06 May 101 Church Fundraising Ideas That Are Fun, Creative, And Effective
There are all sorts of different ways to fundraise effectively. From parties and cookouts to car washes and drive-in movies, the opportunities are truly endless.
To illustrate just how many ways there are to fundraise, we’ve created this list of 101 church fundraising ideas. In no way is this list completely exhaustive, so feel free to drop a comment if you can think of a great way that we forgot to include in this list. We’ve included short descriptions of each idea to help you plan for it!
Let’s dive in with number 1 of 101!
A banquet is a great way to not only promote engagement, but to also raise some funds. Consider selling tickets or promoting it as a fundraiser and include some different elements like a silent auction. Dress it up or keep it casual. No matter what you do, everyone loves a good banquet.
Couples Date Night Dinner
Couples love date night, and some couples love when they have a specific place to go. Sell tickets to a couple’s date night dinner and offer childcare.
Valentines Date Night for Couples
Serve a special meal and turn the lights down slightly for a “restaurant-style” Valentine’s night for couples. This one is really fun!
Easter Egg Hunt
Offer an Easter egg hunt for the kids! They’ll love running through the grass or around the church lobby looking for eggs. Ask parents to donate a specific amount based on each child they have participating.
Breakfast always goes over really well, and it’s inexpensive and easy to make! You can theme it with fun spring things for Easter and accept donations for each person eating.
Just like Easter breakfast, Christmas breakfast always seems to go over really well. Theme it with fun winter treats and gifts. Allow people to share their favorite Christmas memories with their friends and family over a microphone.
Summer is a great time for a cookout! Get everyone together after church with some burgers and outdoor games.
A petting zoo is a great thing to add to a cookout or carnival. It can be relatively inexpensive, and kids love it. Just accept donations as people come in!
Youth and kids alike will love getting to be a part of a drive-through car wash. Assign a few different people to different tasks, turn up some music, and suggest a donation amount of $10 – $20 for each car.
Volleyball or Basketball Tournament
A friendly tournament is fun add on to a cook-off or cookout. And, to help raise more money, ask for a donation to enter the tournament.
Springtime is such a fun time; everyone is excited to get out of the house. A fantastic way to encourage giving and church engagement is through a spring carnival.
There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned cook-off. Whether it be bbq, baking, chili, or pies, you’re sure to have a fun and delicious time raising money if you host a cook-off. The only thing required to accomplish this is some great cooks!
A back-to-school bash is just what you need to kickstart your student ministries budget. Show your church community that you’re taking student ministries seriously and make it clear that you need the budget to reach your students effectively.
An after-church picnic is fun for the whole family! Ask the families to provide their main course, and the church can provide drinks, chips, salads, and desserts for donations. This is a great event to have in the fall when the weather is just right to sit outside.
Fall Cookout with Bonfires
Bonfires and cookouts go together so well! Offer smores, burgers, hot dogs, and other fun treats for kids and adults. They’ll be sure to love it and donate to your cause.
Community Trip to the Apple Orchard
Speaking of fall, who doesn’t love a community-building trip to the apple orchard. There’s so much fun to be had, and it’s a great way to get new families involved. Organize it with the Apple Orchard as a fundraiser and might be able to get the whole place to yourself.
Have Kids Write ‘Thank You’ Letters
Thank you letters are greatly appreciated by adults and donors, especially when they come from kids. It’s easy to make this a part of Sunday School and a great way to show donors you appreciate them.
Have Youth Write ‘Thank You’ Letters
Like kids, youth, and older students can write thank you letters. These letters might be able to be a little more detailed. They can share how the donations helped them grow as individuals or how they enjoy using the equipment or other items that were donated.
Host a VBS for Different Churches in the Area
By using your church as a space to host different events such as VBS for other churches that might be smaller or less equipped, you can ask them to give to your church in exchange for using the space. You might also consider partnering with another church to do VBS together and to take some of the load off of your staff and volunteers.
Rent Out Your Church Space
This isn’t quite a fundraising tip, but it’s a great tip to increase church revenue. Offer out different spaces in your church to be rented by the community or other churches. It’s a great way to cover some basic expenses and can serve as a way to fund some of your church’s different activities.
Host a Concert
Host a benefit concert as a fundraiser. Ask a band to come and play for your fundraiser and work it out so that a portion of the ticket sales goes directly to the church. It can be expensive to host a concert so make sure that it’s worth your while and that you have the capacity to do so.
Host a Worship Night
A lot of church communities really enjoy worship nights. By hosting one you can ask for donations towards specific things in your church such as the sound or lighting systems. It’s a great way for people to see the need. Then, after you’ve upgraded those items, host another worship night to show the community what they’re money helped to accomplish.
