Fundraising for children’s ministry may seem cumbersome, complicated and maybe even a little pesky, unless we recognize the inherent opportunity for stewardship. Whether raising funds through church budgets, grants or overt fundraisers we need to share a strong message that communicates how the funds will be used to foster spiritual formation.
In my both my roles in youth and children’s ministry, I have found it important to be intentional about working with church leadership to designate line items in the church budget. This helps insure a sustainable ministry with the materials and supplies needed to help children learn about and grow in the faith. The congregation can very clearly see how their contributions are nurturing children, youth, and families.
Looking at grant opportunities
In addition to developing a church budget, grant proposals to district and conference offices can offer opportunities to launch new ministries.
Through grant money, our church has been able to launch an Alternative Worship Service, initiate Community Nights, and develop a stronger relationship with the Christian preschool that meets in our building.
Local foundation funds supported the installation of a new playground that is shared by the church, preschool, and community. While the grants allowed us to start the ministries, church leadership recognized that the congregation would need to step up to continue the ministries. Effective ministries have become part of the church budget.
Successful grant writing depends on three key components:
- Objectives must be clear and connected to the overall mission of the church
- There must be opportunity for partnerships between committees, teams or community organizations
- Make it clear how purchases will support long term change – funders want to know how their gift will make a difference
Ministry fundraising event ideas
Sometimes, it is necessary and even fun (yes fun) to conduct fundraising events for specific causes.
When I was serving in youth ministry, we often raised funds for mission trips or technology purchases for the youth program. Our most successful fundraisers were those that built relationships while raising money. Rather than selling candy bars or candles, we found success in sponsoring meals and our annual yard sale.
Meals that are held between worship services are well attended. At the Fancy French Toast Brunch, French Toast was served with a variety of fruit toppings, cream cheese fluff, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Youth parents prepared the food while the youth set up, served, bussed tables, and washed dishes.
The Chilly Winter Chili Dinner involved the whole congregation in bringing favorite snowmen decorations to the church throughout January. We filled the halls with snowmen holding advertisements for the event. At another event, youth made potato people from Styrofoam potatoes. They placed them throughout the church to invite the church family to the Potato Bar.
Three keys to successfully raising funds through meals:
- Try something new each year as people enjoy the unexpected
- Make it clear how funds are going to be used – videos of past events, table tents, and posters are helpful
- Accept donations rather than selling tickets – people are very generous
At our church, the most lucrative mission trip fundraiser is an annual yard sale. Held on the day of a community-wide yard sale, we fill the fellowship hall with items donated by the congregation.
No prices are placed on the items so the set up can happen within about a 2-hour period with 10 volunteers. Customers walk through, choose their items, and name their own price.
This is a win-win-win!
Members of the congregation win because they are able to clean out unneeded items.
Members of the community win because they can obtain items at a price they can afford.
The church wins because materials items have been transformed into funds for mission trips.
While raising funds for ministry. Focus on the ministry mission rather than the money. Look for opportunities to build community and to nurture stewardship. Give the challenge to God. He will provide.
You can hear more about church fundraisers here. Jake & Erik, two Youth Ministers, discuss their experiences and tips when it comes to making money for the church.
Have any other great ideas on how to fundraise money for your congregation? Let us know in the comments!