Ask anyone involved in a club, church, or nonprofit association and they will tell you that fundraising is among the most difficult of tasks. It's not that finding people with a heart for giving is hard, but finding something that is of value to the people who are giving has become somewhat overlooked.
Fundraising is not just a means of raising money but also a way to promote the message and goals of your program or charity. Getting people to stand behind your cause gets them excited to be involved.
For many people, the best and easiest way to be involved is to donate. Just as the apostle Paul mentioned in his letter to the Corinthians, giving should be a matter of generosity and excitement, not done out of obligation.
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”—2 Corinthians 9:6-7
What Is the Key to Raising Money for Your Program?
They key is to offer something that is of more value and longevity than a cookie or cupcake. Finding products that are relevant to your organization can be instrumental in bolstering the funds you raise.
Here are a few practical fundraising ideas that can be tailored to your organization.
Hold a ticketed dinner event: In addition to giving families a night off from cooking and cleaning, you can also couple these dinners with entertainment or speakers that support your cause. Another way to upsell is to hold a silent auction or 50/50 raffle at your dinner event.
Hold a date night with dinner and an activity such as co-painting a canvas: This is an event that is fun and different. YouTube has plenty of canvas-painting tutorials to choose from if you don't have anyone who feels comfortable teaching the craft. This also creates the opportunity to get some of the youth involved (assuming there are some in your program). Offer to have childcare available for the event as a “piggyback” fundraiser.
Hold a workathon: This works much like a walkathon. The “workers” get pledges from family members, friends, and neighbors based on how many hours they work. You can have nominations for jobs that need to be completed and pick a work day. This is a great way to provide a service and raise money simultaneously.
Team up with local businesses: Many local shops and restaurants are willing to donate a portion of their sales on a particular day to a good cause. These types of fundraisers are great because they require very little planning and work.
Offer a subscription to a relevant magazine: Many places will sell their magazines in bulk. You could also team up with the magazine to offer quarterly subscriptions, then the magazine will give your program a portion of the profits.
Be creative and customize the fundraiser to your specific program. Many of these ideas could be an annual or biannual event if they are well planned and executed, which leads to a more consistent income.
Fundraising Opportunities | Creating Awareness
Fundraising is about so much more than raising money for your program or cause. Generating awareness is equally important for gathering support. Getting others passionate about your cause will hopefully lead them to raise more awareness and funds for your program. Awareness and financial support can then grow exponentially.
Support can wear many different hats. It's important to recognize and nurture each one rather than just focus on financial support.
Prayer support- When someone is unable to help in other ways, asking them to pray for your program allows them the opportunity to get emotionally involved.
Volunteer support- Time involvement is every bit as valuable as money when it comes to growing a program. When people spend time learning and helping, they become invested. This kind of commitment is the best way to keep the support growing.
Emotional support- This is usually offered within a core group of the program. Making sure that everyone is getting enough to do without being overloaded will help balance emotional support within. Humility goes a long way when working in a group. Spend time investing in one another as well as in the cause or program that brought you together.
Financial support- Finances are always helpful when it comes to supporting any cause. In order to get someone invested financially, you need to get them to invest their heart emotionally. This will help lead to long-term financial investments rather than one-time donations.
“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.”—Deuteronomy 16:17
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to donating time or money. Everyone is gifted uniquely and called to share their gifts with others to further God’s work.
Jesus reminds us that where we spend our time, money, and resources is a reflection of the heart. Time is a gift from God that we must manage just as we do finances.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”—Matthew 6:21
When we keep our focus on God and His purpose, we are recognizing His authority over our lives. He is ultimately the final word on fundraising for our cause or program. This truth allows us to walk in the freedom of knowing that as long as we stay focused on Him, He will do the rest.
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.”—1 Corinthians 16:13-14