Churches of all denominations ask members to set aside a weekly or monthly pledge to help them meet their operating budgets and mission projects. Sometimes, however, extra funds are needed for special projects such as building additions or renovations, or for special trips or projects. At these times, churches often look to the community to help raise the necessary monies through church fundraisers.

The most common church fundraisers provide a product that community members as well as congregants can purchase. Food sales are the most popular ways that churches raise money in the community. Traditional bake sales or dinners frequently draw the larger community, particularly in small towns where the sales are an annual event. Some churches are now branching out from traditional bake sales to sales of chocolate-dipped pretzels or gourmet popcorn. Dinner menus run the gamut from spaghetti to barbecue to soups and salads.

Craft bazaars are also a very popular fundraising option, particularly before the Christmas season. Handmade items draw in shoppers looking for the perfect gift for hard-to-please recipients on their lists. Churches that have developed an excellent reputation for offering quality crafts can make thousands of dollars in a weekend sale. Many churches combine a craft bazaar, bake sale and church dinner into one large fundraising event.

Other churches prefer to hold rummage or yard sales that let their congregation members clean out attics and basements and offer quality items for a fraction of their original price. These types of sales are particularly beneficial for disadvantaged community members who can’t afford to buy clothing and household items at full price. The church brings in money and offers a ministry at the same time.

Many churches find that running small games of chance, typically bingo, brings in plenty of money throughout the year. Players enjoy relaxing with friends as they play the games on a weekly or monthly basis. Many churches that hold evening bingo games sell dinner foods like hot dogs as well as bake sale items at the same time, increasing their fundraising profits.

Churches that want to showcase the talented members of their congregations can put on concerts and plays for the community. Some churches ask for a donation for a Christmas concert while others perform plays in a dinner theater-type setting for a fixed price. Still other churches bring in well-known performers for concerts that community members might not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy.

There are almost as many fundraising ideas as there are churches. Traditional sales with a twist as well as innovative ideas never before introduced to the community can raise needed funds for new buildings, youth mission trips or other special projects. A church’s fundraising options are limited only by the imaginations of its planners.