8 Creative & Engaging Church Fundraising Events [2023]

8 Creative & Engaging Church Fundraising Events [2023]

Lindsey Baker

church fundraising events

Like any type of fundraising, church fundraising can get stale both for you and your congregants if you aren’t coming up with exciting new ways to do it.

That’s where events come in. The best church fundraising events are engaging, unique, and can really amp up the energy. Plus, they are extremely effective ways to raise money for your church.

We’ve compiled a list of 8 different church fundraising event ideas ideal for different times of the year, audiences, and needs. In this article, we’ll cover –

  1. Fall Festival
  2. Mac and cheese cook-off
  3. Babysitting nights
  4. Silent auction
  5. Pictures with Santa
  6. Craft sale
  7. Virtual concert
  8. Virtual raffle or penny social

Let’s dive in!

8 Creative and Engaging Church Fundraising Events

Here are 10 church fundraising event ideas that you can use for your church. For each, we’ll explain the best way to fundraise. We’ve also segregated the list into different categories to help decide which one is best for the time of the year, your audiences, and your needs.

Church Events for the Whole Family

1. Fall Festival

A fall festival is a broad type of event that includes activities for kids like hay rides, face painting, pumpkin carving, and more. For adults, there’s live music, food trucks, and mingling while their kids enjoy the festivities.

1.1 When to host

Obviously, a fall festival is best hosted in the fall!

1.2 Planning and budget

For smaller budgets, think about asking for volunteers to set up booths, making sure you have a variety of activities available.

Larger budgets can hire professional activities like a rock climbing wall and professional face painter.

This event can be held in your church’s parking lot, which avoids the need for renting a venue! Just be sure your guests have somewhere to park.

1.3 How to fundraise

Each activity at the festival should cost tickets that can be purchased both at the event and ahead of time online.

Sell festival tickets with different tiers, as shown below. For example, $10 buys 5 tickets, $30 buys 15 tickets, etc. That way someone can easily purchase as many tickets as they need for the whole family to enjoy the activities!

donorbox events

Sell Tickets with Donorbox Events!

Be sure to also accept donations during or after the event. Have QR codes pasted across your venue for people to quickly access your donation page. You can also engage youngsters in text-giving. That’s a fun way to empower them to support your church.

You can have a giving kiosk set up at your event as well. This helps people give quickly from a tablet device with their cards and smartphones.

1.4 How Donorbox helps

Donorbox provides you with powerful features to easily and effectively implement all these options for your fall festival.

You get a free QR code with every campaign you create on Donorbox. Plus our Text-to-Give feature gives you a unique campaign ID and a texting number that you can share with your attendees.

Donorbox Events helps you create an event page and sell tickets online. You can create unlimited ticket tiers and set the tax-deductibility of your tickets, the purchase deadline, and ticket quantity. Donorbox also sends your attendees automated ticket receipts with a digital copy of their tickets.

You should also try our Donorbox Live ™ Kiosk app. Add it to any tablet device and pair it with a card reader to create a giving kiosk. It’s a frictionless and quick solution to empower your donors to easily give via swipes, dips, or taps of their cards, smartphones, and smartwatches.

Check out this family-friendly fall festival event campaign page by Port Ministries. They created this crowdfunding campaign on Donorbox to raise donations that included participation tickets to their event activities. This is another simple way to raise money with your fall event.

church event campaign page example

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2. Mac and cheese cook-off

Although this can really be any type of food, the goal of a mac and cheese cook-off is to make the event friendly for kids, too! Members of your church will cook and compete for awards like “best overall”, “the crowd favorite”, “most creative”, and more.

2.1 When to host

This event can be hosted whenever!

2.2 Planning and budget

All you need for this event is a venue and tables for each contestant to set up their samples. If you can use church property, your budget could be $0.

2.3 How to fundraise

Sell tickets to the event online in advance and at the door. You can also sell refreshments like water and soda to boost your revenue at the event itself.

For selling tickets at the door, make sure you have a way to accept credit card and digital wallet payments. Or you can share a QR code with your potential attendees and direct them to your online event page where they can buy tickets.

During the event, you can encourage attendees to make donations to your church. You can talk about how the donations will help you and the impact you’re hoping to create. Have a giving kiosk setup at the venue, which will help people make a quick donation.

