Welcome to the exciting world of NYC fundraising! For many of you this journey is just beginning. No matter where you are at in the process, I've listed several ideas for you: new twists on some old ideas, and some new ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Remember, the main idea in fundraising is to use what resources you have available. What are your youth good at? Where do their interests lay? What kind of resources can your congregation or community offer? Take advantage of what you already have.
One thing I think is important in fundraising is getting your congregation involved and knowledgeable about what it is you're doing. One good standby that will get your congregation involved, along with making money, is Buy a Mile. Start off by creating a large map from your congregation to Fort Collins. You could add scenic stops on your map to "spice up" the look. Estimate the number of miles and the amount of money needed for your trip, and divide the two to get a "cost per mile." As you raise money, keep track of your map "thermometer-style." You can even sell your miles to interested congregation members, or auction off particularly well-known miles like the St. Louis Arch or Mount Rushmore, if your group goes there. This is just one way of keeping your congregation informed by giving them a visual of your goal.
Another way of getting your congregation involved is holding some sort of a xxxx-A-thon. You simply hold an event that people are able to pledge their support for a youth. One idea is a Rock-a-thon where youth raised pledges for the number of hours they continuously rocked in rocking chairs. Another is a Bowl-a-thon. Collect pledges for the number of pins your youth group can knock down in one game. Add up the pins and the pledges and see what you've got.
A third highly successful idea is a Car-Wash-a-thon. Collect pledges for the number of cars your group will wash, and then have a free car wash in a central location. Others in the community become aware of your fundraiser without being asked for money, and you provide a great service to those in the community. It's a fun way to do some resource raising with your youth.
A fourth A-thon that involves the environment is a Can-a-thon. Collect pledges for the number of aluminum cans your group collects while picking up trash along roadways. Watch for cars and do it safely. This is a good way to help the environment and pick up some money at the same time.
Remember, there are countless ways to do an A-thon; be creative and make sure to get lots of pledges!
Another idea that a youth group tried out was Valentine's Messages, which was very successful in many ways. What they did was advertise that they were going to be making different kinds of gifts for Valentine's Day, gifts that included handmade Valentine's cards, Valentine's baskets filled with candy, and Valentine's sing-a-grams. For each level of Valentine's greetings, the price went up. Then they solicited people's orders and did the deliveries on Valentine's Day. Not only was the response overwhelming for the youth group, the whole church got involved. Pastors received greetings from the church members, congregation members from their deacons, as well as among best friends trading Valentine's wishes. Also, many deliveries were made to shut-ins of the church and elderly members who otherwise wouldn't have been able to participate. Just their interaction of the youth and the older members of the church was exciting, but the response in terms of the number of orders was overwhelming.
I heard of this fun fundraiser from a group in Pennsylvania. Basically the idea is that your youth group "kidnaps" your pastor until the congregation can raise enough donations to guarantee his or her release.
There are several important aspects of this fundraiser. First, get the pastor's permission; "kidnap" him or her on the day before Sunday worship and take them, with their family, to a nice location, like a cabin or a similar location so that they can spend time with their family.
Second, the element of surprise for the congregation makes the fundraiser that much more effective. After the "kidnapping," begin contacting nearly everyone in your congregation, maybe by dividing up the church directory between all your youth group members. Getting the word out will help increase the number of people who know about it and who will want to contribute to the fund. One good technique might be to include the heads of your church commissions in on the plot. That way, once the "kidnapping" has occurred, you can use their help to contact persons on the commissions.
Here is a list of Ten Tips for Fundraising for NYC
Here are some other great ideas for fundraisers
Pie in the eye: Have a pie social. Pay to hit your pastor, deacon, youth leader, or chosen person... in the face with a pie. Use whip cream no crust pies. Sell pieces of pie for eating as well as throwing.
Servant Auction: Youth sell time to do work for people.
Gift Wrap Booth at shopping center or store: Contact a local store and do holiday wrapping. Charge by size of box you are wrapping. If you do it for a couple of weeks daily before the holidays you can raise some major dollars.
Kiss a pig/cow/goat contest: Find people who will volunteer to kiss a pig if they receive the most votes. People vote with money for the person they want to kiss a pig.
All of these are great ideas to get you started. Not everything will work for every youth group, but hopefully these ideas can get you started. Here are three books that also have hundreds of ideas: