To Fundraise, or not to Fundraise?

Commander Bill Gunter —  January 11, 2011

Churches and ministries are often faced with the challenge of having enough funds for the activities they want to plan. How you opt to fund your ministry is a decision that each church needs to make based on how they feel God is leading them. Consequently, I am not going to say one way is better than another, I simply want to share my thought process as we had to face the decision of whether to use fundraisers or not for youth activities.

We started the church a few years ago and so the decisions we make lay the foundation for the church, its traditions, policies, etc. I came from a church that did not allow children and youth ministries to do fund-raising. I don’t think that there was any philosophical reason behind that except that it seemed that every week one of the ministries was soliciting the membership for pizza, cookies, or something and the leadership felt it was too much. A couple of other families came from churches that did allow their youth to hold fund raisers and they wanted to do some fund raising for the youth, so it was time to come to an understanding, a policy, a philosophy for fund  raising.

Our church reaches out to the community with what we call kindness outreaches. We provide services for the community, handing out water in the town square, doing car washes for free (no donations accepted), going through apartments handing out free household supplies, etc. So in looking at the question of whether to allow fund raising for children and youth ministries in the church, I had to look at the “bigger picture”. How would it look to the community if on one Saturday the church held a car wash for free, accepting no donations, and then the next week on the same corner, or even another one, the youth were holding a car wash to raise funds for the youth group of the church? I felt that it would send the message that the church does not support its children and youth if the church offered something for free to the community, but the youth of that same church had to raise funds to do things. I wanted to make sure that what the children and youth did was in line with the overall direction and vision of the church. So we have a no fund raising policy. The ministries are fully supported by the church.

My intent with this article  is not to discuss whether your children’s ministry should or should not utilize fund raising to support the ministry, rather I am curious as to how you, or the church, came to the decision about whether to use fund raising or not. What was the thought process that led to the final decision? Share with us to help others who may be faced with this decision.

Commander Bill Gunter

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Bill is the Associate Pastor of Children & Youth at Hanover Fellowship in Hanover, Pennsylvania where his responsibilities include caring for children and youth from birth through high school. Along with his responsibilities in the local church, Bill is very involved in the Awana ministry, serving on the ministry teams of local Awana missionaries, providing trainings, leading workshops and helping run regional events.