The complete guide to making the most of your religious calendar with seasonal fundraising activities.
How to make the most of seasonal fundraising
All religions have a seasonal element to their activities. Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or of any other faith, there are certain dates in your calendar when you observe particular traditions. There are also times of the year that lend themselves culturally to philanthropic endeavours. We want to help you think about how fundraising seasonally might boost much needed income in your religious organisation. Here’s why:
Giving and Faith go hand in hand. People give in religious settings because they’re truly committed to their belief system. Christians give because Jesus gave himself to them; in Islam, compassion, humility and selflessness are important bases for spiritual living. Charitable giving is a part of every religious way of life, and this belief system is what motivates members of your community to be generous.
Community matters. Religious organisations are built around a community, and it’s this that will help you motivate your congregation to get involved in your fundraising efforts. Think about it: people give and receive at church as a way of underscoring their faith, and strengthening both ideology and relationships. Good communication and good relationships will go a long way towards ensuring a successful fundraiser.
The power of thankyou. Your congregation may give their money because of a belief in God, but a heartfelt thanks won’t go amiss! People like to feel appreciated, and are much more likely to participate again, if you make a point of recognising their contribution.
Top Seasonal Fundraising Ideas to Try
February – March
There are lots of dates to mark during Lent, beginning with the most obvious – Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, as we like to call it! Why not host a pancake supper and charge for entry, or for food and drink. You could then also suggest your congregation ask for sponsorship for giving up something for the rest of Lent – 50p per day of abstinence would honour the 40 day fast that Jesus undertook, as well as raising £20 per person for your church roof repairs!
Provide gifts in return for a donation. From simple flowers, to pre-ordered gifts, this is a lovely ritual to incorporate into a Sunday service. Or host a pre-service breakfast to give mums a treat.
Easter is always a big event across the UK, and people are already in the mood for celebration. Whilst they’re spending on chocolate and roast lamb lunches, they may also be willing to get involved in some fundraising. You may have some crafty people who could make cards, or small Easter decorations to sell, and an Easter egg hunt always goes down well. Small spends can really add up at this time of year. In fact, this is a good time to send out a reminder about shopping through easyfundraising.com, for free charity donations from big retailers. You’ll soon find funds mounting up to finance the youth group’s mission trip!
Easter bonnet decoration: a lovely activity for children. Charge for entry and provide simple hats and decorations.
June – August
An annual summer fête is often one of the biggest fundraisers and can fit into any religious organisation’s charity events calendar. Have stalls for sales, ask for donations of cakes to sell, and run a barbeque. Silly fun stalls, music, and children’s bouncy castles all add to the atmosphere. See our Guide to Summer Fair Fundraising [INSERT LINK] for more on how to put together this great event.
October – November
All Saints Day
Most religions prefer not to get involved in Halloween as it’s a pagan festival, but the day after – All Saints Day – is worth celebrating. You could hold a gratitude supper and invite people to buy tickets to come along and spend the evening together. It’s also a good time of year to plant bulbs in the garden, so you could hold a bulb and plant sale around the same time, to celebrate life. Alternatively, a family event like a movie night or fancy dress party might work better for your congregation – have a look at our Events Fundraising Ideas for some ideas.
The list of possibilities for fundraising in the run up to Christmas is almost endless! Here are just a few. You might like to put all your Christmas fundraising towards a new community project your parishioners feel strongly about – the local homeless, for example.
- Advent: Sell advent candles, or calendars
- Christmas sales: Why not get the children to make a festive drawing and make cards and mugs to sell to family?
- Christmas Fair: This can be a major event. Get local craft businesses to pay for a stall, and hold a Christmas gift fair. Sell Christmas decorations, run a gift-wrapping service, a children’s gift for a parent stall, plus all the usual fun and games. Have a look at our Guide to Christmas Fundraising [INSERT LINK] for an exhaustive list of ideas.
- Letters to Santa: Make a post box to stand in your foyer, and invite children to post a letter to Santa. For a donation, they can receive a letter back from the man himself (or possibly one of his helpers)!
- Local Santa service: Get parents to drop off a wrapped and labelled present for their child, and in return for a donation, a local Santa delivers it to the child on Christmas morning.
- Make wreaths and mistletoe bunches to sell
- Sell Christmas trees via a wholesaler
- Coffee and carols morning
- Mince Pies and Mulled Wine afternoon
- Sell roasted chestnuts
- Operate a tree disposal service
- Supermarket bag packing
- Santa run/Santa Football match
Lots of your congregation will want to give on a regular basis, outside of any special events you run. Make sure they have an easy way to donate, whether at weekly services, online, or even via contactless giving.
Share this article with your community organisers and start planning your next seasonal activity from our list of ideas. Or let us know if you’ve run a brilliant fundraiser in your religious organisation, so we can share it with our online community.