In many churches, donations from the congregation aren't enough to meet each year's financial needs. When your church needs to raise money for building upkeep or outreach events, plan activities that involve the community, provide a service, and make use of the talents of your congregation.
At Christmas and Easter, harness the potential of higher attendance and raise money with a pew auction. Select the services that are the most popular with church members and announce that you will be reserving the first few rows of pews for an auction that benefits the church. Churchgoers can bid on the pews, either as individuals or a group. When it comes time for the service, the auction winners will not need to arrive early to find a seat.
Recruit the members of your church who have skill in the kitchen to host a church lunch after Sunday services and charge a fee for entrance. Cook large portions of food using inexpensive ingredients, like pasta, eggs or pancakes. Ask members to donate baked goods for dessert, or prepare simple brownies or cakes in the church kitchen. Though many people might hesitate to simply write a check to the church, they may be more likely to give when their donation gets them a meal and the company of their fellow church members. Arrange for the choir to sing or for the drama group to put on a show as entertainment during the event.
When you have a small, dedicated congregation, it can be difficult to raise money through donations alone. In the spring or fall, plan a neighborhood cleanup fundraiser. Advertise a variety of services, like mowing, raking, hedge trimming, recycling pickup, and weeding, and organize your congregation into volunteer teams. Have volunteers pass out flyers in the neighborhood listing prices and services offered, and have individuals sign up for services ahead of time. On the designated day, your teams can head out to take care of the scheduled jobs, donating their time and the profits to the church. This is particularly effective during busy times of the year like Thanksgiving, when many people do not have the time to take care of their own yards.
If your church has a quilting group, or if members have a talent for quilting, you can use their skills to raise money for the church. Around Christmas, hold a quilt sale that is open to the public; members of the church and the community can buy quilts for gifts or personal use. As part of a larger event, raffle off a quilt made of squares contributed by church members and public figures in the area. You might also host a "design your own" quilt auction, where the quilting group accepts the top bids and makes custom quilts based on the winners' designs.
Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.