How To Organise a Successful Religious Fundraising Event

What Impact Do Organised Fundraising Events Have?

Whether you’re an official church, affiliate organisation or faith-based community group, there’s nothing quite like a special event to fund your cause. If you handle it properly, you may reach many people beyond your neighbourhood or congregation. Religious fundraisers can live up to your spiritual values in new and exciting ways, representing the very best of what you believe for an audience that wants to have fun, make friends and contribute to social change.

You won’t just hit your short-term goals, either. Fundraising campaigns can unify communities in the long term. When businesses, leaders and individuals get involved, they can unite under your faith-based banner. They might work together again. And, ultimately, it shows that you’re putting your beliefs and teachings into practice. 

Fundraising events can therefore be a lynchpin for supporting your faith activities and awareness campaigns long after the events themselves have wrapped up. Let’s consider what you need to do to prepare for a religious fundraiser, as well as further avenues for donations that align with your cause. 

Planning Your Fundraising Event

Before we sketch out your plan, it’s vital to think about why you’re running the event and what shape it might take. There are two sides to this blueprint:

Setting Clear Goals

Every fundraising event must have at least one target. Primarily, that’ll be how much cash you’re hoping to raise. So, what’s realistic? 

If this is your inaugural event at a local level — say, funding clothes and meals for disadvantaged children at Christmas — then several hundred pounds isn’t bad. Then again, you could be raising money for overseas aid or child poverty in the UK more generally. In that case, £6,000-£10,000 is a decent ballpark figure. 

Meanwhile, you’ll want to give people enough time to learn about your cause, participate in the event and make donations. Do you have several events in mind? Do they require signups, training or travel? Factor these variables into your timeline, which must also take the size of your audience (with the number of people you’re trying to ‘convert’ into donors) for a steady acceleration before the event begins. A conversion rate of around 3-5% is healthy for many marketing campaigns; yours might adopt a similar goal. 

Choosing the Right Type of Event

There are countless kinds of fundraising events to choose from. Whatever you decide, remember that it should be affordable, relevant and have a sufficient buildup to gather more partners or volunteers if necessary. Here are some ideas to play with: 

  • Charity work at a supermarket, soup kitchen, homeless shelter or hospital. Focus on places in which you can speak to members of the public for spontaneous donations, or those who’ll directly benefit from your activities.
  • A mini festival with performances and workshops allied to your cause. This is a great opportunity to spotlight your faith leaders as well as other artists and educators across your community. 
  • A fun run or sports tournament that can target more people in their teens or 20s. Some kind of prize is worth offering, even if it’s just pride of place in your PR or bragging rights.
  • A cook-off featuring recipes from people in your community. Anyone is free to compete, but attendees have to purchase a ticket to sample the food and judge the winner! 

Setting the Plan in Motion

Once you’ve cemented the model, theme and timeline, you must then establish how you’re bringing the event to life. You can do this by:

Organising Your Team

Give everyone a duty. Some might be better upfront, speaking and guiding people, while others could be suited to back-end duties such as monitoring your website, registration lists and available resources. 

Make sure all of your colleagues know what the rest of the team is doing; weekly or fortnightly huddles are a smart idea to update on progress. They also need real-time communication with links to any useful material or faith messages when they’re out in the field. 

Promoting the Event

Instagram and Facebook are useful for kicking off your promotional easyfundraising. But to raise your profile even further, strike up contact with other faith centres, local newspapers and religious publications. A portion should be open to featuring your story if you offer them sponsorship or any other sort of participation. 

If you’re collaborating with regional businesses (especially networking groups or alliances), then you can reach out to professional publications for a feature too. 

Either way, plan and stick to a content calendar for social, web and print marketing delivery in the weeks and months ahead. 

Making the Most of Event Day

When your event rolls around, there are certain responsibilities to uphold — not only for ensuring your hard work pays off, but also that no-one gets hurt or comes into conflict with the event agenda. So, how can you maximise your potential? 

Manage Logistics and Leadership

Name, train and deploy someone to stay in charge of their own small team: anything from catering, ID checks and security to stage management or health and safety. Do they have the right equipment? Are they 100% certain where backup resources are held, or how to reach you in an emergency? Answer these questions before you progress.

As you determine who’s the best fit for leadership roles, calculate precise installation/pack-down times if you’re erecting a course, stage or table display. Assess the physical space you’re using and how to make sure you aren’t cramming your attendees or exposing them to risks. 

Engage Attendees 

Sure, your crowd or volunteers are giving up their day to be here, but we should never take that trust for granted. The strongest faith fundraisers are able to remind people why they’re investing their time and energy, as well as the work your organisation is doing more generally, when they’re standing side by side. 

Consider these tactics for on-the-spot engagement: 

  • Spread facts about your cause on posters, flags or signage. 
  • Show a real-time visualisation of your donations. 
  • Run a raffle through the day for extra support. 
  • Livestream the event on Instagram or TikTok. 

Additionally, you can promote fundraising options that people can explore whenever they feel like it. easyfundraising is a great platform for this. We’ll explain more soon.  

After the Event . . . Showing Gratitude and Measuring Success

If you show gratitude for everyone’s contributions, they’re much more likely to return or lend their own hand to faith fundraising when you run another campaign. Equally, you should understand what really worked during the event and what improvements you might make next time. 

Appreciate Your Supporters

A ‘thank you’ email is the very least you can do for each and every donor or attendee. Write a special bulletin with pictures, prizes, testimonies, and an inspiring reminder of what you’ve managed to raise and why it matters. Let your supporters know where they can catch up on more information about the cause. 

You might also want to lead a special discussion or sermon at your faith centre to digest what you’ve accomplished. Invite your donors, as it’s a rare chance to bring them into more sustained contact with your team and religious values. 

Evaluate Wins and Lessons

Compare your initial aims for the project with how things panned out. Did you exceed or fall under a donation target? Were resources stretched? Did a problem arise that you didn’t anticipate? With a birds-eye view on the campaign, you’re best placed to gain a general sense of whether your fundraising event was successful. 

At the same time, ask your teammates what they thought of the day. Send a survey or catch up with them personally a few weeks later. Open-ended questions are the most useful, because they allow anyone to share opinions you may not have considered. 

Aside from empirical stats like work hours, cash and attendee numbers, event evaluation should be mindful of how your faith team felt about the experience. Do they think it represents your organisation in the best light? If not, why? 

Take your Faith Fundraising Event Further

Establishing a strong, semi-regular event calendar is going to push your faith group to greater prominence and affection within your community. Whether you’re experienced or not, start organising! Go small and scale up every few months. Other groups, brands and charities will be open to working with you or sharing advice.

Plus, you can nudge an audience to donate with easyfundraising — a network of 7,500+ retailers that will donate a percentage of their sales to your cause. Once users sign up, they can shop as they normally do online, building donations with every purchase without paying anything extra themselves.