Kyle Goings
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 / Published in Ideas, Training, YouthCon

Fundraising.  It’s a thorn in the side of every youth worker.  It always seems you can never fundraise enough, and yet at the same time it seems like you never stop fundraising for something.  For me, I’m always looking for the best fundraising ideas.  The ones that require the least amount of work and the most profit.  If you can streamline fundraising it only improves your ministry.

There seems to be a million “fundraising ideas” if you do one google search and most of them have to do with selling something.  Below are some fundraising ideas collected from several youth workers over the years.  These aren’t “for sure” fundraisers – nothing is – but these have been tried and tested.

 

Before we get to the ideas here are some tips in making any fundraiser more effective:

  1. Don’t draw from the same well more than twice a year. One of the biggest mistakes as youth workers is we think our current church is the only well we draw from.  If you draw from the same well too many times it does two things.  First, it limits the amount of money you can raise.  Second, it lowers interest or excitement within the church – both are not good.
  2. If you can find a parent to be your “fundraising coordinator.” This might seem like a tall task but the more help you can get in this area of ministry the better.  Also having a parent that oversees fundraising for you also means they can help you with recruitment since they not just represent one family but are usually connected to other families.
  3. Write a policy page on all things fundraising. When dealing with money it’s always a sticky situation.  Having clear policies, although a hassle to write, protects you and the ministry and diminishes conflict with parents.  This page should share how money is collected and stored.  How the money is divided out.  What happens to the money once a family doesn’t have a child in the ministry anymore (they move away or graduate).  How scholarships are given out.  Plus anything else you can think of.
  4. Create a “fundraising account” for each family. Treat it as a saving account for the family. It’s better than keeping track of the individual students.  That way younger siblings can benefit from previous fundraisers.  It’s a document or program that keeps track of the funds each family raises.  This helps if you have multiple fundraisers a year with multiple families.  So when you do an event you can have them pay in cash/check, card, or fundraising account.  Then after the last child a family has graduates they either designated the funds to another student or it goes into a general scholarship account.
  5. Promote, promote, and promote some more. Many fundraisers fail or don’t make enough because not enough people knew about it.  Create a Facebook event, use social media to your advantage, create a web page, mail personal invites, do a calling tree, create handouts, and do whatever it takes.  Make sure any event you need people there promotion starts about three weeks before the event or sign up deadline!

Here is our list of 101 Fundraising ideas but if you want some tried and test ones here you go.

 

Sell Something – We could give you lists of websites or ideas on what to sell (a quick google search can help).  But this usually involves cookie dough, mugs, magazines, or anything else.  Some of the more effective ones are things that are seasonal:

  • Sub sandwiches or chili during the Super Bowl season
  • Flowers for valentines days
  • Cookies for the Christmas season
  • Popcorn for the summer time

Positive: Individual who works hard get rewarded, and the not-so-hard working doesn’t drag the rest of the team down.  It also encourages people to collect money from “outside the church.”

Negative: It’s never as profitable as it says it is.  It’s risky.  You most likely have to compete with the school system as they sell a lot of goods as well.

 

Baby Sitting for the church – Set up a night where parents can drop off their kids for babysitting while they go out on a date or do Christmas shopping.  Charge extra if you provide a meal.

Positive: Super easy if you have more mature students to lead it.

Negative: If you don’t have a good sign up you might get overwhelmed.  Limited profitability based on size of your church.

 

Souper Bowl Fundraiser – Have families from the church sign up to bring a crock pot of soup.  Then on Super Bowl Sunday have lunch where a suggested donation is given.  Provide crackers, cheese, and soup ladles.

Positive: It provides a community opportunity that most churches enjoy.  Low cost since all the food is provided by families and then helps with advertising since they will invite others to come.

Negative: Profitability will be based on number of people who sign up and show up.  Signups can be a hassle.

 

Church Wide Garage Sale – Have people drop off items to sell at your church during the summer months.  Most sales work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday but can be anytime.  You can individually price everything or leave it open for “offers”.  Attached a bake sale with it too!

