By Kristin Schultz
Giving of ourselves to help people in need is one of the ways we share God’s love with our neighbors. Christmas is a popular and appropriate time to donate to those in need in your own community. Organizing a fundraiser is a lot of work, but if you start planning now, you’ll have enough time to get the word out, successfully host a day of fundraising, and make a difference for those around you.
Hosting a day of fundraising concentrates all of your efforts into one day. You can set up a number of stations throughout your church property and provide helpful services during the holiday for a nominal fee or free-will donation. For example, you could offer babysitting at a few dollars an hour so parents can do some shopping without the little ones. When parents return, you could have a gift-wrapping station where volunteers use donated supplies to wrap the gifts parents just bought. Families can enjoy a soup, salad, and sandwich lunch for a small charge and eat together while presents are being wrapped. On their way out, people can buy a dozen cookies to enjoy or share with a neighbor. Then, when the day is over, simply donate the funds you’ve raised to the organization of your choice!
Here are some tips for making all of this work:
- Choose a charity or organization whose mission resonates with your church. There are probably many organizations in your community who depend on donations to stay afloat. It may be hard to choose just one, but focusing your efforts will help you send a clear, compelling message.
- Assess your assets. Do you have enough space to offer babysitting, lunch, and gift wrapping? Do you have enough volunteers to work the day? A day of fundraising is flexible and allows you to host only what you and your church can handle. If you only have space to collect gently used coats in exchange for a plate of Christmas goodies, you can do that!
- Offer the services that are a natural fit for your church. The more authentic your day is, the more people will participate.
- Get the word out! Start advertising your fundraising at least three weeks (six weeks, if possible) ahead of time. You’ll want time to recruit volunteers and build excitement. Post your event on all your church’s social media pages and your own personal page. Make posters and hang them in the church and anywhere in the community you can—city hall, your workplace, schools, grocery stores.
- Arrive early to set up. Make sure volunteers are visible (perhaps they can all wear the same color shirt) and post directional signs if necessary—babysitting downstairs and gift wrapping upstairs, for example.
- Smile! This is a joyful event! Play Christmas music and encourage volunteers to embrace their service with joy!
- Thank your volunteers. Whether you write a note or give everyone a small gift, let your helpers know they are appreciated.
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