One of the hardest parts of any major event your church sponsors, such as mission trips and community service days, is raising the funds, especially because each event seems so isolated. Expenses for utilities and rent are predictable and you can often plan ahead, but the cost of mission trips changes year to year.
So, to make things easier for you, and to help you support as many projects as possible, we have put together a few fundraising ideas based on what we’ve seen work.
Have your members bring items for a garage sale
This is a variation of the typical bake sale, but it’s a useful variation to toss in. For one, it requires participation from more people, and that’s a key component to raising support. Bake sales and car washes are easily accomplished by just a small band of people, but a church-wide garage sale brings people in both as contributors, and also as buyers. In both cases, you’re getting your members (and anyone from the community who stops by) to take some sort of a positive action that gets them involved in the project you’re trying to raise funds for. Those actions, then, help to generate an ownership of the idea and a desire to pitch in and help.
Hire out volunteers for odd jobs
This is a good long-term funding measure, since it’s low key enough to continue for months on end. This makes it especially good for funding mission trips, since those going will want a way to raise funds for their trips.
All you have to do is make a list of people willing to do odd jobs, along with their specialties (gardening, house cleaning, baking, etc.), and publish it so people from your church or community can hire them, and all the proceeds go to the church.
Random Acts of Kindness
Put together a list of kind things a group of church members will do for people (deliver a cake, mow a lawn, baby-sit a couple’s kids so they can go on a date, etc.) as well as the price for each act. People will then hire you to do these things for someone else.
This is something my home church has every year. They use it primarily to raise funds for the following year’s goals (expansion, etc.), but you could easily apply it to any isolated expense you have.
A miracle offering is basically a special offering that gets more press. We’ve all done special offerings, so the reason this is worth mentioning is because so few churches get the full advantage out of their special offerings.
You can maximize the effects of your special offerings by:
- The name—There’s a reason this section isn’t titled “special offering.” There’s an excitement that comes with a name like “miracle offering.” A new and unique name catches people’s attention. We’ve all heard of special offerings before, and they’re familiar. It’s easy to let something like that slip right out of your mind. But, a miracle offering raises eyebrows. People aren’t sure what that is; they want to find out; it demands more attention.—Additionally, you’ll convey your expectations much more clearly. Just think about what the term “special offering” asks of your members. Do you even know? I, personally, have no real idea. I know it should be special, but that’s so abstract. However, “miracle” is a much more specific term. It means you want something surprising, something beyond what’s possible. You’re telling people to pray, because by definition, only God can perform a miracle.
- Announce this well in advance—This isn’t just for the practical goal of getting people to plan to carry a little more cash that day. By announcing this offering a month or so in advance, you’re creating a buzz. The key to a good miracle offering is to make your members want to see a large number. Make them want to see a miracle. Tap into their competitive side that wants this to be the biggest offering your church has ever received. All these things create a sense of ownership among your members, and you’ll create a sense of pride in their work so they feel that this offering will change lives and they get to be a part of that.
- Share your goals—This too creates a sense of ownership in the project. You’re giving your members something they can latch onto and support. If your goals are compelling, members will be eager to see them happen. Consequently, they’ll be much more willing to work hard to find a few extra dollars, because they believe in what you’re doing. As a personal example, I’m a leader of my church’s media team, and about two years ago, I found out that the church wanted to start a weekly TV broadcast of our sermons. As a camera operator, that was some of the most exciting news I’ve ever gotten. I would have a personal role in every life changed by that show!!! It was amazing, and you can bet I turned my couch upside down, just to get that one extra penny that I could put into the offering. That vision compelled me, and I was on a mission.
- Call for prayer and fasting—This is, after all, a miracle offering. You have to treat it as such. If you leave things up to what is possible, you’ll only get mediocre results. But, if you call on your church to pray for the offering, to fast as they seek God’s wisdom in what to give, and if the whole thing is at Jesus’ feet, then you’ll get God’s results. The times my home church has prayed and fasted for the miracle offering, various people have gotten promoted just before the offering, people have gotten bonuses, and God has shown up to provide in ways we wouldn’t have imagined.