Modern Church Fundraising Ideas

3 min
Image of the inside of a church
Elizabeth McDonough

This post has been updated and refreshed in August 2017. 

Churches have raised money in very traditional ways for a long time. Yet, the average church-goer is also an everyday consumer. And today’s everyday consumers have evolving expectations when it comes to how they engage with organizations.

To engage with your members in ways that resonate, here are a few modern approaches you can incorporate.

Ticketed Events

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game!”

That’s the tagline the Rock Church used to promote their fundraising event, Pervasive Hope Night. While the San Diego Padres played the Braves, the Rock congregation cheered for the home team and raised money for the Pervasive Hope Campaign.

Pervasive Hope Night is one example of an event the Rock used to raise money for their overall campaign. Five dollars of every ticket purchased went towards the Rock’s downtown ministry—just one of the Pervasive Hope’s initiatives.

The Rock also took some steps to ensure that the game was a memorable night. The national anthem was performed by one of their very own, the first pitch was thrown  by a Rock Pastor, and they honored over 250 leaders from all Rock campuses on the field before the game. These small touches encouraged more of their members to purchase tickets, raised awareness at the game, and made the event memorable within the church’s community.

The Good Ol’ Offering Plate

Passing the offering plate on Sunday morning started in the early 19th century and it’s remained the primary way churches receive donations for over 100 years.

On any given Sunday, it’s likely the entire congregation isn’t going to be present. So, how do you continue to encourage people to give when they aren’t physically present at church?

The Digital Offering Plate

In addition to passing the plate, give your congregation the option to donate online. The Saddleback Church in Orange County has dedicated an entire section of their website to online giving. Members can start “Tithing Online,” and sign up for online giving that actually allows them to see their giving history, print giving statements, and edit their scheduled giving series.

They have also created a section titled, “Beyond the Tithe.” Here, members can scroll through different campaigns that Saddleback is fundraising for and give to the campaign of their choice. This makes it easier for members to donate to the cause they are most passionate about.

Fundraising online can require some extra marketing efforts to get members accustomed to giving through your website, but over time it will be well worth it. Make regular announcements on Sundays and in newsletters to help promote your  new online giving initiative. You can also launch an email campaign to start marketing your online fundraising program to your congregation.

Read Next: How to Revitalize Mission Trip Efforts Through Online Fundraising

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Another way to engage your congregation is to ask them to contribute in a more impactful way. When you provide your members with the opportunity to fundraise on your behalf, they can create unique, personal fundraising pages and appeal to their friends and family online. This affords each member the chance to have an even larger impact, at no financial cost to them.

A great time to try this type of campaign is at the end of the year. As your community gears up for the holidays, they’re well-accustomed to being asked to contribute at this time of year. Pull from your arsenal of fundraising ideas for a creative theme, and introduce your campaign as the perfect way to give thanks and honor the church.

Ready to get started?

Learn More about Peer-to-Peer

  • Edna Smith

    There is a recycling place in New Jersey they help non profit organizations it is call Terracycle . Tis company recycles off the wall things. They pay the postage. They recycle the Entenmanns Little bites packages. You have to have at least 5 pounds per collection to send they also recycle Layes potato chip bags to make pellets for 3-D printers. They recycle the inside bags in cereal boxes. Also solo cups office supplies the inside of scotch tape sharpie pens. It is a great way to help with the environment.

    • Elizabeth Chung

      Edna, thanks for sharing this idea! Interesting way to help with the environment simultaneously.

  • rainbow cadet

    Some of the churches in my area have the newspaper collection bins in the parking lot. Folks can drop by whenever to put in their donations, the church building itself doesn’t have to be open. A few places also have the clothing collection bins for those lightly used, unwanted or outgrown clothing.

    • Elizabeth Chung

      Classic ideas, thank you for sharing!

  • Senor C O Jones

    Saddleback Church, where Rick Warren brought us Obama. Thanks, man. Thanks a lot

  • Jay

    I’ve heard of a unique fundraiser called greetingexchange. It looks like it takes a bit of effort to manage but definitely a cut above most fundraisers.

  • Gnosis Media Group

    We’ve been helping nonprofits use peer-to-peer fundraising to raise funds since 2008. We offer a P2P text to donate service that is affordable and effective.

    Research shows that many nonprofits will raise more overall with an SMS donation program in their marketing mix than they will without one. Learn more


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