2.4 How Donorbox helps

The Donorbox Live ™ Kiosk app can be added to a tablet device and paired with a card reader device to accept card payments as well as payments through Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, etc. This app is also backed by Donorbox’s powerful fundraising platform and features. This can be a great addition to your event venue to accept in-person donations.

You can also create a campaign for this event on Donorbox and use the free QR code to redirect attendees to this campaign page. With our UltraSwift ™ Pay feature that adds digital wallets to our donation form, your attendees can quickly make a donation from this page.

Finally, you can use Donorbox Events to sell tickets online. Along with all the effective features it brings to your event, Events also enables you to accept donations right from the ticketing form.

donations from donorbox ticketing form

Church Events for Adults

3. Babysitting nights

The concept of a babysitting night is quite straightforward – the church provides babysitters for a night of fun for the kids while the parents go out on the town. And although it is not a family event, it is equally great for adults and their kids.

3.1 When to host

This event can be hosted whenever but should be based on parent interest. Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity for this event.

3.2 Planning and budget

If you can use church space, the only potential costs here are hiring babysitters (unless you have volunteers!) and snacks/dinner for the kids.

Plan this event a month or so in advance so parents have time to make plans and sign up.

For the night of the event, plan some fun activities and games to engage the kids. You will need young volunteers with similar experiences to plan this event.

3.3 How to fundraise

Parents must buy tickets for their kids ahead of time so your church can plan. Sell tickets online.

Because you’ll be providing food for the children, you can let parents know the fair market value of each ticket and how much is tax deductible. You should also accept meal preferences for the kids in case the parents want to mention anything important. Your event ticketing tool should make all this effortless on your end.

3.4 How Donorbox helps

Donorbox Events is a simple-to-use and highly effective solution for selling tickets online. You can easily set up an online event page and a ticketing form. You either embed the ticketing form on your church website or use the Donorbox-hosted event page. Share the link to this page with the community and let them know you’re hosting a babysitting event.

Create multiple ticket tiers using Donorbox Events. If possible, split the event night into different slots which will help parents decide when exactly they want to drop their kids off and when they must pick them up. You can also create additional tiers for more than one kid or for additional one or two hours.

Donorbox Events also lets you accept attendees’ preferences. In this case, you can ask parents if their kids have any dietary restrictions or allergies. It will help you prepare for the event night.

church event preferences

Boost Event Ticket Sales with Donorbox Events!

4. Silent auction

This should be sold as a somewhat glamorous night out for parents. Encourage them to dress nicely and come out to see the silent auction items!

4.1 When to host

This event can be hosted whenever you need to raise additional funds. You can add this to other bigger church fundraising events and engage your older audiences.

4.2 Planning and budget

Your budget will depend on the scale of the evening and how much volunteer effort you’ll receive. For example, a night with a catered dinner at a restaurant will be expensive, but a volunteer-provided meal at your church will cost much less.

Soliciting items for the auction will be your biggest planning task. Ask congregants for donations and ideas and reach out to your community partners for sponsorships. We also have email templates on our Nonprofit Blog that you can use to request in-kind auction items from a local business.

4.3 How to fundraise

You’ll sell tickets to the event online beforehand. And you’ll also receive the funds from the winners of the silent auction.

If you’d like to raise more money through donations, make announcements during the event about any campaign you’re running right now. Or your need for donations. It is advisable to talk about the impact and add the same to your online donation page. Now, help attendees quickly scan a QR code and go to that page to make a donation.

Having a giving kiosk with smaller custom amounts that are easier for people to give can be equally effective. The kiosk should be easy to use and transactions should be secure and quick.

4.4 How Donorbox helps

Donorbox Live ™ Kiosk helps you add 4 custom ask amounts to easily accept in-person donations at your events. Attendees will select one amount and tap or swipe their cards to make a donation. It’s that simple!

donorbox live kiosk app

Donorbox Live™ Kiosk - Learn More

You should use Donorbox Events to sell tickets to your auction event in advance. Our ticketing forms are embeddable on your church website. Events also allows you to accept donations from the ticketing form.

