We don’t know who decided to put the word “fun” in fundraising but it was one sick joke! But for many youth workers fundraising is no fun and no joke. It is a necessity in order to raise money to pay for the youth ministry. And we typically find ourselves at some point along a spectrum of philosophies regarding fundraising in our local churches. On the one side the church views it as essential and the job of the youth leader. On the other side of the spectrum people view it as necessary and the responsibility of parents and other adults (This is youth workers preferred view.). Yet the reality is that most of us experience a view that’s between the two poles.
Here are some tips to help navigate that middle terrain.
- Make it Explicit: Help your adults and parents invested in the ministry to teens to articulate their feelings and views on fundraising. Work with them to set down some general guidelines (financial goals, types of fundraisers, number of fundraisers a year, duration of fundraisers, etc.). The guidelines will help so that you don’t always feel like you’re over demanding or under requesting when it comes to raising money for the youth ministry.
- Get Help: We suggest to get help from both adults and teens. Ask a teen and an adult to tag team the administrative work for fundraisers. It gives them time to bond and may equip the teen with new life skills.
- Tell Everyone: Fundraising needs to be an issue the whole church deals with because the youth ministry is not just your ministry but the ministry of the church. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to spread the word. Tell everyone and their grandma (especially their grandma) that funding ministry to teens is the responsibility of the whole church. And don’t forget to tell them it is FUN!
- Types: Generally “individual-type” fundraisers make more money per person than do “group type” fundraisers (car washes, bake sales, etc.). However don’t discount the fact that a lot of “youth group” happens at these car washes and bake sales. There is something to be said about everyone working together even if you don’t make as much money as an individual fundraiser.
- Selling Stuff:Selling items for fundraising can cause pain emotionally and financially. Here are some tips to avoid both.
- Before you sell stuff in the public schools make sure that it’s OK.
- Only sell things that give 50% or more profit.
- Only sell things on consignment or that you can pre-order.
- Check local wholesalers for a better deal before going with fundraising companies.
[photo credit: hodgers]