General Fundraising Guidelines

  • Pick projects that excite youth, parents and the congregation members.
  • Communicate your fundraising project ideas with the church council to make sure they fit with church fundraising guidelines and other fundraising schedules (school projects, stewardship drives, etc.).
  • Plan your fundraising project calendar early so you can space them throughout the year and schedule them with plenty of time for people to be involved in the planning and participation.
  • Look for fundraisers that provide people with something in return for their donated dollars…food, service, item, entertainment, etc.
  • Stay away from fundraisers like candy sales and car washes…they tend to take lots of effort for little return.
  • Stay away from fundraisers in which the youth get less than 50% of the profit from the event. Consider: are you really raising money for the youth or for the company that is providing the product you are selling?
  • Develop fundraisers that provide substantial funds for your efforts. A few well planned and promoted annual projects may bring in more money than lots of smaller efforts that start to feel like “nickel and diming” people every Sunday morning.
  • Look for ways to have youth and adults work together as teams and build community as they work on fundraisers together. Consider assigning youth and adult teams to work together in planning certain fundraising projects or scheduling them to work together during certain times or on certain tasks.
  • Consider selecting a mission project to support with 10% of all money raised in your fundraising efforts.
  • For more thoughts on fundraising read “Beyond the Bake Sale” by Jean Joachim.
Guidelines for Congregational Fundraising Activities
 Within congregations there are many thoughts and opinions regarding fundraising activities such as auctions, dinners, car washes, bazaars, candy sales and the like. The purposes for using fundraising events or activities can include enjoyment, highlighting and involving people in certain special ministries, or recognizing and thanking participants with the money raised as a secondary purpose. The Scriptures do not specifically address this issue of fundraising activities, but they do call us to be faithful to general principles of Christian stewardship and encourage us to do all things decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). While considering and discussing the issues around fund-raising activities it would be good to read and study the eight LCMS Biblical Stewardship Principles.
When fundraising activities do occur, congregations and their leaders ought to provide information that provides encouragement to all–especially to participants and donors–in their personal lives of Christian stewardship, and to thank them for their participation and support.
The following statements are offered as general guidelines for pastors and congregational leaders to consider when it comes to establishing policies regarding fundraising activities within the congregation.
  • Congregational operational work programs (budgets) should be funded by the freewill offerings of their members.
  • Congregations are encouraged, as a general caution, to be sensitive to the impact of a proliferation of special offerings and fund-raising activities which can undermine the generous and freewill giving by their members.
  • Decisions regarding the number and kinds of fundraising activities are congregational issues that call for responsible Christian judgment, since such issues are not decided by divine command or prohibition. The congregations governing body and the pastor(s) should make such decisions prayerfully and thoughtfully.
Congregations are wise in establishing written policies regarding fund-raising efforts to avoid controversies on the issue.

Published March 16, 2012

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