A vital aspect of stewardship is monetary support from the church and its ministries. If carried out the right way, fundraising events can help church members be good stewards of their time, talents, and finances.
Here are some essential questions to ask before you start planning a specific event or program:
- What is the need?
- Will the money acquired to be used for essential elements of the ministry?
- How will the fundraising take place?
- Is there anything about the fundraising activity itself that is contrary to the purpose and identity of the United Methodist Church?
- Will this fundraising effort bring our church closer together?
- Is there any of this that can cause division?
- Is this something that is already being done in other parts of the church? If so, will a duplication succeed?
By answering these questions, you will help ensure that the fundraising effort will bring glory and honor to God and promote the ministry’s ministries. Any fundraising activity should respect the ministries and space of the church and the church congregation (including those who cannot contribute).
Bring fun to the fundraiser.
There are different ways to raise funds. Three primary categories are:
- personal donations or a “promise” campaign
- sales campaigns
- special events
Personal donations and campaign donations are often used in churches when a large sum of money is needed for a construction project or ministry extension. Sales campaigns and special events are most commonly used when raising money for smaller, more specific needs, such as supporting a particular plan of mission or helping with a need within the church.
Regardless of the format used for fundraising, asking for money can be tedious and uncomfortable for many. It would help if you considered what motivates people to give or find ways to make the process more fun and meaningful.
There are numerous ways to raise funds. Try something new. Don’t be afraid to go beyond selling food. Almost everyone has bought a food dish, but most people have never participated in an art auction. By enlisting the help of various artists within your church or community, you allow others to practice stewardship of their talents and finances. Also, you can get an opportunity to promote your church to your non-church neighbors.
Young people instantly add fun to any project. By involving children and youth in fundraising, you will surely bring a little more enthusiasm and energy to the event.
Perhaps you are organizing a dinner for the day of love and friendship and thus raise funds for a missionary project. Coordinate with children’s teachers and youth leaders to find who can provide entertainment or serve others.
You can also teach children about stewardship by creating fundraising events just for them. For example, encourage kids to compete in a penny war to see which class can raise the most pennies. Make sure that the children recognize the need that is going to be compensated by the money that is built, and if possible, include them in some active aspect of the ministry. For example, if the money is used to buy food for the Thanksgiving boxes, let the children help shop, pack, or deliver the items.
Make a team effort.
Find ways that people in your church can use their talents to help contribute and think differently to brainstorm ideas to raise funds. Sometimes we only think of people who know how to cook, make desserts, or sing. But people who are good with carpentry or repairs can also help. Host a time and talent auction where clients pay for the time and services of a qualified volunteer. For example, the winner of a sale could get two hours with a maintenance manager working on home projects. Another bidder could win a babysitter on Saturday night. And another one could prepare your taxes.
Fundraising doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t have to be a chore. When used not only to raise funds but also to encourage stewardship, fundraising can be seen as a method of financing the church and educating the church.