5 Powerful Church Fundraisers for Children & Youth Groups

Fundraising is a great way to raise money for your youth group. Read on to learn about powerful church fundraisers that get your youth involved and inspired.
Fundraising is a great way to raise money for your youth group. Read on to learn about powerful church fundraisers that get your youth involved and inspired.

Youth groups provide a great opportunity for children to get involved in their church community and learn more about their personal faith. However, a church’s budget may be proportionately lower than they planned if new students join. That’s where fundraising comes in! 

Fundraising can help you teach your youth group responsibility and get them more involved in planning your upcoming trips and experiences.  

Students are likely familiar with fundraising from their schools, and it can work the same way for your church. Whether you’re fundraising for a mission trip, community supplies, or a youth group event, we’ve gathered five powerful church fundraisers from Read-a-thon’s elementary school fundraisers guide to help you raise money and grow your students’ faith. 

If your church has students read scripture and faith-based books in your youth groups, you can easily incorporate a read-a-thon into your curriculum.

1. Read-a-thon 

If your church has students read scripture and faith-based books in your youth groups, you can easily incorporate a read-a-thon into your curriculum. 

Read-a-thons are traditionally school fundraisers where children reach out to ask friends and family for a one time donation with the goal of reading a certain number of minutes by a deadline. Just like elementary schools, your church can also leverage the Read Across America campaign and National Reading Month to encourage your youth group’s children and bring in donations. 

Students set a goal to read the Bible or theology books during vacation bible school, group meetings, or in their free time. Over the course of the fundraiser, students can log their minutes of reading and the people they’ve requested donations from can see their progress. This can encourage donors to give again and inspire new donors to contribute. 

Family and friends will want to support your students’ faith and literacy, and they will be happy to give. Helping a youth group with a read-a-thon can be inspiring and requesting support will feel less like a direct ask for funds. 

Fall festivals can be enjoyed by your students, laypeople, and members of the community.

2. Fall Festival 

Fall festivals can be enjoyed by your students, laypeople, and members of the community. During youth group meetings, you can plan fall festival activities with students and ask them to sign up to work different events. Fall festivals can include any amount of events and activities you want, ranging from a pumpkin patch to hayrides to fair games to selling fall treats. 

Once you’ve worked with students to plan the fall festival activities, have them choose from a list of responsibilities such as: 

  • Pumpkin patch sales 
  • Fair game operator 
  • Concessions sales 
  • Greeting guests 

 

By having your youth group sign up to work at your fall festival, you can teach them responsibility and help them learn how to interact with the community and share their faith.

To raise money, you can charge for admission to the festival, tickets to fair games, and for concessions. You can also put up a sign explaining that the event proceeds will go to the youth group. This can inspire community members during the fall giving season, so be sure to include where they can donate on the sign! 

Fall festivals can be enjoyed by your students, laypeople, and members of the community.

3. Christmas Store 

The holiday season always inspires year-end giving and more community members to join your church events. According to Meyer Partners, about 37% of annual giving takes place in October, November, December. Incorporate craft activities into your youth group meetings. You can create custom made items to sell in a Christmas store for the month of December. Consider making popular items such as: 

  • Ornaments 
  • Wreaths 
  • Garlands
  • Decorated place mats  

You can read about the birth of Jesus prior to the arts and crafts activities to center the fundraiser on their faith. Have the children decorate their items with their own depictions of the nativity scene and the Christmas story. 

To raise money, you can open the Christmas store a few weeks before the holiday and have volunteers or the children sell their items before and after church services. You can also sell some of these items at your fall festival if you have one! 

Fall festivals can be enjoyed by your students, laypeople, and members of the community.

4. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 

What better way to teach students about faith than to have them talk to their peers about it? To raise money for a specific youth group event, a virtual peer-to-peer fundraising event can give your church the opportunity to raise their own money for the group. 

Create a fundraising website or microsite to host information about your upcoming youth group event and why you’re fundraising. This site will serve as the main campaign page. You can then use peer-to-peer fundraising software to help your students make their own fundraising pages they’ll use to collect donations from friends and family for the upcoming event. 

If you’re raising money for a mission trip or service project, children can also share what participating in the event will mean to them. Depending on the age of your youth group, children can post the link to their fundraising page on their social media accounts, text it to friends to raise money, or get help from their parents to spread the link in an internet-safe way. 

Fall festivals can be enjoyed by your students, laypeople, and members of the community.

5. Selling T-shirts

Have your children get creative during youth group meetings and design a t-shirt to sell for fundraising. It can be helpful to create a variety of designs based on a Bible verse, the location of the youth group trip, and your church’s mission. You can even host a contest to see which child’s design will be put onto the shirts! 

If you’re selling t-shirts, you’ll want to make high-quality custom prints. Look for fundraising platforms where you can design, buy, and sell the shirts all in one place. Here are some fundraising platform features to consider when making custom merchandise: 

  • Complete design customization
  • No inventory or platform fees
  • Fundraising campaign
  • Customizable e-store


Children will be excited to share their group designs and see their friends and family wear the t-shirts in support of them. Plus, describing the verses and imagery in the t-shirts can make it easier for children to share their faith. Your church and broader community will be excited to purchase a tangible item that will contribute to your youth group’s event. 

Getting your youth groups involved in the fundraising for their mission trips, service projects and other events can also help them get in touch with their faith and community. The more engaged and excited the children are about the fundraiser, the easier it will be to gain support and donations from friends, family, and the local community. Keep your mission and children at the center of your fundraising and you’ll be on your way to a successful campaign! 

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