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

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By Robert Carnes

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Published June 22, 2022 Reading Time: 5 minutes

Religious institutions account for some of the highest fundraising numbers of any nonprofit category. Nearly one-third of all donations go to faith-based organizations.

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

There are plenty of fundraising ideas that faith-based organizations can leverage to build their budget and impact the community. Here are a few to get you started.

13 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. That statistic makes sense when you consider more people are giving online, so people are no longer required to be within a building (including during Sunday worship) to donate.

Make it easy to give to your faith-based organization virtually. Up to 20% of people are viewing worship services online, so don’t neglect those people when taking up the offering. Offer an online giving option that’s easy to access from your website or app, or during an online service. Giving platforms like Classy make this easier than ever.

2. Try New Payment Options

Almost half of faith-based giving comes from credit cards. However, these donations can come from a variety of sources, whether through your website, text-to-give, or a mobile app. People have different preferred ways of giving, so be sure people within your congregation have the right options for them, including PayPal, Venmo, ACH transfer, or even cryptocurrency.

If half of your donations come through credit cards, that means there are still other means of donations, including cash and checks. Don’t neglect these traditional contributions either, even if they look like secure drop boxes placed around your building.

3. Leverage QR codes

How do you combine the proximity of in-person interaction with the power of online giving? Drop some QR codes around your building. We see from online shopping trends that QR codes help to drive immediate action.

These quick-action scannable graphics could show up in your worship bulletin, on the backs of pews, on wall posters, or all of the above. Make them visible but not an unnecessary distraction. The goal is to have it readily available when needed, but not an eyesore. QR codes should link directly to your giving page or a multi-link landing page. Your goal is to allow people to easily navigate your calls to action from their mobile devices.

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 non-religious holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Valentine’s Day are relevant to your congregation.

Design and sell holiday cards people can purchase and give to loved ones. Include a thoughtful scripture verse or message inside. That way, you’re providing a needed holiday gift, while allowing people to give back.

Be sure the design and print quality are up to people’s standards. Provide these at least a few weeks before the start of each holiday so people can avoid procrastinating.

Bake e-cards into your promotional efforts as well. Providing this option is the perfect addition to engage online donors.

5. Honor and Memorial Gifts

Many faith-based organizations allow members of the community to contribute in honor or memory of a loved one. These usually fall along holidays like Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, or Veteran’s Day. They’re also appropriate for graduating seniors at the end of spring.

In most cases, they’re paying for flowers that are displayed in the building and listing their name in your worship bulletin or program. The point of these donations is not only to raise funds but also to help recognize people within your community.

Make sure your fundraising platform allows donors to dedicate gifts through online donations as well.

6. Encourage Recurring Giving

Only 15% of churchgoers give monthly (or more frequently), but they account for 51% of church giving dollars. In other words, your most consistent donors tend to give the most. Encourage this by reminding people that they can set up recurring giving at pre-selected intervals.

Remind them of their ability to automate their recurring gifts. This way they can easily set it and forget it. Include this reminder in your enewsletter or during your service.

7. Annual Giving Pledge

Some faith-based organizations rely on the tithes and donations from their congregations. You can better project how much people will give by asking for annual pledges to share how much they plan on giving over the course of the year. This can help you better plan expenses accordingly.

When people consider and set goals for their giving early in the year, they’re more likely to account for it in their budgets. Send reminders of how much they pledged to give with updates on how much they’ve given. Celebrate with them as they get closer to their goal.

8. Host a Cafe

Many faith-based organizations have coffee and pastries on hand for attendees before worship. These morning cafes are a way for them to skip the Starbucks line and get to worship on time.

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

9. Parents’ Date Night

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

Recruit volunteers to serve as child care in the children’s area. A bonus is an extra night to teach Bible lessons to the kids. Offer up date night ideas for the parents. Partner with local restaurants to provide them with a discount. Then set them free to enjoy some time off.

10. Tell a Giving Story

Encourage regular giving by showing people how their donations have made an impact in the community. Monthly or weekly, include a story of how your faith-based organization has helped a local school, nonprofit, business, or individual.

Invite a person directly impacted by your mission to come and tell their story. Putting a face and name to the impact helps it resonate with your congregation. People are always more excited to give when they understand what it means. Even if it’s not announced from the stage, these stories of giving can go into your worship bulletin.

11. Benefit Worship Concert

Worship is one of the most direct ways people interact with your organization. This doesn’t have to be limited to Sunday mornings; your community can still experience worship music any other day of the week.

Host a worship concert with a local or touring worship band. Proceeds for the tickets could go to your specific need or mission. Concert attendees can enjoy the live music knowing they’re supporting a specific meaningful cause. You could even attract people attend who don’t normally come to your organization.

Livestream your event to boost your reach beyond just the people who are able to physically attend.

12. Get the Kids Involved

Adults aren’t the only ones who participate in financially supporting you. Encouraging kids and students to give back helps build a generous spirit early in life. Teach the kids in your community about the power and importance of giving.

Share about generosity and gifts in your children’s ministry areas. Tie this to a practical lesson by inviting kids to donate a small gift or fundraise in their community for a specific cause. Show the children the impact that their generosity has made in you.

13. Legacy Giving

Help others build a legacy of giving by including the faith-based organization in their will. This means that they’ll be supporting your mission even after they’ve passed on. This can be a difficult conversation to have, especially toward the end of life, so start planting those seeds much earlier.

Bring experts in to provide guidance on finances and estate planning. People should have a living will many years before their twilight years. Getting their finances in order helps make giving back to the community a more realistic option. If you’re a part of their life, your church can be a beneficiary of their legacy, too.

Start Fundraising at Your Church or Faith-Based Organization

Churches and faith-based organizations aren’t any different from other nonprofits in that they need revenue to operate and make an impact. However, there are elements of faith-based communities that provide unique opportunities for fundraising. Use these ideas to maximize the funds you’re able to raise.

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