My mother-in-law thought of this one. Tell your church body that the pastor (or youth pastor) makes amazing chili. Encourage everyone find out where their chili stands by entering a chili cook off. We didn’t charge any fees to enter the chili in the contest, just the chili itself was the fee. Here is where the fund raising comes in: invite the whole church body to be the judges and taste each contestant’s chili for $3.00 (or whatever you want to charge), they fill out a ballot naming their 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Give a blue ribbon to the winner. You can have parents make chili just to sell if people want to buy dinner while they are there. This is really fun, the whole church had fun together with this one.
Get an appropriate number of volunteers to make appropriate size batches of chili. Number the pots of chili and serve \”samples\” (2oz. cups are great) with the corresponding chili pot number on the sample cup.
After the samples are eaten allow everyone to go through the line and get a bowl of the chili they liked best. Have a donation plate in front of each pot of chili and people vote with their donations – the chili whose plate has the most money in it is the winner. You hope for a couple of families to try and \”buy\” the chili champ title and watch the money roll in.
This is a lot of fun!
Caution: Please inform any serious / sensitive cooks that the best chili doesn\’t always win – it\’s a fundraiser!
Encourage church members to drop off cards for other church members at the church building. For a nickel or dime per card, sort the cards and deliver them to staff members’ mail slots, church members’ after Sunday services or by car to shut-ins. Set up a table in your church foyer for church members to drop off more cards or stop by to pick up any mail. Advertise this activity in November and encourage church members to mail their cards early. Charge an extra nickel for each card “mailed” after December 20th. *** I think it might be a good idea to offer Christmas cards to be purchased at the table as well to help make extra money.
Each year we hold a Christmas Cookie Auction to help raise money for the youth. Each youth brings in a couple dozen Christmas Cookies, and they are auctioned off. The trick is clever packaging. We have had people use tool boxes and other such items to pack the cookies in. The auction is held just after church, on a Sunday close to Christmas. It is highly publicized in the church newsletter and bulletin. Then they are auctioned off, in a regular auction, where the highest bidder wins. We always have a terrific turnout, and we have had cookies go for as much as $20!
We did this for an activity night at our youth group but it could easily work as a fundraiser as well.
I’m from Australia and in December it’s summer, so it’s pretty hot. As a result a lot of people don’t necessarily have ‘traditional’ Christmas meals (they have prawns on the BQQ and green salads, stuff like that). As a result people sometimes have Christmas in July meals so they can have a traditional roast dinner.
We cooked up a bunch of roasts and roast vegetable, two types of soup and a few different types of desserts. We had the youth leaders be waiters for the kids. We also had door prizes and a gift swapping game. It was a formal dinner and all the youth dressed up. We even made up menus and stuff for the dinner.
To make this a fundraiser all you have to do is advertise it at your church and sell tickets to the congregation. Have members of your youth group (and leaders) be waiters for the night. We found it useful to find volunteers who would cook a roast at home and then bring it on the night.
It was a lot of work, and there was a heap of cleaning up to do, but it was fun.
If you’re north of the equator you could do the opposite of what we did and have an ‘Aussie’ Christmas in July.
As a kick-off for our fun raising campaign for our mission trip to Mexico, we help a Cinco De Mayo celebration at our church building. The teens cooked tacos and other Mexican dishes and invited the church to eat after Sunday evening services. We designed a wishing well and asked folks to donate what they can and we raised almost $1000 dollars.
We print up bulletin inserts for 3 weeks explaining that we want 100 sponsors willing to pledge $1 a week for one year and we will cut back on the number of fundraisers we do. They really respond well to know that we aren’t going to be hitting them up for $ every couple of months. The number of sponsors can be adjusted depending on the church size.
Invite the Youth and/or other people in your church congregation to make and donate desserts for your evening. Invite the Youth (or others in the church if whole church event)to come up with short acts, musical pieces, poetry reading, video presentation etc. make sure you censor them. Schedule the performances throughout your evening and in between each act allow quiet music to facilitate conversation. Have junior members act as waitresses and waiters. remember to organise some kitchen staff. Invite your church fellowship, friends, family and/or your local community and advertise it as a drop in coffee and dessert night with either a donation for the dessert and coffee of their choice or a cost per dessert. Remember to put on your menu Mystery Dessert for the more adventurous and serve them whatever you have heaps of or something arranged earlier that isn’t on the menu as a surprise. This activity brings the generations together whilst raising funds for your Youth Ministry.
To prepare, the youth group needs to go to people and businesses collecting donations that may be auctioned off, making it clear what the money collected will be used for. Perhaps there are some businesspeople in the congregation that can donate items or services such as haircuts, daycare, art, etc. The number of different items are endless. Youth may also volunteer items to be auctioned such as 4 hours of babysitting. A group of 3 or 4 boys may volunteer 8 hours of labour to be auctioned. The larger the variety of the items auctioned off, the better.
Designate a night for the social. When I have been involved, it has been held as a valentine event. Charge admission to cover the cost of hors d’ourves or desserts. Arrange for there to be some type of entertainment for the evening, either from the youth and the church or from a college ministry team if you have access to one.
When the people arrive on the night of the auction, have the different items to be auctioned off arranged on tables around the room with a piece of paper accompanying each item for people to write their name and bid on. The bid on each item will rise as people try and outbid each other for the things they want. Set a time for the bidding to end, and at that time, collect all sheets.
Have people take their seats, serve the food/desserts, and announce the winning bidders for each item, interrupting the periods of announcement with whatever entertainment you have planned.
At a church of 200 people with a youth group of 20-30, this event regularly raised between $1,000 and $1,300! If anyone donates a big-ticket item, it may add a nice touch to auction that off at the end. Planning is everything.
We once had a country and western dinner night at our church. We dressed the fireside room up in total country garb. In the middle we had a chuck-wagon salad bar, including salad and all the fixins, and a big huge block of cheese. We had several artistic set ups including: old lanterns, saddles, reigns and the like. We used these to make small displays containing country and western flavour. On the floor we laid down poly (plastic) and on top of that we laid 2 by 6 boards covering the whole floor. Ask a local lumberyard if they would donate the wood, you can usually take it back after. On top of the wood we through straw to make it seem as though we were in a bar setting. We had lots of straw bails every where which added to the setting. The tables were small with checkered table cloths, and old chairs. The menu consisted of beef and chicken, only a few different things, which all came with a baked potatoe and salad. Serve whatever drinks are poplular… no beer!!! Have whatever We asked those who came to pay by donation, but we also gave a suggested cost for each meal. The youth set up, served, some cooked, and we all took down. It was a great time and we made major bucks. Make sure its well publicized in country and western looking paper for example.