Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    Mission Trip Fundraising

    Sunday morning, at 5:00 a.m. (ouch), we leave for the high school mission trip. Amidst all of the busyness, I realized that the mission trip really is a year-long project. Early in the fall, we prayerfully consider where we will go the following summer. Next, we begin recruiting youth and adults. Then, for the next six months, we focus on fund-raising. Our goal is that each participant, who participates in a majority of the fund-raising, can go at no cost at all.

    In this post, I thought I would share some of our fundraising activities that we have done over the years:

    •The fundraising is done on a point system. For each half-hour that you work, you get a point. The points, at the conclusion of the year, are divided by the total amount of money raised. In order to participate in the mission trip, you must have a certain number of points. This way, no one gets to go without first participating and you build group cohesiveness.

    •Each fall, around Thanksgiving and Christmas, we sell “Gifts in a Jar.” Basically, we buy mason jars and fill the jars with the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and soup.

    •Super Bowl Sunday Subs. The day before the game, we prepare sub sandwiches. The orders have already been made. Last year, we made several hundred sandwiches and the local grocery story gave us a huge discount on the ingredients.

    •Pink Flamingos. A flamingo (or flamingos) gets placed in your yard. You have to pay $5 (per flamingo) to remove it and have it placed in someone else’s yard. For $20 you can buy anti-flamingo insurance. This is a lot of fun, and productive, but very labor intensive.

    •Stock certificates. For each stock you purchase you are entitled to: a postcard, dinner and program when we return, and a photo of the mission trip team.

    •Car wash. Make sure you can have multiple hoses and water pressure.

    •Child-care night. We’ve done this on Valentine’s day and sometime during the holiday season.

    •Rock concert/talent show. This was a huge hit last year. We called it Loftapalooza—The Loft, is our youth center. We had the participants on the mission trip develop skits, performances, and songs. The senior minister even sang a solo.

    •Bake sale. Make some homemade pies and make sure the first pie or two sells at a high bid.

    What other ideas do you have?



    Anonymous said...

    One really fun event that we do around Valentine's Day is to put on a small dinner for the congregation. Then after dinner we have three or four couples that have been hand picked from the congregation and married a variety of years participate in a Newlywed Game Show. The youth get to pick the questions asked for each round and if the couple can match answers they earn points. We give out prizes and have a "sound proof booth," also known as the nursery. It is a great way for the kids to see relationships modeled by older members of our congregation and in many ways is better than any 'sex' talk I could ever give the group.

    Brian said...

    Renee sent this comment by email:

    I found one yesterday that I though was awesome.This will only work at a larger church. Purchase orange crush soft drinks and offer them as a valentine that will be delivered to the person's "crush". The cost is $1 per "crush". The person who receives it can then find out who sent it to them for another $1. This way, you could possibly raise $2 for every can of orange soda you sell. How easy is that!?
    Renee' English

    Anonymous said...

    we do a student slaves.
    essentially we ask the members of the church if they have any work they have available around the house/yard/work?

    if they do, they can buy a student for their labor. so the students who are going on the missions trip/camp are day labor workers.

    however you as the youth pastor basically become the facilitator and the supervisor. we all know that sometimes kids do not do a great job painting a shed.

    JL, Heidi, and Silas said...

    My wife came up with an idea this year that turned out to be our best fundraiser ever. We called it a Jail and Bail. It is a modification of the event that the March for Dimes regularly pulls off.

    My mission team was responsible for finding people that we could "arrest." They gathered adults from the church, parents, and even some teachers. Each person being arrested was asked to give two hours to helping our team raise funds. When they arrived at the church we took a mug shot and had them roll fuzzy dice. The number they got on the dice was multiplied by 100 to determine their bail. If they rolled doubles the bail was $1000.

    We set up a "jail" where we held them until they met bail or had been there for two hours. Each person had a table, a phone book, refreshments (Starbucks donated coffee and parents made snacks because we wanted the people in jail to be as comfy as possible), info on our mission trip, and note cards to record the bail they raised.

    The mission was simple, call family and friends and ask for small donations to our mission trip. The "Jailbirds" recorded the name and address of the donor on little slips which the youth collected. With the info on the slips we sent out letters of thanks on church letter head and reminded the donor how much they pledged and where to send the check. We also included envelopes addressed to the church and with a stamp on them to make the work for the donor easier.

    All in all the event took 6 hours, including 30 minutes of set up. The total cost was $200 in stamps and stationary. We arrested only 11 people and raised over $6,000. It was a huge blessing and it was great to have a diverse group of adults involved. We later used the mugshots for thank you notes to the adults that helped out.

    Rachel Rev said...

    The auction can be a great fundraiser; at the church I served in Indiana, we made thousands of dollars in a single night.

    Think big. Have stores donate item/services so people don't have to buy the gift certificates. Have the auto shop donate an oil change, the florist an arrangement, etc. They get a tax write-off and you get more items to auction. Also, ask people to donate time-share weeks or tickets to one of the games/performances from their season passes. But also ask the former elder to give knitting lessons or the lawyer to provide help with writing a will, etc.

    Finally, a fun addition to an auction night is to have a live auction for the BIG items (the 4 Indy 500 tickets, the timeshare, anything worth over a hundred dollars or so.

    corinthian said...

    Recently I had a long conversation with a few others and we began to wonder why it is that we expect mission trips to be cheap. I read about the many, many hours we spend raising money and how that becomes so all consuming, rather than preparing for ministry. Most middle class families can afford the $300 or so for a domestic mission trip. They spend at least that much per person on vacation. Often, fundraising turns into guilt tripping our brothers and sisters into giving us money for senseless services or overpriced commodities. Why? Because we don't want to spend our money on ministry. I know this sounds harsh, and I know that some students/ churches literally can't afford a trip (so stay home and minister to your neighbors), but for many, it is just a way of getting a cheaper trip. We are proud that we sacrifice our beds, our comfort and our time, but when it comes to money, why do we expect others to foot the bill? I am just asking because I have all too often seen fundraising take over the focus of trip prep. Personally, in 20 years of ministry, I have done very little fundraising in my youth groups. Rather, I challenge them to prioritize. A mission trip is a privilege, not a right, and it comes with a cost. Most kids have $30 a month data plans on their phones plus the cost of the service, but $30 a month would pay for a pretty nice tip. Just thinking out loud, and I know there are "exceptions", but what I am challenging is our modern view of "who should pay for our mission trips?". Maybe if they cost too much, we should just walk down the street and fix a house.