Finally, you can create a campaign on Donorbox, that includes a fundraising page and a super-fast donation form to help accept donations. Use this form to accept donations or sponsorships for your event, as Lighthouse Ministries is doing with the below page on Donorbox. Use our free QR code to redirect people to a page like this and raise more donations during the event.

church event page

Year-End Giving Events for Churches

5. Pictures with Santa

Parents will bring their kids to the church to take pictures with Santa! It’s simple and effortless for your church and can be helpful if you do not have a lot of volunteers available for the event.

5.1 When to host

We suggest hosting this kind of event the first weekend in December, before many holiday season activities.

5.2 Planning and budget

This event is very inexpensive for your church, provided you have someone willing to play Santa! You may need to rent a Santa costume. You can either hire a professional photographer or simply ask parents to take pictures on their smartphones.

5.3 How to fundraise

Sell tickets per picture. So for example, if someone wants a picture with one child, then the other child, and then both children together, that’s three pictures – and three tickets.

You can also ask parents to donate at your giving kiosk for taking their kids’ pictures if tickets are not an option. Set up the kiosk next to where your Santa is, so it is easier for parents to pay for the pictures.

You can also sell refreshments for kids and parents to make this event more fun. This will also help in raising more money.

5.4 How Donorbox helps

The best way you can fundraise with Donorbox for this simple event is to add our Live ™ Kiosk app to your tablet devices so that parents can quickly donate for the pictures.

You can also create a simple donation form (as shown below) to accept donations. Download our free QR code for the campaign and paste it at your venue. Parents who aren’t comfortable paying with the kiosk can scan this code and pay with the donation form.

church event donation form

Create Customized Donation Form

Rest assured that whichever way you use Donorbox to fundraise, security is our utmost priority and we have our security team and necessary measures in place to fight any fraud attack.

6. Craft sale

Chances are you have some talented folks in your congregation. Now is their time to shine! Ask them to sell their goods. Just be sure you have a good variety of things that people want to buy.

6.1 When to host

Host this event at the end of the year, when people are shopping for gifts.

6.2 Planning and budget

This is a low-budget event since the only requirements are space to host the event and tables for participants to set up their crafts.

Create an online event page to sell tickets to the event at least a month in advance. Depending on the number of participants, you can decide how many tables you’ll need. And if your church space would be sufficient for hosting the event.

6.3 How to fundraise

You can sell tickets to the event online and at the door. You can also ask participants to donate all or a portion of their sales to your church.

Since this is a fundraiser after all, you should feel comfortable asking for additional donations on top of ticket sales. This takes advantage of the giving season at the end of the year and increases your results for the event!

You can also introduce the concept of peer-to-peer fundraising to your congregation with this event. Invite each participant to create a fundraising page and share it with their networks. Their friends and families can come to the event and make a donation with this page to help your church. This way, you’ll be giving them a great opportunity to support your church in an innovative and engaging way.

6.4 How Donorbox helps

Donorbox Events is your best solution for selling tickets to this event. It also enables you to manage your purchasers’ data and sold tickets at the backend. You can analyze this data to plan your event accordingly.

You can leverage our fundraising pages and online donation forms to accept donations during the event. If you’re going to have young people at the event, try Donorbox Text-to-Give. Empower them to text your campaign ID and donate easily using their smartphones.

If you think your congregation would love to help with peer-to-peer fundraising, Donorbox Peer-to-Peer is the way to go! Simply create a campaign and toggle a switch to turn it into a peer-to-peer campaign. Invite your best supporters from the tool. They’ll receive email invitations to sign up and customize their fundraising pages. Check out this short video to understand how Donorbox Peer-to-Peer works!

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Virtual Church Events

7. Virtual concert

Book musicians to put on a virtual concert with a variety of music styles, so there’s something for everyone! The perk of a virtual concert is that people from all over can participate and you’ll increase your attendance.

7.1 When to host

This event can be hosted whenever.

7.2 Planning and budget

The perk of virtual events is that they’re easy to plan and don’t require a big budget! But keep in mind that fundraising with virtual events is tricky as people may not be willing to buy tickets for a virtual experience.

You’ll need to opt for a virtual events hosting platform that lets you embed an online donation form. Have a clear fundraising goal in mind for the event. Add it to the form. This is a great way to encourage attendees to donate and help your church meet its goal.

