101 Fundraising Ideas

101 Youth Mission Trip Fundraising Ideas

If you asked 101 youth leaders for their best fundraising ideas, you’d get a hodgepodge of events, auctions, creative asks and even pranks… plus a little repetition! We know, because at the National Youth Workers Convention, we asked. If you’re planning for your next great mission trip, here are a few fundraising ideas to inspire your fundraising efforts:

  1. Protection Money: offer protection from an item being placed on a lawn or front door step.
  2. The Flamingo Project: Youth get paid by church members to put flamingos all over someone’s yard, then youth are paid by the homeowner to remove them too.
  3. Flamingo Picketing: Suggest $1 per flamingo to picket at your friend/neighbor/stranger’s yard as a prank.
  4. Flocking: Place flamingos in someone’s yard – a donation gets the flock removed and the donor chooses where the flamingos go next.
  5. Flamingo Insurance: Sell flamingo insurance policies to church members to protect their yards from being covered in flamingos.
  6. Noodles & Doodles: Youth put on a pasta dinner and display original art to be auctioned to dinner attendees.
  7. Golf Tournament
  8. Mystery Dinner Theater: Youth put on play and sell tickets to the dinner and show.
  9. Dessert Café Play: Youth and adults put on a play at church with a light dessert served beforehand.
  10. A Play Written and Performed by Youth
  11. Lock-In: Center a lock-in around what you are raising money for (hunger, trafficking, mosquito nets, wells, etc).
  12. Pancake Supper
  13. Dodge Ball Tournament
  14. Desserts Competition: Church members sign up to make their best dessert and charge people a small fee to taste test and vote.
  15. Soup Cookout
  16. Talent Show
  17. Run-A-Thon: Youth get sponsors to run laps.
  18. Church-Wide Dinner
  19. Free BBQ at Church with Freewill Donation
  20. Valentine’s Dinner
  21. Pies for a Year: One pie per month, baked by a member of the church.
  22. Sunday Afternoon at the Movies: Offer a Sunday afternoon matinee with suggested donation.
  23. Chili Cook-Off
  24. Pair Up: Pair youth up with members of the church who need chores or work done.
  25. Recycling
  26. Sandwiches: Pre-sell sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday have kids make them.
  27. Babysitting Day
  28. Service Board: Church members post on bulletin board odd jobs or service projects for around their home and price they would pay for service.
  29. Free Car Wash: Students have people pledge donation amount per car, then students wash others’ cars for free.
  30. Car Check-In: Church members check car keys in before the service and then students wash or detail during the service.
  31. 144 Envelopes: Put 144 envelopes in the church, numbered from $1 to $144, and ask church members to make a donation with for that amount of money.
  32. Noisy Sunday: Students walk through church after service and collect spare change.
  33. Shareholders: Sell shares in the mission project for $25-$30 per share. Each share provides the shareholder with one ticket to the shareholders’ banquet, which is held 2 weeks after completion of project.
  34. Arrested for a Cause: Someone hosts a BBQ and invites attendees to be ‘arrested’ for the cause. Attendees set their own bail, then call contacts for donations towards their bail.
  35. Adopt-A-Mile: Figure out the mileage for the mission trip and how much each mile should cost, then have donors pay for the trip by mile.
  36. Black Tie Un-Fundraiser: People buy a ticket for $50 to stay home. Put it on a busy night and let them simply make a donation without having to actually ‘do’ anything.
  37. Rocking Chair: Youth sit in a rocking chair and keep it rocking for a period of time.
  38. Coin Change Bottles: Get cheap reusable plastic water bottles and have congregation fill them up and drop off their change throughout the year.
  39. Christmas Tree Lot: Presell tickets for trees.
  40. Yard Sale: Church members donate items and then youth host a yard sale.
  41. Raffle Tickets: Get a hot button item and sell raffle tickets for someone to win it.
  42. Craft Sale: Students make crafts, like duct tape wallets, and sell them on a particular day for a few dollars each.
  43. Coins for Youth: Fill M&M mini tubes with quarters to raise money.
  44. Pumpkin Patch
  45. Fundraiser Cards: Contact local businesses and work with them to sell frequent visitor cards to church members.
  46. Crawfish Boil: Boil pounds and pounds of crawfish and host a dinner for church members to buy tickets.
  47. Opportunity Drawing Basket: Create several baskets and sell tickets for people to win baskets.
  48. Rummage/Garage Sale: Take donations, sell booth space and run a concession. Maximize your earning potential in a single event.
  49. Trivia Table Night: People can purchase individual admission or whole tables. There may also be an opportunity to donate at the end.
  50. Cinnamon Rolls: Teens and volunteers make cinnamon rolls, preordered by members of the congregation and sold by the dozen.
  51. Rent-A-Student: Rent a student per hour to members of the church. Students conduct a job and raise funds based on the hourly rate they are ‘paid.’
  52. Lemonade Stand
  53. Baked Goods Auction: Youth bake homemade goods and sell at a live auction.
  54. Comedy Night: Host a comedy night with adults from the church. Serve dinner during the comedy portion, with dessert after.
  55. Soup and Sandwich Luncheon: Church members donate homemade soups and desserts and you provide the sandwiches. Auction off the desserts while church members are eating lunch.
  56. Basket Auction: Get different products from businesses in the area such as paint, makeup, gift cards, Y membership, etc. Put a mixture of things in baskets and then auction each basket mixture.
  57. Paintball: Students and volunteers become targets in a makeshift paintball course, 50 feet to 100 feet away from a table where people can pay $5 for 50 shots from a paintball gun. All volunteers wear protective masks and taunt the shooters.

For more fundraising ideas, download our 101 Fundraising Ideas PDF:

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samPicSam Townsend helps write training, programming and marketing materials for YouthWorks mission trips. When he isn’t hanging around teenagers at church or digging into seminary homework, he is generally looking for a good conversation and a hole-in-the-wall restaurant to have it in. Sam still considers his first couple summers working for YouthWorks in Virginia and Pennsylvania communities some of the most transformative times of his life.

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Sam Townsend

Sam Townsend loves wooded trails on warm summer days, full conversations over half-price apps and puns that could make a grown man groan. He is a writer, a third-generation footlong hotdog salesman and the Senior High Ministry Pastor at Calvary Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. He’s also a big fan of YouthWorks, where he contributes to theme material creation and blog production.