There are times when there just isn’t enough money to do what you need to do. I’m going to make several suggestions, several things I’ve done at various churches I’ve been a part of. However, there is one major thing to consider that I will write about tomorrow. So, enjoy the ideas and dream about what options you have but let it be tempered by the information I’ll present tomorrow.
However, there may be times where you have to be creative and come up with new ways to fund your projects. These may be simple fundraiser’s to special partnerships with the business community. Here are some of the things I’ve done:
I hate these things, but they’ve often allowed me to have some non-budgeted items over the years. Back in 2000 I had kids sell frozen cookie dough. We got a special deal through Wal-Mart and they matched what the kids raised (I don’t think they were supposed to do this, but I think the manager just made it happen for us). We raised enough to get a computer (it was still used) and the equipment necessary to have Power Point in our Kids Worship area. A few years later at another church we found out about a shaved ice business that did profit sharing. Our church hosted a huge church-wide picnic and the Children’s Ministry sold shaved ice. We ended up making $700 – $800 in just three hours. We used this to buy some tech equipment for one of our kids rooms. We also set up present wrapping stations outside of Wal-Mart near Christmas, sold concessions at family events, held an ice cream social after VBS and did parent-night-out events where we took care of the kids while the parents went out for the night. Like I said, I hate these things… but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Pick your poison.
Connect a person with your need
Sometimes there is someone attending your church who would be more than willing to financially meet your current need. I’ll leave you with one example. I was working at a church where we were pretty strapped. My wife found out that a co-worker was selling a gumball machine. I totally wanted it! I was teaching a series on missions and I had the perfect idea. I wanted to find an easy and fun way for kids to give toward missions on a regular basis. Although we would do a special offering at VBS and make pushes at other times, I had a great idea. I wanted to put a gumball machine in the hallway and tell kids and parents that every time they bought some gum, they were changing the word as I would donate all the money toward international missions. You’d be amazed at how quickly those things fill up with quarters. I talked to my pastor and he recommended a member who had a big heart for missions. He told me, “Go tell Bill to buy it, he’s got a heart for missions.” So, I pulled Bill aside one Sunday and told him what I wanted to do. He loved it. I told him I didn’t have the money and it would cost $600. He wrote the check right there. Mission accomplished!
Partner with businesses
Over the years I’ve gotten some good experience at corporate fund raising for the Children’s Ministry. I got my first start at it when I was asked to revamp our Fall Festival. It was an event that attracted about 2000 people and I had exactly $2000 to work with. I wanted the event not be a Halloween alternative to a great community wide event. But I knew I needed more money. My initial idea to raise a few extra thousand dollars were to sell off sponsorships of booths and activities. I figured that I could get banners for about $35 a piece. If I sold sponsorships, I could buy the banner (have their corporate name/logo put on the banner) and have the extra $65 to spend. In addition we figure we could sell sponsorships to go on the pack of staff t-shirts for $200 to $300 each. This was the years that 9/11 happened so a ton of things impacted this event. In the end, we had between 6,000 to 7,000 people attend and we raised an additional $10,000 to $12,000. I had a woman working with me that was absolutely amazing at selling vision and raising money. She took the event from there and took it to the next level every year.
I used this same method for both VBS and Daddy Daughter Dances. We’d let businesses and individual’s buy sponsorships on the back of T-shirts, sponsor tables and even sponsor our post-VBS pool party. For both of these events I’d send a packet home with all the kids. The packet contained information about our church as well as information about our sponsors. I feel there are pros and cons to this method. The con is that you end up spending a bunch of time raising money in addition to planning the event. I think it also can send a confusing message. Parents may ask about why this “ministry event” is sponsored like crazy. The pro is that you do involved the community and it often opens more doors to people participating in the ministry. Another pro is that you might actually have the funds to pull off the event you envisioned.
Special Note: Like I said before, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. All of these things take a lot of work. There were so many times where I just wished I didn’t have do all the extra stuff to raise the money and I could just do ministry. I’ve been fortunate enough to work at churches that just made sure the money was there to do it and that was a blessing. However, too many out there just don’t have enough. Take heart though, I’m sure Paul may have said the same things while he was sewing tents together. Be sure to read my post tomorrow as I address this specifically.
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