Positive: Little to no cost up front, it allow people to donate without even giving funds, and it helps families who want to get rid of stuff.  You could make thousands of dollars based on the volume of stuff you get.

Negative: A lot of work in a concentrated dose.  It needs a lot of space at the church, plus a lot of clean up, so get permission first.

 

Youth Work Weekend – Have people sign up for students to do various jobs (painting, raking, baby sitting, etc.) then choose a weekend to go from location to location doing jobs all for donations.  You can charge by job or a general free will offering.

Positive: It helps people that might not be able to give (if someone sponsors their job), it is unlimited in profitability since you could do it multiple times.

Negative: You might be limited on the jobs you can do based on the age and maturity of your students.

 

Dinner Theatre or Talent Show – Have your students put on a show and provide a dinner with it!  You can find a script at skitguys.com or write your own.  Or maybe have students showcase their talents throughout the night.  Then provide an easy meal to go with it.  Sell tickets or a free will donation the night of.

Positive: Tons of potential for money if you advertise it right, it gets students to use their gifts they might normally do.

Negative: Limited on number of people who might be interested if you do a talent show.  Meal cost is high up front.

 

Envelope Fundraiser – Label some envelopes 1 through 144 and display them on a wall.  Whatever number is on the envelope is the amount that the person needs to bring back in check or cash.  If all 144 envelopes come back you would raise $10,8000.

Positive: Easiest fundraiser there is!

Negative: Heavy promotion and a good looking display is required.

 

Flamingo Insurance — Sell flamingo insurance to church members in various amounts which guarantee that their homes will not be the flocking ground of pink flamingo lawn ornaments. Place as many lawn ornaments as you can on uninsured lawns, and charge a service fee for their removal. To add even more fun, one member can hire a flamingo hit on another member by paying more than what that person bought their insurance for. Provide the opportunity for the insured to increase their insurance amount (taken from studentministry.org).

Positive: This fundraiser advertises itself!  Can get more than just the church involved.

Negative: If communicated poorly it could make the ministry or church look bad.

 

Support Letters – Oldie but goodie.  Have students write up a letter on why they are going to this Convention or mission trip and send them to everyone they know.  Provide a stamped return envelope for them to send it back.

Positive: Very easy and if done right one of the most profitable.

Negative: Without some direction, letters can be written poorly or families could receive more than one letter from the same team going.

 

 

Other Fundraising Ideas:

Provide a Meal:

Potato bar, pancake breakfast, spaghetti feed, sweetheart banquet, and more.

Service Options:

Car washes, phone book deliveries, run a booth at a fair, and more.

Donations:

Free will offering, loose change, pledges from the church family, sponsor-a-student, and more.

Selling:

Run a fireworks stand (a lot of work), T-shirt, fruit, cookie dough, bake sale, desserts, Christmas tree, donuts, flowers/plants, coupon books, and more.

Hold an Auction:

Silent auction, desserts, dinners, potatoes, babysitting, raffles, students for service, etc.

Pledges:

Bowl-a-thon (per pin), Trash-a-thon (per bag), corporate car wash, dime-a-dance, walk-a-thon (per mile), rake-a-thon (per yard)

Event Type:

Drive-in movie at the church, benefit concert, car smash, golf tournament, basketball or dodgeball tournament, talent show and more.

Clean/Recycle:

Bottle drive, aluminum/metal, paper or plastic, and more.

Misc:

Create a gofundme page

Noodles & Doodles (Pasta Dinner & Art Auction)

 

Do you have another fundraiser idea?  Leave a comment below!

 

Here is also a GALLERY of various logos we have used for fundraisers.

Kyle Goings
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 / Published in Ideas, Tech Tips, Training

 (Part 2 of 2) Build Your Own Check-In Station Cart

By: Kyle Goings (Student Ministry Pastor of First MB Church in Wichita, KS)

Taking attendance in most student ministries is usually a weakness.  Either it’s not being done, done poorly, or if it is being done it’s not utilized as best it can.  This two-part blog post will focus on the theoretical and practical applications of taking weekly attendance for your student ministry.  Part one will focus more on what is needed both culture wise and behind the scene to take attendance effectively. Part two is a practical approach on building your own check-in cart for those ministries who are looking for inspiration (click here to read part one). 

