Youth pastors are looking for effective fundraisers all the time, and effective means as much money with as little effort as possible. But is that really what you should be striving for when organizing a fundraiser?
There’s more to fundraisers than raising money. Really? Yes, really. If you do it right, that is.
An effective youth ministry fundraiser in my definition is one that brings you closer to realizing your mission and brings in money. In that order.
One way we used to raise some extra money in my youth ministry in The Netherlands, was by opening up our youth room as a ‘café’ on Saturday nights. We’d serve soda and snacks and the teens (it was open to middle school, high school, and college students) paid a small amount for each drink. It didn’t bring in tons, but it covered the free sodas and snacks we served at youth services every month.
But the reason it was so effective had little to do with the money and everything with or vision. We wanted all students to have a safe place to hang out, especially on the weekends. We wanted unity amongst the students, regardless of their age. We dreamed of college students serving the generation just below them. And it worked. We made money, but more importantly: we were realizing our vision, one Saturday evening at a time.
Car washes and bake sales may bring in money, but do they serve a greater purpose as well? What’s the deeper goal of the fundraisers you’ve been doing? If they have just been about the money, you’re missing out on some great opportunities to raise funds and execute your goals.
What can you think of that will help you work on your long term goals and also bring in (some) money?