If you forgot to include sufficient resources in your annual budget for a new or improved website, don’t worry! Here are 3 simple ideas you could use to raise some funds while building congregational support for the new website at the same time.
Before you launch into one of these fundraisers, be sure you know how much money you’ll need to raise. Take into consideration the domain registration, hosting, software or the fees of a church website company, development fees, graphic design, images and photos, and any other special costs you might have.
The Daily Sponsor Approach
Suppose you came to a figure of $1000 for the year. Could you get your congregation members to individually “own” or sponsor the website for one or more days at a cost of $2.74 per day?
Create twelve giant calendars, one for each month, and stick them up on a wall. Each day should also have a small sponsorship card attached (sticky notes could work) with the sponsorship date, the daily cost, and how to pay for it. Allow individuals to claim one or more days by writing their name on the calendar, Ask them to take the card or sticky note as a reminder and to turn it in with their payment. People might choose to be anonymous, or they could sponsor a day in honor of or on behalf of a friend, relative, or business. The daily sponsor could be publicized each day on the website or on social media, perhaps with a photo, a link to their business, a few words about a church ministry they are involved in, and so on.
The Rummage Sale Approach
If your website is desperately in need of recycling, perhaps it’s time to hold a church and web garage sale. Just as everyone sometimes needs to clear the clutter out of their homes, most churches could stand to do a good bit of spring cleaning in their digital environment, too.
Come up with a catchy title for the event, such as “Bucks for Bytes” or “God’s Good Giveaway.” Since your website content is free, make your rummage sale a giveaway event. Hand out small business cards to persons as they arrive at your church which state that everything is free, but donations will be accepted so that the church can create a new website.
Have a checkout area that everyone has to stop at on their way out. Ask everyone (politely!) if they’d like to receive information by email about the church as you offer them a clipboard and a sheet of paper where they can write down their first name and email address (don’t ask for anything more than that). Be sure to follow up with these people as soon as possible with a friendly series of emails about the church.
There will be plenty of people who will take a few items, and you may decide you need to have an item limit to prevent someone from filling their truck or car up. But you’ll likely be surprised at how many individuals will “check out” by making a donation.
The “You buy this anyway so get it from us” Approach
What is something that over half of adults consume daily and 83 percent consume at some point in the year? Coffee! You’ll learn about these and more surprising statistics at National Coffee Association. (The Aboundant team has a love for Americanos.)
A number of companies offer Fair Trade coffee for resale for fundraising purposes, such as Grounds for Change and (my personal favorite) Cafe Campesino. Typically you place an order for as little as 20 lbs of coffee, then resell it for whatever your organization feels is a fair price. (You can even create your own custom labels with the church logo and website, by the way.) The profit is yours to use. Since almost everyone loves coffee–and most individuals from churches care about the people who pick the beans and the land on which they are grown–this can be a really fun and profitable fundraiser.
You’ll obviously want to check to make sure you can do this without tax implications in your state, so talk with your finance committee before proceeding with such a church fund raiser.
By the way, when my own congregation did this fundraiser, we bought only whole beans. Then, one congregation member who owns a professional-quality coffee grinder custom-ground the beans for each buyer. Our “Gathering Space” smelled terrific each Sunday we had the coffee for sale (with samples, of course!)
The TL;DR Bottom Line
Church websites vary widely in cost, but it’s not necessarily true that you get more by paying more. Aboundant is able to offer very affordable yet full-featured websites for churches by tapping into the power of WordPress installed on our lightning-fast servers. However, if the cost is still an issue for your faith community, why not give one of these three fundraisers a try this year? If you’re really ambitious, all three of these ideas could be combined into one mega-fundraiser!