding websites for special needs such as a fund to help families with the financial side of adoption.
- Church Business Directory - If you are raising money for God's business, why not let church members (especially in large congregations) have the opportunity to buy space in a church business directory with the profits (after printing) going to a specific ministry need.
- Sunday Sundries - Have an ongoing Sunday morning sale of bagels, specialty donuts or fruit cups to support an outreach program.
- Local Business Coupons – Approach local businesses such as car washes and pizza places that sell coupons and give the ministry a percentage of the profits. Look at the websites of local businesses and see if they have a fundraising tab.
- Expert Lecture Series - Have a Bible expert, chemistry or history teacher in your congregation host a lecture series on an interesting topic and sell tickets to fund materials for the Sunday school program.
- Church S.W.A.G. - If your church has never printed any S.W.A.G (stuff we all get) like bumper stickers, coffee mugs, etc., it might be time to raise some money using your church's logo.
- Homeless for a Night - What would it be like to sleep in a makeshift home? Raise money for a local homeless shelter by having a lock-in with families and have them bring their own cardboard "house" to sleep in. Take donations or charge admission.
- Festival On The Green - Use an outdoor space to have several ministries showcase their gifts (handbells, puppet team, teen worship band) and charge an entrance fee to help support the ongoing needs of these ministries. Sell refreshments or offer a boxed spaghetti dinner for added fundraising.
- Trivia Tournament - Organize a tournament and charge an entry fee for teams or individual events. The trivia can be Bible-themed, specific to your church or pertain to the focus country of an upcoming mission trip.
- Photo Church Scavenger Hunt - Host a church photo scavenger hunt for Sunday school classes or small groups where teams text pictures off a predetermined list to the event host. Charge an entrance fee and have other church members pledge money per picture taken.
- Themed Auctions - Have a theme for your auction and let the fundraising begin. Ideas include:
- Vintage/Unique T-shirt Auction- Best Dish Ever (auction off favorite potluck dishes created by those who do it best)
- Themed baskets done by small groups or Sunday school classes (summer fun, movie night, etc.)
Plan a church festival with an online sign up! SAMPLE.
Fundraising for Capital Projects
One bake sale won’t cut it, so break down the larger goal with several fundraisers.
- Church Guessing Game - As you work toward your fundraising goal, put a difficult-to-answer question up each week about the church and have church members give a donation to try to answer it correctly. Winners get recognized at the next service.
- Event Auction - Gather event tickets for local sporting and fine art events and host a silent auction or weekly raffle for the tickets.
- Camp Throwback - Instead of a black-tie event, have a flip-flops and s'mores night. Sing campfire songs and have a silent auction of donated outdoor equipment.
- Christmas Basket Bonanza - Have donated baskets and low-cost fillers (homemade mixes, tea towels, inexpensive notecards, small candles) to be auctioned to the highest bidder or sold to give as Christmas gifts to teachers and co-workers.
- Psalm 119:105 Floor Messages - Offer an evening when families can come in while the floor of a new building is still unfinished and ask for a donation to write a family verse or inspirational message on the sub-flooring in permanent marker.
- Buy a brick - Ask for larger donations for dedication stones or paving bricks to be placed in the new building.
- Themed Exercise Event - With the popularity of 5K runs and Cross Fit, organizing a day of sports competition can be a fun way to raise money.
- Travel Auction - Pick some local destinations (gather donations of museum tickets or a hotel stay) or go big and have members donate time at vacation homes. This can also be done as a raffle for one large vacation package.
- Jail Break Sunday - Set up a PVC pipe "jail" and set bail amounts to get the pastor, Sunday school teachers or worship team out of jail! Kids can also pay to have parents "arrested" (and vice versa) and set free once certain dollar amounts are raised.
- Parking Spot Auction – Especially good for large congregations, prime parking spaces can fetch big donations for a year's worth of rock star parking.
- Crafting Carnival - Calling all crafters! Ask quilters, knitters, painters and other artisans to come sell their wares. Take the creativity up a notch by selling admission tickets and having poets, musicians and those who can craft a tall tale also share their talents. A portion of sales is donated.
- Inflatable Sports Competition - Rent equipment such as sumo suits for a wrestling tournament or inflatable gladiator jousting between pastors to raise money at your next church picnic. Whoever earns the least donations has to fight first.
For Youth or Children's Needs
Fulfill financial needs in your children's ministry, a seasonal youth outreach event or youth mission trip.
- Postcard Blitz - Have children make art for postcards and then send out your fundraising appeal on these original art cards.
- Giving Wall - Place 50 envelopes (or more) on a wall of the church with amounts written on them ($1 to whatever is reasonable!) decorated by the youth, with a slip inside describing what the money will be going to and a list of prayer requests. Church members take an envelope and fill it.
- Church Calendar - Have students submit original faith-themed artwork or take "artsy" pictures around your church building and add verses and encouraging quotes to sell to members.
- Tutoring Auction - Offer up hour-long tutoring sessions for a fee or donation with older students who excel in a particular academic area.
- Christian Book Fair - Gather donated books from each Sunday school class and hold a book fair to raise money for classroom supplies.
- Booth-a-Palooza - Have an evening to raise money with booths such as a Bible-themed photo booth, a kissing booth (use one of the pastor's friendly dogs), a dunking booth (donations for dunking the children's pastor or Sunday school teacher).
Organize a gift card fundraiser with an online sign up! SAMPLE.
- Holiday-inspired Fundraising - Organize and sell Christmas trees and wreaths and have a full day of fundraising gift wrapping. If your fundraising is a long-term project, incorporate other holidays such as customized Easter baskets, Fourth of July T-shirts or a pumpkin patch.
- Toys for Trips Yard Sale - This isn't meant to be heartless, but teens with tubs of Legos or a decent Barbie collection might be willing to let them go if it helps them attend a mission trip. You can even just ask folks to pay their best price since the money is going to a worthy cause.
- Change Jar - Print on jars around the church, "Some people hate change … please give us yours!" Have church members donate all the change they can find around the house and car for a month.
- Giving Tree - Give church members the amounts of specific items such as "$100 for Four Sunday School chairs" or "$50 for a New Classroom Dry Erase Board" and let them donate the amount for the needed items. Hang them with string on a "Giving Tree" (a simple branch in a bucket filled with sand), or organize a virtual giving tree sign up.
- Sunday Morning Lemonade Stand - Have younger church members make and sell lemonade during the summer months to help raise money for a local mission project.
- Restaurant Night - Search a local restaurant's website or call to see if they do fundraising nights where a portion of the proceeds can go to your youth group. Call at least two months in advance to make sure you get a date that works for your fundraising need.
- Night-Out Fundraiser - Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas Shopping, Date Night … these are all great occasions to offer babysitting at the church done by the youth so adults can have a night out. Ask for a free-will donation or amount per hour/per child.
Fundraising is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, but by layering several of these ideas together that best fit your church culture, you will find a winning combination to make your church fundraising efforts a success.
Julie David is married to a worship pastor and after 20 years in ministry together with three daughters, she is still developing the tender balance of thick skin and gracious heart. She leads a small group of high school girls.