I come from a small church, and we maybe have 8-10 youth in our core youth group. This is a great fundraiser for smaller youth groups. It tends to work better with pre-teens and teenagers.
We have a gentleman in our church who is a local auctioneer. Each year, he allows our youth group to sell the concessions during some of the auctions. Ask around; chances are there are auctions locally that need your help selling concessions. A lot of the auctions we’ve done are all-day events beginning early in the morning and lasting into the evening. A couple hundred people usually attend each auction.
We are set up prior to the auction selling coffee and donuts. Shortly after, we begin selling hot dogs, chili dogs, chips, cookies, other baked goods, and drinks (water goes well, especially during hot days!) Some local businesses will even donate items if it’s for a good cause. We ask ladies of the church to donate donuts, baked goods, cookies, and chili sauce. We also hand out tracks and invitations to church with their purchase of food.
Each person is assigned tasks during the auction: one person mans the George Foreman grill and grills hot dogs, one person prepares the chili dogs, one person is the cashier and keeps track of the money, one person is in charge of drinks, and one person hands out tracks/invitations. It’s a great time to fellowship together and invite others to our church. We spend about $300 for supplies prior to the auction, but we make anywhere between $900-$1,600 selling concessions!
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!
We once did a Jello tank which began as just a fun activity, which turned out to be quite a fundraiser. We began by constructing a huge tank out of wood, which was about 6 feet deep and about 8 by 8 wide. Size varies. We enclosed the whole thing with a huge tarp which we tied down on the outside. We made the Jello in barrells and put them on a crate. We got the jello from a bulk store, usually a food warehouse has it, we mixed it with some additional gelatin using boiling hot or just hot water. We then contacted a near-by food storage warehouse and asked if we could cool six or seven barrels of jello for a few days. Most places have no problem, some even will transport it for you free of charge when they here its for a good cause. On the night of the event we brought the jello over and dumped her in. We made a long slide that was also covered with a tarp. Now the fundraising part of the night went like this. This event costed three dollars for each youth. We also allowed adults and whoever wanted to jump the same fee. On-lookers were charged a dollar each for tickets. We a small door prize for one lucky onlooker. Each jumper recevied a stamp, and then lined up. Most jumpers wore crazy costumes and the like, so that added into the fun. At the bottom of the tank were small tiles which had numbers on them. Each jumper was allowed to bring up as many tiles as possible. At the end of the night, major prizes were given out according to the numbered tiles. It was great fun. Get your senior pastor involved by seeing how much money the crowd would give to get him to dive in too. It was great fun, and we made tons of money for the youth.
When I was in 4-H our yearly fund raiser was our Silent Auction. We rented the Community Center ( you could use your church) and held a spaghetti dinner for the community. Prior to the event, we asked local businesses for donations for our auction. We got tons of stuff, from Thomas Kinkade prints to $25 gift certificates. After the dinner we held the auction, letting people bid on items for about 30 min. before we shut down the tables and awarded the items to the highest bidders. We made over $1,000 dollars doing this.
Put on a car wash, but get the kids to get people to sponsor them per car before hand. i.e. each kid gets 20 people to sponsor them 10 cents per car, the group washes 100 cars, each kid collects $200! Also, people getting their car washed often insist on leaving a donation so have a “Free Donation Box” set up somewhere. The kicker is to make sure your kids collect the $ right away or they quickly lose motivation to do so. There is potential to make big $$ for your group in this one!
If you have a large group (15 or more) who are raising funds, do a car wash challenge by dividing the group in two and having car washes at two different locations. Make sure that you have adults to help at both locations, enough equipment for both locations, and make sure that the locations are far enough away that you really have the possibility of receiving the most donations. This helps to maximize your message (people always want to know who you are and why you are raising money) and it doubles your car wash earnings. You can also check with some local businesses to see if they will match your funds.
Children ask adults to pledge money for each chapter of the Bible they read during the Bible Read-A-Thon. The amount can be as low as 1 penny to as high (or higher) as 1 dollar. Children who can not yet read are encouraged to have their parents or others read a chapter of the Bible to them. Parents will sign off on a special sheet to verify that reading is being done. Ribbons (1st, 2nd, and 3rd places) will be awarded for each child in each age group for the most chapters of the Bible read. Three Certificates will be awarded: One awarded for the child who reads the most chapters in the entire church, another awarded for the child who signs up the most sponsors, and another for who raised the most money. The fundraiser should last 8 weeks to encourage competition and the development of a good habit (reading the Bible). Our youth (a total of 20 children) raised a bit over $5000 and used it to send Russian children to camp.
This is a great way to help out a food pantry or homeless shelter AND raise money for the youth. Have the youth get people to pledge a small amount of money for each can of food they can collect for a certain food pantry or homeless shelter. You might want to set a limit on the number of cans or the amount of time the youth have to collect the cans. Two weeks should be good.
If you have 10 kids who get 10 people to pledge just FIVE CENTS a can and each kid collects 150 cans, you’ve collected $750 and raised 1,500 cans of food!! Bigger youth groups could make tons and raise even more for the needy.
This was a great event for our youth group.
We asked our youth who in the church they would like to see with a shaved head. They came up with 6 or 7 names. We took a vote to see who they wanted the most. (You actually only need 2 willing volunteers). They came up with 3 people. I approached the 3 people and all three volunteered.
Here’s how it worked:
When you get donations you ask the person who they would like to see shaved the most. eg.volunteer 1,2 or 3. Whoever has the most amount of donations in their name is the person who gets their head shaved and the other person gets to shave it!
We took envelopes to the volunteer’s places of employment and pictures of the other volunteer(s). We left it for a week or so then picked them up.
As an added bonus we asked our youth pastor to shave his head if we raised 500.00. He agreed. We only have a small group of 5 youth and we exceeded our goal. We raised $950.00.
We did the headshaving at the church and we talked all 4 people into shaving their heads as it was a very close race. We had a ball and the congregation really got involved as well. Have fun!
This idea would be perfect for a youth group preparing for a missions trip to a foreign, non-English-speaking country.
The objective of this is to get the students planning to go on the trip to learn as much of the target language as possible. Have each student collect pledges per each word of the language they can learn in a specific time frame (one month might be a good time frame). Then, encourage them to study hard for that time frame. There are many free online language dictionaries that could be used as resources. (Make sure they’re focusing on learning appropriate language, not swearing and bathroom humor.) At the end of the time, hold a service where the youth can show off their newly attained language skills and get totals on how much they need to collect in pledges. This is totally free, just requires the time commitment from the students, and gives them skills they’ll need for their trip while raising money at the same time.
Here’s a hint: play this up as a competition (who can learn the most words, who can say the most complete sentences, who learns to say the most from a list of key phrases such as “Jesus loves you”, etc.). Youth love a good competition, and this will convince them to work even harder for it.