Ecclesiastical Insurance shares five of the best church fundraising ideas with our readers.
Whether it’s for building repairs or maintenance to buy new equipment or to fund a new community initiative, fundraising is never far from the top of a church meeting agenda.
In 2016 Ecclesiastical ran a nationwide competition to find the best fundraising ideas being run by churches. In this edition of Church Maintenance and Equipment Magazine the specialist insurer shares some of its favourite ideas with our readers.
No matter how large or small your congregation is, there are some wonderful ideas that can be easily implemented and have been tried and tested by other church communities. So get out the bunting, dust down the folding tables and give some of these ideas a go this summer!
1. A charming family fun day!
Submitted by St. Elizabeth of Hungary in the Diocese of Liverpool
Great family fun with lots of fundraising potential!
Every second Saturday in June, hundreds of people gather on Aspull village green, frantically jumping up and down. The reason? They’re competing for the chance to be Champion Worm Charmer of the village!
The worms are collected by the team members and placed in a welcoming jar to be counted. At the end of half an hour’s charming, the team with the most worms wins.
A local wildlife officer is on hand to check on the worm’s welfare, and every single worm is replaced once the sun has gone down and all nearby hungry birds have gone to roost.
At the end of the day the worming committee awards two trophies, one for the most worms and one for ‘Big Jim,’ the fattest, juiciest worm caught on the day.
What you’ll need
- String and pegs to mark out the plots
- Numbers for the plots
- Plastic pots with a little bit of soil in them to keep the worms safe
- Scales to weigh and measure the biggest worm
- Large bell or whistle to start and finish the worm charming
Worm charming by numbers
- £5 for a team of four
- Each patch is three metres square
- £1700 – the amount raised in 2015 by St. Elizabeth of Hungary
- Nine grams – the heaviest worm charmed so far!
- Other stalls, like tombola’s, BBQs etc.
- A barrel of local real ale to sell for refreshments!
2. The sky’s the limit for this one!
Submitted by St. Andrew’s Church in the Diocese of Exeter
A great event and simple idea enjoyed by young and old!
What can you do with a large empty building that’s 22m long and has a very high ceiling? Hold the Great Church Paper Plane Competition of course.
Taking advantage of a larger pre-planned local event, St. Andrew’s encouraged people to visit the church and show off their origami skills in style by making a paper aeroplane that could fly the length of the church aisle. The only rule was that you could only use a single piece of A4 paper.
While most contestants made streamlined aerodynamic planes, a few simply crushed their paper into a ball and threw it as far as they could!
What you’ll need
- A long tape
- A ream of A4 paper
- Some very basic rules
- Helpers to measure the flights
- Obstacles down the aisle to add to the fun
Paper planes by numbers
- £1 to fly your plane
- 18.2m – the longest flight
- 297 x 210mm – a piece of A4 paper
- 140 – the amount of people who took part
3. Pasta masters at fundraising!
Submitted by St. Thomas of Canterbury in the Diocese of Lincoln
Food for thought for any aspiring fundraiser!
What could a small village of just 100 inhabitants possibly do to raise funds for the local church? Well, the church’s location did have one key advantage… its proximity to the village pub.
The Cholmeley Arms is popular with locals and tourists attracting around 20,000 customers a year. The PCC approached the publican and asked him if he would be willing to add 50p to the cost of every portion of lasagne sold, with the proceeds going to the church.
St. Thomas has received a healthy contribution from the Lasagne Fund, and the takings in the collection boxes on site at the church have also risen as the pub’s customers often pop across to see the church after their meal.
What you’ll need
- A nearby pub, shop or café willing to add a charitable donation to something they sell
- A good relationship with the landlord!
- Why not print up some leaflets encouraging visitors to the pub to come and visit your church?
The lasagne fund by numbers
- 50p extra cost for each dish sold
- 20,000 pub visitors every year
4. A timely appeal that takes just a minute
Submitted by St. Georges Church in the Diocese of Worcester
Beautifully simple and inspiring for the local community and beyond.
To raise the money to repair an iconic clock, the Friends of St. George’s came up with the ‘Just a Minute’ appeal, where people bought a minute that was special to them.
The Bishop of Worcester chose the minute his wife died after losing her battle with cancer and John Butterworth chose the time when he knelt before The Queen to receive his MBE. This idea could be easily adapted for any building appeal. For instance, people could sponsor a brick and describe a specific memory they have of the church or the local community.
What you’ll need
- Posters or leaflets to publicise the event
- A clock – it doesn’t need to be one needing a repair
- A board to display the chosen minutes
Just a minute by numbers
- 1440 – the number of minutes in a day
- 100 – the number of words participants have to explain their choice
- 1955 – the last time the clock face was regilded
- £10 – the minimum donation
5. Famous faces reveal fabulous fundraising potential!
Submitted by St. John the Evangelist in the Diocese of Edinburgh
Making use of its busy central location, St. John’s created an interactive board, which featured forty different faces of people who changed the world in some way. The entire board was covered with small gold magnetic bricks, and people were asked to pay £1 to peel off a brick.
Visitors were immediately drawn to the board, particularly children, and over time the 40 faces were slowly revealed.
Alongside the board are leaflets that give some background to the faces, and the church also uses social media to publicise the board.
What you’ll need
- A wide range of people to help suggest who should feature on the board
- A graphic designer who can design the interactive board and the bricks
- A prominent place in your church to situate the board
- Careful planning about when to launch
Famous faces by numbers
- 40 faces
- 15,000 gold magnetic bricks
- £1 per brick
- The board raises an average of £100 a week
For more fundraising ideas and help on how to plan and manage fundraising events you can visit the Ecclesiastical website www.ecclesiastical.com/church