 

Part 2:

Now that you want to try to start taking attendance every week you might need a practical way to do so.  There are many way ministries take attendance but the two main ways that we will be focusing on is volunteer check-in and self-check-in.  For a volunteer check-in – it is where you have a volunteer or two type in the information when a person enters the room.  This allows for higher probability for more accuracy but it is heavily volunteer driven (and those volunteers have to know everyone by name so they can enter it into the system).

A self-check-in system is where students come in and taken attendance by scanning a barcode or entering a phone number.  They hit a few buttons and then done!  As long as you have a greeter monitoring the stations and providing help it’s very simple.

  • Before you begin to determine what kind of budget you have available. The number of tablets/computers/iPads will greatly affect your budget (1 tablet for every 25 people checking in is the norm).
  • The quality of the hardware you get will need to be decided. Remember if you purchase a tablet/iPad under $125 plan on replacing it within 18 months on average.  And avoid used hardware as they cannot be reliable.
  • Also, remember for every tablet/iPad you get you will need a stand and locking system so it’s not just the cost of the original hardware.
  • Decide if you can connect to the internet wireless or wired. For dependability wired is always better but it doesn’t always work with certain locations.

 

For our senior high ministry, we had some specific needs.  We meet in a big gym on Sunday nights that is used for different events throughout the week so everything we had has to be mobile and put away.  We also have about 100 people checking in each week so we needed a minimum of four tablets.    This is our check-in cart that we use and here is what we did.

 

 First, we purchased four tablets.  We went with the Samsun Galaxy Tab E 9.6”.  The main reason we chose PC over Apple was iPads are just so expensive and we weren’t quite sure if this would work at first.  We didn’t care about the amount of memory.  We just focused on which tablets work best with Wi-Fi and Samsung Galaxy’s have a great reputation from staying connected.  We also have most of our computers at our church using PC so we didn’t want to mess with crossover.  And lastly, we looked for tablets that have a long battery life.  We got them on sale for during the summer back to school months.  Price range is $140 to $199.  You can find them here at Best Buy.

 

Second, we purchased a cart to mount them to.  We went with a heavy duty cart because we had the budget and wanted complete dependability.  Almost any cart will do but we liked how this cart has adjustable shelves underneath and ring spaces on the outside of the cart that we could use to lock each tablet down.  It also had a strong handle and lockable wheels.  Price is around $100-$300.  You can find it here on Amazon.

 

Third, we purchased four stands and cords to lock them down.  We wanted 

something that is lockable and adjustable for the tablets our size.  There is a ton of tablet holders so make sure you get one that fits your tablet!  It’s a good idea to just purchase one stand and cord and test it out before you purchase any others.  The price will be totally dependent on which tablets you purchase.  We chose these stands CLICK HERE.  and these cords to lock each down CLICK HERE.  The good thing is we have never had to unlock the tablets so as long as you install them correctly everything will be just fine.

 

Fourth, we built a custom top of the card and mounted the four tablets on them.  The cart had no way of holding the stands.  So we just built a wooden top for it and mounted the stands on the wooden top, one in each corner facing outwards.  Then we locked the tablets to the cart so even though you can lift the wooden top you can’t take the tablets with you (another reason why we bought the cart with holes on the sides).  We painted it grey to match the cart color.  Price is less than $50.  You can find wood at any hardware store.

One thing we did was cut a hole in the back of it so all four chargers can be plugged in at all times.  Then we plugged them into a power strip that is held underneath cart so all we have to do is wheel the cart to storage and just have one thing to plug in.  We highly recommend this for easy storage!

 

 

You can take this in many directions, and several ministries have permanently mounted tablets or screens on the wall, either way you will need to choose what is best for you.  If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me at students@firstmbchurch.org.

