Lead Grow Go

Home » Posts tagged 'Fundraising'

Tag Archives: Fundraising


The Best Fundraiser Ever


Interested in a fundraiser that raises $50-60 and hour per person? Easy.

One thought first:

I am in Israel right now. If the promised land is anything, it is temperamental. The people of Israel had to depend on God for crops which depended on water. The good and plentiful land does not have any major water sources like large rivers and a significant part of it is completely dry 6 months a year. Without rain, often only needing 6-8 inches to grow barley and wheat, they faced starvation. God was their source of water. The good land was good precisely because it caused them to be dependent on him. And so Jesus taught us to pray “give us today our daily bread.”

We think of plentiful as all that we can handle and more. This is not provision, it is gluttony. Let’s keep that in mind as we orchestrate budgets and seek God’s financial blessing.

So the best fundraiser ever? I won’t say Jesus but I hope you get the point.

The following is a detailed explanation of a fundraiser that lasts one day, helps students engage and serve the community, has a 100% profit margin, can build your budget and allows students to earn money they need for activities. While this works for missions, I think this is best used for general expenses and a “going to camp” fundraiser.

The general idea is to coordinate a work day with your city.

Step one:

Call the city office and explain you have a team of youth that would like to work for the city on a service project for the community. My experience has been that most cities are very interested in free community service and will provide limited supervision and tools for their project (paint, rakes). Projects have been done on waterways and public parks and even inside public buildings removing trash in storage.

Step two:

Set a date and let the city/parks department know that the students will receive sponsors for camp (or a retreat, or an international experience, etc.). Receive permission to use their logo to promote.

Step three:

Prominently use the logo of your organization/church and the logo of the city or parks department. Create a pledge sheet. This works like a “fund run.” Students will take the sheet and receive sponsors for each hour worked. So if someone gives .25 for each hour that would be $2 for an 8 hour day of work. Not a lot. Here is my experience. Hit businesses. We often received $3-5 and hour from individuals and business in the community. They are getting something out of it but it is tax deductible and helping kids go to camp. Our average per hour rate was $30-$50 for each participating student. Per hour! That would be $210-400 for one day of work. And that is average.

Step four:

Send out students with training. Give them the line you want them to say “Hello Mr. Jones. I am working to go on a leadership retreat with my church. We will be working next month cleaning up the creak in Jones City Park. I was wondering if you would be interested in sponsoring me for each hour I work. It is tax deductible and we will be working along with the city.”

Step Five:

Do the work day and then students collect the money. Many sponsors will just give the donation up front. We always receive lots of twenties and fifties. Don’t be afraid to take a portion of the earnings for the ministry fund. For example students earn 80% and your budget gets 20% for scholarships.

This format allows students who cannot pay for anything, or their parents don’t want to pay, to earn a year worth of retreats and activities in one day. You invest one day. Your community sees your organization partnering officially with the local government. Tax deductible. Everybody wins.

If you need more ideas check this page out

I suggest this work sponsor model not because rummage sales and spaghetti dinners don’t work, they just don’t work everywhere or all the time. I have seen this one tried and succeed over and over.

What are your ideas for the best fundraiser ever? Please leave questions or more great ideas in the comments.


The Worst Fundraiser Ever

Pennies pile

I was once in a room with several hundred youth pastors and someone asked “How many of you have lost money on a fundraiser.” About half of the hands went up. Failure in fundraising is like a badge of pride in youth ministry. However it does not get teens to camp or pay for their mission trip.

There are some significant challenges in youth ministry fundraising that must be addressed.

Nickel and Dime Approaches

Many carwashes make a few hundred dollars. If you get 10 cars an hour (6 minutes apiece) for 6 hours that is only 60 cars. You will need a team of 10 to 20 people (in 2-3 shifts), lots of water, hoses, signs and sunscreen. If each car gives $5, you only make $300 (minus expenses). This small amount requires 60-100 hours of labor and an individual can make about $15-30 for the Saturday of work. Your students would be far better off getting a job or cutting lawns. Even more depressing is selling things that take a significant portion of the profit as their cut (flowers, cards, lawn ornaments). I suggest dropping the nickel and dime approaches to fundraising and go with approaches that engage students yet don’t waste time or money.

The teens should earn it!

One of my personal hurdles in fundraising was that the church believed all student trips should be funded by the student working. We once had an elder insist I hold car washes to pay for a 3 week mission trip (18 participants X $1,800 = 108 car washes). I believe that the congregation can and should buy into the mission of the youth ministry. Those who support in money often support in prayer. My first Church was across the street from a housing project in Urban Portland, OR. Most of my teens could not pay $2 to go bowling let alone raise $200 for a summer camp. A new strategy based on a new philosophy had to be developed.

Special funds versus general fund

Don’t be oblivious to the fact that raising thousands of dollars will impact the general fund giving of the church. This is especially true if you are writing letters, in a medium sized church (200 or smaller), or a small community.

Doing too much

I know a youth pastor that does 18-25 fundraisers a year. Stop it. Your job is to make disciples. Cut your program and stop going to Six Flags.

Community support or community fleecing

Work through your philosophy of engaging the community. There is nothing wrong with selling items or asking support from the community. However, there is a hidden cost to using non-Christians while trying to serve non-Christians. Many Churches and ministries do ask for money, a lot. Just remember that your primary task is to give to the community. Make your outside efforts rare and effective.

I prefer to offer carwashes for free. Because they don’t make much money anyway, why not just serve and refuse the cash?

Next Week: The Best Fundraiser Ever!

If you can’t wait, check out this one.

%d bloggers like this: