11 Small church Fundraising ideas: Unique and impactful

Unique small church fundraising ideas

Looking for small church fundraising ideas that work? Well, raising money for small churches can feel really tough. With limited resources, keeping the community interested in fundraising activities that benefit the church can be challenging. Moreover, in my experience, churches and religious organizations need to organize events that align with their larger religious and spiritual goals.

Holding a scavenger hunt, bake sale, or auction without aligning each of these with the church’s broader objectives may come across as superficial and trivial. It could even upset some of the more religious members of the church.

So in this article, we have compiled a list of 11 small church fundraising ideas that are fun, engaging, and yet highly aligned with the religious objectives of the church. Each of these fundraising ideas can be scaled up or down depending on your resources and planned together or as a stand-alone event.

Key Takeaways

Raising funds for a small church with limited resources requires you to employ ideas that are the most effective. You don’t want to exhaust your community with frequent fundraisers.

For maximum participation and engagement, make sure each fundraising idea is modified to align with the church’s religious character. Generic ideas like bake sales, auctions, and marathons may seem superficial and commercial.

This article is full of engaging ideas that would align with the church’s religious character and yet be engaging and effective in raising funds for the needs of the church.

11 Unique And Effective Small Church Fundraising Ideas

Let’s dive straight into exciting and effective ideas that could help small churches raise funds for their causes.

Church escape room as a small church fundraising idea

1. Scripture-Themed Escape Room

A Scripture-themed Escape Room is an interactive fundraising event where participants engage in an adventure game set within the church. The game is based on solving puzzles and riddles related to Bible stories or parables.

To organize this event, you’ll need a planning team to design the escape room scenarios, create puzzles, and set up various stations. The process can take a couple of months, requiring creativity and a good understanding of biblical themes.

For maximum impact, you will need volunteers with skills in art, storytelling, and event planning are crucial for this project.

This type of event is an excellent fundraising idea for small churches because it’s both educational and entertaining. It differentiates itself from traditional fundraising methods by offering an immersive experience that combines fun with faith learning. Participants are more likely to engage deeply with the content, making it a memorable event.

In my experience, achieving higher fundraising totals with fewer events requires offering a variety of donation options.


  • charge a basic entry fee for the escape room.
  • add extra features like a photo booth with biblical costumes for an additional charge,
  • offer refreshments for sale.
  • engage local businesses for sponsorships to bring in additional funds. The most attractive sponsorship pitch is asking businesses to sponsor different rooms or puzzles in exchange for advertising.
prayer-a-thon - showing people praying at a church

2. Prayer-a-thon

A Prayer-a-thon is a unique fundraising event where the church community comes together for continuous prayer over a dedicated day or weekend.

Participants or sponsors can pledge donations for each hour of prayer. This event would require careful planning

  • organizing a schedule of prayers,
  • setting themes for each hour,
  • and managing special prayer requests and reflections.

The preparation for a Prayer-a-thon could take a few weeks. Dedicate a team to coordinate the logistics and promote the event to potential sponsors.

This fundraising idea is excellent for small churches because it focuses on spiritual commitment and community involvement. In my view, this fundraising concept effectively balances creating a meaningful, religious event with a strong focus on generating donations.

To raise substantial funds, encourage participants to find sponsors for each hour they pray. Additionally, you can create a special commemorative item, like a prayer book or wristband, to sell during the event. Seeking sponsorships from local businesses, in exchange for acknowledgment in event materials, can also boost fundraising.

An old church with a rich history

3. Church History Exhibition

Organizing a Church History Exhibition involves showcasing your church’s rich history through photographs, artifacts, and stories. Such an exhibition is a great fundraising idea for small churches because it connects the congregation with their shared heritage

Begin preparing for this event by collecting historical materials, curating exhibits, and possibly restoring old church items for display. A team of volunteers knowledgeable in the church’s history is essential for this project.

As stated earlier, a church history exhibition may not drive substantial donations by itself. You will need to create multiple avenues to encourage people to donate.

  • Start by charging a small entry fee is a direct way to raise funds.
  • Sell commemorative items like postcards or booklets featuring the church’s history.
  • Host special guided tours for a higher ticket price, providing a more in-depth exploration of the church’s past.

To widen reach, promote the exhibition and tour at local schools, community groups, and media write-ups.

Church choir performing at a church gospel and music concert

4. Gospel Music Workshop and Concert

A Gospel Music Workshop and Concert is a vibrant fundraising event that combines musical education with entertainment. It is particularly effective as a fundraising idea for black churches.

The event should typically involve a workshop led by a renowned local choir director or musician, followed by a concert performance. Now, since you are a small church, you may not have access to the best choir groups and volunteers with musical expertise.

The project must be helmed by a non-profit expert or a community leader. The best way to execute a music workshop and a concert is by turning it into a community tradition. Promote it as an event celebrating community talent. Get people excited by evoking festive, celebration vibes.

Invite people from neighboring towns, schools, universities, and other charity clubs to audition to widen reach.

To maximize fundraising, charge for participation in the workshop and sell tickets for the concert. If resources allow, sell CDs, t-shirts, or posters at the event to further boost donations.

Blessings Jar used to fundraise for small churches

5. Blessings Jar Sales

Blessings Jar Sales involve creating and selling decorative jars filled with inspirational quotes and Bible verses.

This project requires a few weeks of preparation for

  • gathering materials
  • organizing crafting sessions, and
  • coordinating sales efforts.

Before you decide to go ahead with this event, gather volunteers who are crafty as well as community members with a knack for marketing and sales.

In my opinion, this fundraising idea is unique and well-suited for small churches as it offers a tangible and inspirational product that reflects the church’s values. Plus, it can be executed as a one-time event or could be offered as an ongoing avenue for collecting donations.

