60 Unique Ideas for Small Church Fundraisers


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Small churches and faith-based organizations do big things, and fundraisers are essential for supporting their impactful work. Serving as home base for various community gatherings and events, small church fundraisers are crucial for maintaining a strong financial foundation. From funding mission trips to advancing youth education, raising money is vital to uphold the church’s mission and operations. 

Not only do fundraisers help you continue making a difference in people’s lives, but they can also be a great opportunity to build a stronger community within your church. Encouraging your members to work together to support your church’s goals will take your congregants’ bond beyond simple Sunday morning greetings. 

Raising funds to support your faith-based organization’s various projects, groups, and programs can be challenging, especially with a small congregation, and putting on a fundraiser for a small church is different than most other kinds of fundraising! Hosting fundraisers outside of Sunday morning church services, for example, not only offers a unique approach but also provides a practical way to support other essential church activities.

Below, you’ll find 60 fun and unique church fundraising ideas to help your programs thrive without placing too much pressure on your members.

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The key to small church fundraisers 

Your members give a lot of time, effort, money, and talent to your church. Offering fundraisers that provide value for your donors, as well as the church, will help prevent burnout. 

Many churches worry about over-burdening their members by asking for additional support. The secret to raising money for important programs without alienating members is to offer fundraisers that add value to donors, whether through fostering community connections, providing meaningful experiences, or offering recognition for their contributions.

So, how do you get people to participate in your fundraising efforts? You’ll need to plan engaging events and campaigns your members will be excited about. Here are a few fundraising ideas to take your fundraising beyond your offering plates.

small church youth group fundraising event kids gathering

Youth group fundraising ideas

1. Babysitting nights 

Parents and guardians often put off self-care or important errands because finding a reliable babysitter is time-consuming and expensive. Putting on a babysitting fundraiser helps you raise money for a good program and offers a valuable service to grownups who need it! 

Nursery workers, teenage babysitters, and members with childcare experience volunteer to watch kids for a few hours, and grownups make a donation in exchange for a few hours of childcare. Volunteers raise money for their groups, the grownups have some time to themselves, and kids have a chance to play with their friends. 

This idea can also be paired with a number of other fundraising event possibilities like movie nights, lock-ins (for older students), and other childcare activities. And with remote learning still in full swing, you can bet grownups would be willing to pay big bucks for a little extra help with school projects! 

2. Work-a-thons

Walkathons are a staple of schools and nonprofits all over the country. But work-a-thons are a little different. Participants (workers—they don’t have to be students!) collect pledges in return for participating in a big community service day. On the day of the event, crews of participants gather supplies and head out to do work around their neighborhoods.

Here are a few ideas for work-a-thon participants:

  • Shopping assistance for older members of the congregation
  • Computer or technology assistance for seniors or individuals with limited tech knowledge
  • Workshops or classes teaching skills such as gardening, breadmaking, woodworking, etc.
  • Housecleaning or organizing assistance for individuals with disabilities
  • Home repairs for community members in need
  • Landscaping or yardwork for elderly or disabled neighbors
  • Transportation assistance for those who are unable to drive
  • Meal preparation or delivery for individuals or families facing hardship
  • Tutoring or homework help for students in the community
  • Legal aid or assistance with paperwork for those navigating legal processes
  • Financial counseling or budgeting assistance for individuals facing financial hardship
  • Babysitting or childcare services for parents and caregivers

Work-a-thons make for a great way for your congregants to raise funds while sharing their gifts with others in your community! People who donate to this fundraiser know they’re supporting church programs and get a chance to give much-needed services to friends, family, and community members. It’s a wonderful fundraising tactic that raises money and gets church members involved in community outreach. 

3. Online or in-person craft sale 

If you have some talented artists, knitters, jewelry designers, and candle-makers in your youth group, consider hosting a craft sale at your church. Gather all of your artisans and ask them if they’d be willing to participate in a craft sale and donate part of the profits as a fundraiser. Then, set up booths in your lobby or a common gathering area so your members can peruse goods for sale before or after a Sunday service.  

4. Adopt-a-mile fundraiser for mission trips 

Heading out on a youth group mission trip and looking for an effective way to fund your travel expenses? Consider organizing an adopt-a-mile fundraiser! This creative approach involves asking congregants to sponsor your trip by donating predetermined amounts based on the number of miles you’ll be traveling. For example, if your mission trip is 500 miles long and a congregant pledges $1 per mile, their total donation would be $500, contributing significantly to your travel expenses.

