There comes a time when every church must go beyond weekly tithes and offerings to raise additional funds.
Whether sending youth to camps or retreats; bolstering your adoption or benevolence funds; stocking your food pantry; or raising money for a special project, you need unique, effective fundraisers that excite participants and help you bring in generous donations.
We have compiled a list of effective, unique church fundraiser ideas that will help you engage your community to meet your goals.
Read on to discover our best church fundraiser ideas and how to implement them today!
21 unique church fundraiser ideas
- Host a church-wide yard sale
- Dye hair
- Raise money through a drive-in movie theater
- Youth group worship concert night
- Offer back-to-school haircuts
- Put on a 5k race
- Host a parents' night out
- Adopt-a-mile for mission or youth trips
- Arrange a spirit night with a local business
- Host a craft or cooking class
- Host a cook off
- Hold an envelope fundraiser
- Host a ticketed dinner
- Deliver singing telegrams
- Host a bingo night
- Recurring Sunday morning refreshment sales
- Buy-a-brick fundraiser
- Sell family photos
- Create a yardwork crew
- Host a walkathon
- Provide Christmas light removal
1. Host a church-wide yard sale
Yard sales can bring in thousands of dollars, especially if many members participate and sell.
Multi-family yard sales bring shoppers in droves. Imagine what kind of turnout you could see if a significant portion of your church hosted a table and sold their old wares!
Here are a few tips on making it a success:
1. Inform church members of the needs
Make sure church members have plenty of time in advance to prepare for the yard sale.
Tell them what the yard sale proceeds are going towards.
This is also a good time to invite church members to donate items to sell at the yard sale.
2. Set up a lemonade/snack stand
This is a good project for the youth group to oversee. Make lemonade and cookies ahead of time.
These are high margin items that will help you meet your fundraising goals.
3. Promote, promote, promote!
Put signs up throughout town advertising the yard sale.
Consider spending $50 on a micro-targeted Facebook ad promoting the event.
Make sure you also put a listing in the local classifieds as well as Craigslist.
4. Collect items to sell the day before the yard sale
Use this time to sort items into different categories. This is also when you should make price tags.
2. Dye hair
This is a classic fundraising tactic that everyone enjoys - except for the person who has to dye their hair.
The concept is fairly simple.
If the fundraising goal is met, the volunteer must dye their hair. This can be mixed up a bit, depending on the situation.
For example, if the volunteer has a beard, they could shave it. Or they could shave their head.
Get creative about it, and make sure to give regular updates on the progress of the fundraising goal.
Who should be the volunteer for this church fundraiser? It’s usually the youth leader, or the lead pastor.
3. Raise money through a drive-in movie theater
A drive-in movie theater can be a great way to raise money for your church.
You’ll need a place to host the event, a high-quality projection system, and a handful of volunteers.
Here’s how to set it up:
1. Choose a movie
A light-hearted, inspirational movie is best for something like this. It is also key to make sure the movie is family-friendly.
You’ll need to make sure to check with the laws and rules on displaying movies in front of groups of people.
Tip: Many Christian films have programs to help promote their movie to churches. Make sure you check the film’s website and see if a program like that is available to you.
2. Find a place to host the event
Your church’s parking lot may work for this, depending on the layout. It’s important to find a place where many cars have a clear view of the screen.
If the parking lot isn’t feasible, look into public parks where cars are allowed.
This could simply be a matter of reserving an area with your city or county.
The third option for this is to use a big retailer’s parking lot or even a shopping mall’s parking lot.
Hint: A rooftop parking lot could be an amazing location for a drive-in movie theater. Just make sure the projector screen is secured and safe from the wind.
3. Get the proper equipment
You’ll need a high-quality projector and a large projector screen.
If your church doesn’t have one, you can likely rent one from a local events or party store.
You'll also need a way to broadcast the audio. We recommend using an FM transmitter.
These can be purchased online for ~$100. Once you have the FM transmitter, you can broadcast the audio to a specific FM channel.
