Church Fundraising Ideas That Work

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If you are looking for alternative ways other than t-shirt fundraising to raise money for your church, then make sure to read this whole article and you'll be sure to find a variety of other ideas.

Easy Church Fundraising Ideas

When it comes to fundraising for churches, the ideas tend to be a little bland. Most churches opt for bake sales, raffles, door-to-door candy sales, or other run-of-the-mill tactics that have been used for decades.

While these yawn-worthy methods will certainly work to an extent, they’re definitely not as effective as they could be. The truth is, if you want to raise money for your church, you need to get creative, get the community involved and get people excited about your movement.

Not sure how to do that? We can help. Just check out all the unique, fun and creative church fundraiser ideas we’ve gathered up for you below. You’ll have the cash your group needs in no time.

T-Shirt Fundraising for Churches

A t-shirt fundraiser is one of the absolute best ways to raise money – especially for a church. Why? Well for one, it helps you spread the word about your organization, your message and your goals. Rather than just collecting money, you’re giving donors something that promotes your church – a shirt that has its logo, its motto, its location and other important information on it. They’ll wear the t-shirt out, to the gym, at the grocery store and around town, allowing your message to reach hundreds, maybe even thousands, of additional people as the months go on. Who knows, it could even get you a few new members of your congregation or youth group!

Plus, t-shirt fundraising is incredibly effective. According to a study by ASI Central, 80 percent of Americans recall the advertiser, brand or logo they see on a shirt – 80 percent! That means out of every 10 people who sees your shirt, a whopping 8 of them will remember your name after the fact.

In the Midwest, t-shirts are even more effective, boasting a shocking 95-percent recall rate, and in the South, the average promotional t-shirt gets an incredible 4,000 impressions each. So if you’re located in either of these regions, there’s no church fundraising idea more effective.

In addition to their effectiveness, t-shirt fundraisers are also an extremely low-cost way to raise money – especially if you use TStacker. At TStacker, you can create your very own t-shirt design in minutes. Then, send the link off to congregation members, parents, neighbors, family members and more. They can purchase the shirt online, and we’ll handle the shipping. The only thing you need to do is wait for the final check to come in! It’s easy, simple, and there are no upfront costs or financial risks. This makes it great for a church or other non-profit with little budget to work with.

Alternative Church Fundraising Ideas

Want to up the ante and do other church fundraisers in addition to selling t-shirts? Then have we got ideas for you. We’ve worked with dozens of churches over the years, and we’ve seen some pretty creative and innovative fundraising ideas in that time. Here are just a few of the best church fundraising activities we’ve seen. Try one yourself!

Bingo Night

Hosting a bingo night is a great way to bring in cash, while offering the community a fun, interactive activity all at the same time. It’s family friendly, too!

Supplies:

  • Various prizes
  • Bingo cards and stampers
  • A venue with plenty of tables and a PA system
  • A volunteer emcee
  • A Bingo ball spinner

Instructions:

  1. Contact a local party rental company about renting a Bingo ball spinner. Hint: if your offer them signage or a promo table at your event, they may let you have it for free!
  2. Arrange a local venue that has seating, tables and a PA systems. A school cafeteria, YMCA or community center are often good options.
  3. Next, use a tool like Print Bingo to create hundreds of Bingo cards for your event. If you want to cut down on printing costs, considering working with a local printer or office supply company, and see if they’ll do a trade-off.
  4. Then, meet with local business owners and get donations for prizes. Gift cards are a great choice, as are electronics, movie passes, complimentary dinner coupons and more.
  5. Next, get the word out about your event. Set a date and time, and hang posters around your church. Send out email newsletters, post it to your website, and have congregation members share the details with their friends and family. Also ask your congregation for a volunteer emcee for the night. They’ll need to pull the balls from the spinner, call them out and check the cards of winners.
  6. Finally, host your event! Have one round per every prize you’ve gathered, and switch up the games every round. Try traditional 5-across Bingo, four corners, X-shapes and more. Keep them guessing so it never gets old.

Baby Photo Fun

This is one of our favorite fundraising ideas for churches. Here’s how it works: You gather baby photos of all your church’s main staff – the pastors, youth ministers, docents, etc. Then, your congregation members work to match up the baby picture with the staffer! It’s a fun little game that can bring in money and improve church morale at the same time.

Supplies:

  • Baby photos of your main staff members
  • Poster board and glue
  • Entry forms
  • A table
  • A grand prize
Instructions:
  1. Gather photos from all of your main staff members. You may need to ask their spouses, children or parents for help!
  2. Arrange the photos at random on a poster board, and put a number by each one in Sharpie or market. Hang the poster in your main entry way or hallway, where it can gain the most visibility.
  3. Create your entry forms. These need to have numbered lines – one for each photo on the poster – as well as a key, which lists the staff members they have to choose from.
  4. Next, set up your table, as well as your entry forms, on a Sunday morning or afternoon. Have congregation mentions pay $2 to $3 to participate, and give them a form on which to fill out their best guesses. Once the day is up, tally up the answers, see who got the most correct, and give the winner the grand prize!

