Top 10 Free Fundraising Ideas

Youth Specialties
November 7th, 2012






YouthWorks asked a ton of youth leaders for their best fundraising ideas. From auctions to selling stuff and from holding events to finding creative ways to ask for money, some great ideas came our way. It turns out a small constituency of youth pastors from opposite ends of the country have even found a way to make money by sticking flamingos in people’s yards.

Well, out of over 60 responses, we picked our favorite Top 10 Fundraising Ideas.

Here they are, in no particular order…


Protection Money: You offer protection from an item, such as a purple toilet. If members of your church don’t buy protection, then the toilet gets delivered to their front lawn, and the only way to have it removed is to pay the Toilet Removal Fee. Fun stuff… but clean the toilet first.     Jeff – Escondido, CA

Service Board: Church members post on a bulletin board odd jobs or service projects for around their home and a price they would pay for the service. Youth take the postings and sign up to do the task for the donation.  Sean – Cochranton, PA

Have a youth night where you make duct-tape wallets. Be sure to make popular color combinations. Then, have each student sell them for $3–$5 after school, before school, at events, etc. AJ – Galt, CA

Noodles & Doodles (Pasta Dinner & Art Auction): We have students create their own original artwork (painting, sculptures, poems, anything). We usually have them create around their favorite Bible verse or story. The more the better. Have your students sell tickets in advance. (We do $10 each.) At the event, we have all the art displayed so everyone can see. We then serve a pasta dinner. Students act as servers and are dressed in black and white. After dinner we do either a silent auction or live auction. To increase your profits, have parents or adults donate pasta, sauce and tableware. Donations from Italian diners can help too. If you do a silent auction and have artwork leftover, simply do a fast live auction. This will cause excitement and these pieces will usually go for more than the others. Nathan – Lemon Grove, CA

Dodge Ball Tourney: $10 or so per person to enter. You can sell snacks and stuff on the side. We took a bowling trophy and cut and reapplied the arm so it looked like it was throwing a dodge ball for a low-cost prize. Brandon – Bricelyn, MN

We did a competition around the best chocolate desserts a couple years ago that raised our mission trip $3,000+. We had people at church sign up and make their best chocolate-infused treat. We also sent a letter out and had a couple adult leaders follow up with the community (businesses) on prize donations for the winners. We charged people at the door ($5) for the privilege of tasting all the cocoa-inspired goodness while they listened to a local jazz band play. Lastly, we ran a 50/50 raffle at the same event and gave away a few of the free prizes as door prizes. Oh, and our local Starbucks donated the coffee too! We placed the event the Friday before Valentines, and it was a smash success. Scott – Minden, NV

We do a talent show each year called “Immanuel’s Got Talent” where our students and other adults from the church showcase their talents for the community. The families of our students provide desserts, and we take a freewill offering during the night. For all of our fundraisers throughout the year, we try to do something that not only raises money but also promotes community within our church. Bret – Ripon, CA

Get an old broken down car and have students and adults pay to get a swing at the car with a sledgehammer. Grady – Rancho Cucamonga, CA

144 Envelopes: Put 144 envelopes in the narthex or back of the church, numbered from 1–144 with $ in front. (So $1, $2, etc.) Ask church members to make a donation with that amount of money in it. If every envelope got filled, it = $10,800. Janet – West Covina, CA 

(Note: We don’t know that this last one is a good idea… We just couldn’t resist including it.)  Youth Pastor’s Wife Kissing Booth. Jason – Lakewood, CO

Want more? Download the full list of 60 Free Fundraising Ideas for Youth Ministry.

Sam Townsend works on the Training and Programming Team at YouthWorks, where he loves helping churches and communities connect through meaningful service. After the workday, Sam is a youth group leader, a seminary student and a conversationalist over half-price appetizers.

And if you are looking for a great mission trip opportunity, YouthWorks provides life-changing Christ-centered mission trips for teenagers, families and church groups at over 70 locations across the continent. In the month of November we are offering $250 off your mission trip. To learn more click here. For more information visit www.youthworks.com or call the Service Center at 800.968.8504.

If you’re not impressed with these (or even if you are), we’d love to add your ideas to the list! Click here to get your idea on next month’s new Top 10 Fundraising Ideas list!

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.