Host a Game Night
A family game night is a fun way to raise money. Sell snacks, popcorn, and drinks to help raise money or ask for a donation at the door. These nights are more fun when more people come so be sure to promote it well.
Host a Movie Night
Everyone loves a good movie night! Just like the game night, you can sell different snacks and accept donations at the door. If your church has big projectors in the sanctuary it can make for a great theater. Pull in a few inflatable sofas and you’ll be set!
Host a Drive-In Movie Night
Drive-in movies seemed to be a thing of the past, but they’ve sure been coming back lately. You can rent an inflatable screen at a very small cost and charge a specific amount per car. Offer popcorn and snacks for an extra draw and extra fun!
Host a Camping Themed Night
Some churches have big back lawns that work really well as campgrounds. Consider hosting a camping night with bonfire worship and fun summer things. If you’re up for it, you could even allow people to spend the night in their tents or campers.
Host a Hawaiian Themed Night
Hawaiian theme night is always a fun one. Get it on with flowers, coconuts, smoothies. People always seem to love it and find it as a great way to connect with each other and the church.
Fundraising Competition for Kids
You’ve probably been a part of a fundraising competition for kids, but we had to mention it for those who needed to hear about this. First, come up with something that will motivate the kids— such as a teacher shaving their head or a pizza party for the winners. Then, make it a competition by saying that the team who raises the most money wins!
Fundraising Competition for Youth
Fundraising competitions for youth and students are just like kids but can become much more competitive. Encourage students to get involved and excited about it. The more engagement that there is the more money you’ll be able to raise.
Email campaigns work great for reaching tons of people. Make it fun, engaging, and interactive so that those viewing the email want to buy into it.
Cold emailing individual people doesn’t hurt to try. Some people will respond really well to a personalized email and, therefore, may be compelled to give. Make sure to make it personal and not generic.
Like cold emailing, cold calling can be a great way to engage specific people. Make it clear what you need and ask them if they’d be willing to take action that day. You want to be able to see that the calls are making a difference and that the calls are working.
Cold Call Local Businesses
Asking local businesses to give to your nonprofit is a great way to raise some extra funds. Businesses can benefit from tax breaks when they give to nonprofits and enjoy being involved in their community.
Ask church members or local businesses to donate goods or services to a silent auction. Then hold it after service one day. If a silent auction is well promoted you’ll be able to raise a good amount of money.
Offer Sponsorships to Local Businesses
Some local businesses love to sponsor different things. Offer them the opportunity to sponsor kids going to camp or a missions trip. They’re sure to love the opportunity!
Dedicate a Place at the Church to the Donor
Churches have seen great success in fundraising when they’ve been willing to display gifts “in honor of” different members. For example, individuals could sponsor playgrounds, benches, gardens, or newly planted trees.
Engage the Community by Asking for Help with Repairs or Cleaning
This is another one that isn’t exactly a financial fundraiser. Asking for donations of time from your members can be a great way to save some money. A lot of your church members could probably help to fulfill a lof the tasks that you might otherwise pay someone to accomplish.
Begin Offering Online Giving
Online giving has been a huge success since it started! Finding the right program to offer online giving can help boost your fundraising drastically. Be sure to check out the online giving options offered by mobileAxept.
Begin Offering Mobile Giving
Use Text Notifications to Engage Your Congregation
Another great digital tool to increase giving is text notifications or text messaging. With text notifications like ReachNow from mobileAxept, you’ll be able to communicate fundraising details with your church both easily and securely.
One of the biggest expenses when hosting a meal for your congregation is the food. By hosting a potluck and selling tickets to it as a fundraiser you’ll be able to raise even more money!
Tailgate Event for the Big Game
Everyone loves celebrating the big game! Why not throw a tailgate party and viewing of the game? Church members are sure to love it and you can sell tickets or ask for donations.
Clean Up the Community Around Your Church
A great way to give back to the community and show that your church is involved with what happens around them is to clean up the community. It’s not too difficult to find a park or area that you can pick up trash and it helps to show that you’re involved. You can then consider asking that community to help your church financially or you can do it out of goodwill.
Ask from the Pulpit
Something that church leaders can often be afraid to do is ask from the pulpit. Members need to be reminded to give at times. Communicate the need because if it’s left unspoken, it can often go unnoticed.
Be Transparent About How Much Money You Need and Where it Will Go
Just like asking from the pulpit, it’s important to communicate. Share with your congregation exactly how much you have, how much you need, and where that money is going to go when you have it. This helps to build confidence and give members a reason to give.
Offer Weekly Fundraising Updates
While you’re fundraising for a specific amount of money, consider offering updates that share the total amount you’ve raised. It’s sure to help show members that what they’re doing matters and that it’s working!