To make it easy for supporters to contribute and track progress, set up a dedicated website for your fundraiser. Include a fundraising thermometer on the site so your congregation can visually monitor how close you are to reaching your fundraising goal for the mission trip miles.

5. Church lock-in 

Give parents a well-deserved night off while sparking excitement among the kids with a church lock-in fundraiser! Simply charge a small admission fee and organize an evening packed with entertaining games, engaging activities, and tasty snacks.

Consider hosting a movie marathon with popular films, setting up interactive game stations like board games or video game tournaments, and organizing craft stations for creative projects. You could also plan a talent show where kids can showcase their skills, or a dance party with a DJ or karaoke machine.

Encourage kids to invite their friends to join in on the fun, doubling the enjoyment and boosting your fundraising efforts for the youth group.

6. Talent show fundraiser

Showcase the diverse talents of your church community with a talent show fundraiser. Encourage members of all ages to participate by singing, dancing, performing magic tricks, or showcasing any other special skills they have.

Charge admission for audience members and offer opportunities for additional fundraising through raffles or concessions. Not only does this event provide entertainment for attendees, but it also allows individuals to share their passions while supporting a good cause!

7. Car wash fundraiser

Get your youth group together and organize a car wash fundraiser in the church parking lot or a nearby high-traffic area. Participants can split into teams and take turns washing cars for donations from drivers. Advertise the event in advance through social media, flyers, and word-of-mouth to attract a steady stream of customers. Not only does this fundraiser raise money for your youth group, but it also provides an opportunity for teamwork and community interaction.

8. Game night fundraiser

Host a game night fundraiser where members of the youth group can invite friends and family to enjoy an evening of friendly competition. Set up a variety of board games, card games, and party games to appeal to different interests and age groups. Charge a small admission fee for attendees and offer snacks and beverages for sale to generate additional revenue. With prizes for game winners and a lively atmosphere, this fundraiser is sure to be a hit with participants of all ages.

9. Scavenger hunt fundraiser

Organize a scavenger hunt fundraiser where teams compete to complete challenges and collect items from a predetermined list within a set time frame. Participants can pay an entry fee to join the hunt, with the option to seek additional donations from sponsors based on their performance.

Include a mix of physical challenges, trivia questions, and photo opportunities to keep the competition exciting and engaging. With prizes for the winning team and a celebratory gathering afterwards, this fundraiser offers a fun and adventurous way for youth groups to raise funds and build camaraderie.

10. Community cleanup day

Make a positive impact on your neighborhood while raising funds for your youth group by hosting a community cleanup day. Partner with local businesses, schools, and organizations to gather volunteers and supplies for picking up litter, planting trees, or beautifying public spaces. Participants can collect donations from sponsors based on the amount of trash collected or the number of trees planted. Not only does this fundraiser support your youth group financially, but it also fosters a sense of pride and stewardship within the community.

small church fundraising craft night supplies and participants

Small church fundraising ideas

10. Team up with local businesses 

The best kind of fundraiser is the kind of fundraiser that requires minimal planning, minimal work, and lets church members support you by buying something they already spend money on. Teaming up with local businesses and franchises is a fantastic way to do that. 

Chains like Chipotle, Target, and other major retailers regularly sponsor “spirit nights” for schools, wherein a percentage of their sales is donated to the featured school. Similar fundraisers are popular with nonprofits, too. Reach out to local businesses and see if you can arrange a similar fundraiser, then make sure your congregants know where to eat or shop! 

11. Craft nights or classes 

Painting classes are a popular activity for small groups of people. They can be fundraisers, too! See if you have vendors in your town that can throw a painting party—those vendors often charge a flat rate that includes their services and supplies for the attendees. You can fold that flat rate into the cost of the event. 

You don’t have to limit lessons to painting, either. Check with your local colleges, art or craft supply stores, artisans, and local companies to learn about other crafting possibilities. And—in the age of Zoom and COVID-19—these classes don’t even have to be live. 

You could have congregants create videos on topics ranging from crocheting to canning, and then the private link to watch (and keep) the video on YouTube is sent out in the thank-you email. Customizing your thank-you emails based on donor selections is a breeze on the Qgiv platform! 

Because these fundraising events tend to have a higher direct cost than, say, a rummage sale, this might not be the best fundraising format for a large project. But they’re a great option for smaller groups that don’t need to work with large budgets, and it’s a fantastic way to have fun with other people in your community that have similar interests. 

12. A cook-off 

Everyone loves a cook-off. There are a thousand different ways to theme a cook-off, too. Chili cook-offs are a classic. But what about a BBQ cook-off? Or a baking contest? What about a themed cook-off that emphasizes local agriculture? If your town is famous for its strawberries, for example, you could consider having a contest where cooks’ recipes must feature that ingredient. 

