Culture and safety concerns have changed
ministry fundraising. Use these creative ideas to raise money —
and keep kids safe.
Remember when you were a child, sitting alone at the corner of
your block selling lemonade? without parental supervision? Or when
your elementary school sold Christmas wrapping paper and you racked
up big sales by selling to every house within three blocks?
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Today’s safety-conscious culture has changed the way schools and
ministries conduct fundraising. Gone are the days of sending kids
into neighborhoods to sell candy door-to-door in efforts to raise
money for summer camp or a playground. Heightened awareness of
dangerous people and abduction fears have put a halt on many
traditional fundraising methods. But ministries still need money,
especially for things outside the budget — such as camps,
retreats, missions, or extra equipment.
If you’re facing a new season of fundraising, don’t feel
discouraged. The trick isn’t to give up on traditional types of
fundraising; it’s to think creatively. Traditional methods such as
sales campaigns can flourish — and still keep kids safe. Plus,
there are alternative fundraising opportunities that with parent
support can build ministry budgets and causes. Take a look at the
new face of fundraising.
Selling to the Masses
Many fundraising companies successfully help organizations raise
money by selling products such as candy, wrapping paper, candles,
and other gift items. Since kids approaching neighborhood strangers
door-to-door is frowned upon nowadays by everyone from your
insurance carrier to homeowners, try these creative venues to still
generate hefty sales and make the most out of individual-sales
• Worship Services-After church is in session,
set up a booth for people to purchase items you’re selling.
Schedule plenty of time to get items back to purchasers if it’s
around the holidays and they’ll be using their purchases for gifts
or decorating. If sales go toward individual accounts for camp or a
mission trip, have kids sign up for shifts to make it fair. Ask for
parents to help at the booth each time.
• Storefronts-Many businesses such as grocery
stores, discount stores, and banks allow organizations to sell
fundraising products at the entrance of their stores. Bring signs,
tables, and sample products if they’re available. If you’re raising
money for a cause or mission, offer information in case people want
to donate later but not on the spot. Enlist parent help in shifts,
and train kids prior to sales on the art of approaching patrons
without being pushy.
• Internet-More fundraising providers offer
options for organizations to have kids send emails to friends and
relatives about the products they’re selling, and individuals can
purchase and pay for items directly online. This process is simple
because it only requires kids to send a mass email. The companies
track purchases and send organizations a check based on their
profits. This is a great way to get contributions from friends and
relatives who don’t live nearby, and delivery is worry-free since
products are mailed directly to purchasers.
• Public Events-Consider selling items at
community events such as festivals, county fairs, or swap meets.
Many venues allow nonprofits to set up booths for free or at a
substantial discount. Encourage small groups or families to sign up
together to work shifts. Not only is this a great way to sell
fundraising items, but it showcases your ministry, church, and
• Stands-At different times throughout the year,
you may want to set up a stand in a parking lot at an intersection.
(Check with local authorities for safety precautions.) Christmas
(wreaths), Valentine’s Day (flowers), Easter (chocolates), or
Independence Day (fireworks) are prime holidays to set up a stand
for sales. If you sell products this way, acquire the proper
licenses, permits, and sign-offs from local authorities. (For
example, if you’re hosting a fireworks stand, the fire department
must sign off on your set-up and location). Of course, parent
help makes these fundraisers fly.