It is a season of challenges when you look at the economy and the funding of ministries in the local church. It takes much creativity these days to stay on top of providing a quality ministry to children – and yet, not having the funds available to make it happen the way you might be envisioning it. OK, I’ll just be straightforward with you: It’s downright frustrating… I know, I’ve been there!
Let me tell you a little story:
Once upon a time, in a land far from here, at a church I will not name…
…I was in the interview process and asked about the budget for children’s ministries. The Pastor asked me what I thought it would take to pull off quality children’s ministries a that particular church? I became bold and said that it would take 12,000 a year to do it. (remember, this was 16 years ago). The Pastor pondered that for a moment and said that he could get the board to approve that amount. I ended up getting hired at the church and was told that the amount I requested had been approved – I was super excited and ready to make some purchases. I approached the finance person to find out how to access those funds to buy some much needed KidMin supplies. She looked me in the eye and exclaimed, “Oh, you have to raise that money!” I’ll let that sink in for a moment…
…The way that church funded ministries was:
- Have each Department Leader submit a budget proposal.
- The Pastor would present that budget to the board.
- The board would then approve it.
- The board would then commission the Department Heads to go forth and raise the amount that was approved.
So, for about 4 years, I had to provide quality ministry to children at a church of 1,200 by raising every dime.
I have decided to let you in on a few ideas that got me through those years – plus a few ideas I have used since and wished I had know about back then!
100 Envelope Fundraiser
This was originally an idea that was presented to the Children’s Pastors of the Assemblies of God to raise money for Missions or BGMC (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge). So, let me state right away that this idea is not mine. But I’ve used it with great success.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 100 envelopes
- A marker
- A church service full of adults
- The approval of your pastor
- The leadership sold that this is your idea so no other department steals it.
I’ve done this fund raiser for missions as well as raising our own budget.
Here’s the basic idea:
You lay 100 envelopes across your platform. Each individually numbered 1-100. During the adult service, you ask families or individuals to consider choosing an envelope and putting the dollar amount that is on the front of the envelope… So, if the envelope has the number 24 on it, a family would give $24
Now you may be asking: “Why go that route rather than just a special offering?”
Answer: “Because, if every envelope is taken and returned you get $5,050 in one service.”
It kind of predetermines the outcome. And I don’t know about you, but anytime I’ve ever had a special offering taken in the adult service, we never even came close to that amount.
Your best results will come when you can identify where the $$$ is going.
A few years back, I did it in our three weekend services. Each service, we put out new envelopes. Almost all the envelopes were taken each service. We raised over $12,000 in one weekend. The $12,000 we raised, went to supplement our budget and help us remodel or “freshen-up” some of the classrooms
The key is to announce it a few weeks ahead of time with some clear explanation:
We basically explained that this was an easy way for them to help build up the Children’s Ministry budget with a one time gift. We explained that there would be 100 envelopes each numbered and that their family should come ready to choose a dollar amount. We also explained that if the amount they were thinking of giving had already been taken, to add other envelopes together to equal their amount.
Here are a few more ideas that have helped me in years past:
Find 10 children that would contact 10 other people that would each give 10 dollars.
This would get you $1,000 for your ministry.
A family commits to giving for 12 months – $5.00 a month (that comes out to $60 per family that participates)
Multiply that number by the number of families willing to participate.
Events and adding a few extra $ to each fee
When you have a retreat, a family activity that costs something or an event that will require you to charge a fee… simply increasing each registration/ticket or cover-charge by a dollar or 2 each will give you that extra wiggle-room.
Dash for Cash
Parade your kids into the main auditorium during the adult service. Have the adults hold up any paper currency and have the kids run thru the auditorium collecting the cash. Play fun music in the background – kids and adults love this!
Here are a few low-cost events, prizes and supplies that might help the budget:
Paper Airplane Night
A night with a ream of white copy paper and craft supplies from your supply closet at church. Have families come, ready to fold and decorate paper airplanes. Do a few contests with bragging-rights as the prize: Longest flying plane, coolest decorations, most colorful, etc. If your church has a balcony, have the families line up to toss their planes off of the balcony to see who’s will fly the furthest.
Post Office Undeliverable Packages
Contact your local post office. There are several times a year when they get rid of the packages that cannot be delivered (no address, wrong address or incomplete address, no such address, the address is unreadable and there isn’t a viable return address) Ask them to contact you when they are getting ready to ditch the items and more often than naught, you can go pick it all up. Have an opening party at your church, Friends of mine have found high-end electronics, promotional items and all kinds of things that can be gifted or offered as prizes.
Paint Left Behind
Need to paint a classroom or a backdrop for a series? Contact your local home-improvement place (Lowes, Home Depot, Etc) or your local paint-supply place (Sherwin Williams, Dupont, etc) and ask if they have any custom paint that hasn’t been picked up or paint that’s been mistakenly mixed that they want to get rid of. Often times it’s free for the taking or there may be a small fee – but trust me, it’s a major discount. You won’t always find the colors you need – but who knows!
Look thru the Free section – you will find all kinds of craft supplies, drama props and who knows what else for your ministry.
List your needs in the Wanted Section and see what kind of response you get. Someone out there is just waiting to donate some unwanted piece of equipment or supplies to a church.