To enhance sales, create different themes for the jars or offer customization options. Collaborating with local craft stores or markets to display and sell these jars can also widen your audience and increase sales potential.

Hosting a crafting day where participants can make their own jars for a fee can also be a fun and engaging community event, adding to the fundraising efforts.

small church with a large garden

6. Church Grounds Nature Trail

Creating a Nature Trail on church grounds is a serene and innovative fundraising idea. This involves developing a trail within the church’s outdoor space, possibly including stations for reflection, prayer, or meditation.

The planning and creation of the trail can take a few weeks, requiring quick landscape fixes, creating reflective content, and possibly installing benches or signs.

This idea is particularly suitable for small churches as it uses the church’s natural surroundings to encourage spiritual and physical wellness.

Charging for guided tours or special events like ‘moonlight walks’ can raise funds. Additionally, offering personalized memorial or dedication plaques on benches or along the trail can provide a continuous source of fundraising. Hosting seasonal events or nature-based workshops on the trail can also attract wider community participation, increasing its fundraising potential.

Old church books used to show a faith based book club

7. Faith-Based Book Club

Starting a Faith-Based Book Club is a thoughtful way to bring the church community together.

This would involve

  • selecting faith-related books,
  • organizing monthly meetings,
  • and facilitating discussions.

The planning is relatively simple and would mainly require coordination and promotion, which could be managed over a few weeks. Volunteers with a love for reading and an interest in faith discussions are ideal for leading this club. The scale of this fundraising idea is ideal for small churches with limited resources.

A Faith-based book club is also an excellent opportunity to deepen members’ faith through shared learning.

  • Charging a small membership fee can generate funds.
  • To further support fundraising, hold special author events or discussions with a higher ticket price.
  • Sell related books or study guides.

But the flip side to clubs is that they can very quickly turn commercial and lose their purity of purpose. Make sure the club is supervised by a senior church member or a pastor to prevent losing the trust of religious community members.

Handwritten recipe book used to show a church recipe and reflections book

8. Recipe and Reflections Book

Creating a Recipe and Reflections Book is a unique and heartwarming fundraising project. This involves collecting favorite recipes from church members, accompanied by personal reflections or stories of faith. It is an excellent way to align a common yet effective way of fundraising for religious purposes.

This idea is a beautiful way for small churches to fundraise because it captures the essence of the church community through shared meals and shared stories.

But the event can’t be executed without proper planning. The process of gathering recipes, designing the book, and printing can take several months. It’s a project that would benefit from volunteers with skills in writing, editing, design, and marketing.

Selling the book is a direct way to raise funds. Host a launch event where church members cook dishes from the book to add a fun community event to the fundraising effort. Over time, you can come up with newer editions of the book or offer personalized editions.

A girl looking at a religious art on display

9. Religious Art and Craft Fair

Organizing a Religious Art and Craft Fair is a wonderful way to showcase creativity while raising funds.

The event would feature religious-themed artworks and crafts made by church members or local artists. This type of event is ideal for small churches as it not only serves as a fundraiser but also celebrates religious expression through art.

Plus setting this event up is fairly straightforward. You just need a venue with suitable arrangements for setting up stalls.

To fundraise using this event

  • charge a fee for booking a sale stall
  • get a pledge of donating a percentage of the profits made from sale of artwork to the church
  • organize and arts and crafts workshop and charge a participation fee
  • seek event sponsorship to reduce the costs of the event and maximize donations
Community dinner

10. ‘Dinner with a Twist’ Event

The ‘Dinner with a Twist’ event is a unique fundraising idea where each course of a meal is paired with a Bible story or a religious theme.

Organizing such an event involves planning the menu, coordinating with local chefs or cooking enthusiasts, and perhaps arranging for speakers or clergy to offer brief reflections corresponding to each course.

This event stands out as an exceptional fundraising idea for small churches as it combines communal dining with spiritual enrichment.

Charging for tickets to the dinner is a primary way to raise funds. You can even pair this event with a silent auction or a raffle during the event to boost fundraising.

Woman bidding at a church auction

11. Community Service Auction

A Community Service Auction is a heartwarming way to engage the church and local community. But to ensure that the auction stays relevant to the community spirit of the church, the services offered must be limited to the church members. The services that could be auctioned to the highest bidder could include things like

  • gardening services,
  • cooking classes,
  • or art lessons.

Planning this event would require gathering service offers, organizing the auction (either live or online), and promoting it to ensure a good turnout. A small church would benefit greatly from this event only if volunteers market the event well.

This fundraising idea is excellent for small churches because it directly involves the talents and time of the congregation and the local community. Plus, auctions are always a fun and engaging way to raise funds while strengthening community spirit.

To increase revenue, pair the auction with a small fair or social event, selling food and drinks, or offering entertainment.

Why do small churches need fundraising?

Fundraiser events are crucial for small churches, often operating with limited budgets and relying heavily on the generosity of their congregations.

These events provide

  • essential financial support
  • help to cover operational costs
  • maintain church buildings
  • and fund community outreach programs.

These events are a lifeline that ensure that the church can continue its various ministries and services vital to the local community.

Also since small churches thrive upon the unity and engagement of its members, fundraisers provide a much-needed opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways, whether through volunteering, donating, or participating in events.

Wrapping Up

A successful fundraiser for a small church is one that not only generates a large sum of donations but also one that brings the community closer. For maximum success –

  • make sure the event is led by a well-appointed leader group
  • is supported by devoted volunteers working for the common welfare of the church

Fundraising events should pave the way for the growth of the church one small step at a time and should not come across as an imposition on its small group of members.

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