This is going to be a Christmas like no other so the Generous Giving Team have been having a rummage through their mental cupboards in search of ways that your church can raise funds and hopefully bring some much needed warmth and light this Christmas.
Find out more below with a list of some fun, flexible and frivolous ways of bringing your community together, raising money and sharing the joy and good news of Christ’s birth.
As people are not meeting in person at the moment, you will need to give thought to how to collect donations for your event. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up online giving.
Online giving enables people to give to your church through the internet without having to visit your church building. It is simple to set up an online giving account, and once you have set up your account you will be able to use it for your fundraising event as well as link it to your church website, A Church Near You page, or social media page, making it easy for people to make a one off gift at any time. Please note that you DO NOT need to have a church website to be able to make use of online giving: every church in the CofE has an ‘A Church Near You’ page which can be used for this purpose.
The National Church of England have negotiated a premium online giving service for churches (using SumUp). You can find out how to easily set up online giving for your church at www.parishbuying.org.uk/online-giving
Some festive fundraising ideas:
Host a virtual Christmas carol fundraiser
Why not plan your own virtual fun Christmas carol fundraiser? We have all been missing music and what better way to enjoy Christmas music and singing and raise money for your church than to host online Carols via zoom or facebook. You could host it from your church or from a home. Families or households could donate and sing a carol or verse each.
Light the church at Christmas
Is your church lit during this season? If so, ask people in the community to contribute to the cost of it being lit one evening. You could list who is supporting the initiative and on what days via the church noticeboard or on your website page or whatever is appropriate for your church.
Christmas is also a time when we think of family and friends who are no longer with us. People in your community might be interested in contributing to lighting your church as a way of remembering their loved one by giving a gift in memory and supporting this initiative. You may also be able to offer to light your church on a day that is pertinent to them.
Christmas Tree Festival
Ask people in your community to draw, colour or paint a Christmas tree and place it in their window at home. You could consider asking them to decorate it around a particular theme relevant to them or to your community.
Remember to ask everyone who participates to make an online donation to the church.
You could also collate the information about the houses taking part and offer a Christmas Tree Festival trail or map and ask people to donate in return for receiving Christmas tree festival information.
Are there street facing windows in your area (they could be businesses as well as homes) that you could make into Christmas windows?
Ask your community to make a contribution to the church and ask them to host a window each on a different nativity theme.
You could collate this information for people to walk round your area and enjoy your community’s creative Christmas windows. Don’t forget to ask for a contribution in return for trail or map information.
You could also turn this into a competition for the best Christmas window.
Host a virtual Christmas movie night – a great opportunity to get your youth group involved!
Hosting a Christmas movie night is a great way to bring people together virtually to relax, raise money for your church and enjoy a fantastic Christmas film whether it’s a classic Christmas movie or something more modern. Here is a list of some movies for you to consider – although the list is endless so this is certainly not exhaustive!
It’s a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Story
The Santa Clause
Miracle on 34th Street
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Start and end the night with a zoom get-together along with an interval to enjoy popcorn and snacks! Ask people to donate the cost of a cinema ticket and their usual cinema treats.
Christmas Virtual challenge
Why not challenge your congregation or community to consider undertaking a virtual Christmas challenge together? Mary and Joseph walked 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem (which took approximately 4 days) and 90 miles from Bethlehem when they fled to Egypt so you could ask folks to walk the same distance over advent and ask for sponsorship. Anyone taking the challenge could register with an online fundraising site such as Fundrazr and collect sponsorship from family, friends and colleagues.
Hold a virtual Christmas quiz!
Is there someone in your congregation who would be prepared to host a Christmas quiz night on zoom? This could be a great idea to get people together and raise some money. Don’t forget to ask people to pay a registration fee to join the quiz.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of sorting out quiz questions you can register with virtualquizevents and they will host a virtual quiz for you. You can even set the time and date yourself. Virtualquizevents it is a platform where there is no cost to run a quiz. Each person pays a small amount to take part (the church sets the fee) and the quiz runs for 20 minutes. 60% of the income goes to your church, 10% to the winner, 6% to the second place and 4% to third place.
As none of us are able to buy non-essential items we may not be able to buy our usual Christmas cards so instead of sending cards you could ask the congregation to send an online greeting to their friends and make a donation to your church instead.
When your church is registered with online giving via Sumup you can ask people to donate via the churches Give a Little account which is available to churches with an online SumUp account.
Don’t forget to promote your event! For example, you can use:
- local press or radio
- local magazine or newsletter
- local noticeboards
- church emails
- word of mouth – we might not be able to meet but we can use the phone!
- a banner outside your church
- social media – twitter, whatsapp groups, local facebook pages for example you could create an event on facebook and invite people to it
You may be able to secure some local TV coverage as well if you share your Christmas fundraising plans with your local news networks!
Remember - the three keys to fundraising success!
1st - Choose a simple fundraising idea that suits your community
2nd – Set up an online giving page
3rd - Promote your event and your online giving page!
For more information or support:
The Generous Giving Team hosted a webniar about fundraising this Christmas and you can download the slides here.
For information about any of these ideas and support with other ways of improving your church finances please contact a member of the Generous Giving Team:
Philip Leech (07535 144416) – particularly with reference to setting up online giving
Rachel Broughton – particularly to talk through a fundraising idea
Sally Bossingham (07950 428829)