Unique Fundraising Ideas for Churches: A Comprehensive Guide

Fundraising for Churches: 30 Creative Ideas to Consider

It can be easy to stick to the same old routine when it comes to fundraising for churches. But having a variety of ways to raise funds means you no longer have to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s a safer financial strategy and brings more awareness to your initiatives – within your church and beyond. 

Need some inspiration for your next church fundraiser? Let’s dive into some fun, unique, family-friendly, and virtual ways to raise money for your church home. 

Why a Church Needs Fundraising Events

When you have fundraising events, you accomplish multiple things at once: they bring the community together, strengthen fellowship, connect parishioners and church staff outside of Sunday services, and, of course, raise money. When done right, they can become annual or semi-annual traditions to look forward to. 

Every church has immediate needs, programs, and initiatives that benefit from regular fundraising outside of tithing. 

The need to fundraise is ever present, from using these resources for everyday heating and air conditioning to updated hymnals and youth group costs. Being specific about what you’re fundraising for helps to fundraise more effectively. 

For example, when you communicate that your church needs to repave the parking lot for safety reasons, parishioners will feel invested in the effort, give accordingly, and take pride in a job well done. Other reasons to fundraise, like sending teens of the church to a churchwide youth gathering, are more exciting than parking lot maintenance. Directly supporting fellow church members’ dreams makes people naturally more enthused about giving. 

When times are tough, the church must stay a safe and reliable place for the most vulnerable to feel supported in all ways. Ongoing fundraising to keep church doors open in challenging times benefits the entire community. Of course, leaning too hard solely on your parishioners will dry up the well. Beyond asking church members for help, community churches benefit by opening fundraising events to the public.

The best church fundraising events introduce parishioners to more people in a memorable, enjoyable, no-pressure way. To make those connections with the broader community, encourage parishioners to invite friends to fundraising events. Plus, when you open them up to the community, it only adds to the fun! 

Additionally, church fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations to participate in will help attract a larger audience. Partner with other nonprofits for big events, such as carnivals or 5K runs, and split the proceeds. At each event, charge a reasonable entry fee or simply raise money through products sold. Partner with small businesses, retirement communities, and local Christian schools to brainstorm fundraisers that would benefit both organizations.

Fundraising For Churches: 30 Amazing Ideas to Try

Good church fundraising ideas not only leave people with a positive impression of your church. They are also profitable. After going through the effort of planning and hosting a fundraiser, you don’t just want to break even!

Fundraising causes should be communicated as exciting and essential. Fundraising events should be activities people really want to attend and fit a need in the community. We’ve compiled 30 fundraising ideas for church congregations to consider! 

Events to Put the “Fun” in Fundraising

These events are a guaranteed good time for all.

1. Dress Down Day

If there is a Christian school nearby with a dress code, know that students and teachers will gladly chip in a couple of dollars for a casual dress day. Folks in any workplace love occasional Fridays or Mondays as dress-down days. Staff or individual church members can reach out to schools and workplaces to make the connection. Let the partner organization decide the nature of the dress-down day: costumed, themed, pajamas, or simply casual. 

2. Donation-Based Activities

If you’re aiming for a specific amount to earn, this isn’t the approach for you. However, it does offer flexibility. Donation-based activities offer parishioners and friends a chance to get involved with the church while bonding over an activity. Whether it be a guest lecturer, a Biblical trivia night, or a group cardio fitness set to upbeat Christian songs, ensure you can collect donations digitally. Also, allow donations at the door with a recommended donation amount listed.

3. Partner with Sister Churches

Do you have a sister church in another country or of a different denomination? Join forces to put on a fun event! You’ll get a bigger turnout, more buzz, and more donations. If one church has a more immediate need than the other, take turns in accepting donations or split them every time. Two heads are better than one: more interfaith dialogue is always needed, and you just might come up with a new idea together. Engage in a friendly competition to see who can raise the most money!

4. Pancake Night

A Pancake Night is fun any night of the week – but it’s especially fun on Shrove Tuesday as an annual event. Get all the fixings ready for a delicious pancake supper the night before Lent begins. Have church staff or volunteers act as servers. Host it at your church if you have a kitchen or waffle presses. It’s a low-cost event to put on: just pick up plenty of pancake mix, syrup, plates, napkins, and cutlery. You can even ask a local pancake restaurant to use their kitchen after hours since they typically close after brunch.