After that, participants can tune their car radios to your channel and hear the audio loud and clear.
4. Ask for donations
The last step of this church fundraiser is to ask for donations.
You can come up with your own prices, but a good place to start would be to either charge based on car or per person.
You could then ticket the event online or use physical carnival-style tickets.
While there are some up front costs associated with this, it should eventually pay for itself. This is a great summer activity that you could host every weekend.
You could also invite other church members to sponsor a car, and so that members of the community could participate at no cost.
Note: Depending on the size of the drive-in theater, this may not work as well with larger churches.
4. Youth group worship concert night
Encourage church members to come to a concert put on by the youth worship band.
This is a low-cost way to raise funds for your church. This is an especially good fundraiser to do when your youth group is raising money for one of their initiatives.
Whether they are raising money for a mission trip, youth camp, or supporting a member of the youth group in need, this could be the perfect way to fund their initiatives.
Below are a few tips for success.
1. Schedule the date
This is something that could work well after a Sunday night service.
Regardless of the day you choose, make sure church members are aware and plan to attend.
2. Set a suggested donation amount
Don’t require money for entrance to the concert, but do encourage a certain donation amount.
Somewhere between $5 and $10 per person would be a good target.
3. Get everyone involved
Make sure every member of the youth group feels included.
Apart from the band members, you could have youth group members volunteering to receive donations at the door, preparing snacks and drinks, and running A/V and slides.
5. Offer back-to-school haircuts
When the fall rolls around, parents are busy getting their students ready for the first day of class.
Offering donation-based back-to-school haircuts brings community members through your doors, you provide a helpful service, and you can raise serious funds in the process.
Ask barbers and hair stylists in your congregation if they’re willing to donate their time and talents to the cause.
6. Put on a 5K race
A road race is a great way to bring awareness to your special project while raising money for the cause.
Solicit prizes from local businesses for age group winners to incentivize sign-up and sell race T-shirts to raise additional funds at the event.
Here’s how to make it happen:
1. Choose a date and start promoting it
The most important part is making sure everyone is aware of the event.
You can promote it with organic social media posts, paid social media posts, bulletins, church announcements, and much more.
2. Find a location to host the 5K
This could be a local park, a high school track, or even inside the church gym.
Get creative with it, Once you’ve identified the location, make sure you reserve the space well in advance.
3. Acquire necessary equipment ahead of time
You’ll need things like tables, signs for checkpoints, disposable cups for water, and of course, a finish line.
7. Host a parents’ night out
Parents and caregivers are always looking for childcare.
Host a night of babysitting for a set fee per child or family. Ask adult and youth group volunteers to watch the kids.
Remember, all adult volunteers responsible for childcare should have a background check!
8. Adopt-a-mile for mission or youth trips
If you’re raising money for a trip, like a mission trip or youth camp, consider an adopt-a-mile fundraiser.
Determine the cost of travel, then divide that amount by the total miles you’ll travel to arrive at the destination.
Supporters can cover the cost of a mile (or many miles if they’d like!)
9. Arrange a spirit night with a local business
Spirit nights are popular fundraising events that allow organizations to bring home a percentage of profits earned from a business on a specific date within a particular time frame.
Partner with a local business, like a restaurant or ice cream shop, to host a spirit night for your church fundraiser.
Spirit nights help you raise money with little to no cost investment on your behalf, making them ideal for churches needing to raise funds.
10. Host a craft or cooking class
People are happy to donate when they’re learning something new in a fun, engaging class.
Host a craft or cooking class where participants can learn –– or hone –– a skill and bring home their finished product.
11. Host a cook off
A cook off is a great way to combine fellowship with fundraising.
Set a theme for your cookoff, charge an entry fee for competitors, then let the cooks get to work!
Community and church members can spend time in fellowship and enjoy the delicious dishes with the option to donate to your project or fund.
12. Hold an envelope fundraiser
Number envelopes with various dollar amounts.
