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32 New and Creative Fundraising Ideas for Churches and Faith-Based Organizations


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Published December 20, 2023 Reading Time: 14 minutes

Religious institutions account for some of the highest fundraising numbers of any nonprofit category, with nearly one-third of all donations going to faith-based organizations.¹

Unlike other nonprofits that rely on fundraising events and more traditional fundraising campaigns, most religious giving comes from weekly or monthly tithes. Although that might change how a religious institution talks about giving, it doesn’t decrease the importance of generosity to the congregation.

There are plenty of easy fundraising ideas faith-based organizations can leverage to build a budget and impact the community. Here are 32 of the best church fundraising ideas to get you started.

32 Fundraising Ideas for Churches and Faith-Based Organizations

1. Accept Virtual Donations

Approximately two-thirds of church giving happens on a day other than Sunday.² Thanks to flexible online giving options, supporters are no longer required to attend a community gathering to donate.

Make online giving a priority at your faith-based organization. After all, finding a way to capture the donations of up to 20% of people who attend worship services online is critical.³

It’s also critical to offer an online giving option that’s easy to access from your nonprofit website or app during services or anytime a donor feels inspired to give. Fundraising platforms like Classy make online fundraising easier than ever.

2. Try New Payment Options

Almost half of all faith-based donations come from credit cards.⁴ However, these donations likely come from various sources, including your website, text-to-donate, or a mobile app.

Align with donor preferences by offering your congregation diversified payment options, including PayPalVenmoApple Pay, ACH bank transfer, and cryptocurrency donations.

Although half of these organizations’ donations come through credit cards, there are still other means of donations, including cash, checks, and noncash gifts, like stock donations or donor-advised funds. Allow your congregation the option to make these contributions to prevent them from abandoning the giving experience altogether.

Catholic Answers uses Classy and Rally Corp’s text-to-donate solution to communicate with supporters and grow individual giving, resulting in an 80% conversion rate. Plus, during their first incorporation of this technology, they surpassed their Giving Tuesday goals by 123%.

The Salvation Army also got creative with their payment options, leading to a 246% increase in mobile donation revenue when they implemented Classy Pay on their donation pages.

3. Leverage QR codes

How do you combine the impact of in-person interactions with the convenience of online giving? Drop some QR codes around your building. Mobile shopping trends indicate that QR codes help drive immediate action.

These quick-action, scannable graphics could appear on your worship bulletin, the backs of pews, wall posters, or all of the above. Be sure to make them visible but not an unnecessary distraction.

The goal is to have a QR code readily available when needed but not be an eyesore. QR codes should link directly to your donation site or a multilink giving page. This makes it easy for people to navigate your calls to action (CTAs) from any device.

4. Sell Holiday Cards

There are plenty of relevant holidays within the calendar, including Eid al-Fitr, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Rosh Hashanah. Even a few nonreligious holidays, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day, can rally your congregation to support your organization.

First, design and sell holiday cards people can purchase and give to loved ones. You can even include a thoughtful scripture verse or message inside. That way, you provide special holiday gifts while allowing people to give back.

Then, ensure the design and print quality meet people’s standards. Remember, every detail counts.

Lastly, distribute them at least a few weeks before each holiday to give people more time to hand out their gifts to friends and family. You can also include donation e-cards in your promotional efforts. Providing this option is the perfect addition to engaging online supporters.

5. Honor and Memorial Gifts

Allow church members to contribute in honor or memory of a loved one. You can align these appeals with holidays like Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, or Veterans Day, or keep them separate as an opportunity to honor the people you love outside the busy holiday season. These are also appropriate for graduating seniors at the end of spring.

In most cases, supporters will pay for flowers displayed in the building and their loved one’s name included in your worship bulletin or program. The point of these donations is not only to raise funds but also to help recognize special people within your community.

Just be sure your fundraising platform offers easy-to-navigate donor management tools to help you keep tabs on these supporters and follow up with future appeals.

6. Encourage Recurring Giving

Only 15% of churchgoers donate monthly (or more frequently), but that small group accounts for 51% of church-giving dollars.2 In other words, small recurring donations add up over time, thanks to the commitment of loyal supporters.

