When inspired, your congregation can accomplish impressive fundraising goals. However, passing the collection plate may not be enough to collect the funding that keeps your church programs and outreach running. In fact, recent research indicates that only 5 percent of Americans tithe. 

So how can your church encourage a culture of generous giving? In this guide, we’ll walk you through three tips to improve your church fundraising efforts:

  1. Communicate the mission
  2. Leverage fundraising technology
  3. Plan an engaging fundraising event

During this process, consider ways to involve your entire church body, not just your most engaged members. For example, you might host family-friendly fundraising events for members to invite their friends and family. Or encourage youth-led mission trip fundraising appeals. With this in mind, let’s begin. 

1. Communicate the Mission

Why does your church need to fundraise? How do you plan on using the collected funds? Providing this information upfront will help your congregation better understand your ministry. Additionally, communicating transparency across your fundraising programs showcases your church’s trustworthiness. 

Therefore, how you communicate your funding need is essential. Here are some best practices to implement when making appeals:

  • Be specific: Most churchgoers understand that their money is used to serve the community or church in some capacity. However, that doesn’t mean they know exactly how their dollars are being used to further your church initiatives. Provide a vision or explanation of your specific funding project, whether a new building or an enhanced community outreach program.
  • Host information sessions: For large funding projects, especially, host information sessions to educate your congregation about your funding needs. For instance, if your church decides to partner with another international church, you might have a speaker from that church introduce their mission and funding pain points.
  • Share stories of impact: Throughout your fundraising campaign, share stories of how your church’s generosity has positively impacted your community. Double the Donation’s guide to spreading awareness recommends sharing these stories via video to connect with a digital audience. Doing this will make your congregation more confident in your stewardship abilities and help them visualize your church goals coming to life. 
  • Give updates: Practice financial transparency by offering updates. For example, many churches make their financial statements publicly available, so members and nonmembers alike access them. 

Consider adding a dedicated page related to your current fundraiser, on your website. That way, congregants can find more information, track your fundraising progress, and explore other ways to pitch in. For example, you might use your online presence for your volunteer recruitment strategies by featuring relevant opportunities related to your event, such as childcare coordinator. 

2. Leverage Fundraising Technology

Although the offering plate is still relevant, digital fundraising technology has the power to be timely and compelling. Congregants prefer online methods, as almost half of church-giving transactions are completed with a card.

That means you’ll need to explore new digital fundraising ideas to reach your church community,. To kickstart your efforts, check out these online options:

  • Church ecards: Instead of writing handwritten appeals, consider using church ecards to fuel your ministry. Simply brand the ecard to your church, personalize your message, and press send. You can also use these ecards to express gratitude or invite potential attendees to a fundraising event. 
  • Text-to-give: Partner with a text-to-give provider and promote it during church gatherings. All your congregants have to do is text a keyword to a provided number to donate, making this fundraising option simple and effective. To spread the word, you can also feature the keyword and number on your website, social media, and direct mail campaigns. 
  • Fundraising web store: Churches can sell merchandise or products and put a portion of the proceeds toward their current project. Products like t-shirts, hoodies, candles, mugs, and journals can include your church’s branding. If your church offers virtual events or workshops, you can also use your fundraising web store to promote related resources. 
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising: This social fundraising tactic allows your entire community to leverage their existing networks on behalf of your ministry. Typically, it’s used to inspire funding for an annual fundraising event or capital campaign. Your church members simply set up individual pages that direct funders to your main campaign page. To get start your campaign, you can partner with a peer-to-peer fundraising provider to set goals and track your progress. 

Use these options to engage your congregants during and outside of regular church activities. For instance, you can use text-to-give during a collective worship service and send peer-to-peer social media updates during the week. This way, your cause will be fresh on congregants’ minds when they attend your services. 

3. Plan an Engaging Fundraising Event

Besides regular online donation forms, engaging fundraising events allow your church community to come together and support a meaningful ministry. Take your community’s demographics and preferences into consideration when selecting an event to plan to ensure maximum attendance. Here are some church fundraising events to consider:

  • Carnival: Although planning a carnival will require additional planning and investment, it can be a lucrative fundraising event drawing large crowds from people inside and outside of your church community. Determine your budget and consider teaming up with other churches to secure a venue and offer an unforgettable, fun experience. 
  • Silent auction: Auction events are fun opportunities to get your community involved to bid on unique items and experiences. To pull off this fundraising event, you’ll need to procure items from local businesses or individuals that will appeal to your audience. Then, use mobile bidding for guests to bid on items that strike their fancy. Save money by using your church network to seek donated items at a discounted price.
  • Fundraising discussion conference: Not all fundraising events need to be high-energy. You can host a discussion conference about your new programs or initiatives to educate your congregation and inspire support. Host panels, lectures, talks, and/or webinars as a part of a series. For example, you could host a worldwide missions conference week and sell merchandise like T-shirts to market the event. 

According to Funds2Org’s fundraising event planning guide, putting together a planning committee ahead of time is a good idea. This could include a volunteer manager, ticket sales manager, and venue manager to be sure everything runs smoothly on the event day. 

By fundraising with your church community in mind, you’ll be able to realize results more quickly. Prioritize communicating relevant updates throughout your campaign, so congregants can keep up with your progress and rally more support to get you across the funding finish line.