5. Craft Sale

Handmade crafts by members, especially before the holiday season, is a great way to encourage involvement and support hobbies! Hand-knit mittens, baby blankets, handmade candles, or homemade canned sauces with proceeds earned toward the church. Compile gift baskets full of fresh-cut flowers, garlands, or greenery.

6. Generational Parties

Reminisce together over board games, food and snacks, and music tailored to each generation of parishioners. For example, millennial members would enjoy their childhood classics like Fruit Gushers candy, Capri Sun juice pouches, slap bracelets, 2000s pop music, and American Girl dolls. Take photos of each generational party to encourage people to attend next time! Besides raising funds, this is a great way to meet people your age and double as a welcome party for new church members.

Unique Fundraising Ideas for Churches

Check out these six unique fundraising ideas!

7. Partner with Local Businesses

When you partner with another organization, you’re bound to come up with fundraising ideas together that you would never think of alone. Inquire if local businesses like community banks or insurance companies will match donations of your parishioners for fundraising events or initiatives. It’s in their best interest to do so, as it allows them to potentially grow their customer base and network. See which fundraising events interest local businesses and ask them to sponsor one that aligns with their mission.   

8. Partner with Nonprofits

Sometimes, folks are more motivated by specific causes other than standard “church upkeep.” Choose a cause you think your church members will resonate with, such as sheltering the homeless, supporting veterans, or disaster relief. Try to get some aspect of the fundraiser to mirror the cause. For example, selling homemade dog treats after Sunday service to benefit the church, and the local animal shelter is a win-win. When you partner with nonprofits, expect to split the funds raised.   

9. Little Book of Wisdom

A little book of wisdom collected by parishioners is a touching gift to compile. Encourage church members to send in their words of wisdom on any topic, and ask church staffers to organize submissions into chapters. For example, one chapter may be on marriage wisdom, the next chapter may be written by kids, and another may be on how to deal with rejection. Each member gets one page to write an anecdote or bit of uplifting advice they’ve learned over the years. Sell the books and donate all proceeds to the church. It makes for a memorable gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or graduation! 

10. Shred-a-Thon

Oftentimes, personal shredders can’t accommodate all the sensitive documents that need to be shredded. When community members know a Shred-a-Thon is coming up (typically annually or semiannually), they’ll collect their documents and pay for them to be shredded in bulk. Part of your funds raised will have to pay for the local shredding service to come to your church. Still, this is a worthwhile fundraiser when properly advertised to businesses and individuals.

11. Engraved Names

Allow plaques to be donated anonymously or in honor of a loved one. The larger the donation, the more freedom the donor has to dictate the size, shape, and/or style of the plaque. Allow for phrases and Bible verses to be engraved in addition to family names. Designate a part of the church to display the plaques, such as an interior wall or walkway outside the church.  

12. In Lieu Of…

If you’re planning a party, ask friends and family to spend the money they would have spent on a gift on a one-time donation to the church instead. This is a great alternative, especially for birthdays and bridal showers, especially if you feel you don’t need the gift. Note it on the invitation and leave it up to attendees as to how much they’d like to donate. This is one of those ideas led by example. Once one person gets the trend going, others will feel inspired by the idea and do it for their next party. 

Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Church fundraising during the pandemic had to go virtual. From this experience, many have found that virtual fundraising methods are a hit! They’re easily shareable and much appreciated by online-savvy members. Although they might not have the intimate feel of an in-person gathering, virtual fundraising allows for more participation due to digital convenience and unlimited capacity. Plus, online fundraisers require no cleanup afterward! 

13. Online Auction

An online auction is a great way to earn big money. Definitely partner with nonprofits and businesses for this one. You’ll need the online infrastructure that reflects changing bids. Or, to test the waters, you can host a pop-up live mini-auction on social media by recording a live video. Just be sure to have a moderator or two to keep track of the comments.

14. Crowdfunding Website

A crowdfunding website like GoFundMe allows for a description describing what the money will go towards. Research the fees associated with the various crowdfunding websites first. Decide if you want to set a goal amount raised by a specific date or if you want to keep it open. Some websites allow the funds to go straight to the attached account. The best part of crowdfunding websites is how easy it is to share the links in emails and across social media.