Airmeet is a great option and it also seamlessly integrates with Donorbox to help you embed the form in a live event session. When your attendees don’t have to go outside of the event to make a donation, you can expect more donations to pour in.

airmeet and donorbox integration

Donorbox + Airmeet - Learn More!

7.3 How to fundraise

You’ll sell tickets online prior to the event. When someone purchases a ticket, they should receive an automated thank-you with a receipt and information about how to access the virtual event.

You should also fundraise during the event with text-to-give. Share details like the texting number and the keywords with your attendees from time to time. You should remind the performers to ask for donations throughout the concert to keep the momentum going!

7.4 How Donorbox helps

Sell tickets to your virtual concert with Donorbox Events. Set your ticket prices keeping in mind that it’s an online event. Our event pages are highly customizable – you can add your event description, details about where and how to attend, images, and other information. You can also add a ticket-buying deadline to create a sense of urgency among your potential attendees.

tickets for church fundraising events

Finally, embed the Donorbox donation form in a virtual event hosting platform like Airmeet. This makes fundraising super-easy. Your donors would love this option as well.

But if you’re using another platform, try Donorbox Text-to-Give to encourage your attendees to give via text. Share your unique campaign ID along with the texting number with your virtual attendees. When they text the ID to the number, they receive a link to your mobile-friendly campaign page to complete the donation. It’s also very simple to repeat this donation – with no need to go to the campaign page again!

donorbox text to give

Try Donorbox Text-to-Give

8. Virtual raffle or penny social

Your church can include a virtual raffle or penny social with all kinds of virtual fundraising events, but it can also be a stand-alone event! Pick some attractive prizes or experiences and sell tickets to win!

8.1 When to host

This event can be hosted whenever. Themed raffles like pool toys for the summer or tickets to baseball games might affect when you host your raffle.

8.2 Planning and budget

The biggest expense here will be the items unless you’re able to get them donated! Get in touch with your local businesses to see if anyone would like to partner with your nonprofit.

However, this requires some planning. You’ll need to list the marketing opportunities you’ll be able to provide the businesses with if they donate an item to your penny social.

You’ll also need to create a strategy for pricing your event tickets. The only way to raise money with a raffle or penny social is by selling raffle tickets. So create different ticket tiers to ensure this event meets your fundraising goal.

8.3 How to fundraise

Sell tickets to your raffle online. Different ticket tiers should represent different amounts of raffle tickets so participants can give at a higher level to receive more entries in the raffle!

Choose a virtual event hosting platform to livestream the raffle drawings. Embed a donation form to help people make additional donations to your church during the event. Make sure this showcases your fundraising goal meter. That way, if you’ve yet to meet the goal, your supporters would love to give extra to make that happen.

8.4 How Donorbox helps

Donorbox integrates with Airmeet, an all-in-one event hosting platform, to make fundraising with your virtual events easy and convenient. You can embed your donation form in your live event session and encourage people to give to your church. Use this powerful combination to livestream your raffle or penny auction and raise donations.

Donorbox Events will help you sell raffle tickets. Add as many tiers as you must to generate revenue with your church event. You can also calculate the tax-deductibility of your ticket tiers by inputting the fair market value in the tool. Highlight this to sell more tickets and create transparency among purchasers.

In addition, you have Donorbox Text-to-Give and QR code options. Simply share the code or text-giving details with your attendees and ask them to support your church with donations.

Over to You

A solid fundraising year for your church will likely include multiple events. Events are a great way for your churchgoers to get to know each other better and grow even closer to your church.

Church fundraising events can also help you raise funds for specific needs like capital campaigns, mission trips, and new initiatives in your community. Choosing creative events like the ones listed above will ensure a good time – and some solid fundraising for your church!

And as you navigate your way through it, Donorbox Events is there to help you succeed. We have a number of other features like Text-to-Give, Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer, and more to add to your event to be able to raise more and engage better. Explore them on our website.

Sign up for free to start fundraising today!

Want to learn tips and tricks on church fundraising? Go to our Nonprofit Blog. You’ll also get several templates and samples to help with event sponsorships and donation letters. Subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll send a collection of our best resources to your inbox every month!

Lindsey Baker

Lindsey Baker Bower is a writer, educator, and nonprofit professional. She has years of experience helping arts nonprofits with their fundraising messaging and strategy. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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