Christian-based fundraisers are not always limited to churches; in fact, there’s a whole world of Christian organizations out there, from mission groups to elementary schools.
Often, these groups are not-for-profit and privately funded, so like daycares, they often need extra funding to keep going. Many church-based organizations, like youth groups or universities, ask for donations on a regular basis from their members, which pretty much covers the activities and costs that they may have.
However, when things like building rent, employee salaries (if the group is a school or other business-based organization), and travel expenses come up, they need more than what they get from tuition costs and their diocese. That’s when a fundraiser happens – and the main problem that these organizations have is to drum up enough interest in the non-Christian community to actually make the money that they need.
When it comes to a Christian school or university, it’s often hard to get donations from students or their parents when the child is currently attending the school. Universities are tuition-run, and Christian schools are considered private organizations, so they are also based on a tuition model.
People are not going to want to donate more money when they’re already paying so much to actually go to the school, so using a method like direct donation appeal, where you send out letters or have a bunch of volunteers call alumni, may work well for organizations like these. However, other Christian organizations will have to get more creative, because the general public is not going to appreciate these types of calls and will likely refuse to donate.
Best fundraising ideas for a Christian organization
Beyond direct donations, there are many fundraisers that a Christian organization can host to attract the general public. A missions organization may find that the best way to fundraise is to contact churches of all denominations; most will support a well-researched and well-put together trip that will benefit people in third-world countries or even poorer areas within the Western world.
Youth groups need to appeal to their own age group – hosting something fun, like a pizza dinner, a games night, a dance or other youth-attracting activity will help to raise donations, especially if you also have a concessions stand at dances or game nights to earn some extra money.
A themed fundraiser may draw in more interest. If, for example, your missions group is going to an African country, you could host an African night, including traditional food, dance and entertainment. Contact someone who has done this before to come and speak, letting people know exactly what it’s like over there, dealing with the poverty and people every day.
Stress your need for donations to help these people even more. This may attract more members of the community that may not be Christian, but may be willing to help.
Bake sales, popcorn sales, and anything that your group can make itself can be set up outside of shopping malls, sporting events, and schools. They serve to catch the interest of passers-by who may be interested in supporting you by paying a small cost for a treat.
You can choose to go through a fundraising company for this, but the best way to keep most of the profit is to do it yourself. This works especially well if you have a smaller group and eager volunteers.
Holiday fundraisers work well, whether you’re doing it for a Christian cause or not. The Giving Tree fundraiser is one that can involve the Christian community and the outside community, especially if you’re able to set one up outside of a Christian setting.
Christian schools and universities can involve their students. Student groups can raise funds themselves (provided they’re high school or university groups) by hosting activities that are geared towards their cause; for example, a sports team could host a sports clinic for children on the weekends. Christian school fundraisers don’t have to revolve around the religion itself.
If you don’t have the time or money to put together one of these fundraisers, you could always try scratch card fundraising, which is a quick and easy way to make money. The only con to this is that you have to find enough people to scratch all of the dots to make the maximum amount of profit. However, it is a simple way to fundraise.
You could even try some traditional church fundraisers, like potluck dinners, soup luncheons, or sponsored meals. Put a spin on it and invite members of the community to participate, and charge a small fee per plate.
Most people are happy not to have to cook for a night and support a good cause, and you can get parents or members of your group to volunteer to do the work so that you don’t have to hire anyone.
Tips for attracting the general public
When you host a Christian-based fundraiser and you are looking to attract the general public, you don’t want to be too heavy-handed with the religious platitudes. You will lose your fundraising potential before you even begin.
Instead, tell people what the end result will be – you’ll have a youth group for teenagers to attend one night a week; you’ll be able to send a certain number of people overseas to help build houses; or your school will be able to fund some extra-curricular activities for its students.
If you host an attractive themed fundraiser, you may get people who like to travel, or who want to hear a native performance and try native food, or even those who just want to expand their intellectual horizons.
Play your cards right and you may get these people coming back for future fundraisers, and may even be able to help you with your next one, if they have knowledge of the area.
Christian-based fundraisers don’t have to stay in the Christian community, or only deal with members of churches. When they are open to everyone, you will find that non-religious people may actually be interested in your cause.