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3 Fundraising Ideas That Don’t Feel Like Fundraisers

Posted by Kurt Johnston

I have a confession to make: I loathe fundraisers. I’m pretty sure it goes back to my first junior high ministry that I served in during the late 80’s. At that church we only did one fundraiser per year, but it was a doozey. We sold Christmas trees for an entire month…from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas eve. For almost 30 days straight I was either working at the tree lot all day long, then staying up late to do my normal workload OR I would have a normal day, but show up to the tree lot at closing time for my overnight/security detail. It’s been over 20 years and just thinking about the annual experience makes my left eye start to twitch!

So from a guy who hates fundraisers, here are three simple ways to earn a little extra money for your ministry without a ton of effort:

1) “Send a Student to Camp!” tip jars. If your church sells coffee or donuts or books or sermon tapes, ask the powers that be if they would allow you to put a tip jar at each location with a little sign that says “Send a Student to Camp!” and use the donations to bless a single mom or out of work dad by paying for their child’s upcoming camp or retreat.

2) “Recycle Shed”. Build or purchase a little shed that is placed someplace on campus (ideally in the corner of the parking lot). Let the church know that they can be environmentally conscious and help the youth ministry at the same time by saving their plastic bottles and aluminum cans and bringing them to church a couple times a month. Simply unlock the shed before and after services and allow folks to toss in their bags!

3) “Ebay Extravaganza!” A buddy of mine makes a couple hundred bucks each month for his youth ministry by purchasing items on sale at retail stores, then re-selling them for a profit on Ebay. He chooses to focus on only a couple categories (books and sporting goods) to keep things simple, but the sky’s the limit!

Do you have an easy “non fundraiser” fundraiser? Share it!

9 thoughts on “3 Fundraising Ideas That Don’t Feel Like Fundraisers

  1. Brian Seidel

    I wrote about the best fundraiser I have ever done on my blog:

  2. When I was Youth Director at what is now, oddly enough, Saddleback Rancho Capistrano, we did the “Buck a Roo Club” idea I got from Les Christie. We promised other than 30 Hour Famine we would ask for no other $$. Members pledged $2 a week or $104 a year. It paid for transportation & scholarships!

  3. hey Kurt,

    I love the ebay idea. What exactly did he sell? I could almost have a adult do this as apart of his/her ministry.

  4. We do a tree lot every year. We get the trees on the day after Thanksgiving and sell for about two weeks. This is the only fundraiser we do and it allows the students to earn money for their youth account. Now that I think about it, this fundraiser probably works because we live in Florida….

  5. Matthew McNutt

    We do a ‘Parent’s Night Out’ fundraiser. We get the teens to babysit in the church’s children ministry facilities, block out a three hour time period on a Friday night and tell parents they can drop off their kids for babysitting and just make a donation if they want to. It’s great because it becomes a service to parents who can’t afford babysitters normally since the donations are anonymous and they can give just a few bucks. And there’s always some families that are more well off and donate significantly more than they would to a babysitter, so we typically end up raising around $1000 (and we’re typically watching about 80 kids).

    it’s three hours of madness, but a great low prep, big pay off fund raiser for us.

  6. I don’t know the specifics, just that he decided focusing on two categories he is already familiar with seemed like best route. When he sees a sale, he will by as many of those items as he is allowed to, store them in his garage and place adds on eBay.

  7. “the 100 club”- this january, we’re making a push for 100 people to donate at least 100 dollars each over the course of the year for student ministry. Those folks will recieve a monthly newsletter, thank-you cards, and be invited to a year-end celebration.

  8. Bobby Crick

    Youth Service Projects have been a great fundraiser for us. We set up a monthly youth work day, typically the 3rd Saturday, from 9am to noon. We have an ongoing sign-up sheet intended for people who can’t physically do the work or don’t have the time. The object is to help people who really need the help. What’s so great about this fundraiser is that it is not actually a fundraiser, yet most of the adults will write us a check or give us cash even though we tell them that we are not doing it for the money. Which is true. It’s a win, win opportunity. Youth learn to love others without expecting pay, people get ministered to, and God blesses the Youth Fund with extra scholarship money. LOL, I just realized that I just ruined the idea for you all. If you do this as a fundraiser, it defeats the purpose of doing it. Sorry, my bad. So do it as a ministry project while you do fundraisers. Blessings!

  9. Per the Ebay idea. Storage units have auctions about once a month and for 100-300 dollar average you can pick up an abandoned unit and resell the items. it takes a day or two to bid on the items and transport them to the church and then another day to clean everything up, figure out the value online, take pictures and list the items. If you can get students to help, then you can take the “investment money” out of the sales and put it back into your pocket and then split the proceeds amongst the students that helped or donate the money to a needy student for the event. if you are really savvy and can find great deals, the church could actually pay for all the events and the youth ministers salary by being proactive in this endeavor.

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3 Fundraising Ideas That Don’t ...

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