Thinking Through Fundraising


By Daniel Kiefer

Summer is four or five months away and if you’re like me, you have already booked your camps, mission trips, activities, over nights, and various other events that keep your students engaged all summer long. No matter what your summer looks like, most of the things we’ve planned cost money, which is something most parents don’t have a lot of. And when deadlines come around we are left begging parents, “Show me the money!” Many parents are left saying, “We don’t have any.” This is where you sweep in and shower them with all the fundraiser cash that you have collected. So how do you best leverage your fundraising super powers?

Build a Team

First you have to build a team of invested parents. Often times we overlook the greatest resource we have: parents. Get all the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles that you can to be a part of your fundraising team. This team will spread the load of work among many people instead of you bearing the workload yourself. Cast your vision to this team and get them to invest their time and talents to help raise the money needed. Now that you’ve built your team you need to…

Cast your Vision

Let this team know what your goal is for the amount of money you need and why you need to raise it. For instance, our goal is to raise $150 per student going to camp. We need to raise that much because camp is expensive and most families have multiple students going to camp. But more importantly we believe that camp is an experience for students where they can have an encounter with God that can change their lives. Once your team has bought into your vision, figure out which fundraisers are going to get you the…

Biggest Bang for your Efforts

For years, I would overwork myself trying to squeeze every last dollar out of 3, 4 or even 5 fundraisers. We did car washes, catalog sales, discount cards, and parents nights out, lunches after church, doughnut sales and even car washes. Did I mention car washes? We would do ok, raising on average $500-600 for each event. But the effort involved in these fundraisers never matched the payoff. At most we would get about $50-60 total per student raised, which isn’t really a lot compared to the amount they owed for the events. So I began to look for the best way to raise the most money we could. I settled on 2 fundraisers that were high on the profit margin and began to focus on those two fundraisers alone. Now certainly there are always tweaks to make to these fundraisers and this is where you learn to…

Get Creative

Think of outside-the-box ways to promote your fundraisers. Sometimes when we reuse the same fundraiser year after year it tends to loose its momentum and in turn it doesn’t do as well as it did the year before. Find ways to promote it differently, or put a new twist in it. This is where your team of parents can help. Sit down with them and find new or better ways to do these fundraisers. Once you have all your planning done it is time to…


Delegating different tasks will help you avoid getting burned out. You cannot do your job alone; you’ve got to have help. I am a firm believer that the more people you have helping the more successful you’ll be, not just in raising these funds but overall in your ministry. Find people who can do the jobs that you cannot do. Find people to do the jobs that you’re not skilled in and let them work their magic.

The best two fundraisers that I’ve ever done are our annual golf tournament and and an envelope fundraiser. The golf tournament is a lot of work but it can be a huge success. The one key to our golf tournament is selling hole sponsorships. Our goal this year is to sell 2 per hole and this is where my team of parents will come in and help. They have way more connections in the community to business that are willing to donate money for camps just to advertise their business. The envelope fundraiser is not original with me, I found it here: This fundraiser is very customizable and will work in a lot of situations. You can do any number of envelopes and it is all 100% profit. The thing I like most about this fundraiser is ANYONE can participate in it. Some people can donate $500 and some can donate $1 but no matter the amount given it all goes to help a student in your ministry.

So what are your fundraisers that have been successful? How have you built your fundraising team? What creative new ways have you put a twist on a reused fundraiser?