Brick Engraving

Next time you’re adding a new walkway or patio area, try brick engraving as a fundraising tactic. How does it work? You simply take donations (usually $25 to $50) for a set cause, and donors get their names engraved on a brick. These bricks are then used in a visible area on the property, where they can be seen for years and years to come. It’s a great way to honor donors for their support.

Supplies:

  • Bricks
  • Volunteer workers
  • A brick engraving machine (usually Home Depot or Lowe’s can do this)
  • Flyers/order forms

Instructions:

  • First, purchase a bulk pallet of bricks from a local hardware store, and talk with a manager at your local Home Depot (or other construction place) to see if they offer brick engraving. If they do, see about getting a discount for ordering in bulk.
  • Next, get the word out about your fundraising efforts. Announce it at weekly services, send it out in your church newsletter, and send home flyers to parents of your Sunday school and vacation bible school students. You can also reach out to local business owners who may want visibility on your property. Be sure to include some sort of order form on the flyer, so donors can fill out their name and attach a check.
  • Finally, start taking donations. Be sure to charge enough to cover the costs of your bricks, the labor and materials it will take to install the bricks, the brick engraving, and the fundraising goal you have in mind.
  • Once your deadline has passed, bring all the engraving orders into your local hardware store, and get the bricks engraved. Set your volunteers to installing the new brick walkway or patio right away, and when it’s all done, hold a big unveiling event for all your donors to enjoy. If it works out well, you can add new bricks to the area every year, and keep raising money for your organization time and time again.

Head Shaving

Who wouldn’t want to see their favorite pastor or youth minister go bald for a good cause? Very few, you can bet. That’s what makes this one of the best fundraisers for church around. All you need is a wiling volunteer, a donation goal and a pair of clippers!

Instructions:

  • Talk to your church staff about who might volunteer for the head shaving event. If you can get more than one person involved, that’s even better! And remember, the longer hair they have, the most drastic and funny the transformation will be, so reach out to anyone you can think of!
  • Set your donation goal and let your congregation, youth groups and other church organizations know that once you hit that number, your participants will shave their heads for all to see. If you want to speed up the process, set a deadline, too.
  • Get to collecting. Set up a collections table in the main area of the church, and keep a poster board handy that shows your current donation amount. You can update it daily with how much you have left to raise.
  • Once you’ve raised your goal amount, hold a big head shaving event on site at the church. Invite the entire congregation, have food and drink on hand, and shave those volunteers’ heads for all to see. It will be a blast for everyone involved, so be sure to take pictures to remember it by!

Church Cookbooks

When it comes to church money raising ideas, this is one of the most useful. You simply ask your congregation to submit a copy of their favorite family recipe, print them all up, bind them, and sell them for a small donation to your members, friends, family members and others in the community.

Supplies:

  • 30 to 50 recipes from people in your congregation
  • A graphic designer to lay out the book
  • Access to a printer and binding materials
  • A table

Instructions:

  • Start seeking out recipe submissions early on through church newsletter, emails, on your website and at church events and meetings. Ask congregation members to simply bring in a printed or handwritten copy of their favorite family recipe, and hand it over to a designated volunteer.
  • Talk with a local printing company and see if they’d be willing to 1) print and bind the books for free, in exchange for a mention or credit on your book’s cover or pages or 2) offer you a discount, as you’ll be buying in bulk (and you’re a non-profit.)
  • Next, scour your congregation for someone who’s savvy with the computer (or is a graphic designer), and have them layout all the recipes in a print-ready format for your printer. Deliver the files to the printing company and order 100 to 200 copies. (Be sure to save the files in case you want to order more in the future.)
  • Finally, set up a table in the main area of your church, and sell the cookbooks to congregation members before or after Sunday service. Charge a small donation of $15 to $20 per book, and be amazed at the number of funds you can raise in just one day. If it works well, you can even make this an annual event, creating Christmas cookbooks, Easter ones and other themed books throughout the year.

Christmas Décor

Still wondering how to raise money for church activities? Well, if you have some handy congregation members, this is the answer for you. You simply enlist your best DIYer, create some beautiful Christmas décor, like wreaths, ornaments advent calendars and more, and you set up a little on-site store. It’s a great way to give your members access to great Christmas décor, affordable holiday gifts and an easy way to give back to their church.

