Regular tithing and giving is no longer the norm for American churches. According to a study on church giving that includes data from 2021-2023, churchgoers are tithing about 2.5% of their annual income. This means fundraising is on the rise at churches and pastors are looking for church fundraising ideas now more than ever before.
While you can classify a church fundraising event as something completely different from tithing and giving, a good church giving software tool can help you track and separate out all of your revenue. This makes it easier to assess whether you need to lean more on raising funds or pushing for more tithes and offerings.
Whether you are looking to supplement your church's revenue or trying to raise funds for a specific project, you are looking to learn what kind of fundraising events might work best for your specific situation.
In this article, I will break down what we mean by a church fundraiser, ways to raise money for your church, and give you some great church fundraiser ideas to run with!
All nonprofit organizations need to raise funds at some point, but a church fundraising campaign is a bit different than a standard nonprofit fundraising event. While many nonprofits can focus on crowdfunding campaigns and online fundraising, most churches need to rely on their church community due to the religious nature of the organization.
Regular community members who aren’t connected with your local church might not be interested in filling out a donation form, participating in a bake sale, or going to a local restaurant on a specific night to support your religious organization. However, that doesn’t mean that people in the community won’t support a good cause!
Taking advantage of a fundraising opportunity by making it specific to the impact on the community is a great way to involve people who aren’t members of your church. Shifting your thinking to this mindset can get you thinking of ways you could raise money for your church.
How Can I Raise Money For My Church?
Church members, generally, will always support your church fundraiser ideas because it will directly impact them. Other community members may not, though, if they don’t make the connection between helping the church and helping their community.
As someone who has participated in many, many church fundraisers over my years in ministry (vocational and volunteer), I have seen what fundraisers strike a chord with both members of your congregation and members from outside of your community. Recognizing a great opportunity to invest in your community and not just your own church is a great first step.
You can do this by:
- Finding a need in your community: see a gap in your immediate community (or even your online community) and how the church might also have a need where these two overlap.
- Connecting with those outside of your church community: determine if there is a match between what the community needs and what your church needs and then see what non-church members would think about the church providing that need for the community.
- Aligning your church fundraising ideas with the needs of the local community: be specific on how it will help your community and how the church can provide for that need.
- Track as much data as possible from the fundraising event: whether you use a fundraising software or any number of fundraising tools, just make sure to track as much data as possible so you can continue to improve for the next time around.
Once you find and create a process to do these tasks regularly, then you will be well on your way to defining excellent ways to raise money for your church. Now, all you need are some effective fundraising ideas to get started.
7 Church Fundraiser Ideas
Lead pastors will often think their church may be too small or large for certain church fundraising ideas. The fundraising events on this list, though, can work for a church of any size or shape with a little bit of work. However, there are a few ideas on this list that might hinge on having a church building or parking lot, but most can be outsourced to local businesses if needed!
These ideas can help you raise funds for your next mission trip, raise money for your youth group, or can simply be a fun way of engaging more intentionally with your local community.
The important thing is to make your fundraising efforts align with a community need so your entire community can be involved, not just your church members.
1. Community Yard Sale
People love yard sales, but they don’t love organizing or advertising for a yard sale. Take advantage of the overflow junk your church members have laying around and then encourage the community to join in as well.
Use this as a fundraising opportunity along with a potluck. People can pay per person with an entry fee to have their own booth since your church will be doing all the logistical set up and advertising, or you could even combine it with a car wash, selling baked goods at a bake sale, or other fundraiser and make it an entire event.
This will take a lot of logistical work from your church volunteers (and yourself), but it can be a fun way to engage your local community and raise some funds for whatever your church needs along the way.
2. Valentine’s Date Dinner
You can use this for any major holiday like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s, etc. All you need is to advertise for the event, determine a meal and cost, and, if you can swing it, include babysitting as well. This will allow a lot of the parents in your local community to have a cost effective date night in one space rather than spending hundreds of dollars for one or two hours out.
