Time & Talents Fundraiser

(aka ‘Seeds to Grow’)

Instead of asking for donations from your members and supporters or selling a specific product or service, consider giving money away! This relies on your volunteers and supporters individual ideas, talents, dedication, and their willingness to do something special for your organization. Each individual raises funds in a manner than interests them. How does it work?  Your organization provides a small amount of “seed money” to each participant – $5 to $20 – and challenges them to use the money and their ingenuity to raise funds.

This could include buying ingredients and selling baked goods, purchasing materials for handmade crafts to sell, gasoline for a lawnmower to cut grass, printing flyers advertising a personal service, buying an inexpensive product and re-selling it, etc. The possibilities are endless and encourage individual creativity.

The participants will conduct their individual fundraiser at a time and place of their choosing. No major planning, space needs, or clean-up effort required. Just set a starting and ending date, provide the seed money, and then get out of the way! Depending on the type of projects chosen, think of the human interest publicity you could generate for your organization.

You can expect the participants to multiply their seed money several times, regardless of their project. This probably won’t be a big money maker but can be great fun. On the other hand, if 100 participants took $10 each and just doubled their money (a very modest expectation), your group would net $1000. Not bad for minimal planning and it can definitely be a fun fundraiser!

If your group is short on funds, consider asking each participant to provide their own seed money. Since the amount is small, most will agree. While this idea will work for any group, it is especially good for church group fundraising. Submitted by Rev. Mark H, Chicago, IL

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A Real Life Example: Columbus, OH: The senior pastor at Grace Fellowship, to illustrate a sermon on priorities and stewardship, put $3,000 – divided into amounts ranging from $100 to $500 – in 12 envelopes and sealed them. At the conclusion of each of that Sunday’s three services, he placed four of the envelopes at the front of the church and invited members to pick them up. His charge to those who accepted the challenge: Take the money, and make it grow.

Specifically, the pastor told them that they had six weeks to parlay the cash into larger amounts that the church would then collect and forward to Asia’s Hope, program that provides long-term care to orphans in Cambodia and Thailand, children at high risk for sexual and economic exploitation. This is the third time he has tried the experiment at Grace Fellowship, where he has served as pastor since 2004: Four or five years ago, he said, he distributed $225. Two years later, he increased the amount to $1,000. He said he’s thrilled by the fundraising projects his congregants have undertaken.

One church member is using his seed money to produce and sell T-shirts, another is peddling bracelets and a third is staging a benefit concert. “One guy was just going to go around and mow people’s lawns for donations,” he said. Three or four people decide to take on projects even though they didn’t get any of the envelopes, the pastor noted. He said he’s confident the latest experiment will yield far more than the $5,000 that Asia’s Hope needs to retain a nurse to work with the orphans the charity serves. However, he said, the primary goal isn’t to raise money but rather to teach the congregation an invaluable lesson in priorities and stewardship: “When we have a vision – boy, things get done.”

We have included a number of do-it-yourself fundraising ideas in this section that offer a break from traditional product sales.  They were developed by groups just like yours in an attempt have a little fun with their fundraiser. Some of them are tried and true while others show a lot of creativity … and even wackiness in some cases.  All of them are obviously not appropriate for every group, but sometimes, with only a little modification, your might find some fund raising ideas that are perfect for your group. If you have an idea for a do-it-yourself fund raiser you are willing to share with others, please send it to us via email. Include anything and everything you would want to know if you were hearing the idea for the first time.