Offer Some Kind of Incentive
When you’re asking a community member to give to a church it can seem wrong to offer an incentive. But here are a few examples of incentives that make sense to us: A team of students that can come out and help with work around the house, a student to offer a night of babysitting, or a church t-shirt! There are lots of fun and friendly incentives that can get your community involved and engaged.
Host a Raffle
Raffles are a great way to raise money. Ask a business or church member to donate the grand prize or consider purchasing something like tickets to a local sports game. Then, raffle them off and put the proceeds towards your church.
Host a Reverse Raffle
A reverse raffle is a great complement to a dinner party or event. A reverse raffle is when each name is pulled out of the bucket one by one. The last name left in the bucket is the one who wins the raffle!
Host an Auction for Donated Services
Donated services such as helping with yard work, a night of watching the kids, or painting a house are all great things to auction. Those who need help will enjoy knowing that their money is going to a good cause while they also get to accomplish the tasks they need completed.
Host a 5k
Everyone loves a friendly 5k. Turn it into a pledge drive and ask participants to raise money or charge a small entry fee and work to engage the whole local community.
Put on a Marathon or Half-Marathon
For the more intense running communities, orchestrating a half or full marathon is a great way to raise money. Follow the same fundraising advice as you would for a 5k.
Talk About Where the Money is Going
Getting your community excited about the end goal is a great way to get energy behind a fundraiser. This is a really easy one to accomplish so try to attach to an event.
Offer a Course that Members would Pay For
Ask one of your members to give a course that you can charge a small fee for (for example, if a member is a financial advisor, they could offer a course on managing money). If you’re a pastor you could consider offering in-depth teaching on a subject. Make sure to tell those who sign up that all of the money goes towards the fundraiser.
Host a Fishing Tournament
Fishing tournaments can be an excellent way to raise money! Everyone loves a friendly tournament and when you attach it to fundraising for a great cause, it’s sure to help you raise money.
The classic walkathon always works great to get communities involved and excited about raising money for their organization. It’s easy, effective, and a great event to host year over year.
Similar to a walkathon, a bowlathon is an event that individuals can raise money based on how many strikes, spares, or pins in total that they knockdown. Give it a try for a different spin on a classic way to fundraise.
Find a Donor to ‘Match Gifts’
Finding a donor that can match the total number of gifts received by the church is a very effective way to double the amount of money you would have otherwise raised.
Some nonprofits have found great success in offering different types of arts and crafts nights. These nights are open to anyone after paying to get in. Then in a classroom type setting the individuals attending are taught how to paint. At the end of the night, they’re able to take their creation home with them.
If your church is located near a lake or pond, a paddle race is a fun way to engage your community and raise some money! Just charge a small fee for each team to enter and turn it into a family event by adding a cookout on the beach!
Ask Members to Donate Their Hobby
Some members enjoy baking, cooking, sewing, or quilty. Others enjoy social media, building websites, or designing graphics. Ask them to donate their hobby to the church or to a fundraising auction.
Community Book Sale
Used books are often great things to seel and people really enjoy reading. Ask your members to donate books they don’t want any longer and then hold a sale. All the proceeds go towards the fundraiser!
Community Bake Sale
Like a book sale, a bake sale is a great way to get people involved that might not have money to give. Instead, having them bake and then sell those baked goods is often a great alternative.
Chef’s Cooking Challenge
Cooking shows are fun to watch, but have you ever thought about hosting one? Just get a mobile set up and find a great cook. Then, sell tickets to this super fun event where guests will be able to learn how to cook and enjoy eating the food that’s been cooked.
Create a Community Cookbook to Sell
Church communities are often very diverse and unique. Take advantage of that by curating a cookbook with different recipes from different members of the community. After you have around 150 different recipes, you can put together a cookbook to sell to the community.
Have a Pet Day
An event that every pet lover is sure to love is a pet day. Everyone can bring their pets for a fun social outing with all kinds of human and pet snacks. Turn it into a fundraiser by placing some mobile giving or giving kiosks at the event.
Community Garage Sale
Everyone could use a closet cleanout. Ask church members to donate their unwanted items (preferably those that are in good condition) to a church garage sale. Volunteers can go through the items, price them, and proceeds can go towards the church.
The polar plunge is a popular fundraiser for all types of nonprofit organizations. Ask participants to raise money from friends and family. In exchange for the money, they jump into the freezing water!
Penny Drive (Works with all Coins)
A penny drive is a more unconventional way to raise money. Ask your members to bring in all their change, then take it load by load to the bank. You’d be surprised how much money is there.
The guessing game is a fun thing to turn into a fundraiser. Fill a container with marbles, pennies, or jelly beans and charge $5 dollars a guess. The first person to it right will can win a gift card to a local restaurant.