Encourage recurring donations by reminding people they can set up a subscription gift at the amount and cadence they choose. Consider including this CTA in your nonprofit newsletter or during your service.

A great example of turning one-off donations into long-time donors is Denver Rescue Mission, which uses Classy to power its fundraising efforts. The team launched a campaign called “Double Your First Three Months of Giving,” and in less than one month, 125 donors made new or upgraded monthly donations.

7 Ways to Boost Recurring Donor Acquisition

7. Ask for an Annual Giving Pledge

It’s common for faith-based organizations to rely on tithes and donations from their congregations. To better project how much people will give, ask for annual pledges. This approach allows you to plan how to distribute donations throughout the year.

Be proactive in elevating this pledge opportunity to your donors as well, so they can account for it in their personal budgets. For example, throughout the year, send reminders of how much they pledged to give with updates on how much they’ve given so far. Then, celebrate with them as they approach their goal and share how their donation dollars have impacted your mission.

8. Host a Café

Many faith-based organizations bring their congregation together before services to establish a strong sense of community, typically offering coffee and pastries as an incentive to gather.

These morning cafés are an excellent way for supporters to skip the Starbucks line, mingle with others in the congregation, and establish stronger connections with the community.

In many cases, these refreshments are complimentary. However, you could leave an optional tip jar or donation stand for anyone willing to help offset this expense.

9. Support a Parents’ Date Night

Every parent or guardian in your congregation appreciates the occasional break. You can provide a much-needed night off with a date-night fundraiser.

Recruit volunteers to serve as child care in the children’s area. As a bonus, you could offer an extra night of babysitting to read religious stories to the kids. Then, suggest local date-night ideas so they don’t have to stress about planning.

You could also partner with local restaurants as a fun way to establish community connections and treat your congregation to a meal discount. That simple touch is a great way to show them you care.

How to Establish Meaningful Partnerships for Your Nonprofit

10. Tell a Giving Story

Monthly or weekly, include a story of how your faith-based organization has helped a local school, fellow nonprofit, business, or individual.

Then, invite someone directly impacted by your mission to come and share their story. By putting a face and name to the impact, your cause resonates in a more meaningful way.

After all, people are typically more willing to give when they understand how it affects the larger picture. In fact, Classy’s Why America Gives report found that the top factor donors say leads to an excellent donation experience is when a nonprofit clearly explains the impact of their gift. Even if not announced from the stage, these stories of giving can go into your worship bulletin or email newsletter.

11. Organize a Benefit Worship Concert

Worship is likely the most direct way people interact with your organization. This doesn’t have to be limited to a weekly service, though—your community can experience worship music any day.

Host a family-friendly benefit concert with a local or touring worship band. That way, concert attendees can enjoy the live music knowing they’ve supported a specific, meaningful cause. You might even attract people who don’t normally attend your organization’s gatherings or church fundraising events.

Then, offer the opportunity for people to fundraise via your peer-to-peer fundraising platform to cover the cost of entry and encourage them to continue fundraising on your organization’s behalf to help expand your reach and engage new audiences.

Event livestreaming is another way to reach beyond the people who can physically attend. You might even charge a small online entrance fee to source additional donation opportunities.

12. Get the Kids Involved

Adults aren’t the only ones interested in supporting your cause. Encourage your church’s youth group, kids, and students to give back to build a generous spirit early in life. This helps teach the kids in your community about the power and importance of giving.

Tie these donation opportunities to a practical lesson by inviting kids to donate a small gift or fundraise in their community for a specific cause. This shows each child the impact that their generosity has made.

13. Offer Legacy Giving

Supporters can build a legacy of giving by including your faith-based organization in their will. While a difficult conversation, especially toward the end of life, you can start planting those seeds as early as you feel appropriate.

You can also bring experts in to provide guidance on finances and estate planning. Helping these individuals get their finances in order helps them feel more secure in their future planning and makes giving back to your community a more realistic option.

14. Give Church Tours

While members of your congregation have likely seen the chapel and the foyers, they’ve probably never seen what goes on behind the scenes.