15. Specific Email Campaigns

When you send out virtual bulletins, newsletters, or email updates, include donation asks strategically. Including a link in every email will make it so mundane that no one will pay attention. If your church’s members tithe regularly, they will want other asks for specific causes, missions, and initiatives. Whether you need to pay the plumber or fund a mission trip for high school kids, be sure to link to the payment site directly in the email and follow up a few times. It usually takes a few nudges as inboxes fill up fast. 

16. Text Reminders

For a more direct way to fundraise, use text messages. There is a much higher chance people check their texts than their email inboxes. Just be mindful of your texting frequency. Sometimes, fundraising texts can feel invasive, as they are typically quite personal. But if you use this method sparingly and with smart phrasing, you’ll be golden. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Frame the ask as an invitation to donate, not a spammy plea. Consider a text campaign on Giving Tuesday in November, a day when people are prepared for and open to fundraising messages.

17. Promote Campaigns During Live Streams

Live-streamed services and other church events are great for reaching churchgoers who can’t make it in person. Take your broadcast to the next level by promoting campaigns during live streams and allowing people to donate in real-time. For example, if a fundraiser is mentioned directly in the sermon, that’s the perfect time to utilize technology to send a giving prompt. All church members want to see the church continue to be able to do good work and stay functional. Church members want to contribute, and they benefit from occasional reminders!

18. Stay Connected

Stay connected to current and former church members through direct mail, email, and social media. People aren’t going to donate if they feel disconnected from the church. While someone may have stopped going to church for any number of reasons (sickness, moving, busy lives, etc.) – they still may want to stay involved and in the know. And when they can’t come to church, they may be inspired to donate a little extra until they can make it a priority again. So between fundraising asks, keep everyone up to date so they will feel compelled to help when the time is right. 

19. Phone-A-Thon

During phone-a-thons, volunteers cold call church members and read off a scripted message asking them to make a donation pledge. It’s not as scary as it sounds; you’ll find that many of these volunteers and church members on the other end of the line will end up recognizing each other, which makes for an easier conversation. To prevent burnout, just hold the event once a year. Supply snacks and drinks for your volunteers, and make it fun by ringing a bell every time you get a donation! 

20. Sell Church Merch Online

Sell T-shirts, tumblers, gym bags, and sweatshirts for all sizes that display your church’s name. Switch up the designs every so often. Consider making unique designs for specific church programs to foster community. In addition to in-person sales at the church, you’ll need a church website that allows sales. 

Family-Friendly Events

Want to know the best church fundraising ideas for families? 

21. Bake Sale

There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned bake sale! Be sure to clearly label goodies with ingredients if homemade. Supply a variety of treats for those with various food restrictions (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan options, etc.). Want to make church bake sales a regular thing? Consider setting up a table at your local farmers’ market or just holding them before or after Sunday services. 

22. Participate in a 5K

Hold your own 5K fundraiser! Or, if you are a smaller congregation, hold a joint 5K with other parishes or organizations in your area. First, choose a safe route to walk, jog, or run. Be sure to have snacks and plenty of water on hand. Holding a 5K is an excellent way for kids to get their energy out and for families to bond by overcoming a challenge. Be sure to snap photos of the joy on people’s faces as they cross the finish line!

23. Host a Concert

If your church has great acoustics, consider renting the space for local musicians to perform. Holiday concerts featuring the church band or local Christian school choir are always a hit. If you have enough space to accommodate an orchestra, you can charge more per ticket for highly professional musicians and groups to perform. Tickets will also need to cover the travel cost if you invite nonlocal musicians to use your space. 

24. Sell Tickets to a Fall Festival

Families love to kick back, relax, and take pictures at fall festivals in September and October. If you partner with a local farm, a kid-friendly fall festival will include running through a corn maze, enjoying hayrides, picking pumpkins off the vine, and sipping fresh apple cider. If you host a fall festival on your church property, you can still sell pumpkins and apple cider – but instead of corn mazes and hayrides, offer scarecrow making and pumpkin painting instead. Include plenty of seasonal decorations and a pile of leaves for kids (and dogs) to jump into! 