Contestants in the cook-off can make a donation as an “entry fee,” and people who want to sample the entries can buy tasters’ tickets. It’s even more fun when winners get prizes – you could even recognize the best cooks at an award show like the one we referenced earlier! 

13. Awards shows 

So many people offer their time and talents to a church and its ministries, even if they’re not paid staff. The people who are paid staff often go above and beyond their job roles to keep the church running. Putting on an awards program that recognizes the hard work those people offer is a way to raise some money while thanking the people who support you. 

Go all out! Have some serious awards, like most valuable volunteer or most loyal program head, and some sillier ones, like goofiest VBS volunteer or youth group class clown. You can make it as formal or informal as you want! Go for a gala feel, complete with a “red carpet” and photos, or throw a more low-key event. 

Members can be encouraged to buy tickets to the event (which is where the fundraising aspect of this comes into play) but be careful not to ask them to make large donations at the event itself. Thanking volunteers and immediately asking them to donate to you can make your appreciation seem less sincere! 

One of the best things about this type of event is that it’s easy to make it an in-person or virtual event! To change it to a virtual format, you would announce the winners during a live stream, and then arrange for the winners to get their prizes later. 

14. “When We Were Young” guessing game 

A “When We Were Young” guessing game is a great way to raise money for your ministry while also helping your congregants get to know each other better.  

Ask everyone to submit a fun story or tidbit about something from their childhood. Once you’ve collected every submission, there are many ways you can host the game. Print every story or fun fact out on sheets of paper and display them gallery-style in your church lobby for a set period of time. Your congregants can walk through to read every entry and pay to submit their guesses for who each submission belongs to. 

As a virtual alternative, have each of your congregants set up a personal fundraising webpage. Post submissions one-by-one on your social media sites and ask people to donate to personal fundraising pages to indicate who they think the story or fact is about. 

This is a great fundraiser for small churches where everyone knows each other well and your whole church community can make submissions and guesses. To adapt this game to a larger church, consider having church leadership and staff make submissions, and then the congregation makes their guesses. 

15. Seasonal plant sale

Harness the beauty of nature and the enthusiasm for gardening by organizing a seasonal plant sale fundraiser. Partner with local nurseries or garden centers to obtain a variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs for sale. Set up tables outside your church or in a designated area and advertise the sale to members of the community. Encourage attendees to browse and purchase plants to beautify their gardens while supporting your church’s initiatives.

16. Recipe book fundraiser

Compile a collection of favorite recipes from members of your congregation to create a unique recipe book fundraiser. Invite members to submit their favorite recipes for inclusion in the book, along with any personal stories or anecdotes related to the dishes.

Once assembled, print copies of the recipe book to sell to church members and the wider community. Consider hosting a recipe tasting event or cooking demonstration to promote the book and generate excitement. Proceeds from the sale of the recipe book can support church programs and initiatives.

17. Movie night under the stars

Host a movie night fundraiser under the stars for an entertaining and family-friendly event. Set up a projector and screen in your churchyard or parking lot and invite members of the community to bring blankets and chairs for a cozy outdoor movie experience.

Charge admission for attendees and offer concessions like popcorn, candy, and drinks to enhance the movie-watching experience. Choose a selection of popular films or classic favorites to appeal to a broad audience and ensure a memorable evening for all.

19. Community yard sale

Declutter and raise funds simultaneously with a community yard sale fundraiser. Encourage members of the congregation and local residents to donate gently used items such as clothing, household goods, toys, and furniture for sale.

Set up tables or stalls in the church parking lot or a nearby space and advertise the yard sale to attract shoppers from the community. Charge a small fee for vendors to participate and collect proceeds from the sale of items to support church programs and outreach efforts.

20. 40 days of Lent challenge 

The 40 days leading up to Easter are dedicated to reflection, fasting, and generosity, so why not give your members an opportunity to practice giving with a “40 Days of Lent” fundraising challenge? 

One way to run a “40 Days of Lent” challenge is by providing all of your congregants with jars. If they choose to give up something like coffee or some sort of daily expense, ask them to take that money they would’ve spent and put it in the jar. When Lent is over, they should bring the jars back to church as a donation. 

small church sports night fundraising event - group of people cheering

Easy church fundraising event ideas

21. A 50/50 raffle 

50/50 raffles are usually done in conjunction with other fundraising activities, like silent auctions or other contests. The concept is simple – members buy a raffle ticket, and all the money goes into one big bucket. At the end of the event, someone draws a ticket, and the owner of that ticket gets half the money while the church gets the other half. 

