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Blog » 25 Fundraising Ideas for Churches: Events that Work

25 Fundraising Ideas for Churches: Events that Work

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Fundraising events can sometimes be a tough way to raise money. But done well and thoughtfully, special events can be terrific at engaging current and new donors while raising needed ministry funds.

In this series of 25 fundraising ideas for churches, we’re providing ways to grow your giving. In today’s post, we’ll talk about how to plan and execute a targeted fundraising event that works.

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The most common mistake we observe among churches is the tendency to try to solve every fundraising need with a special event. Done well, events take a lot of staff or volunteer time to plan, so be sure you’re strategic about how and how frequently the church is hosting a fundraiser.

Six best practices to keep in mind:

  1. A special event can be an opportunity to engage not just your members but those who are not yet involved with your church. A race or golf tournament to benefit a project or ministry, for example, offers a way to recruit and build relationships outside your congregation. As you plan, look for ways to invite the broader community or seek partnerships to make the most of your event. An event committee of volunteers can help own and guide this effort!
  2. Tailor your event to your goal and your audience. A $100-a-plate dinner and live auction can attract one segment of your donors and prospects, while a $20 family fun run with a silent auction can attract quite another. Be strategic – and realistic – about what you need to raise and how many participants you need at various levels.
  3. Budget, budget, and budget again! Events cost money, so be sure you’ve factored in your venue, food, invitation, and other costs against your overall fundraising goals. If you don’t plan well, it’s easy to spend more than you raise.
  4. Plan as far out as you can when you choose an event date. Special events take time to market and promote if you want to ensure the right audience. Allow plenty of lead time for invitations and communications
  5. Consider offering sponsorship levels that will kickstart your fundraising goals and help offset your hard costs. Sometimes, having one or two underwriters for your event can mean everything else raised is going to the goal. 
  6. Add direct giving opportunities. Sometimes, people want to support your goal or project but can’t attend the event. Sometimes, they attend but don’t find an auction item they want, or they’re just motivated to give above and beyond. Be sure you provide a way for people to give directly to your benefit project.

If you’d like to brainstorm other ideas, our partnership with ACST enables us to come alongside churches looking for guidance.


About Tim Smith

Tim has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations. He has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as the Founder and CEO of  Non-Profit DNA. A boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches. By building their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

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