Kyle Goings
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 / Published in Ideas, Parents, Tech Tips, Training

By: Kyle Goings (Student Ministry Pastor of First MB Church in Wichita, KS)

(Part 1 of 2) Implementing Check-in Style Attendance in Your Student Ministry

Taking attendance in most student ministries is usually a weakness.  Either it’s not being done, done poorly, or if it is being done it’s not utilized as best it can.  This two-part blog post will focus on the theoretical and practical applications of taking weekly attendance for your student ministry.  Part one will focus more on what is needed both culture wise and behind the scene to take attendance effectively. Part two is a practical approach on building your own check-in cart for those ministries who are looking for inspiration (click here to read part two). 

 

Part 1:

How do you take attendance?  Are you still kicking it old school style with a paper sheet and checkboxes?  Do you have a cool looking check-in station next to your state-of-the-art youth room?  For most youth ministries attendance taking systems usually is never where it should be.  This isn’t an article about the importance of taking attendance, but rather an example of how to make your life easier if you do check students in.   FYI… follow up is almost impossible without taking attendance, so if you don’t already you should seriously consider starting.  Taking attendance means every week (or every time you meet) each leader and student is tracked in a database.  The days of keeping an excel spreadsheet are over so we are talking about online base systems.  So let’s begin…

 

Why take attendance anyways:

Most times what’s holding back a student ministry from making taking attendance a priority in their youth ministry is they just aren’t convinced there is a need for it.  I mean they have lasted this long without it, right?  Here are a few reasons you might have not thought of utilizing a strong attendance system.

  1. By knowing who has checked in and who hasn’t it increases safety for your ministry if… God forbid something happens.  (another reason why excel spreadsheets won’t work… if there is a fire)
  2. It helps with assimilation and your guest ministry. By collecting guest’s information and entering into a database correctly when that student returns it will help them feel like part of the group (because their data is treated just like everyone else’s).   There is nothing worse than a guest returning for the second time and told their information is not in there.
  3. It’s impossible to do an effective follow-up ministry without it.
  4. It shows which areas are growing and which areas you need to address. Attendance with juniors are way down this past six weeks, maybe something needs to be addressed.  It’s hard to notice for bigger groups without a system of tracking.
  5. It helps to see your yearly schedule ebb and flow. Is there a week that is consistently low attendance every year?  Maybe try doing something different that week.
  6. Increases trust with parents. I hope this doesn’t happen to you but there have been situations a parent has asked: “Was my child at youth group last week?”  Without an attendance tracker that answer might be more awkward than it already is.

 

Here are some steps that are needed to create attendance taking system:

Step One: Choose the program you will be using.  There a lot out there: Planning Center Check-In, Ministrytracker.com, Fellowship One, Stuff You Can Use: Grow Numbers, Downloadyouthministry.com, or the program your churches already use.  You must determine this first because that would dictate what hardware you will be able to purchase.  Talk to the data manager at your church to see what software and hardware is compatible with the software you use.

 

Step Two: Do some research, then make a plan.  Talk to some people who might be knowledgeable about this.  Decide how you want your students to check in (self or volunteer).  Decide where you want them to check in (if it’s a hallway how are you going to keep them secure during the week)?  Once you have a plan and answer some of the questions below then you are ready for step three.

  • How many people do you need checking in each week?  (1 tablet for every 25 people is a good rule of thumb)
  • Do you go with Apple’s iPad’s or PC’s tablets?  (Based on your check-in software)
  • Do you want stability or flexibility?  (Attached to a wall which is more secure but limits what you can do with it)
  • Are you going to have wireless or wired internet?  (Can your church’s wireless handle 4 tablets all at once?)
    How are you going to keep them secure?  (Locked onto a wall or onto a cart)

 

Step Three: Build your check-in station.  (More details are in part two of this series)

Some build it on the wall, others need a more mobile station.  Either way, you purchase and build the station near your youth room.  Once built make sure it is thoroughly tested before it launches.  The last thing you want is a mistake-filled launch!