Donors can choose an envelope –– or a few –– fill them with the amount written on the front, then return them to a designated location.
13. Host a ticketed dinner
Sell tickets to a catered dinner in your gym or family life center.
You might have someone in your congregation who can cater, or you can solicit a local restaurant to provide a meal at a discounted price.
Some menu options include a steak dinner, a barbecue spread, or an Italian feast!
14. Deliver singing telegrams
This one is unconventional but memorable –– and hilarious!
A talented (or not-so-talented) pastor or staff member delivers singing telegrams to unsuspecting recipients.
This idea is perfect for holidays to create lighthearted fun while raising money for a great cause.
15. Host a bingo night
Bingo nights are the perfect family-friendly fundraising event.
Solicit prize donations from local businesses, or ask for prize donations from church members.
Charge a participation fee per game. Everyone ages 1 to 100 can join in and help support your church fundraiser.
16. Recurring Sunday morning refreshment sales
Many churches provide free coffee for their Sunday services.
Consider selling additional refreshments alongside the joe, like donuts, muffins, or breads.
Hungry church-goers, especially those with hungry children, will gladly donate in exchange for a Sunday morning snack.
17. Buy-a-brick fundraiser
Buy-a-brick fundraisers allow donors to leave a written legacy through their generosity.
The donor purchases a brick and engraves a message, date, or person to remember or honor.
The bricks are then typically used as pavers where their legacy can live on for generations.
18. Sell family photos
Families in your church and community always want new family photos.
As children grow and new babies are born, we want to capture our families.
Offer portraits or mini-sessions to raise funds for your project.
Instead of opting for the traditional church directory-style photo, choose a beautiful outdoor location or stage a backdrop in your auditorium or gym.
Provide quality photography, and people will be happy to give generously.
19. Create a yardwork crew
If your church is home to suburban or rural congregants, they have lawns and landscaping that need care.
Put together a yard work crew that handles limb cutting, weeding, mulching, and mowing.
This idea is perfect for youth groups soliciting funds for camps, retreats, or conferences.
20. Host a walkathon
If your church has a sizeable parking lot, a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon is a great way to fundraise.
You could even host this event at a school or community track. In addition to pledge donations, you can sell refreshments or baked goods the day of.
This family-friendly fundraiser is a great way to get all members involved.
21. Provide Christmas light removal
As January rolls around, many folks dread climbing onto the roof to take down Christmas lights.
Gather a team of volunteers to provide Christmas light removal within the first two weeks of the New Year.
You offer a helpful and needed service and can bring in significant funds for your project.
Make church giving easy with the right platform
These ideas have all been proven to work, but how do you set yourself up for success on the financial side of the process?
You must ensure you can receive and manage online donations.
We may be biased, but we think Anedot is the perfect online giving platform for churches.
The Anedot platform gives you everything you need to receive donations for your church fundraiser.
Note: Learn 3 reasons why churches and ministries choose Anedot as an alternative to Pushpay!
We also house features that optimize your online giving efforts, which we explore below:
Make it easy for church members to give on a recurring basis.
Setting up recurring giving allows givers to input information once and then set a giving schedule.
You remove the burden of repeated manual giving and reap the benefits of generous givers!
Text to give
Ensure that you have a way for givers to give via text.
Mobile giving is simple; givers can give immediately through a simple text-to-give solution.
Text to give for churches makes the process quick, easy, and contactless.
Be sure that your donation page has a way for givers to give to multiple projects.
This is helpful when a giver wants to, for example, give $50 to regular offerings and tithes, $20 to the building fund, and $10 to the missions fund.
They can process the total gift amount of $80, which will be distributed to the proper fund on the back end.
Effective fundraising requires online giving solutions that can keep up with your needs.
Anedot’s simple, intuitive online giving platform is trusted by more than 25,000 churches, ministries, nonprofits, schools, and campaigns.
Start saving time and money powerful online giving tools today!