I Need Your Advice Please

I’m thinking of doing/organising some fund-raising, for our pretty little (inner city) Anglican Church. The funds would be for boring things (we don’t need a new steeple, or something sexy like that), so we are going to have to inspire generosity from a pretty cold start. Also, the congregation are mostly old and poor and the surrounding population is 70% Muslim… This may turn out to be quite a challenge.

Apparently, jumble sales and the like do not make much money anymore. It seems the availability of cheaper brands of clothing and the work of charity shops has made “jumble” redundant. I’m not sorry really, I bloody hate jumble sales.

I looked into those wristbands that various  charities sell. They’re fun but quite expensive, unless you invest a fortune. Also, ordering more of those to be made just seems like yet another way to pollute the environment. Have you ever raised funds using them? Are they worth ignoring the negatives?

I’ve thought about sponsored events but I don’t really like the idea of bothering people for money, to see me sitting in a bath full of jelly for ten hours. Ugh. Also, we’ve only just had a sponsored hymn night.

People like food, don’t they? Maybe I could make some sweets (chocolates, candy etc.) to sell. Or get someone who can actually bake to make some cakes. Please could some of you share any simple recipes (for sweets/chocolates/candy) with me?

Also, if any of you can suggest any tried and tested craft ideas (of the small fund-raising variety), I would love to hear them. I’m willing to put in the effort, if you KNOW they are worth making.

I know I could Google all this… But I want to hear from REAL PEOPLE about what ACTUALLY WORKS. I trust people who have the good taste and intelligence to read my blog. I’m not so trusting of companies whose main motivation is to sell me “St. Agnes Church” key-rings.

I did have one more idea and that was the internet. Father Stephen already runs a pretty kick ass website. I thought maybe he should set up a page about needing funds and put up a PayPal button, or something? I will suggest it to him, if people think that might work. We are in rather a difficult place to raise funds, so more fortunate Christians might help… But whether or not Father Stephen would do that, I don’t know.

Am I missing anything else? I don’t think a fashion show would work, by the way, unless it was for Zimmer frames, or embroidered hankies.

Thanks in advance!

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29 responses to “I Need Your Advice Please

  1. How about *non*-fashion shows? Are any of your congregation in a band, say? Put on a gig using the church hall (assuming there is one) as a venue, fiver a ticket.

    • We’ve got a really big room (75 people) rather than a hall. A gig would be worth considering though, or some kind of “beauty treatment day” or something (dunno where that idea came from, it just popped into my head). Thanks!

  2. I used to live (sort of – it’s complicated) in an area of Birmingham that was, give or take, 50% Muslim. The rest was mostly nominally Christian, in the way that British people put down “CofE” on the census, almost as though they have to. There was a noticeable Sikh group in the area, too.

    A friend who’s involved in local politics (now a local councillor) got appointed to various community groups. One of the things that he saw working surprisingly well was a joint fete run between a local church and a local mosque, partly as a fund-raiser and partly as a community relations project. Obviously, you have to be careful about avoid offence with some of the activities you run – in particular, gambling and alcohol. He was amused that it turned out to be the organizers from the mosque who said “Oh, but you have to have a tombola.” Went down quite well, by all accounts.

  3. Have a pancake day…get everything donated and sell pancakes.
    People like to donate when they can get something they enjoy for a small price.
    Pancake breakfast…..

    • Another good idea! Cheers! :D

      • I was just going to mention spaghetti dinners, too. A few places in my area that aren’t necessarily churches (veteran’s halls, firehouses) host a spaghetti dinner open to the public for a reasonable price. The trick being that spaghetti can be relatively cheap to make and easy to feed, I’m guessing.

        Food is a good way to go, for me at least. :)

  4. Liddle-Oldman

    We used to have church fairs at my UU church just south of Boston. I always ran the White Elephant tables (the same as jumbles, I should think), and it’s furious hard making money quarter by quarter.

    However.

    For a couple years my lovely wife was head of the committee that ran the fairs. Before her, the fairs made around $800. She made about $4,000. The big difference was silent auctions and raffles. She (and her committee, which was a nice lady named Elaine) would solicit contributions from local merchants, either merchandise or gift certificates. Some would go to silent auction, some would be raffled.

    The caveat here is that this takes immense amounts of volunteer time. You need someone to solicit the contributions (and write nice thank-you notes), and peoople to flog the raffle tickets tirelessly. But she did increase the return immensely.

    (Feel free to inquire if you guys call any of these things differently, and you need a translation.)

