We could all learn a thing or two about fundraising from churches. Few and far between are the organizations or individuals quite as adept at gathering large sums of cash, or in as many ways. Here is a list of ten unique ways churches raise money:
- Tithes – Sure, there are other groups that have membership fees and dues, but who else can point to their rulebook, and with a straight face demand 10% of your income? It’s not so much an entry fee to the pearly gates for most congregations, but what pays the bills.
- Bazaars – Some churches will sponsor bazaars or carnivals to raise money. Kiddie rides, concessions and game booths are a fun way for people to contribute to the cause. You can even volunteer to help out, making it a perfect time to practice being a carny.
- Car Washes – Many churches as well as schools will gather the congregation together in swim attire to offer car washes to the general public. Setting up several teams into interior and exterior squads helps move a lot of cars, and raises a lot of dough in a single day.
- Bake Sales – This is one of the more, shall we say, tasteful fundraising methods we’ve ever seen. The congregation can put together a selection that would be the envy of Sara Lee herself, and make a pretty penny selling it all.
- Bingo – One of the most popular, and profitable fundraising events, it will fill a hall with gleeful participants, and shouts of “Bingo!” faster than you can say I-25. Not all churches are willing to view this as good clean fun, however, and eschew this method.
- Raffles – Door prizes and gifts can be won with the purchase of a ticket. The holders of the winning ticket numbers go home with fabulous prizes. Can someone say, “Reverend Monty Hall”?
- Bible and Book Sales – Many churches have bookstores right in the building where members and guests may also purchase other merchandise including CD’s, apparel, games and gifts. This represents a significant source of fundraising for churches so equipped.
- Concerts and Events – Ticket sales to concerts, guest speakers, plays and shows are another form of fundraising which, for larger congregations, can mean some pretty large gate receipts. Some just ask for voluntary contributions, while others are more specific in the charges.
- Prayer – Sometimes it’s just a matter of asking for help, and like manna from heaven, it frequently pays off. It’s advisable to keep this technique going even when you don’t need the money, by the way.
- Solicitation – Whereas supplication involves going straight to the top, this method hits a little closer to home. Just ask the congregation to give ’til it hurts, and then maybe a little more. That’s how we make sure that those who haven’t got enough are taken care of.
No matter what method a church uses, it pretty much boils down to the same thing. Like any other non-profit organization, they need to keep the lights on and the employees paid. Raising money is often the only way they have of doing that.