These can be especially fun if you have a competitive group of people—everyone wants to have the winning ticket! They’re also an effective way of keeping people engaged throughout an event—if you sell raffle tickets at a cook-off and do the drawing at the end, your attendees are more likely to stay until the last moments of the dinner. It’s a fun way to encourage people to stick around! 

22. Sporting event parties 

People already pay to watch major sporting events, and they often make a night out of it. Try throwing a party for a major sporting event and selling tickets. You can keep direct costs down by keeping ticket prices to a few dollars and asking attendees to bring a snack or a drink to share. In return for buying their ticket, they get to watch the Superbowl, World Series, or another major sporting event on a large-screen television and get to share tons of snacks. 

This is another opportunity to offer childcare, especially for younger kids who don’t watch sports! This is another example of a fundraiser that raises money and offers a good service and an opportunity for fellowship with other members… all at the same time! 

23. Host a shoe drive fundraiser 

Everyone has shoes that they no longer wear. Rather than letting them wind up in a landfill, encourage churchgoers to repurpose them by donating them to your church’s shoe drive fundraiser. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to declutter their homes and support your mission. Plus, this is a great way to instill a philanthropic spirit throughout your congregation. 

All you need to do is partner with a shoe drive fundraiser facilitator. They’ll provide you with all the materials you need. Place the collection materials around your church and the community. Then, encourage churchgoers and community members to donate their gently worn, used, and new shoes that they no longer wear. Watch as the shoes pile up and your church’s funds skyrocket. 

24. Food or toy drives 

Over the holiday season, many families can count on having a turkey on the table and gifts under the tree, but not everyone is as fortunate. Help your congregants get into the giving spirit while also raising funds for your church by hosting a toy or food drive at your church to provide support to those who might be in need of some extra festive cheer. 

Partner with a food bank or toy drive facilitator to collect the supplies you’ll need to run your drive. Place collection boxes around your community, or host a drive-thru event where people can swing by and drop off any goods during a specified time. Once your collection boxes are full, send your goods off to your drive facilitator and celebrate the funds you’ve raised! 

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25. Envelope fundraiser 

An envelope fundraiser is an easy and engaging fundraiser any church can run, and the best part is that it’s accessible to all of your church members. All you need is a stack of envelopes, some tape, and an empty wall in a highly trafficked area like your church lobby area.  

Simply number your envelopes from one dollar to $100 to indicate specific donation amounts and then tape them up to your wall. Your congregants can stop by your fundraising wall before or after your church service and donate the amount written on the envelope of their choice. If you’re looking to raise more money, add more envelopes to your wall. 

This is a great fundraiser in part because it provides your congregants with a visual gauge of how close you are to meeting your goal. Studies show that people are more likely to donate as you get closer to your goal, so when there are only a few more empty envelopes left on your wall, you’re sure to find dedicated congregants who will fill those final empty spots. 

26. Used book sale 

Do you need to make some space on your church library’s bookshelves for the latest in Christian literature? Consider holding a used book sale to clear out books you no longer need and give your members the opportunity to take home a few new reads for their own book collections. 

If your congregants are looking to clean out their own bookshelves at home, turn your used book sale into a community effort by asking members to bring their own books from home. Advertise your sale around your community to draw more people in, and you can even turn your book sale into a larger event with food and entertainment. 

27. Legacy giving program

Establish a legacy giving program to encourage planned giving and long-term financial support for the church. Educate church members about the benefits of including the church in their estate plans through bequests, trusts, or beneficiary designations. Offer resources and assistance for members interested in making legacy gifts and recognize individuals who participate in the program.

28. Rent out church facilities

Generate income by renting out church facilities for events, meetings, and gatherings hosted by community groups, businesses, and individuals. Offer rental packages for event spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, and recreational facilities with competitive rates and flexible booking options. Advertise rental opportunities through the church website, social media channels, and local community listings.

29. Drive-thru bake sale

Host a drive-thru bake sale where members of the congregation can pick up freshly baked goods and treats without leaving their vehicles. Coordinate with volunteers to bake a variety of cookies, cakes, bread, and pastries to sell.

Set up a designated drive-thru area in the church parking lot with signage and volunteers to facilitate transactions. Accept freewill donations for the baked goods and provide pre-packaged items for easy grab-and-go purchases.

30. Fitness challenge marathon

Motivate your congregation with a Fitness Challenge Marathon, where members set personal fitness goals like running a distance or completing workouts. Encourage them to collect pledges and donations from sponsors based on their achievements, supporting church initiatives.

