Hey folks, here is a way to raise additional funds at Christmas.
Every year we did a program we made up called The Living Christmas Tree. The week of the first Sunday in Advent we put a 24-foot-tall fake Christmas tree in our worship center. Then on Advent Sunday night, we gathered to put ornaments on it that the children had made and we began the kick-off of the Advent gifts.
Every Sunday through Advent we would begin lighting the tree from the bottom up based on the donations that week. The goal was that by Christmas Eve night, after the offering was taken, all the lights on the tree would be lit. Every year we would raise an amount that equaled or exceeded an additional month of income.
Some highlights of the program:
- September, I began looking for a major donor who would help start the offering with a bang.
- October and November, the children would make ornaments for the tree.
- October, we decided how to divide the money from the tree. We would always include local and world missions in the list.
- October, we designed and printed the promotional material.
- November, we began promoting the offering. We suggested that every family give at least the same amount as they spent that year on Christmas presents.
- November (last Sunday), the tree would be put up in the worship center.
- First Sunday in Advent, we decorated the tree and began to turn the lights on (lights were left on the tree from the year before since there were well over a thousand lights).
- During Advent, we told the congregation through print and from the pulpit how much money for missions had been raised. Today, I would add email, Facebook, and text to the list.
- Our only problem with the program was where to store the tree all year.
- The biggest cost of the program was the initial cost of the tree and lights.
- The annual cost was just the printing of the promotional materials such as letterheads and posters.
- Children loved decorating the tree.
- Giving became a family affair.
- Many more people were helped by the gifts since all the money went for things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to fund – the money went beyond the normal budget.
- If I was pastoring today, I would video the first year and then show a short clip of excited children and the family each Sunday in worship as another form of promotion. People love seeing their children on video.
Question: What are some additional holiday fundraising ideas you’ve seen done well? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.