Church fundraisers are a necessary part of many churches’ yearly calendar. Fundraising events help churches fund their daily operations, outreach programs, and much more. But as congregations shrink around the country, it can be difficult to pull people into church events. You could have the best church fundraising idea to date and still wonder if you’re going to be able to meet your fundraising goal. Luckily there are some relatively simple tools and tips below that can help you expand your reach beyond your congregation.
Spread the Word
Social media is a powerful tool in your fundraiser promotion kit, especially because it’s free. Make sure you’re posting to your accounts regularly so that when you post something you want people to come to, they will be more likely to see it. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram weigh posts and are more likely to show the posts of active accounts.
Facebook in particular is great for fundraising because you can create a corresponding Facebook event and invite your followers to it. Make sure to include all the relevant information as well as a link to where they can buy tickets.
While Instagram, YouTube, and TikToK are more visual mediums, they can still help you promote your event. Post pictures and videos from last year’s event, if possible, or make reels showing the amazing impact previous fundraisers had on your community.
If you’re worried that you won’t get enough traction with posting alone, and if you have the budget for it, you can run ads on these platforms to try and reach even more people in your community.
Plan to post about your event frequently, and more frequently as the date approaches. Post not only in the lead up, but during and after the event as well. Invite guests to tag your church in their photos and videos, and be sure to thank volunteers, guests, and donors, once the event is over.
Need some examples to follow? Take a look at our free downloadable sample fundraising Facebook posts.
Does your church have a website? Does your event have a page on your website? Having a website is nearly essential in our digital age. If you want to be found when someone Googles “churches near me” you’ll be much more likely to be shown if you have a website that details your services, hours, address, and other details. You can also purchase Google Ads that serve only to people in your area.
If your site is old or hasn’t been updated in a long time, see if you can find tech-savvy member of your congregation to help revive it. Search engines like Google are more likely to show your church’s site to searchers if it’s been updated recently and follows their guidelines. This can help you get found all year round, but it will help when you’re trying to promote a fundraiser, too.
It’s much easier to get the word out about your event if there is a link to it. Make sure that your event page answers all the When, Where, and Why questions without making people click around your site. You can share this link on social media, in email campaigns, and to local news sites and community pages.
Don’t underestimate your local newspapers, radio, and TV stations. See if you can get a local reporter to write about your fundraiser, or give you some air time to talk about why you’re raising funds.
Don’t forget that printed fliers can be an effective way to get the word out around town. You can ask local businesses if you can hang your poster in their window. People in restaurants, grocery stories, salons, and more will be able to see your fundraiser and get the details.
If you’re concerned about the cost of printing fliers, ask if the printer offers discounts to nonprofits.
Word of Mouth
Your network of congregants and their family and friends (as well as your own) are great resources in your mission to promote your event. Consider asking for volunteers to help hang, hand out, or mail out fliers. Ask them to share your fundraiser on their own social media and to invite their loved ones. Remind them frequently about how vital it is to get the word out about your event. Make it easy for them to share your event with others, whether that’s a link to tickets, an evite, or other formats.
Important information to Share
You want to make it easy for people to say “Yes!” to your event. When you’re planning it, make sure you address barriers to entry and show invitees exactly how they’ll be helping your church and community.
Many congregations around the country have an aging population. Have you made sure that your event, or aspects of it, are accessible to older adults and homebound individuals? Maybe you can add a livestream version of the event, or perhaps there is a digital portion, like a fundraising silent auction, that can give everyone a way to be involved.
Make sure your venue, if you have one, is accessible to people using mobility devices. If you’re planning a big family-friendly carnival, consider whether there are ways to make families with sensitivity issues comfortable. A quieter afternoon with limited crowds and noise? Or maybe rentable noise-canceling headphones.
If the timing of your event is still flexible, ask yourself if you’ve set your fundraising event on a day and time that most people can attend. It won’t do for a family-friendly event to take place on a school night, necessarily. Similarly, a fancier dance or dinner could offer attendees free childcare to make it easier for adults to attend.
There’s no one size fits all solution, of course, but making it easy for your potential guests and donors to attend your event and support your cause is important. Ensure that attendees know all aspects (in-real-life and online) and accommodations of your event.
Explain What You’re Raising Money For
Not everyone in your community might want to support your church: they might be of different faiths, for example. But they might be ready, willing, and able to help you with projects that will help the community as a whole. That’s why it’s important to explain clearly why you’re raising funds. If you can, show how past events have impacted people’s lives.
Give Them Reasons to Attend
Especially if you want to encourage people outside your congregation to attend, your event should offer them a reason to attend. While the satisfaction of raising money for a cause you believe in might be enough for you, drawing in the general public will require some effort on your part.
If your church fundraiser is a fun one—like a carnival, craft faire, or concert—gathering attendees probably won’t be terribly difficult. On the other hand, if you’re tackling a big community works project, like cleaning up a local lake, or asking people to give their time to making and distributing meals to hungry neighbors, you might need to make more of a pitch.
Explain exactly how their dollars and/or time will help people in your community. Even if your church fundraiser is simply a way of keeping the lights on for your small congregation, try to tell the stories of those people. Show why your church is an important part of their lives, and detail what your community accomplishes together.
Though churches can be a source of spiritual guidance and provide a sense of community, Gallup reports that fewer Americans belong to a house of worship than ever before. As many churches’ congregations shrink, they increasingly rely on fundraising to support their operations. That’s why knowing where, how and when to promote your church fundraising event is as important as the event itself. By leveraging social media, digital assets, print and media outlets, and you and your congregation’s network, you can capture the attention of as many potential donors as possible.