Family Movie Night
Have a family movie night! You can show the movie in your own building or look into renting a gym, local theater, or even an outdoor screen if the weather is warm enough. Be sure to mention your purpose in renting and you may receive a donation or price break from the rental company!
Be sure to rent a movie that is good for the whole family, and it’s usually cheaper to rent movies that are not in their opening weeks. You could even use a movie that is not a new release and tie it into nearby holidays (i.e. a romance for Valentine’s Day, Christmas classic, etc.) It is even a good idea to show a movie that can be tied into your trip.
Set up a concession stand to sell goodies before and during the movie (make sure that food and drink are allowed in the rented space). Make sure you have a cleaning crew for after the movie. You can try to sell tickets for this event, or you can simply ask for donations from the attendees. It’s a good idea to have your pastor or youth pastor give a brief presentation about the missions trip and explain why the funds are being raised.
Make an appeal to people’s competitive nature! Hold any kind of contest with an entry fee and grand prize. Think about your town and how you could tie its uniqueness into a competition. A town called Frankfurt could have a hotdog eating contest, and a Baltimore group could have an eating contest with crabs.
Also consider “treasure” hunts around your neighborhood. Have people compete as families to compete in a scavenger hunt. One variation of this is to have the teams take digital pictures of objects to prove that they were found. Use your imagination to think of different objects, and don’t make them too obscure. Using historical landmarks around town is a good idea because the objects are permanent, fairly well-known, and promote education about the community!
Many restaurants are willing to sponsor missions trip by contributing 10 to 20 percent of their profits from a certain night. This allows you to raise some funds by only advertising and helps the restaurant advertise and bring in some business they may not have had otherwise. If a restaurant agrees to donate to your group, make sure that you are present and ready to answer anyone’s questions about what your group is doing. You may even receive additional donations this way!
That’s a wrap
Around Christmas time, many people like to have their presents wrapped at the store, so offer to do so for a small fee. Set up a table in a mall or large bookstore and recruit some volunteers with wrapping skills! Make sure that you have the permission of the businesses before you set up a table on their turf! Be ready with a variety of wrapping paper, tape, scissors, ribbons & bows, and tags. Don’t forget to have information about your trip at the table so that people know what their fee is going to. They could become long-term supporters! Don’t forget to give a special thank you to the managers that allow you to do this fundraiser!
Keep the Change
Spare change is a small thing that adds up quick! Many people are willing to let their loose change go, so ask local businesses if you can set a jar or can to collect customers’ loose change. Be ready to explain the trip that your youth group is raising for! Make sure that you follow up with the cans after you’ve placed them. It becomes a nuisance to store owners if the cans are not constantly collected and kept presentable. The appearance of your cans will reflect upon your church, so be sure they are not an eyesore. Have contact information on the can so that people can find out more about what the youth group is doing. A few cans of change can go a long way!
You can also ask the families of your congregation to set up jars or cans in their homes and collect their loose change for a certain period of time. This allows parents and children to get involved in helping the youth group. Encourage the teens in your youth group to set up a jar for themselves! They may be surprised how much they can donate.
Throw a party
The avenues that you could take with this one are innumerable. Parties can range from New Year’s celebrations to barbeques to fancy, romantic affairs. When planning a party, keep in mind the reason for the celebration and the time of year. Kick off the summer with a carnival/cookout. Have carnival games and concessions for sale. Ask for volunteers to run the games and cook or donate the food. You can sell BBQ chicken, popcorn, funnel cakes, etc. A carnival can be as big or as small as you want it. Invite the whole community, or just invite your church. The bigger the carnival, the greater opportunity for funds to be raised.
Consider a fancy, romantic evening for around Valentine’s Day. Sell tickets and offer babysitting for couples with children, free of charge. Have the youth group kids wear nice clothes and be the waiting staff (and the babysitters). Is there someone in your congregation who could provide ambient guitar or piano music? Don’t forget to decorate the room and tables. Is someone in your congregation willing to cook the food? Make sure he or she has all the help and supplies he or she needs!
It’s a Match!
Many local businesses make room in their budget for donating to different organizations, and your youth group’s missions trip may qualify! Once you’ve settled on a fundraiser, find out if a business in your neighborhood would be willing to match your earnings up to a certain amount. Don’t forget to thank this business profusely. Make their generosity known among the fundraiser participants.
Having a car wash is one of the most well-known fundraising techniques… mostly because it works! A car wash is a great way to raise some funds with little more than soap, water, and some able hands. It’s a good idea for you to begin advertising before the Saturday that you actually plan on holding the event.
Make your carwash stand out by adding a theme! Have a Hawaiian theme by wearing tropical shirts and playing island music. Don’t be afraid to decorate and serve snacks and drinks that have a Hawaiian theme (Hawaiian Punch, anyone?) for a donation! Hand out leis to everyone who makes a donation!
Got talent in your youth group? Time to make it known! Host a coffee house in your church’s gym or at a local venue where the youth can display their talents. They can play an instrument, sing a song, or just read a poem that they wrote. This coffeehouse could be themed for the time of year, like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a very large youth group, maybe some talented church members or children would volunteer some of their skills.
This event can be as simple or complex as you like. Have people in your church volunteer to bake and bring goodies for the night. Of course, it wouldn’t be a coffee house without coffee! Have a few different flavors of coffee and creamers available for purchase. Does someone own a cappuccino maker they could lend you? Does someone work at Starbuck’s and know a thing or two about coffee? You may be able to sign them up to help make individual drinks! Don’t forget to take a moment to explain what you’re raising funds for! Check out some coffee fundraising companies and see if you can combine that with your coffee house!
Sometimes the easiest way to raise money is to team up with another organization doing fundraisers. Check with local organizations, like animal shelters, the YMCA, schools, or even the police or fire department. By joining forces, you can increase the volunteers willing to help out which leads to a bigger event! You also greatly expand the skills and talents that can be applied to your event! All you need to do is agree to split the donations that come in. You’d be surprised how many organizations would be willing to team up!
Example: In Brookfield, IL, the police and fire departments played the high school softball team. Proceeds went to benefit the high school’s softball program and to a shelter for victims of domestic violence. By teaming up, they did something that they could not have done on their own. They generated interest and were able to help two causes!