The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, January 10, 2006

In This Issue

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Something You Can Use: Top 5 Fund Raisers That Help You Raise Funds

By Jonathan McKee
January 10, 2006

What fund raisers work? And what fund raisers are actually WORTH all the work? Good questions. Here's the top 5 creative and effective fund raisers that youth ministry's use today.

1. The Work Day
The number one fundraiser that I use each year with outstanding results and a bonus of social service experience is what I always called the "Salvation Army Work Day."

I simply call the local Salvation Army shelter and schedule a day we can come and work for 8 hours. (I usually brought a group of 20 to 30-the Salvation Army in my town was able to use all of us. Some of us would work in the kitchen, some would do basic cleanup.)

Several weeks before the work day I make up pledge sheets for the kids. They solicit hourly pledges from family, friends, congregation members and neighbors for the 8 hours of work they will do. Do the math: if they can get 20 people to pledge a dollar an hour, they will make $20 an hour for 8 hours of work. That's $160 for ONE KID! This is better than your typical car wash- and it's a great experience at the same time.

I have a sample form I used for this fund-raiser on our web site on the LOGISTICAL CRUD page under the heading "fund raising form." CLICK HERE

I know a church that brings about 400 kids to serve in Mexico each year. To raise funds for this mission trip, the kids do a workday like I've outlined above. As you can imagine, it might be difficult to find one place that 400 kids can work. So this church finds numerous work projects that the kids will do. They do community clean up, work in several shelters, and help needy people that need home repair. This creates an opportunity to start working as teams as well as raising dollars for the event.

Whether your group is small or huge, the work day can provide all you need.

2. Selling Stock
This is a great way to help people invest in your ministry for a certain trip or project. Basically, you make up certificates that are "a share" of a certain trip. One share might be $10 or $20. People buy a certain number of shares, supporting the trip. When kids return, you have a stockholders meeting to report the "return" on the investment.

This is a great way to get people interested in the results of your trips. I used to run an outreach trip every year where we did something similar to this. Upon return of the trip, I would report to my investors with the results of the trip: how many received Christ, how many made re-commitments, how many signed up for our weekly Bible studies, etc. Whether outreach, discipleship or student leadership opportunities, supporters love being involved in something where they see the difference that God is making in the lives of kids.

3. The Auction- Vintage T-shirt, Pies...
I know non-profit organizations that make over $30,000 with a once a year auction. They use a free facility-the church. They decorate it nicely and have a nice catered dinner. The ticket price of the auction pays for the catering and most the costs, then they get all the "auction items" donated. All the proceeds from the sale of these items are a net gain.

Different auctions bring out different kinds of items. Here are some of the great items and ideas that I've seen bring in a lot of money:
  • Pies... with a perk! At one local charity auction the group auctions off 12 delicious pies donated by a local restaurant. But the people aren't interested in the pies. This organization also gets one very nice piece of jewelry donated, usually valued at between $1,500 and $2,500. One of the pies contains the little fuzzy box with this ring or necklace in it. People pay up to $250 a pie for a shot at this great prize.

  • Vintage t-shirts: Some youth groups have done complete auctions just selling vintage t-shirts. They put the word out and collect donations of old "collectable" t-shirts from people and auction them off: old band T's, old slogans like "where's the beef"...

  • Crazy auction: this is a type of live auction where people bid a little differently. When the auctioneer holds up an item, people start their bidding. This is where it's unique. When people bid on the item... THEY PAY. For example: The auctioneer might auction off a signed jersey from a great basketball player. If the starting bid is $20, the person who bids pays $20 into the auctioneers hat right then. If another person bids $25, then they put $25 in the hat. Each time someone bids, they pay. And if they don't get the item... thanks for the donation. This works really well with cheap items that only cost a few dollars because people aren't scared to lose a few dollars. The more expensive items only work in crowds that have a lot of money to spend.
4. Loose Change Collection
Many of you have seen this age old idea that still seems to reap great results. Simply get some large clear containers-I like the empty 5 gallon water jugs. Place them throughout the church with a sign that says something like, "Your Loose Change Makes a Difference!" Then have some more information in small print about what the funds are used for. These loose change jugs can raise some great funds, especially if they are plugged from the pulpit.