 

Step Four: Launch your check-in system and utilized your database!  Build your greeting and follow up ministry around your database.  Strive for perfection, and don’t let time pass entering new members.  Our rule of thumb is within 48 hours.  Clean up your database once a year by doing an evaluation and seeing if everyone’s information is correct.  Because no one ever changes their email… right?!

 

Tips on Creating a Culture Where Students Use a Check-In System:

  1. Test it out multiple times before you have your check in cart go live.
  2. Train your leaders/greeters thoroughly. If the adults don’t know how to use the system why would the students do it differently?  Students follow the example of the adults.
  3. Create an “everyone does this” mentality. Leaders, students, volunteers.  Everyone the more exceptions you have to the rule the weaker the rule becomes.
  4. Place your check-in system in a location where most students enter and cannot pass it without checking in. It should be in the hallway before you enter the room or near the door.
  5. Go nuts with welcome signs and directions. Assume no knows how to do it each week.
  6. Send an email to parents or share why you do check in at a parent information meeting.

 

If students/leaders push back (creating something new usually does) here are some ways that worked for us:

  • We use “incentives” like you cannot purchase anything at our Snack Shack unless you are checked in. The first couple of weeks we even gave them candy right after they checked in!  We also offered a free bowl of cereal during our Sunday school hour (given a bowl only after they check in).
  • Give out prizes or call students up front for games but only from those who have checked in.
  • Contact students (even if you know they were there) after 3 weeks of them not checking in, explaining why you take attendance.
  • Don’t let things slide – even for one week – for two months and you should be over the hump of a new habit. Each week enter new people so they can feel welcomed the next time they come there.

 

For building a check-in station, read part two of this series.

Kyle Goings
Tuesday, 04 September 2018 / Published in USMB, YouthCon

(This was first announced in our email newsletter, if you have not received our email please email us at info@usmbyouth.com)

We are excited for YOUTHCON ’19 and look for our promo pack in the mail shortly but in the meantime, we want to give you some heads up on who is going to be there.

First, we have Scot PierceSara Jo Waldron & Hallie Bontrager will be our hosts for the event. You will start to hear from them in the next several weeks.

A common way to plan a convention is to pick a theme, hire a speaker and let him/her come with 6 talks. We decided that for this upcoming event we wanted to plan a little differently and we wanted to share our process with you.

We understand that there will be many different students at many different places in their faith in attendance at the YouthCON in Glorieta. Students will register and attend because it looked like a fun trip, or because of friends, maybe because they want to grow in their faith. Some are going to go because they are searching, some will go because they are ALL in and want to express their commitment to faith and some are looking for the next level in their Christian walk.

Imagine a funnel. (Thank you Doug Fields, the godfather of youth ministry) the wide end is the most basic commitment and the narrow end is the most committed. All that to say we will have students in attendance from all over the spectrum. So here is our plan… We want to address each student in an engaging, loving and challenging manner. We want to INVITE each person to take one step towards a deeper faith, wherever they may be starting. SO, we want to talk about our lives and the world we live in as a narrative, a story. Each of us has pages of the script and an important role to play. (see EPIC by John Eldredge) We want to introduce students to Jesus and invite them to begin a relationship. We will also talk about what it means to be a follower of Jesus and look at what our role might be in the Kingdom story. We will talk about a big God that loves us like crazy, rescued us and wants to include us in his world no matter what think of our inability. We also want to talk about His invitation to join him in reaching others that all may know him.

We decided to think about the people that we knew who was the best at these topics and invite a handful of people to teach and speak from the main stage. Several of the speakers are (more to come):
Ryan McCullough
Kat Smith
Tam Hodge
Randy Friesen
Bill Hogg

We are excited that Ryan and Brie Wallace will be leading us in worship and James Isaac is back to direct the house band.

OneTimeBlind will be with us, making us laugh, cry and think.

We are heading back to where it all began for us in 1975. Glorieta, New Mexico. Check out this amazing, newly renovated camp.

We have been thinking, planning and praying over this event for several years already.

Watch for many more details, promo kits and fundraising ideas in the weeks to come. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Neil Bontrager & Kyle Goings
CoDirectors, USMB National YouthCon ’19

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