Offer small church, temple, or synagogue tours to invite your members into the spaces they don’t get to experience during services.

You could even raise donations during this tour and tell members how you plan to use those funds. Talk about upgrading the pews or explain which area of the building needs the most attention, such as structural repairs or a parking lot expansion.

15. Host a T-Shirt Fundraiser

Offer supporters the opportunity to represent your good cause. First, design a unique shirt for your organization and sell it to kids, youth, and adults, or host a contest to see who can design the most creative shirt. Then, showcase the winner’s design on every T-shirt sold.

16. Offer Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Why not empower community members and churchgoers to fundraise on your behalf? Peer-to-peer fundraising allows your supporters to create donation pages to raise money for your organization whenever they feel inspired.

Fundraising this way can be a powerful tool to expose your church to new audiences that might not be familiar with your work. In fact, Classy’s internal platform data found that 80% of donors to a peer-to-peer campaign on Classy are brand new to the nonprofit. Unlock that giving potential to fuel your goals.

9 Actionable Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tips

17. Put on a Parking Lot Potluck

Hosting a potluck in the parking lot after service monthly or quarterly gives members time to mingle and socialize. Plus, having it in the parking lot encourages passersby to check out what’s happening. You can even place a tip jar by the food or raise funds for a specific need of your community.

18. Host a Walk-a-Thon

walk-a-thon is a fun way to get your members and the community active. Participants can engage in peer-to-peer fundraising efforts on social media to ask for pledges or bring friends to join the cause.

You could even incorporate raffle tickets and prizes into the event. Here are a few raffle ideas for inspiration.

19. Start a Community Garden Project

In the spirit of fostering community involvement and healthy living, your faith-based organization can initiate a community garden project. Have volunteers work together to build a garden (either on your church’s property or somewhere else) and rent plots for community members to grow plants, crops, or flowers.

The garden can become a communal hub, a place for peaceful reflection, or a lively space for sharing gardening tips and stories. Beyond the plots, consider hosting gardening workshops or inviting local experts to speak about sustainable practices. You can even open these educational sessions to the broader community for a small fee, enhancing the project’s fundraising potential.

20. Savor the Spirit with a Cookbook Sale

Invite your congregation to contribute their favorite recipes—those cherished family secrets, beloved comfort foods, or innovative creations. Each page of your cookbook will tell a story, whether it’s a grandmother’s traditional holiday dish or a young couple’s first dinner success.

Encourage contributors to share a brief story or memory associated with their recipe, adding a personal touch that transforms the cookbook into a keepsake.

Promote your cookbook through your church’s communication channels, social media, and events. Then, use the cookbook launch as an opportunity to host a charity dinner where attendees get to enjoy the featured dishes.

You might also think bigger by marketing your cookbook to local bookstores or selling it online. This broadens your fundraising reach and shares the unique flavors of your congregation with a wider audience.

21. Host a Movie Night

Transform your church or community center into a cinema for a night and invite members and neighbors to a special movie screening. You can even charge a small entry fee for the event by selling tickets in advance or at the door.

First, select a movie that resonates with your congregation’s values and appeals to a broad audience. Consider family-friendly options or films with uplifting messages that align with your organization’s ethos.

Then, create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. If you have the space, consider an outdoor screening under the stars. Set up comfortable seating and encourage attendees to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

Lastly, enhance the movie experience with a miniature concession stand where you sell popcorn, soft drinks, and other classic movie snacks. You could also offer themed treats that tie in with the film. This adds to the fun and boosts your fundraising efforts.

22. Make a Splash with a Charity Car Wash

You can also rev up your fundraising efforts by organizing a charity car wash. Choose a visible and accessible location for your car wash, like your church parking lot, and set a date and time likely to attract the most traffic (such as a Saturday morning).

Recruit volunteers from your congregation to help. This can be an excellent activity for youth groups, offering them a chance to contribute to the church’s efforts while learning about teamwork and community service.

Decide whether to set a fixed price for each car wash or to accept donations. Often, a donations-based approach can lead to more generous contributions. Just be sure to have clear signage indicating that it’s a charity car wash and where the proceeds will go.