I've been to small towns where certain restaurants and stores will display these containers for churches as well. And lots of people will contribute to a good cause. It's all about how it's perceived, so choose the right project for this fund raiser. People won't be as eager to give to someone's Disneyland trip, but they'll happily contribute for a trip to Mexico to rebuild an orphanage.

5. Christmas Trees, Fireworks...
In some areas holidays bring fund raising opportunities. In my city, firework stands are great ways for organizations to make a huge profit. This takes a lot of volunteers and some administration, but it's worth it. If you've never done a booth before, I recommend you asking someone in your area who has-you'll want to make sure and take their advice for set up, clean up and security.

Christmas tree sales are another great fund raiser for those that have the right connections. I saw a group that simply bought their Christmas trees at Costco for $39.99 and sold them for $49.99. It doesn't sound worth it... but they had a great niche. They would DELIVER the tree for $20 more. They would deliver and REMOVE the tree for $30 more. This became their big money maker.

Any of these ideas can work. You just have to know your area, evaluate your resources, and see which of these are worth the time and effort.

Jonathan McKee is president of and author of the new book "Do They Run When They See You Coming? Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers." (CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK) Jonathan speaks and trains across the country and provides free online resources, training, & ideas for youth workers at

Two Great New Movies, "Glory Road" Bible Study Guide: Last Holiday and Glory Road hit theatres this week... free Bible study guide for Glory Road

Two great new movies hit the theatre this Friday and BOTH are worth checking out. And we've got a free Bible study guide from basketball-great A.C. Green for the new basketball flick "Glory Road."

LAST HOLIDAY, starring Queen Latifah PG-13
-Theatre Worthy!-

Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) finds out that she has a terminal disease. With nothing to lose, she decides to take a European vacation, learning a lot about life... just a little too late.

This film could be used as a great discussion piece with kids or youth groups. Georgia is not only a clean, church-going woman, we also see her reading her Bible and praying. She never talks bad about anyone, lies or cheats. She's moral, spiritual and ... likeable!!! (Is this film really from Hollywood?)

When Georgia finds out about her disease, she doesn't take it lightly. She prays and asks God why? She wrestles with God over why he would do such a thing. And as it turns out, God knew what He was doing. (Imagine that!)


GLORY ROAD, starring Josh Lucas PG
-Theatre Worthy!-

Glory Road was fantastic! It was powerful and thought provoking. It has already achieved the Heartland Film Festival "Truly Moving Picture Award."

The film is based on the true story of the 1966 Texas Western basketball team and their road to the NCAA National Championships. In 1965 Don Haskins was offered the coaching job at Texas Western, getting his first chance to coach a division 1 men's team. The odds were against him. Good white players didn't want to play for the tiny school with its poor record, and the school didn't see black players as an option.

Did I mention that this was 1965?

Don left his job coaching women's basketball and began recruiting black players for Texas Western. The journey toward the championships was long, difficult, and filled with plenty of racial tension. But the story ends with a starting line up that changed basketball history.

This film brings up numerous topics of discussion. Basketball-great, A.C. Green, has teamed up with Dr. Marc Newman to create an incredible Bible study guide for Glory Road.


Looking for a Speaker: Are you booking speakers for 2006? Take a peek at Jonathan and some of the other speakers from The Source Speakers Network

Looking for a dynamic speaker for your
2006 camps, retreats or events?

In addition to all the free resources on our website, we like to provide you with recommendations of some budget items, like speakers that are worth booking for your upcoming events.



Free Bibles with Any Book Order: Looking for gifts for your volunteers? Save $10 on any six pack of Jonathan's books and receive a free Bible for every book you order!



And you know how much we love to give things away... so we're giving away new Bibles with every purchase-the "How to Find God" NLT New Believers Bible from the best place to order Bibles online: Bibles at Cost. We'll give you one of these Bibles for each book you order. If you order 2 six packs... then you get 12 free Bibles. If you order 2 books, you get 2 free Bibles.


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