Fundraising Dilemmas

fundraiser

 

For many churches providing a budget for the Women’s Ministry is an impossibility, even a small one.  The Women’s Ministry is not being singled out either, as there are many sub-ministries that are not getting a line in the budget either.  Even in some of the larger churches there may not be a budget, as the larger the church the more expenses to be dealt with.  Building projects, new equipment or VBS may get priority over Women’s Ministry.

First, I want to express that this is not exactly wrong.  I’ve heard from Women’s Ministry leaders who feel like the ministry isn’t being supported by staff, for no other reason than it not having a line in the budget.  I even had one leader suggest that even $1.00 would be fine, just to see it on the budget.  The belief was that a line in the budget meant the church was taking it seriously.

If our first priority it to be a support to the church’s mission statement, then we must be willing to put our money where our mouth is.  When reaching the community is the goal, VBS may be the right place to put extra funds, allowing more children to attend.  An area with a lot of troubled youth, may need extra funds so they can have a scholarship fund for upcoming events and trips. I’d rather see money heading out into the community to feed the homeless than a brand new set of centerpieces for the next Women’s Brunch.

Budget is a tough subject, and I believe Women’s Ministry needs to be flexible and willing to work within the budget it does have.  Additionally, I believe the church needs to be flexible in allowing the Women’s Ministry to fundraise for the budget it does not have.

Some things to consider when fundraising:

*  You are not the only ministry. — It’s important to remember that you are not the only ministry that needs funds to exist.  Keep your fundraisers spaced out, and limited to just a few per year. 

*  Keep in mind who attends your church.  — If you are a church that is in a low income area, your members may be struggling just to tithe.  A fundraiser may be too much pressure.  We never want our fundraising event to take funds from the needs of the church.

*  Fundraisers cost something.  — There is no such thing as a free fundraiser.  It’s going to cost you something, most often that is time or money.  Planning a large event that requires a lot of volunteers may be difficult.  Fundraisers where you sell goods often require upfront purchases and the ministry is left covering the cost of unsold goods.  If you sell goods through a fundraising program, remember you are only getting a small portion of that sale.

Successful Fundraising Tips:

  • Take an Event Offering ~ a simple basket on each table at a Brunch or passed around at an event, can be a great way to build up a nest egg.  Women will usually give a few dollars each, but it’s a start and you can build upon it.
  • Charge for the Event ~ a small per person charge for events can cover the expense of the event, add just $1-$2 on top of that and you can use those funds to build up your budget.
  • Sell Everyday Goods or Services ~ have you ever had your child come home with a catalog fundraising for school, and there is just nothing in there that you “need” but you feel obligated to buy?  It ends up in the trash, or stuffed in a closet somewhere.  Some of the best fundraisers are when we are selling items people are already using.  Selling fresh ground coffee or Christmas Trees can be a great fundraiser.  Or, work with a local photographer for a Spring Family Portrait package.
  • Sell Donated Goods ~ A rummage sale is a great way to resell used goods and bring money into a ministry.  Have a plant sale, where local nurseries can donate the plants in exchange for advertisement and the proceeds go to the ministry.
  • Sell Space ~ Church Craft Fairs are always a great way to raise funds, your vendors purchase their table space.  In some cases the ministry may ask for a percentage of the sale, but I think charging for the space is enough.  This allows the event to be a blessing to the ministry and the vendors.
  • Raffles and Silent Auctions ~ Donated or discounted goods can be bundled together to make an excellent fundraising event on their own.  Work together with other ministries and share the funds you raise.
If you are going to work with a fundraising company that has higher priced items, choose ones where you take the orders instead of committing to sell a certain number of items.  For example, if you wanted to sell Poinsettias at Christmas, don’t pre-purchase (or place a deposit)  two hundred plants and truck them to the church with the hope to sell them all.  Take orders, pick up on the ones that were paid for, and now you are not left with too many unsold plants to find homes for or a commitment to pay for what was unsold.
Try to avoid catalog fundraisers that are already popular in your area.  If all of the schools are selling coupon books for local stores, trying to sell them as a ministry is not going to be nearly as successful.
Consider fundraising off season.  Schools will often sell wrapping paper or small gift items in the Winter, and candy in the spring for Easter.  A summer fundraiser is a time you’ll have little competition with schools.
If you are looking for donations for an event, start asking early.  Most companies are allotted  a specific amount of money per year to donate (in cash or goods).  If you wait until November or December to request a donation, it may be too late.
These are just a few ideas and suggestions, the internet (and pinterest) has a slew more!
Before you fundraise for your ministry, be sure to speak with your overseeing Pastor about your fundraising plans.

 

 

 

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