23. Kickoff a Board Game Tournament

How about inviting your community to a day of friendly competition and fun by organizing a board game tournament? This event is perfect for all ages and offers a unique way to engage your congregation while raising funds.

Choose various popular board games that cater to different age groups and interests. For example, you might consider classics, like chess, Scrabble, or Monopoly, and newer games that appeal to avid board game enthusiasts. Be sure to borrow multiple copies of each game to accommodate several participants.

Set up a registration system for participants. You can charge an entry fee for each player or team, with the option of different fees for different games, and offer a discount for early registration to encourage participation. To ensure it all goes smoothly, consider how the right event registration software for nonprofits could help.

Offer prizes for the winners of each game. These could include donated items, gift cards, or special certificates. You can also have consolation prizes or awards for sportsmanship and creativity to keep the event inclusive and fun.

24. Organize a Photo Contest

A photo contest is one fundraising idea that is sure to unleash the creativity within your congregation. This event is a wonderful way to engage budding photographers, showcase the beauty of your community, and raise funds.

First, choose a theme that resonates with your church’s values or local congregation. It could be as broad as “Nature’s Beauty” or as specific as “Life in Our Community.” The theme should inspire participants to explore their surroundings and capture meaningful moments.

Charge a small fee for each photo submission. Ensure the submission process is quick and easy, possibly through an online platform where participants can upload photos and pay the entry fee.

Lastly, organize an exhibition of the submitted photos. This could be a physical display at your church or a virtual gallery on your website. You can also involve the community in the judging process by allowing public voting in person at the exhibition or online.

25. Host a Seasonal Festival

Organizing a seasonal festival is one way to embrace the changing weather and unite your community. This event can be a vibrant and fun-filled way to engage people of all ages, celebrate the uniqueness of each season, and raise funds for your church or faith-based organization.

First, decide on which season to focus your festival. Each season offers its own charm and possibilities:

  • Spring fling with blooming flowers
  • Summer fair with outdoor games
  • Harvest festival in the fall
  • Winter wonderland with holiday-themed activities

Then, tailor your activities to the chosen season. Ideas include craft booths, seasonal food and drink stands, games for children, live music, and themed contests (like a pumpkin-carving contest in the fall). You could also have a photo booth with seasonal props for memorable keepsakes.

Finally, consider charging a small entry fee or selling tickets for certain attractions within the festival. You could also sell all-access passes for attendees who want to experience everything the festival offers. Reach out to local businesses for sponsorships or to host booths.

5 Sponsorship Letters and How to Write Them

26. Sweeten the Day with a Tasty Bake Sale

A bake sale is a fantastic way to indulge in the joy of baking and sharing. This timeless and beloved fundraising idea is perfect for bringing your congregation and community together through the universal language of delicious treats.

Call upon the bakers in your congregation to whip up their best cakes, cookies, pies, and other baked goods. Encourage various treats to cater to different tastes, including options for those with dietary restrictions, like gluten-free or vegan items.

Price the items reasonably to encourage sales. You can offer a mix of larger, more expensive items, like whole cakes or pies, and smaller, more affordable treats, like cookies or brownies. Also, think about offering prepackaged bundles or assortments for convenience.

27. Offer Fitness Classes

Offering fitness classes is an excellent way to boost the health and well-being of your congregation and community while fundraising. Just be sure to offer a range of fitness classes to cater to different interests and fitness levels. Popular options include yoga, Pilates, Zumba, aerobics, or dance classes. Also, consider offering classes tailored to seniors or beginners to ensure inclusivity.

Recruit qualified instructors from within your congregation or hire local fitness professionals. You might find volunteers passionate about fitness willing to lead classes, or you could partner with local gyms or fitness instructors looking to promote their services.

Charge a reasonable fee for each class or offer a package deal for multiple sessions. You could also have a donation-based model where participants pay what they can. This approach makes the classes accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation.

28. Celebrate Talent with an Art Auction

An art auction is a wonderful way to recognize the artistic talents within your community and beyond. Invite artists to donate artwork for the event. This can include paintings, sculptures, photography, handcrafted jewelry, or pottery.