To boost participation, consider using peer-to-peer fundraising software if it’s in your church’s budget. This enables participants to create personal fundraising pages and share them with their networks, expanding the fundraiser’s reach and encouraging friendly competition. With streamlined donation processes and real-time tracking, this approach maximizes engagement and fundraising success for your church.

small church choir performing a concert fundraising event

Fundraising ideas for the church choir

31. Put on a ticketed dinner event 

Ticketed dinner events are a good way to raise money for your church while offering a service to your members. Spaghetti dinners, fish fries, potlucks, pancake dinners, and low-country boils are all popular versions of this concept, but the possibilities are endless! 

Draw congregants in by advertising your dinner as a meal and a show where the choir provides some entertainment. You can also turn your dinner into a full night out by setting up a dance floor and planning a fun setlist to get your diners on their feet dancing once they’ve cleaned their plates. 

Encourage your diners to buy their tickets in advance to help you keep costs to a minimum. It also gives families a chance to plan ahead for their night off from cooking and doing dishes. Consider allowing people to eat at the church or take their food to go so even those who can’t stay for socializing can get a tasty meal. 

32. Singing telegrams for birthdays or Christmas 

Give your congregants the opportunity to send each other a fun musical gift by holding a singing telegram fundraiser. Set up a table and ask people to pay a small fee to send their friends and family a fun singing telegram. To provide more personalization for the telegrams, offer a selection of songs your choir members can sing that your congregants can choose from when sending a telegram. 

This is a great idea around the holidays when your choir can pull out some classic Christmas carols and go door-to-door in festive gear. For a more long-term, ongoing fundraiser, you can set up a box where people can submit telegrams they’d like to send at any time for birthdays or any other occasion. 

33. Benefit gala with a concert 

Roll out the red carpet for a fun, one-night-only benefit gala and church choir concert. To add some spice to your event, set a fun theme you can plan your concert setlist around and your guests can dress up for. You can also add a silent auction to your gala to raise some extra money and give people the opportunity to return home with a fun gift. 

34. Karaoke night 

Give your musical church members something to sing about with a fun karaoke night. Charge a small fee to participate in the fun, and turn karaoke into a full night out by providing small bites and refreshments while everyone’s singing and dancing. 

35. Choir CD recording

Produce a professional CD recording featuring performances by the church choir. Collaborate with local recording studios or production companies to create high-quality recordings of favorite hymns, spiritual songs, or original compositions.

Sell the CDs to church members, supporters, and community members as a fundraising initiative. Host CD release parties or concerts to promote the recordings and generate excitement for the choir’s music. Consider offering autographed copies or exclusive bonus tracks to encourage sales and support for the choir’s fundraising efforts.

36. Choir talent show

Organize a choir talent show fundraiser featuring performances by choir members and special guests from the congregation. Invite singers, musicians, dancers, comedians, and other performers to showcase their talents on stage. Sell tickets to the talent show and offer concessions or refreshments during intermissions. Encourage audience participation with voting for favorite acts or fundraising challenges. Incorporate elements of fun and creativity to make the talent show a memorable and successful fundraising event for the church choir.

37. Choir calendar fundraiser

Create a choir calendar fundraiser featuring photographs of choir members and inspiring quotes or scriptures. Organize a photoshoot to capture images of choir members in various settings or poses. Design and print calendars with professional-quality photos and sell them to church members, supporters, and community residents.

Offer personalized calendars with special dates or messages for an additional fee. Host a calendar release party or signing event where choir members can autograph copies for purchasers. With beautiful photography and meaningful content, the choir calendar fundraiser can generate revenue and promote community engagement for the church.

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Fundraising ideas for your church building fund

38. Church-wide rummage sales 

How many items in your house could you stand to get rid of? How many items do you think your members have in their homes that they could stand to get rid of? Instead of throwing away their clothes, furniture, and household items, members can donate them to the church. One person might not have enough to hold their own garage sale, but a whole congregation probably does! 

This accomplishes a few goals. One, members get a chance to do something good with the items they no longer want. Two, the overhead cost of the event is kept relatively low because all the goods that will be sold at the rummage sale are donated. And three, the church can raise money and open the rummage sale to the community, which is great for meeting new people and introducing them to your church. 

Consider having a low-key gathering the night before the rummage sale to tag items and set up tables. It’ll save you a lot of stress and energy the day of the event! 

39. Refreshment sales 

Many churches offer coffee or other light refreshments, but you can turn it into an ongoing fundraiser by offering specialty items for purchase on Sunday mornings. Instead of stopping by a Starbucks, your congregants can simply grab their much-needed caffeine at church and support your ministry. 