Asking your regular donors to set up recurring gifts is a great way to stabilize your fundraising. It’s not a hard thing to ask and when paired with the reasons why a lot of church members will be willing to change to recurring gifts.
Silent auctions are fun ways to have an event and an auction. But sometimes you won’t have the space available to have an auction. In this case, hosting an online auction is a great way to change things up a bit.
Ice Cream Social
An ice cream social is a fun way to raise some extra money. Offer different flavors of ice cream and toppings. You’ll be set for a great event!
Food Truck Event
Food trucks are a blast and the food they offer is great! Host an event with food trucks that bring the whole church community together for a fundraiser.
Giving kiosks throughout your church will help your members engage with giving regularly. They can also be utilized at events. These are sometimes a slight investment, but they can definitely be worth it.
Bottle and Can Drive
In some states, bottles and cans can be redeemed for a few cents each. Ask your members to collect some and bring them back to the church to recycle for cash towards your fundraiser.
Donating a car can benefit both the donor and the church. The donor doesn’t have to worry about getting rid of the car, and the church is able to recycle the car or fix it up and sell it. It’s a win-win!
Organize and put on a Play
A play gets your students and kids involved. Ask around to see if you have any former actors in your community. Most churches would be able to put on a great show that they can sell tickets to.
A lot of artists are willing to donate to their favorite nonprofits. Ask for donations of different pieces of art and then hold an auction.
Community Craft Sale
You’re sure to have some crafters in your community that can build different things like birdhouses and quilts. Ask them to donate these items to a church-wide craft sale.
Who wouldn’t want to see their pastor dunked? Even better, who wouldn’t give $5 dollars in order to try dunking their pastor! This is a great way to have some fun and raise some funds.
Garden and Plant Sale
Ask different members in your church to donate plants or vegetables from their gardens that you can sell. You might not raise a ton of money doing this, but every little bit helps.
Applebees Pancake Breakfast
Applebees offers a pancake breakfast to nonprofit organizations. You’ll be able to use their space and they’ll make pancakes for your breakfast. Find out more here.
More people than just grandma enjoy bingo night. With a small entry fee for each card, churches are sure to be able to raise money every time they put on a bingo night!
Coffee House Night
Turn your church lobby into a coffee house one night. Serve black coffee or bring in the espresso machine. You can charge for coffee, accept donations, and offer an opportunity for local artists to entertain.
A cooking class is an excellent way to offer value back to the donor. Charge a ticket fee and teach them how to cook. It’s sure to be a huge success!
New Years Eve Party
New Years is a great time to host a party. Families often don’t have great parties to go to on New Years. Put some fun party foods and games together for a great fundraising event.
There aren’t very many black-tie events that happen anymore. Some couples really miss the opportunity to put their best clothes on and socialize. Host a black-tie fundraiser complete with a nice dinner.
Board Game Tournament
Board games are a great pastime, but they can be really competitive. Host a board game tournament.
Host a Car Show
There is sure to be a few car lovers in your community. Bring them together along with different people from outside the church for a car show. An event like this is sure to draw a crowd!
Amazon offers a great way to give back called Amazon Smile. You can sign your nonprofit up here and every time someone purchases an item through amazon smile your organization will receive a portion of the proceeds.
Family Photo Shoots
Find a photographer in your church that would be willing to take some family photos. You can sell prints and digital downloads of the photos. Set up a fun photo booth for an extra draw.
Professional headshots are really expensive. If your church offered them and people were already there in their Sunday best, you could take their pictures at a cost much less than other places.
Holiday Photo Shoots
Holiday family photoshoots are great ways to raise money. Just theme your photo booth with some holiday-specific items and encourage people to wear festive colors.
Clean Comedy Night
Comedy nights aren’t always family-friendly, but hosting one that is can be a great way to raise money for your church! Find a comedian that brings the house down in a way that’s great for anyone and sell tickets to your event.
A competitive dodgeball tournament is a great way to raise money. Many churches have gyms and teens and adults that would love to be a part of an event like this.
A classy way to raise some money is a golf tournament. Encourage participants to raise funds for the event or charge a fee for them to compete.
Find some volunteers in your church that would be willing to walk dogs and then offer dog walking services to different people throughout the surrounding area.
Car washing and dog washing might sound different but they’re actually pretty similar. Find some dogs that need to be cleaned up add soap and water and your set!
March Madness Brackets
Everyone loves a competitive March Madness Bracket. Make the prize a $50 gift card and charge $25 to enter a bracket into the running.
A pledge drive is a simple, tried and true way to fundraise: call, text, email, all of the above. Just set a goal and work hard to reach it. Consider asking volunteers to help you raise the money. Most people are very willing to help!
We hope you’ve found these 101 examples useful! If you made it through them all, then bravo to you! Good luck fundraising!