    • I understood (even the White Elephant stall, which is like jumble but more posh). We could certainly have a go at that but the only problem is that our local merchants will most likely be helping the Mosques around here, rather than the Church of another religion. That said, nothing ventured, nothing gained… And thanks for all the help. Your wife sounds amazing! I think we need her. :D

      • Liddle-Oldman

        White Elephants are not more posh than *anything*. They tend to be the sort of thing you find at the very back of the Goodwill, and are priced aggressively at 25 cents.

        In any case, the town we’re in is absolutely and fanatically Catholic. (I was beaten up regularly in school for not going to Mass enough — I don’t think any of them knew about Protestants yet.) We still got some response. The selling point is the advertising they get out of it — you post the contributors, you put them in the printed order, etc. They’re not helping your church, per se, so much as getting their name out there.

        Another event we had some success with (it later occured to me) was the Strawberry Fair, the centerpiece of which was serving strawberry shortcake and coffee. (That’s tea to you, I suppose.) You need a lot of Church Ladies to hull and slice enough strawberries, but people certainly came in.

  5. The only religious fundraiser I attend is for the local Greek Orthodox Church. I’m not a member, nor am I Greek, but it’s a fun event. They sell tickets, which can be exchanged for delicious foods and drinks. They have folk dancers, a live band, church tours, a bake sale, and a little bazaar set up too.

    • I forgot to mention that they call it Greek Fest, and it’s seems more like a cultural event than a religious event. I think that is what helps get people throughout the community interested.

  6. My church does a dinner auction every year.

    in addition to getting items/gift baskets/gift certificates donated from local businesses, some members donate “events” canoe trips, catered dinners, boat rides, use of a ski lodge, etc…

    It’s all done as a “silent auction” with everything displayed on tables, save one or two big ticket items.

    We usually find some live entertainment and cook up a simple but tasty meal.

    it’s a good turn out, a fun evening.

    Oh, and beer/wine is a MUST.

    Alcohol loosens the purse strings.

  7. HA! I see that another Unitarian has made the same suggestion :)

    We UUs love our auctions/dinners :)

  8. Oh man, it is a lovely idea but I’m not sure how many of our local businesses would help ( see my reply to Liddle-Oldman).

    Also, the congregation at our Church are very poor. I’m talking VERY poor. They couldn’t donate a PICTURE of a ski lodge, let alone a stay in one! The wider Anglican Church help us a lot but we are just trying to raise a few hundred quid to pay the bills.

    Still, maybe we could try a scaled down version of that idea. :D Thanks!

  9. I am terrible at these sorts of things, but I see you’ve gotten some great ideas. I know there are places that sell trinket type things for cheap to be used to sell at church fairs and the like. Food is always a good idea – the pancakes and spaghetti are popular around the US too, as are bake sales.

    You do have a challenge ahead of you, but for some reason, I think you’re totally up for it. :)

  10. Helping is good, so good will come from it. I will give you more ideas when I have had the appropriate amount of coffee. First thoughts: Bread($) for Bread. Certainly you have some bakers in the congregation and who doesn’t like fresh bread? My sourdough starter makes 6 loaves at a time – easy. More on this idea later. Also, google “bread in a bag”. It’s a kids project that works for any age … easy, easy yeast bread you can show people how to make & they can run home and bake their first loaf. Another thought … cull talent in congregation, ask them to donate their time – one day – have a “beauty”, “spa”, “health” deal for nominal fee – someone teaching some sort of exercise, pedi, mani, massage, cooking demo of “eat this, not this”. Also, find some knitters – a prayer shawl is a very fast project, even for beginner. Can be sold on recurring basis – and who doesn’t need to pray/be prayed for? Last for the moment b/c need more coffee – find something delish and yummy that a group of you can make on recurring basis – make it so yummy and spread the word. Then your church will be known for this and people will come/order from far and yon to enjoy it regularly. If all this sounds insane, then someone has slipped vodka in my cup. Back later. :)

    • All good ideas! Also I have been thinking of making thin ribbon bookmarks, with beads at each end. They wouldn’t be expensive for our poor old folks to buy and I bet they all read! They’d make nice gifts too. :D

  11. Know you weren’t looking for sponsored events, but when I was younger, our youth group used to do rocking chair marathons

    Catherine

  12. That sounds like a fun idea! :D

  13. Builds muscles in places that you didn’t even know you had muscles ;-)…

    Catherine
    Foresight

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