40. Buy-a-brick 

Your congregants are the foundation of your church, so give them the opportunity to leave their mark with a buy-a-brick fundraiser. If you’re building a new addition or need to update an area of your church that has fallen into disrepair, offer your members the opportunity to buy an engraved brick to help fund your renovation. They can use the brick as an opportunity to permanently mark their contributions to your church or to honor a special someone. 

41. Sponsorship plaques program

Implement a sponsorship plaques program where individuals, families, or businesses can sponsor specific areas or amenities within the church building in exchange for recognition. Create customized plaques or signage to acknowledge sponsors’ contributions and display them prominently in the sponsored areas. Offer different sponsorship levels and benefits to appeal to a range of donors and generate revenue for the building fund.

42. Naming rights auction

Offer naming rights for various parts of the church building or property as part of a fundraising auction. Allow congregants and community members to bid on naming opportunities for rooms, hallways, gardens, benches, or other features within the church. The highest bidders can have their names or dedications displayed prominently in recognition of their contributions to the building fund.

43. Adopt-a-room campaign

Launch an “Adopt-a-Room” campaign where members of the congregation can donate funds to sponsor specific rooms or areas within the church building. Create a list of available rooms or spaces, such as classrooms, offices, fellowship halls, or sanctuary seating, and assign sponsorship levels based on the size or significance of each area. Recognize sponsors with personalized plaques, engraved bricks, or dedication ceremonies to honor their contributions to the church building fund.

44. Memorial garden fundraiser

Create a memorial garden as a fundraising initiative for the church building fund. Designate a portion of the church grounds or outdoor space for the memorial garden and invite congregants to purchase memorial plaques, benches, or landscaping features in memory of loved ones.

Offer different sponsorship levels for garden elements, such as trees, flowers, pathways, or water features, and recognize donors with personalized signage or dedications within the garden. Use proceeds from the memorial garden fundraiser to enhance the church’s outdoor environment and contribute to building improvements.

45. Peer-to-peer fundraising 

Turn popular youth group games like Sword Drill, Bible Jeopardy, or Reclaim the Cross (a fresh take on Capture the Flag) into a peer-to-peer fundraiser that the whole family can enjoy. Set up a fundraiser website where your participants can create their own personal fundraising pages. Make it easy for them to share their participation with social sharing buttons and ask them to reach out to their networks to help you raise money in the weeks leading up to your event. 

church dance fundraising event participants dancing and having fun

Super fun church fundraising ideas

46. Singles Valentine’s Day dance 

Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday for those with significant others, but what about individuals who are still looking for someone to celebrate with? Turn Valentine’s Day into a holiday worth celebrating for everyone regardless of their relationship status with a Valentine’s Day Dance for singles at your church. Not only will people have the opportunity to meet and connect with someone new, but you’ll also raise money for your ministry in the process. 

47. Dance-a-thon fundraiser

Host a dance-a-thon fundraiser any time of the year where participants can groove to their favorite tunes while raising money for the church. Set up a dance floor, hire a DJ or live band to provide music, and encourage attendees to dance for a designated period, such as several hours.

Participants can collect pledges or donations based on the duration of their dancing or participate as sponsors to support the dancers. Offer refreshments, photo booths, and dance competitions to keep the excitement going throughout the event.

48. Speed dating 

It’s not always easy to meet someone you connect with or with whom you share the same values when you’re in the dating scene. Make meeting new people easy, fun, and safe for the singles in your congregation by hosting a speed dating event. Plan your event and charge a small registration fee for people to participate.  

This can also be a great event for those who aren’t necessarily looking for a romantic partner but are just looking to meet new friends. Partner with other churches in your area so your members can meet people from outside their immediate church community who share similar values. 

49. Church cookbook 

Almost no one returns home after a church potluck without making a few promises to send recipes around once everyone’s stomach is full and all the serving plates are empty. Why not make things easier on your congregants by collecting those coveted family recipes for a church cookbook fundraiser? 

Send out a call to your congregation to submit their most popular potluck recipes or favorite family food traditions to compile into a community cookbook. You can even turn this cookbook into a yearly publication where people can submit new or updated recipes annually.  

Sell copies of the cookbook to your congregation and include any backstories or fond memories your contributors have about the recipes they’ve submitted. People will love the opportunity to try something new in their kitchens and in doing so, they’ll also get to know their community better. 

50. Family photo day 

Getting the family all dressed up and looking nice on any day can be a difficult task. Make family photos easy by offering a photo day at church when everyone’s already dressed up in their Sunday best. Advertise your photo day for a specific Sunday and set up a simple photo studio where families can stop by before or after a church service to pay to take home a few photos.  

