The Best Fundraisers Ever!

Youth Specialties
June 9th, 2016

Interested in a fundraiser that raises $50-60 and hour per person?

One thought first:

I am in Israel right now. If the Promised Land is anything, it is temperamental. The people of Israel had to depend on God for crops, which depended on water. The good and plentiful land does not have any major water sources like rivers. A significant part of the region is completely dry 6 months a year. They only needed 6-8 inches to grow barley and wheat, but without rain, they faced starvation. God was their source of water. The good land was good precisely because it caused them to be dependent on him. And so Jesus taught us to pray “give us today our daily bread.”

We tend to think of “plentiful” as having all that we can handle and more. This is not provision, it is gluttony. I need to remember the difference as I orchestrate budgets and seek God’s financial blessing.

So the best fundraiser ever? I won’t say “Jesus,” but I hope you get the point.

The following is a detailed explanation of a fundraiser that lasts one day, helps students engage and serve the community, has a 100% profit margin, can build your budget and allows students to earn money they need for activities. While this works for missions, I think this is best used for general expenses and a “going to camp” fundraiser.

Coordinate a work day with your city.

Step one:

Call the city office and explain you have a team of youth that would like to work for the city on a service project for the community. My experience has been that most cities are very interested in free community service and will provide limited supervision and tools for their project (paint, rakes, etc.). Projects have been done on waterways, public parks, and even inside public buildings removing trash in storage.

Step two:

Set a date and let the city/parks department know that the students will receive sponsors for camp (or a retreat, or an international experience, etc.). Receive permission to use their logo to promote.

Step three:

Prominently use the logo of your organization/church and the logo of the city or parks department. Create a pledge sheet. This works like a “fund run.” Students will take the sheet and receive sponsors for each hour worked. If someone gives $.25 for each hour that would be $2 for an 8 hour day of work. Not a lot.

Here is my experience: Ask businesses to donate.

We often received $3-5 per hour pledges from individuals and businesses in the community. They are getting something out of it, it is tax deductible, and helping kids go to camp. Our average per hour rate was $30-$50 for each participating student. Per hour! That would be $210-400 for one day of work. And that is average.

Step four:

Send out students with training. Give them the line you want them to say…

“Hello, Mr. Jones. I am working to go on a leadership retreat with my church. We will be working next month cleaning up the creak in Jones City Park. I was wondering if you would be interested in sponsoring me for each hour I work. It is tax deductible and we will be working along with the city.”

Step Five:

Do the work day, and then students collect the money. Many sponsors will just give the donation up front. We always receive lots of twenties and fifties. Be prepared to give tax deductible receipts. Don’t be afraid to take a portion of the earnings for the ministry fund. For example students earn 80% for their camp and your general budget gets 20% for scholarships.

This format allows students who cannot pay for anything—or whose parents don’t want to pay—to earn a year worth of retreats and activities in one day. You invest one day. Your community sees your organization partnering officially with the local government. Tax deductible. Everybody wins.

If you need more ideas check this out:

I suggest this work-sponsor model, not because rummage sales and spaghetti dinners don’t work, they just don’t work everywhere or all the time. I have seen this one tried and succeed over and over.

What are your ideas for the best fundraiser ever?

Please leave questions or more great ideas in the comments. 

Mike Severe is the Associate Professor and Program Director of Christian Educational Ministries at Taylor University. Mike is also one of our YSASN professors, leading youth ministry majors and other college students through the NYWC experience. If you’re a professor, check out all the YSASN benefits at NYWC.com/YSASN.

Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.