Feeling uninspired by your fundraising plan? We’ve left no stone unturned to bring you all the ideas you need to give your religious organisation the most exciting events calendar it’s ever had!
Top fundraising tips
You’re not alone if your church, or religious organisation is trying to raise extra money. Everything costs. You need funds for construction and renovation, mission trips, youth group activities, community projects like homelessness support, and special events to mark the important evangelistic days in your calendar.
But here’s the good news: you’re in a unique position to benefit from, and make the most of a great fundraising plan. Here’s why:
- People tend to gather around a belief system, which influences how and why they give, so make sure you use this to motivate them to get involved.
- Most religious organisations have a regular, central meeting point, and a routine of interaction – prayer and services, gatherings in the home, support or activity groups – as well as special festivals. As you plan your fundraising ideas calendar, consider which initiative best suits each different opportunity.
- Sometimes the things you are raising money for will be of interest to others beyond your existing congregation. Consider whether social media might be something you could use to spread the word of your work to the wider community.
Our list of ultimate fundraising ideas for religious organisations includes some tips that are relevant to particular religious, but lots can be adapted to apply to many. Enjoy – we can’t wait to see what you decide on!
Ultimate fundraising tips for religious organisations:
- Sell candles.
- Have a bake sale – these are always one of the biggest fundraisers, and the easiest to run.
- Lemonade sales.
- A bring and buy jumble sale.
- Sell awareness wristbands.
- Update your weekly service donation method to include texting, contactless, etc.
- Church shop – especially if your town attracts tourists who might pop in to look at the architecture.
- Family/community days – fun day, BBQ, summer fête, Christmas fayre, bonfire night, etc. Set out stalls with items for sale, sell food and drink, and generally get the community together.
- Sell engraved bricks, roof tiles, named Bibles – whatever you’re fundraising for, personalise it so that people donate a specific amount for a specific thing. That way they feel like they’re really contributing to something important and tangible (though keep anonymity for those who prefer it)
- Hold a food competition – best cake, most unusual pizza, funniest vegetable grown, the list of potential ideas is endless here!
- Host a meal – a candlelit supper, lunch after a service, afternoon tea. Ask people to donate dishes, and charge a price to attend.
- Have a pudding night. If you don’t have the facilities to cook a full meal, why not invite the locals to come for pudding after their dinner?
- Hot chocolate sale at community events.
- Ice cream sale during warmer months.
- Movie night.
- Charity auctions.
- A games night.
- Prize raffles.
- Baby photo contest.
- Silent auction.
- Talent Show.
- Bingo night.
- Cheese and wine evening.
- Parent’s party – host a kids club while the parents take a break.
- Babysitting service.
- Community picnic – get every family to bring a loaded picnic hamper, then auction the hampers before starting a fun afternoon of food and games.
- Create a parish calendar – if the ladies of the WI can do it, so can you!
- Scarecrow or Angel festival.
- A regular coffee morning.
- Sell cakes with tea after a service. People will often be happy to upgrade from a biscuit for a donation, knowing it’s going to a good cause.
- Hold a fair – invite local crafts people to hire a stall to sell their wares. Sell food and drink for extra profits, and challenge the Vicar to a game of Beat the Intro on a selection of favourite hymns. A fair can be as big or small as you like, and you don’t need an excuse, though the obvious times are Christmas and summer.
- Christian speed-dating! Get people off Tinder, and into your church hall for a fun evening that might end in finding love!
- Worm charming – yes, it’s a thing!
- Charity bags – there are several organisations that will collect bags of old clothes and shoes and give you a price by weight for recycling.
- Sponsored events such as a football challenge, or sports day. Involve other local religious organisations in a competition, to really bring the whole community together.
- Give something up sponsored fundraiser – especially for Lent.
- Second hand bookshop – get your congregation to bring in books of faith to donate for resale.
- Create a cookbook – The Vicar’s wife’s favourites, past cake competition winning recipes, children’s recipes, there are lots of options that will sell well.
- Local community events – if your town has an annual boat race, or other big event, see if you can theme your fundraising initiative around that to get more people involved.
- Appeal to the children – hold a pumpkin carving competition, or ask them to design bookmarks to sell.
- Get the youth group involved – their enthusiasm is likely to stretch from ridiculous dares, to extreme sports. Or hire them out to do jobs in the community. Let them come up with their own ideas so they own it, and feel motivated to raise more. Give them free rein, with the proviso that it’s safe – and legal! Here are some lovely examples of how some churches have raised money.
- Hold a car wash.
- Have a plant sale.
- Have a potato race!
- Charity challenges – from abseiling to head shaving, the more outrageous the better!
- Beetle drive.
- Youth group sleepover.
- Hold themed events to raise money for missions. If your mission is in Africa, hold an African themed night, with traditional foods, decorations, and entertainment. Invite an expert to give a talk, for education and a good night out.
Seasonal Events Ideas
Seasonal events such as Easter, Christmas, Eid and Rosh Hashanah – each religion has its own special celebrations throughout the year. (The BBC has a good timeline of multi-faith events across the year). Adapt these Christmas themed initiatives to your community and traditions:
- Sell Christmas decorations with scripture on them
- Hold a Coffee and Carols morning for the local community - sell mince pies and other refreshments
- Provide a gift-wrapping service
- Hold a gift fair
- Sell Christmas cards and small gifts
- Children’s gift-wrapping – provide a selection of small gifts young children can choose to give to a parent, for a set donation. Help them wrap it, and keep their secret until the big day!
- Letters to Santa – make a post box to stand in your foyer, and let children pay a small amount to post a letter to Santa, and receive a reply.
- In Synagogues, use the Passover as an opportunity to run a three-month long fundraiser. Bring out the themes of new beginnings, redemption and freedom.
Plan to succeed!
Whatever you do, plan it well. Decide how much you want to raise, and what it will cost, then find ways to make the money that will cover your outlay and make a good profit. Communicate well, through traditional advertising, word of mouth, and social media. You could even sell tickets to your larger events online, and ask people to opt in to future emails about similar events they might like to attend. And keep everyone up to date after the event – let them know how much you raised, and what it means to you. The power of ‘thank you’ will make your community more likely to get involved again next time.
Have we missed anything? Be sure to let us know if you’ve run a great fundraising initiative for your religious organisation, so we can share more ideas with our online community.
Seasonal Fundraisers for Religious Organisations
Crafty Make and Sell Ideas for Churches and Religious Organisations
The Beginners Guide to Fundraising