Pro tip: Plan your family photo day before the holiday season starts so families can get their Christmas card photos done! 

51. Small group luncheons with a purpose 

Host intimate luncheons for your church’s Bible study groups or interest groups, providing an opportunity for members to bond over delicious food and engaging conversations. These gatherings can be more than just social events—they can also serve as fundraising opportunities for the church’s building fund or specific projects. Consider charging a modest attendance fee or suggesting voluntary donations from participants to support the fundraising efforts.

Additionally, incorporate fundraising elements such as a silent auction or raffle, where attendees can bid on donated items or purchase tickets for prizes. Encourage group leaders to personalize the luncheons with themes or topics relevant to their group’s interests, fostering a sense of community while contributing to the church’s financial goals.

52. “Festival of Lights” holiday carnival 

During the holiday season, bring joy to your community with a Festival of Lights carnival. Engage local businesses by seeking sponsorship for carnival game booths and invite nearby restaurants to offer a variety of carnival treats and refreshments. This festive event promises fun for the entire family and provides congregants with an enjoyable way to celebrate the winter holidays alongside their church community.

53. Pet parade and costume contest

Organize a pet parade and costume contest for church members and their furry friends. Invite congregants to dress up their pets in creative costumes and participate in a lively parade around the church grounds. Charge an entry fee for participants and spectators, and award prizes for the best pet costumes in various categories. Capture the fun moments with photos and videos to share on social media and attract participants from the wider community.

54. Trivia night challenge

Challenge church members and community members to put their knowledge to the test at a trivia night fundraiser. Organize trivia teams and provide questions on various topics such as pop culture, history, sports, and Bible trivia.

Charge a team registration fee and offer prizes for the top-scoring teams. Include bonus rounds, interactive challenges, and music breaks to keep the energy high and the competition fierce. Promote the event as a fun way to socialize, exercise mental agility, and contribute to the church’s fundraising goals.

55. Outdoor adventure challenge

Organize an outdoor adventure challenge fundraiser for church members and outdoor enthusiasts. Design a series of physical and mental challenges such as obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, team relays, and puzzle games set up around the church grounds or a nearby park.

Charge a registration fee for participants to join the adventure challenge and compete individually or in teams. Provide incentives such as medals, trophies, or bragging rights for the top-performing participants. Promote the event as a thrilling way to enjoy the outdoors, bond with fellow participants, and raise funds for the church.

56. DIY craft workshop

Host a do-it-yourself (DIY) craft workshop where attendees can unleash their creativity and make handmade crafts to take home. Provide all the necessary materials, tools, and instructions for crafting projects such as wreath-making, candle-making, or seasonal decorations. Charge a workshop fee or sell tickets to cover the cost of materials and raise funds for the church. Encourage participants to invite their friends and family for a fun-filled crafting experience while supporting the church’s fundraising efforts.

57. Pie in the face challenge

Organize a pie in the face challenge fundraiser where church members and community leaders can volunteer to take a pie to the face in exchange for donations to the church building fund. Set up a designated area with a backdrop and protective covering for participants to stand while attendees line up to make their donations and select a pie to throw.

Charge a fee for each pie thrown, and encourage participants to challenge their friends, family, or colleagues to join in the fun. Capture the hilarious moments on video or social media to promote the event and attract donations from a wider audience.

58. Mystery dinner theater fundraiser

Host a mystery dinner theater fundraiser where attendees can enjoy a thrilling evening of entertainment and intrigue while supporting the church’s building fund. Collaborate with local theater groups or performers to stage a mystery-themed dinner theater production with interactive elements and audience participation. Set up tables or seating arrangements in the church hall or fellowship area, and serve a delicious dinner or catered meal to guests.

Charge a ticket price for admission to the mystery dinner theater event and include opportunities for attendees to solve the mystery and win prizes. Promote the event as a unique and engaging fundraiser that combines food, theater, and sleuthing fun for a good cause.

59. Book swap and storytelling event

Host a book swap and storytelling event where church members and community members can exchange gently used books and enjoy storytelling sessions. Set up tables with different genres of books for participants to browse and select from, encouraging them to bring their own books to trade. Invite local authors or storytellers to share their work with the audience and engage attendees with captivating tales.

