When it comes to fundraising for churches of all sizes, there are some classic ideas. Rummage sales, donation baskets, and luncheons are all tried and true. But how about mixing it up a bit? Using technology and getting creative with your congregation can bring out some fun and successful ideas. Fundraising ideas nowadays are trending towards innovation and making your physical church space feel like home for the flock. How to accomplish that? Try these ideas.
You may already know this, but here’s a tiny history tidbit: up until the early to mid 20th century, some sects such as Anglicans, Catholics, and Presbyterians commonly rented pews to individuals or families in the congregation. It was accepted as part of their income. Some began to see this practice as a source of vanity, as wealthy families often invested in large pews with luxury accommodations at key places in the church. You can take this practice into modern times and make it fun and welcoming instead of a show of wealth. For example, you can give families and individuals the opportunity to ‘sponsor a pew’. When someone gives a donation, they can then decorate and upkeep the pew in a beautiful, expressive, and welcoming manner that is meaningful to the individual and church. This brings art and a sense of welcome to the congregation.
Digital donations are incredibly popular nowadays. Around 95% of Americans in charitable giving of some kind, and much of that is through digital means. People carry much less cash than they used to. Digital transfer of money is more secure and easy than ever. Is it any wonder even churches are adapting to make traditional sermon collections easier on the flock? Text-to-tithe or text-to-give options are quite popular now, but you can even invest in special machines that read credit and debit cards. Starting off easy, you can have a simple donation site and link a QR code to it. That QR code is easily post-able around the church. Pretty much all smartphones have QR code reading abilities, and most Americans know what to do with a QR code. In fact, the U.S. has the highest rate of QR code usage in the world besides Japan. You can trust that most of your young digital-currency congregants will know how to handle a text or QR.
Swap shops have become popular for many groups struggling to fund-raise. How does it work? Attendees pay a small fee at the door. Then instead of buying and selling objects, they can trade goods and services. Even those with little money to spend can usually spare a couple dollars for entry and then trade a service they have to offer, like baking, sewing, plumbing, or babysitting. This builds a sense of community and inventiveness as well as pooling together funds for the church.
Renting out Church Space
Chances are that your congregants have activities and groups in their free time. Homeschool groups, Bible studies, music lessons, art studios… all these activities can easily be hosted in small rooms of your church. If a consistent weekly class or a professional artist needs an inexpensive, safe place to do their work, renting a space in the church may be the perfect solution. Still, remember to read up on some important do’s and don’ts to keep out of deep legal trouble like liability and taxes. You can accidentally lose church property tax exemption in the right circumstances. For example, an Ohio church was shocked by a $17,000 property tax bill after complications arose from renting extra space out to a non-profit. If cover all bases and make sure you’re legally in the clear, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Remember that these are only basic suggestions. You can add variations that suit your personal needs, likes, and space that you and your congregation agree on. If you want to get more fun and inventive ideas, ask your congregation to pick their brains!
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