Decide whether to hold a live auction, a silent auction, or a combination of both. A live auction can create an exciting and dynamic atmosphere, while a silent auction allows for more contemplative bidding. For larger audiences, ensure your online auction software suits the job.

Lastly, enhance the event with live music, light refreshments, or wine tasting. This creates a more immersive and enjoyable experience for attendees, encouraging them to stay longer and participate more actively in the auction.

29. Turn Pages with a Used Book Sale

Hosting a used book sale encourages a love for reading and supports your church’s initiatives. This event is a fantastic way to recycle gently used books while engaging your community in a fun and educational fundraiser.

Start by collecting book donations. Encourage various genres, including fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, cookbooks, and more. You can even recruit volunteers to help set up, manage, and take down the sale. Volunteers can also assist shoppers in finding books and handling transactions. This is a great opportunity for youth groups or other church committees to get involved.

Consider complementing the book sale with additional features, like a coffee and snack stand, a reading corner for children, or a small section of rare or collectible books. These extras can enhance the overall experience and attract more visitors.

Lastly, price books to sell, keeping in mind the goal is to raise funds while offering great deals. You can have special pricing, like a dollar per book or a discount for buying in bulk.

30. Create a Knitting Circle

Why not foster community and craftsmanship by organizing a knitting or quilting circle? Invite the members of your congregation and community interested in knitting, crocheting, or quilting to join the circle. This group can meet regularly at your church or community center, creating a warm and welcoming environment for crafters of all skill levels.

The group can work on individual projects or collaborate on larger ones, such as blankets, scarves, hats, or mittens. These handmade items can be sold at church events, online, or at local markets, with the proceeds going to your organization.

31. Host a Golf Tournament

Organize a golf tournament as a fun and engaging way to raise funds for your church or faith-based organization. This event can attract many participants, from avid golfers to those looking to support a good cause in a social and active setting.

First, choose a local golf course as the venue and decide on the tournament format. Popular options include scramble, best ball, or match play. Work with the golf course management to set a date and arrange logistics, like tee times and equipment rentals if needed.

Then, set up a registration process for teams or individual players. Charge an entry fee that covers the cost of the event and contributes to your fundraising goal. You can even offer early-bird discounts to encourage early sign-ups.

Once you’ve done all of that, reach out to local businesses for sponsorships. These community-based organizations can sponsor holes, provide prizes, or contribute to the event in other ways. In return, offer to feature their logos on promotional materials and on signage at the event.

32. Provide Educational Content

Sharing knowledge and insights about your faith can reach far beyond the walls of your church or organization. By creating and providing educational content online, you not only spread the teachings and values of your religion but also open up new avenues for fundraising through sponsorships and advertisements.

Embrace various digital formats to cater to different preferences in your audience. This can include:

  • Blog posts: Write articles on your faith, religious teachings, and community activities.
  • Videos: Create engaging video content, such as recorded sermons, interviews with religious leaders, or documentaries about your faith.
  • Webinars: Host live webinars on theological topics, religious holidays, or ethical discussions, encouraging interactive participation.
  • Podcasts: Start a podcast series that delves into religious teachings, scripture discussions, or interviews with faith-based leaders and community members.

Catholic Answers does a great job of this. For example, they’ve built a massive 165K+ follower base on YouTube with over 3.7K posted videos. This helps them spread their messages to the masses and allows them to leverage advertisements to make income for their organization.

Start Fundraising at Your Church or Faith-Based Organization

Churches and faith-based organizations aren’t different from other nonprofits—each one needs revenue to operate and make an impact. Still, there are elements of faith-based communities that provide unique fundraising opportunities. Use these ideas to maximize the funds you raise.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

Article Sources:

  1. “Charitable Giving Statistics for 2023,” Define Financial, last modified February 10, 2023,
  2. “Charitable Giving Statistics to Raise More Money,”, last modified June 22, 2020,
  3. “Church Live Streaming Statistics – Trends in Streaming Virtual Services for 2021,” Dacast, last modified December 22, 2021,
  4. “Church Giving Statistics,” Balancing Everything, last modified January 6, 2023,
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