25. Have a Father’s Day Cookout

A cookout is a classic fundraiser activity for a Sunday afternoon in June. Charge for admission and keep a tip jar available. If your church has a kitchen, prepare hot dogs, burgers, and all the fixings. Have outdoor or portable grills? Even better. Create the space for live music by the church band or encourage all the dads to show off their skills in a talent show! You just may be in for Juggling, banjo, and lip sync battles galore. No cookout is complete without cornhole. Also, add lightning bug catching and a water balloon toss to the festivities. Get creative and have fun!

Family-Friendly Events

Want to get teens and young adults more involved? Here are five good fundraising ideas for church members of these age groups. 

26. Car Wash

The classic car wash is a tried and true fundraiser – in warm weather, of course. Make it a competition. Separate volunteers into groups of high school kids versus young adults and see which age group can wash more cars! It’s easy to throw this type of event with minimal preparation. Just have some folks stand outside the church with a poster saying “Car Wash” with the price. Have plenty of soap, water, and towels on hand. If you want to get fancy, you can offer interior vacuuming or other car cleaning services for more money.

27. Mow Lawns

Lots of teen boys mow lawns for extra cash. Encourage service and generosity at a young age by asking these teen church members to donate their earnings from one Saturday a month to a church fund. This doesn’t have to be limited to teen boys, either. Ask any church volunteers to mow lawns in the community on a donation basis. Do the same for any yard work, like raking leaves or seeding lawns.

28. Costume-Themed Movie Night

Host a youth group costume party and movie night fundraiser! Include a costume contest and encourage themed costumes of Bible figures. Offer popcorn, candy, and beverages and allow attendees to vote on which movie to view. Hang decorations and lights from the ceiling to add a little extra flare. 

29. Singles Night

Order some pizza, decorate the church with twinkle lights and bean bag chairs, and set up fun stations for single church members to mingle. Have a section for board games to bring out the kid in everyone. Feeling brave? Go to the speed dating station, where you read questions on index cards to help single church members get to know one another better. Start off the night with a big circle ice breaker, then encourage everyone to visit different themed stations. Host multiple singles nights geared toward various age groups and charge an entrance fee for each. 

30. 4th of July Party

Host a 4th of July fundraiser complete with ice cream, food, games, and sparklers. Have a photo booth with fun photo props. If your church grounds include a campfire or bonfire area, make some s’mores, whip out the acoustic guitar, and have a sing-along. Don’t forget to have bug spray available when the party extends into the night.

Monitoring Church Fundraising Campaigns

Some events are easier to organize than others, and long-standing events require much less advertisement because they’re already a tradition. It can be beneficial to have a dedicated committee of church volunteers or staff to organize, advertise, and measure the success of fundraising events. But technology can help, too. The right management software will streamline the fundraising work, so you don’t need to rely on an entire committee to organize it all manually. 

When a church can monitor donations with management software, it makes holding fundraising campaigns and events less daunting. InPeace provides the infrastructure for in-app donations. This allows church staff to seamlessly keep track of funds raised, which initiatives need more attention, and who has donated. This way, you’ll know who to thank. Having the data at your fingertips means you’ll make more informed decisions about fundraisers moving forward. 

InPeace also has online church event registration capabilities. This helps things run smoothly leading up to fundraising events and increases attendance. Let technology keep track of the details so church staff can think big picture and focus on fellowship. Get a feel from the congregation about what’s working and what’s not. Ask church members what types of fundraising events and initiatives they enjoy or desire: large service-oriented days? Intimate fellowship-oriented ones? Virtual? Then check the software to monitor the results. 

Technology brings church life into the modern world. As life only seems to get busier and busier, your congregation will appreciate any efforts to make church fundraising more convenient, streamlined, and effective.

Fundraise Efficiently with InPeace

InPeace offers various tech solutions to increase online giving for churches through tools designed just for you. 

The tech behind the InPeace app keeps your funds and data safe and private. Work with us to customize your app to reflect your church’s brand. Beyond virtual fundraising, InPeace also allows online prayer request management and custom report generation to keep track of all operations. With the InPeace app, your church can receive funds the next day. Plus, InPeace’s low fees mean low stress. 

Contact InPeace today to learn more.

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