Our clients—from churches to community organizations to businesses—count on us to help them share important events through live video streaming, which helps to expand their reach. But we know there are a lot of elements that contribute to an organization’s success. Churches, in particular, often look to good, old-fashioned fundraising to keep the doors wide open every Sunday.
While fundraising is usually seen as a way of making money, a well-executed fundraising event has plenty of other benefits. For example, participants feel more engaged in their church communities. Also, the best fundraising events bring people together—and may even attract new members.
Below is a list of fundraising ideas for churches of any size, but they have the potential to be especially effective for small churches. Why? Because they focus on community, and that’s where small churches have a leg up.
6 Small Church Fundraising Ideas That Work
1. Host an auction.
With the help of church volunteers and their connections, reach out to community organizations like farms, vineyards, restaurants, or attractions and see if they’d be willing to partner with your church in donating items for auction. Or, to keep it small, have church members sign up to contribute a signature dish or teach a special skill. You could even have church members donate items to put up for auction, and have a town-wide tag sale.
2. Highlight the talents of your congregation.
In every group of people there’s always a few who have an unusual hobby, a unique talent, or an oddball interest. Take advantage of that by coordinating an event that features one or more of them. Get creative—charge admission, charge for dinner, drinks, or snacks, or ask for a donation for attendance. One church held two very unique and successful events to fund their building maintenance: a snake show organized by a local snake breeder, and a psychic medium!
Ideally, try to host a presentation related to the program that needs support—like a motivational guest speaker, a choir presentation, youth talent performances, or a weekend-long sermon—and request a small fee from viewers to tune in. If you can’t make a direct connection between the marathon event and the program in need, simply provide an interesting mix of speakers and performers who would be appreciated by a good portion of your congregation.
4. Create a “Help Squad” made up of young church members.
Ask these younger church members to be part of a volunteer group that helps out as-needed around the neighborhood for a small fee. Have students work in pairs, and sign up for jobs they’re interested in. Place a community sign-up sheet online, in the church, and elsewhere around town to attract more interest.
5. Design events that involve the surrounding (non-member) community.
A fun event that embraces the entire community has the potential to raise more money and stir up lots of goodwill, especially when the resulting funds are donated to another organization besides the church. Christianity Today says one small church raised thousands of dollars for local volunteer emergency medical services by sponsoring a “pumpkin hurling” around Halloween. The event was so unusual that it not only drew a huge crowd, it also caught the attention of a major TV network!
6. Use social media and the Internet to drum up support.
Facebook and Twitter reach broad audiences, and can help you stay top-of-mind for a greater number of people. Use these tools to spread the word about your church’s activities in town or show support for a local cause. Millennials, in particular, are more likely to donate if competition is involved, and seem to respond to the philanthropy of people close to them. That’s why social media campaigns are such an effective fundraising tool among this group.
All of these fundraising ideas will work for your small church—in the right context. Before choosing one for your next fundraiser, consider your audience and the cause you’re trying to promote, and tailor your fundraiser accordingly.