Charge a small admission fee for entry to the event and offer refreshments for sale to generate additional revenue for the church. Emphasize the importance of literacy and lifelong learning while fundraising in a budget-friendly and inclusive manner

60. DIY home improvement workshop

Offer a DIY home improvement workshop where church members and local residents can learn practical skills and tackle common household projects while supporting the church’s fundraising efforts. Partner with skilled volunteers or professionals to provide instruction on topics such as painting, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical repairs. Set up workstations with tools and materials for participants to practice their skills and complete small projects.

Charge a registration fee for attendance at the workshop and offer opportunities for participants to purchase DIY kits or supplies to take home. Promote the event as a hands-on learning experience that empowers individuals to enhance their homes while contributing to the church’s building fund.

small church in a forest

Small church fundraising best practices

  1. Limit fundraising appeals during services: Switch up how you tell your members about fundraisers. It helps prevent donor fatigue and wariness about how the money you raise is used. 

    A short message about tithes and offerings is pretty standard before the Sunday morning collection is taken up. But talking extensively about church fundraising activities aside from the Sunday offering can overwhelm your members. Worse, it could make members skeptical about giving at all.

    Instead, consider including announcements about various fundraising activities in the announcements before or after the service begins. If your church uses bulletins, list upcoming fundraisers there! You can also make announcements in other places, like small groups, Wednesday-night church, Bible studies, and other gatherings. 
  2. Focus on community engagement: Cultivate strong relationships within your church community and the broader local community. Engage with members, neighbors, and local businesses to build support and participation in fundraising efforts.
  3. Emphasize personal connections: Utilize personal invitations, one-on-one conversations, and relationship-building to encourage involvement in fundraising activities. Highlight the meaningful impact individuals can make through their contributions.
  4. Utilize multi-channel communication: Leverage various communication channels such as social media, church newsletters, bulletin announcements, and personal outreach to spread the word about fundraising initiatives and volunteer opportunities.
  5. Provide clear goals and objectives: Clearly define fundraising goals, timelines, and intended outcomes to provide clarity and motivation for participants. Transparent communication helps garner support and accountability.
  6. Offer diverse fundraising opportunities: Provide a range of fundraising activities and events to accommodate different interests, preferences, and abilities within the church community. This diversity encourages broader participation and engagement.
  7. Stewardship and transparency: Practice responsible stewardship of funds and maintain transparency in financial matters. Clearly communicate how funds will be used and provide regular updates on fundraising progress and outcomes.
  8. Celebrate successes and milestones: Recognize and celebrate achievements, milestones, and contributions made by volunteers, donors, and supporters. Publicly acknowledge their efforts and express gratitude for their dedication.
  9. Encourage volunteerism: Encourage active participation and volunteerism within the church community. Provide opportunities for individuals to contribute their time, talents, and resources towards fundraising initiatives.
  10. Invest in relationship building: Prioritize relationship building and community engagement as integral aspects of fundraising efforts. Foster a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and shared purpose among church members and supporters.
  11. Adaptability and flexibility: Remain adaptable and flexible in fundraising strategies and approaches, taking into account the evolving needs, preferences, and circumstances of the church community and the broader environment.
4 church volunteers throwing paper in the air

How to recruit volunteers for small church fundraisers

Recruiting volunteers for small church fundraisers is a vital aspect of ensuring the success and sustainability of your fundraising efforts. Engaging volunteers not only provides valuable support but also fosters a sense of community and shared purpose within the church. Here are some strategies and tips to effectively recruit volunteers for your fundraising initiatives:

  • Engage existing church members: Encourage current members to volunteer by emphasizing the importance of their contributions and the positive impact they can make on the church community.
  • Utilize personal invitations: Personally invite members during church services, meetings, or through one-on-one conversations to volunteer for specific roles or tasks.
  • Leverage social media and church communications: Utilize social media platforms, church newsletters, and bulletin announcements to spread the word about volunteer opportunities and how individuals can get involved.
  • Collaborate with community partners: Reach out to local businesses, schools, or organizations to enlist volunteers from the broader community who may have a vested interest in supporting the church’s mission and activities.
  • Offer flexible volunteering options: Provide options for both short-term and long-term volunteer commitments, as well as opportunities for individuals with varying schedules and skill sets to participate.
  • Provide recognition and appreciation: Acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of volunteers through public recognition during church services, social media shoutouts, or handwritten thank-you notes to express gratitude for their dedication and support.

Final thoughts

There’s no end to the ways you can raise money to support your church community and your mission. Small churches are often caught between demand for programs and services and reluctance to ask members to give above and beyond their weekly offering. But by holding fundraisers that members want to participate in, you can help relieve donor fatigue and give members services they already want. That’s a win for everyone involved!

Additional resources

Need some extra help planning your next church fundraiser? Check out these resources for more tips and ideas.

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