How to go to camp for free!

Mo’ Money.

It’s the one mantra of student ministry that we don’t want to admit. We need “mo’ money” for an intern, “mo’ money” to update our student room, “mo’ money” for scholarships to camps and retreats, and “mo’ money” to reach “mo’” students. Yet for most of us, it feels like a bad thing to want ‘mo money” in Christian ministry. After all, didn’t Nortorious B.I.G. say it best: “It’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see.” Spoken like a true church leader!

The truth is, whether we like or not, we need money in order to engage in ministry and in our culture. Jesus constantly engaged the culture in order to point towards spiritual fulfillment (Luke 8:4-15, Mark 4:30-32, Luke 15:4-7). And we want to do the same. The problem is that in most student ministries, we’re working off of small budgets to minister to kids and families who are living off of even smaller ones. That means finding “mo’ money”, especially for camps, can be difficult. Where is the ‘mo money’ when our budget requests are denied and our funds are slipping each month? Is there anywhere else to go for “mo’ money”? How do we do it? We’re so glad you asked!

Think of it as a 3-step process: present the need, present the vision, present the opportunity. While only you truly know the needs and visions of your student ministry, we can offer you some tried and true “opportunities” to present to your people as unique ways to support your ministry. Here are seven fun and engaging opportunities to put the fun back in your fundraising (We should really put that on a poster somewhere).

1. KARAOKE AUCTION

This one is sure to make lasting memories for your church and, at the very least, induce the kind of laughter that rivals a pack of wild hyenas. All you need is a large room with plenty of tables and chairs, a karaoke machine, and a host. If you don’t have a karaoke machine, get creative- simple tracks over a PA system and lyrics on the screen will do the trick! People are allowed to bid on one another singing so it’s imperative that your attendees bring plenty of cash. And then let the bidding begin! For example, Jimmy Snedeker says, “I’ll pay $10 to hear Pastor Smith sing Justin Bieber’s ‘Girlfriend.’” Your host then turns it over to Pastor Smith, who can counter: “I’ll pay $15 NOT to sing that song!” It then goes back to ole’ Snedeker, who can up the ante to $20. An effective host is important here; you want somebody who will egg on the bidding war, driving your final bid as high as possible. In the end, either Pastor Smith is singing the song in front of everyone for $50 or has avoided the public humiliation for the same price. Either way- you win!

2. ADULT PROM

Time to dust off that baby blue tux and take the old folks for a stroll down memory lane to the highlight of high school: the prom! Treat the planning and promoting of this event just like you would a prom. Find a creative title and pick out a theme. Sell prom tickets after church for several weeks leading up to the event. To create a little more excitement and incentive to spend, give people the option to come as a group and even let them in a day early to decorate their table and hold a contest for the “best table décor” that night. Find a photographer in your church to take pictures of couples in their best prom poses. Ask your worship band to play at the prom, maybe even to dress the part in their best prom attire! Then get your students involved! Have some of your seniors valet cars, provide childcare, or serve food and drink. It’s an easy way to provide the adults in your church a night of food, fun, and dancing—all for the cause of your student ministry!

3. COOKIES BY THE POUND

This is a delicious fundraiser to have around the holidays. You can market it as the “perfect gift for the people in your office.” Have your church members volunteer to take a blank recipe card, letting them know that when they do they are committing to make three-dozen cookies. Have them write down the recipe in full on the card (people are allergic to everything these days; they’re going to want to know what’s in their cookies). Set a date to have all the cookies returned and then begin your set up for the sale. Determine your “pound price” and make sure to have some digital food scales ready to weight. Then put your cookies on display and let the people start buying! Let them stroll through the cookie aisle, filling up their box with the variety they want. Once they’ve made their selections, weigh their cookies, collect your “pound price,” and send them home to start eating.

4. FLAMINGO’ING

This one could be a little edgy (depending on the people in your community) so clear it with your pastor first! When he gives you the green light, buy 30 or so plastic pink flamingos (the tackier the better of course). Advertise that, for a small fee, the student ministry will place all 30 flamingos in the yard of the person of your choice. The catch is- that person has to pay to have them removed and put in the yard of someone else in the community. This could go on for awhile so you may want to set an end date, but remember, the longer it goes on, the more money you’ll make! Make sure to make the placing of the flamingos a big deal for the kids. Have them wear all black and set them up in the middle of the night. What a sight to behold the next morning—it’s like a terrible Miami yard decoration! Of course you’ll have those in your congregation want to avoid the flamingos at all costs. Offer to sell them an insurance policy to keep their yard flamingo free. When all is said and done, you’ve played a few pranks and made a little money—what more could you want?

5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHURCH

Is there a better celebration than a birthday party? I doubt it! So why not throw one for your entire congregation? Consider it a celebration for everyone. Invite your church members to attend and donate a dollar amount that matches their age. In other words, a four year old brings $4 while a 90-year old brings $90. They are welcome to donate more- just consider this their party entry fee. Then let the party begin! Set it up just like a regular birthday part. Think cake, candles, ice cream, balloons, hats, and streamers—the whole nine yards. Include party games like pin the tail on the donkey or a piñata smashing to keep the fun going. Allow a time for people to make a “toast” to celebrate the church and the people who make it up. And of course end the night with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday!”

There you have it- five unique ways to put some money back into you ministry. Remember with each event to use every resource available to you to promote to your church and community. Put your ad in church bulletins, give the info in the morning announcements, send out e-blasts with all the details, and blow up all your social media outlets! Put your own spin on the events, tweaking them to fit your needs and make them work for your specific ministry. Take it and make it your own! And then, when all is said and done, roll around in all that cash you’ve made for your ministry!

When it comes to raising money for camps and events, what’s your go-to strategy?

 

TODAY ONLY! (9/30)

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Orange Conference 2018