Leading a church is challenging.
As a pastor, not only do you spend time counseling people, preparing sermons, and doing administrative work, but you’re also responsible for leading your church.
In this position, you’ll face a hard reality:
You need money to fuel your church’s mission.
There are times when you’ll need to run an extensive capital campaign for a building renovation or new facilities and there are many different times when you'll need to raise money to support a new ministry, provide funds for local or global missions, or cover a gap in your church’s budget.
If you need to raise funds for a specific cause, there are hundreds of fundraising ideas you can pursue. But there are four overlooked church fundraising ideas you can’t afford to miss.
Let’s take a look at some ideas right under your nose.
#1 – Bootstrap your ministry
When you need to raise money, it’s easy to forget about reviewing your church’s finances and resources first. But before you raise one single dime, it’s best to take a close look at what you can use within your church to fuel the vision of your ministry.
Funding a ministry with your church’s resources, without external help or starting a capital campaign, is called “bootstrapping.” Said another way, to bootstrap your ministry is to find the financial resources you need from what you already have to work with.
There are several benefits to taking this approach:
When you bootstrap your ministry, you are not limited to any timetable. You don’t have to start an extensive campaign. You don’t need to wait for next year’s budget for funding. You can get started as soon as you scrap together whatever you need.
If you’re taking this approach, you’ll be forced to be resourceful. You’ll be in a position to bend (not break) the rules, adapt to your circumstances, and carefully manage your resources.
Speaking of managing your money, bootstrapping a ministry can lead you to be frugal. Without a reliable or ongoing source of income, you’ll be encouraged to count every penny and steward what you have wisely.
“My church’s finances are limited. Where can I find the money I need?”
This is a great question, and it really depends upon your church.
Review your church’s budget to see if you can transfer money from one line item or cut back expenses elsewhere to make room for what you need.
If you don’t uncover enough money during this step, then you can prayerfully consider providing the financial resources yourself or you can pool together what’s needed.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s the whole point of bootstrapping—you kind of just make things up as you go along.
#2 – Crowdfunding
There’s not too much to know about crowdfunding.
In short, crowdfunding is when you raise money (usually online) from a crowd of people. This fundraising tactic has been around for years, but it was recently made popular by Kickstarter.
Now, when it comes to your church, crowdfunding provides several benefits. It:
1. Makes use of available technology
2. Leverages a crowd of people
3. Integrates with social media
After you have your fundraising goal in mind, with the availability of technology, you can create an account in minutes. However, I encourage you to take more time to first put together a solid plan.
With crowdfunding, you don’t have to invest money in new technology, and you don’t have to pay a huge fee to use the available services.
To run your crowdfunding campaign, you can use a service like Kickstarter. But keep this in mind: If you don’t meet your fundraising goal, then you will not receive any of the pledged money, which is a huge bummer.
Writing for Church Tech Today, Lauren Hunter shared these crowdfunding sites:
There are pros and cons to any tool you use.
Take time to explore the options to see what works best for you.
The other benefit of crowdfunding is that it leverages a crowd of people. Instead of relying upon a few people to provide most of the funding, you can tap into the generosity of many people by sharing your plan online, which is easy with crowdfunding campaigns.
Finally, one of the huge benefits of crowdfunding is how seamlessly it integrates with social media. You, your church, and family and friends can easily share your campaign on social media to create additional awareness.
#3 – Peer-to-peer fundraising
Another way you can quickly raise money is by leveraging the social network of your church members. A tried and true approach to this strategy is what’s called “peer-to-peer fundraising.”
Examples of peer-to-peer fundraising include:
- Fun runs
- Golf tournament
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a strategy used by countless nonprofit organizations, and it’s a method that accomplishes three big goals:
1. Inspires ownership
2. Leverages social networks
3. Creates friendly competition
Peer-to-peer fundraising events are a fun and easy way to inspire ownership among your church members. To do this, you’re not delegating responsibility. Instead, you’re encouraging church members to leverage their social network of family, friends, and people in the community to raise financial support.
Depending upon what peer-to-peer tactic you use, challenge your church members to collect pledges from their social network to support your cause. For example, if you host a walk-a-thon, you can:
- Ask people to donate a specified amount of money per mile you walk
- Ask people to make a one-time donation toward your cause
This is just one straightforward way to organize such an event.
The last benefit of peer-to-peer fundraising is creating friendly competition. To do this, you can challenge individuals or teams to compete against each other or provide prizes for whoever raises the most money or whoever collects the most pledges.
#4 – Chores for charity
I’m not a big fan of chores.
Sure, I love to have a clean house and a tidy yard.
But there are plenty of times when I’d love for someone else to help do the work.
Know what else?
This is also true for people in your church and community.
To tap into this need, consider organizing a chores for charity (or chores for church) fundraising event.
Here’s how it works:
1. Ask people in your church to volunteer
2. Clarify the chores you can offer
3. Determine the monetary value per chore
After you ask for men, women, and children to volunteer, you’ll need to clarify the chores you can offer. From technical work to mundane household chores, make a list of what chores you can do.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
- Raking leaves
- Pruning trees and shrubs
- Electrical work
- Moving household items
- Cleaning blinds
- Carpet shampooing
After you make a list of the chores, you’ll need to assign a minimum dollar amount to every task. People are more than welcome to donate more money if they would like. But it’s best to have a minimum amount they should give.
Ready to raise money?
Do you know what I love about these fundraising ideas?
They don’t require a massive investment of time or money to get going.
After you know how much money you need to raise, you can get started with one of these ideas as soon as you’re ready to launch.
Choose one of these overlooked fundraising ideas above to raise the money you need to fulfill the mission of your church.