You can even step this up a bit by adding in a movie night as part of the dinner. People can pay for the dinner and movie separately or just one or the other. This can be one of the best church fundraising ideas because it meets a great need in the community while bringing in some significant funds for your project.
Keeping track of the data for this fundraising event will be critical to making future events even more successful.
3. Community Game Night
If you have members of your congregation who are big board game fans, then this event can be easy to set up. All you need are plenty of board games for people to play, tables and chairs for people to play at, and a way to create a fun and inviting environment.
Even a small church can pull this event off because it doesn’t require a ton of space, it is easy to replicate however many times you want, and you can build a great community from a common interest. Simply charge a small fee to participate and cover the cost of any damaged games or missing pieces and you’ve got it all done.
In the board gaming community, people are always looking for more people to play with and more places to share and test out new games they haven’t before.
This is also a great fundraising event to use as a template for other interest-based fundraising opportunities.
4. Holiday-Based Events
Every church I have ever been a part of has had some sort of family-friendly easter egg hunt or Christmas-themed event. Yet, very few, if any of them, have ever used it as an opportunity for fundraising.
Don’t set your easter egg hunt immediately following Sunday School or the church service. Create a giving page or a way to accept online donations via a donation page. Then, ask for a donation (not a required entrance fee) to participate in a community easter egg hunt at a time when non-Christian families might be comfortable attending.
More than likely, parents will be thrilled to involve their kids in the event and more than willing to offer a small donation because you have provided a fun event for their kids. Loved ones who get to watch the children have fun will be interested in donating in some way if they can, too.
5. Renting Out Your Facility
If you have a church building or even a parking lot, you can advertise your space for rental. People are always looking for places to host birthday parties, special events, weddings, funerals, and so much more.
Many churches waive the rental fee for church members, but having a space available for rent can be a great way to provide for your community while making a bit of fundraising revenue as well. It’s an untapped gold mine for churches who have a building or meeting space that they can rent out.
Make sure you have someone who can manage and clean before and after each event. You might even be able to provide a job to someone in the community by hiring them as your as-needed event coordinator.
6. Competitive Community Events
From trivia night to hosting a chili cook-off to an in-person e-sporting event, you can get as creative as you want and host a competition of some sort at your church. This can be for the church community as well as the local community. Have a small fee to participate and make sure you have good people to moderate the events.
These events are popular for public facilities and there is no reason churches can’t participate and create an even better, more welcoming environment while also making some revenue and building relationships within the community as well.
7. Raffles and Auctions
People love the opportunity to win things or buy neat items at affordable prices. Similar to setting up a community yard sale, you will have to make sure you have an entrance fee of some sort for these types of events via either raffle tickets for chances to win or purchasing your spot for a silent auction or standard auction.
Having these kinds of events moderated will be important and, a lot of times, local businesses would love to support their community with these opportunities. The best part of these types of fundraising opportunities is that they can be mixed in with just about every other fundraiser on this list.
Provide childcare to increase your donations significantly. If you want to take a fundraising event like this one step further and meet your fundraising goals, then finding someone who is willing to invest a little extra for the event, then you can generate even more prizes like t-shirts, pancake dinners, or even wild prizes like golf carts and free services from businesses.
As you track and manage these kinds of events, make sure you track all of your donor information with a donor management software so you can show your appreciation for their support specifically after the event is a huge success.
Fundraising Ideas For Churches Made Simple!
The hardest part about hosting fundraising events like shoe drives and walk-a-thons and all the others we have mentioned here is being able to advertise them well. Take advantage of your social media pages, create fundraising pages, and live stream what events you can to build more hype and connection with your community.
People love to feel involved and feel like they are getting some value back from their donations to nonprofits and religious organizations. Bridge the gap between serving your community by meeting a need and meeting a need at your church to make your church fundraising ideas a success.
Make sure to share your best church fundraising ideas with us on social media, by commenting below, and by subscribing to The Lead Pastor newsletter!