Church Fundraising Ideas That Work

For people all across the world, the word family means more than just individuals sharing a home. For many, family also encompasses members of a larger community: a group of people who may not share the same DNA, but whom they care about all the same. More specifically, these are their fellow church members.

Start a church fundraiser

A 2015 study revealed approximately 77% of American adults affiliate with at least one religious denomination. With a population of US adults hovering around 250 million, that’s a whole lot of family. So what do you do when family needs a helping hand? You open up your heart and arms to help in whatever way you can. But how can you do this for your church community? The answer remains the same, church fundraisers.

No matter your faith, online fundraising makes it easy to collect donations and resources for your church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or any other religious group or community. Whether you’re looking for fundraising ideas for church building, a mission, choir, youth group, Sunday school, or holiday festival, read on for church fundraising ideas to make the most out of your religious GoFundMe campaign.

Six fundraising ideas for churches

1. Youth groups, choirs, and classes

It’s likely you have individual groups as part of your house of worship who all need a boost with their budget. Starting church fundraisers doesn’t have to be complex. Once you figure out how much each group needs to raise, you can start a Teams GoFundMe for each activity: $500 for the choir, $250 for Sunday school, etc. This way, folks can direct their dollars to their favorite team. Add a little healthy competition to the mix and see who reaches their goal the quickest.

2. Faith-based telegrams

This idea is simple, really: asking for donations in exchange for hand-delivering gifts from community members. This would be perfect for any special religious occasion and a way to incorporate youth group fundraising into your community, but the key is to make it an action rather than just a gift. Maybe it means singing carols around Christmas or handing out treats at sundown around Eid. It’ll be a great chance to talk with donors and make both you and them feel truly connected to your community and your faith.

3. Scavenger hunt

Everyone loves a good Easter egg hunt, so why not expand on that? There are plenty of opportunities to put a new, clever twist on fundraising ideas for church. Create a fun faith-based scavenger hunt for a holiday and have people donate to participate. Maybe that means doing good deeds around the neighborhood with volunteers, or it can mean doing research to learn about one’s faith. Up the ante by posting about your search on social media and sharing your adventures under a hashtag so other donors can follow you on your journey (even as they compete). This is also a great chance to make teams and meet people in your communities that you might not know well.

4. Holiday potluck

Of all the church fundraiser ideas, this one is a classic. Pick an important day for a potluck dinner—it can be on a specific day of the week, like Shabbat, or a holiday, like Easter Sunday. Use your online fundraiser to organize what you want to bring to a potluck. Ask supporters to donate to your fundraiser in lieu of buying a ticket for the potluck. A potluck is one of the best ways to raise money while you chat about the food with whoever made it—and if you’re lucky, maybe they’ll share their family recipes.

5. Discussion conference

Church fundraisers don’t always need to be high-energy events. You can host a small conference about your faith and encourage people to donate in order to sponsor certain lectures, talks, or panels, as well as a donation to get into the conference. Invite people to submit ideas for review and invite people onto panels. Be sure to especially encourage youth to donate their time and effort. Record videos of the best talks and post them on your church, temple, synagogue, or mosque’s website.

6. Plug into Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a global day for giving that has exploded in popularity in the past ten years. Whether you’re raising money for a mission trip or to fund your church choir’s competition, you can leverage Giving Tuesday to meet and beat your fundraising goals. Use social media and email to spread the message and you’ll find that your community is right behind you.

Examples of successful church fundraisers

Arise from the ashes

With only 36 square feet, Missionary Independent Spiritual Church has been called the “smallest church in the world” but has served as a haven to many in the town of Forestville, California, and serves as a perfect example for small church fundraising ideas. When a recent fire destroyed the place of worship, the community was called into action by Deacon Millett, who created a campaign to fund the rebuild. He gave rewards to donors so that their contributions were met with various symbols of appreciation and gratitude. In less than one month’s time, they surpassed their goal of $10,000 and will soon be on their way to holding services once again.

Elevate your faith

The Daughters of Saint Paul in Culver City reached out to their community when they needed a lift—literally. With a broken elevator, these six sisters had been forced to scale the three flights of stairs up to their convent above the bookstore and media center where they worked. These lively ladies took to using video to bring their plight to life as they climbed the steep flights of stairs while singing Climb Every Mountain with smiles spread across their faces. In just under a month, the campaign raised enough funds to get their elevator fixed up so the sisters could save their breath for prayers.

Start raising money for your church today

Whether you’re a pastor, a parish member, or a friendly citizen who wants to protect a mainstay in your town, know that there are others who want to help you. After you create your nonprofit fundraiser, utilize the areas where people congregate before service to hang up a printed sign letting others know about your cause. Don’t underestimate the impact of the spoken word. Ask to have your campaign mentioned in the announcements at the close of your weekly service. Check out these church fundraising tips for extra help.

Every cause needs an advocate to stand up and champion the plan into action. You can fill that role. Get started today by creating a fundraiser for your church.