How to Have a Fruitful Year-End Giving Season

With fundraising season just around the corner, it can be hard to come up with ideas that are fresh and exciting. To help you brainstorm, here are some creative alternatives to the run-of-the-mill campaign that not only raise money but also build community:

Rubber Duckie Race

This cute and fun event is great for the whole family. Rubber duckies are sold as singles or a “quack of six” at a price appropriate to the cause. People write their names on their purchased duckies. On the day of the event, all the rubber duckies are dumped into a running stream or creek. The first few duckies to reach the finish line earn their owners a monetary prize. 

The South Mountain YMCA ran a successful campaign even in the middle of the pandemic and raised over $25K.

A twist on this idea that doesn’t require any real rubber duckies is to do a virtual race of “designation fund” rubber duckies. Choose two or three causes or needs that your church has. It could be a building renovation project or the purchase of books for a church library, for example. Each cause or need will have its own virtual rubber duckie. People can donate to the rubber duckie fund they want. The winner is the cause that gets the most donations. This way, the community gets a voice in funding the need that they care most about. Provide a small incentive or prize to those who gave to the winning fund.

Online Gaming Marathon

The game Desert Bus was created to prove that video games aren’t all offensive and corrupting. The objective is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada at a speed of 70km/h. This is done in real time, meaning once the game starts, it is played continuously for eight hours without stopping. To make this feat even more mind-numbing is the fact that there are no passengers, no traffic, and minimal scenery.

Instead of dismissing this as the worst video game ever designed, a group of people did the next logical thing—use it to raise money. For years now, Desert Bus for Hope has played this game to raise money for Child’s Play Charity. People love the novelty and the challenge. It doesn’t require great skill to drive the bus, but the perseverance it demands brings a community together in a fun way.

So pick a video game that is easy to play but requires a group to persevere together. Host it as a live marathon and play it as long as people are donating to the cause. Make it interactive and allow donors to submit challenges or requests.

Community Learning Event

In every church, there are professionals with various useful skills or knowledge that people would gladly pay to learn. Musicians can share how a few simple chords can be used to accompany a sung melody. Photographers can provide tips on how to take a beautiful picture. A general handyman can show others how to fix basic problems around the house. Crafty people can do a demonstration of a Christmas project.

Create an event for these members to share their skills online. Charge a registration fee and perhaps sell some promotional items to raise funds for a cause.

For those who are not comfortable being in front of a camera, provide an opportunity for them to auction off a service or skill like dog walking, landscaping, bookkeeping, proofreading, or house cleaning. Not only will all proceeds go towards the chosen cause, but bid winners will enjoy some great services.

Community Cookbook Fundraiser

We all have our own tried-and-true recipes. Ask members to share their favourite ones to be compiled into a single volume that can be sold to raise funds. It could be a physical book bound at a local office supply store or print shop. It could also be a downloadable PDF.

If possible, gather a variety of dishes, from appetizers to main dishes to desserts. To create a deeper sense of community, ask contributors to share a quick story about the recipe or even a little history of how it was passed down through generations. Members will enjoy reading these snippets about other families in their congregation.

Another way to create a cookbook is to choose a theme like Christmas Dinners or Quick Meals for Busy Nights.

Final Tip

To make it easy for people to give, whether it be a donation for a fund or a regular tithe, offer different methods of payment. Besides the traditional cash and cheques, set up online giving so people can give anytime from anywhere with a few clicks. Churches that accept tithing online increase overall donations by 32%.

Even more interesting are statistics for text to give. The average donation size for text-to-donate fundraisers is $107. Ninety percent of text message reminders are read in 3 minutes. Responsive design doubles giving on mobile devices. Having a text to give option for your church makes it very convenient for people to give on the go.

If you are interested in online giving or text to give, contact us today to find out more.

Have a blessed year-end giving season when we can all celebrate by giving to others. Winston Churchill put it well: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and reflects the opinion of the author. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on as professional advice. You should consult appropriate professionals for your specific situation.

Categories: Charities, Giving