Supplies:

  • DIY materials for wreaths, ornaments and other holiday décor
  • A team of handy volunteers
  • An empty room in the church

Instructions:

  • Send out a call for volunteer DIYers in your congregation via email, the church website and through flyers on the church walls and windows. Schedule a meeting for the volunteers to discuss the project and to brainstorm ideas for wreaths and other possible décor.
  • Head to your local craft store and get plenty of DIY materials. You can ask the manager if they’d be willing to donate a portion in exchange for promotion during your event, or if they’ll give you a discount for being a non-profit.
  • Next, gather your volunteer team once a week, and start creating beautiful décor items to sell to your congregation. You can even send materials home with people, so they can work on their own time as well.
  • Finally, once all the décor is complete, set up a mini store in one of your church rooms. Line tables and shelves with your items, and be sure to label each once with a price tag (between $5 and $20 each should work.) Have someone on hand to collect cash from the buyers.
  • If you want to raise even more funds, consider adding gift wrapping to the event. As many people will be buying your items for presents, you can have volunteers on hand ready to wrap those items up for a small fee. It makes everything more convenient for your buyers, and it’s yet another way to raise funds!

Wine Tasting

Looking for adult-themed ideas to raise money for church? This is it. You simply partner up with a local winery or wine merchant, offer an on-site tasting even for your 21-and-up congregation members, and charge a small fee. The wine merchant offers a 5 or 6 glass tasting to participants, and also has products on hand for people to buy. You take the entry fee and a small portion of the sales for your fundraising goals, and the winery or merchant takes the rest. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Instructions:

  • Talk with local wineries, suppliers and merchants about participating in your event. If you can get one, that’s great, but the more the merrier. You want plenty of options, so you can meet all kinds of taste levels and budgets. You can even bring in breweries if you want! Make sure to negotiate your percentage of sales, as well as what level of promotion and signage they can have at the event.
  • Next, set a date for your event, and get the word out to your congregation. Be sure to include the purpose of the event, as well as the cause you’re raising funds for. This may spur even more people to come out and participate.
  • Finally, host your event. Set up a table for each merchant in your largest room, and have small tasting glasses set up at every one. Each guest should get a handful of small servings from each merchant, and at the end, if they have any favorites, they can stop back by to purchase a full bottle. Be sure to take a small entry fee at the door, as this will go straight into your fundraising till.
  • You can even ask participants to rate each wine they taste, and at the end of the night, you can announce how much was raised, as well as the top-selling or highest rated wines and beers of the night. It’s a blast for everyone involved!

The Church Fundraising Letter

When fundraising for churches, you often need a letter – something that describes your mission, your organization and your plans for the collected funds. You’ll then send this off to potential donors, congregation members, loved ones and others throughout the community once your fundraising activities get off the ground.

While these letters should typically be customized to your exact needs, organization and audience, they should look similar to the sample church fundraising letter below:

Dear [XX],

The [NAME OF CHURCH] in [CITY,] [STATE], is growing at a rapid pace. In addition to our regular services throughout the week, we also offer community outreach programs, youth groups, vacation bible school, community service projects and more. [ADD ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS YOU OFFER.]

Sadly, due to budget problems, we have been unable to afford [EVENT/CAUSE YOU NEED FUNDS FOR], a movement we feel would benefit the local [COMMUNITY/YOUTH/SENIOR POPULATION] immensely. As such, we are seeking help from our neighbors, friends and loved ones in supporting this worthwhile cause.

The estimated costs for [EVENT/CAUSE] are [$XX]. Though we have currently raised [$XX] from prior fundraising engagements, we are still in need of [$XX] to meet our goals and get this powerful program off the ground. We aim to raise these funds by [DEADLINE.]

A donation on your behalf could greatly help us in our goals. Though we will certainly accept cash or check donations, the [NAME OF CHURCH] will also host a number of fundraising events and activities to help us reach these goals. These events include [LIST FUNDRAISING EVENTS, DATES AND TIMES.] Information can also be found on our website, [INSERT CHURCH WEB ADDRESS.]

Should you choose to donate, your funds will go toward [LIST EXACT CAUSES FUNDS WILL GO TO.] Remember, as we are a 501©3 organization, any cash donations can be used as a deduction on your annual income taxes. If a financial donation is not possible, we would gladly appreciate volunteers to help us in these fundraising efforts. Simply contact [VOLUNTEER DIRECTOR] at [PHONE NUMBER] to inquire about these opportunities.

We need the support of community members like you to keep our organization strong. To learn more about our church, our mission or our fundraising efforts, please contact [FUNDRAISING DIRECTOR] at [PHONE NUMBER]. We would be glad to answer any and all questions.

Thank you for your time and continued support.

Sincerely,

[PASTOR/MINISTER XX]

You can also download this letter here and save it to your computer for a template to work from.

Be sure to customize the letter to reflect your exact activities and fundraising efforts, and send them to any potential donors you can think of. This should include prominent community members, friends and family members of those in your congregation, businesses located in and around the church and more.

Want more easy church fundraising ideas that work? Check out our general fundraising ideas page, or head to our mission-trip specific page for help raising money for your upcoming trip abroad.