3 Fundraising Tips

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I am a full time youth pastor. So much of the leadership lessons I learn come from real life experiences. I aim for my content to apply to a broad range, but today I am going to take a slightly different approach and narrow my audience.

Over the last 15 years in paid ministry, I have picked up a few tips along the way to help with fundraising. I have only served in churches where the youth ministry was expected to fundraise to help offset camp and mission trip fees. Here are some tips gleaned along the way.

  1. Context is King – Every church where I have served has had different responses to different events. Some of my favorite fundraisers early on were Ice Cream “Freeze-Offs”, where recently the response hasn’t been so great. Ultimately, find what works in your context. Just because someone had a good experience with it at a different church or town, does not guarantee it will work everywhere.
  2. Offset Costs Where Possible – Recently, I have found having kids sign up to bring the different supplies helps to save a significant amount of money. For example, we will do a “Taco Pile-On” fundraiser lunch in a few weeks. Early on, I would have bought the necessary toppings out of the youth budget. Starting a few years ago, however, I realized if I had kids bring the toppings, then our out of pocket expense would be zero, which meant every dollar received was profit.
  3. Balance On-Site with Off-Site – Depending on the church policies, if you’re able to fund raise off site, try to find a good balance between fundraisers held at church and fundraisers held elsewhere. Make the most of town events. In my current context, our town hosts a city wide garage sale day. In the past we have held our own garage sale (with donated items), sold breakfast burritos, and sold burger deals.

Ultimately, fundraising is something you get better at as you go along, especially with evaluation. What are some things you’ve learned along the way?

If you found this helpful, share it with a friend!

Changing Environments

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I have a very bad habit of driving somewhere, putting my vehicle in park, and sitting in the vehicle for a while before I get out. Sometimes, I do this because I’m listening to sports radio and want to hear the end of the thought being expressed, or maybe I’m just moving slow that day. But occasionally, I hesitate because I don’t want to trade one climate for the other.

If it is bitterly cold outside, then the warmth of my vehicle is too appealing.

If it is raining, I dread stepping out into the rain. (This one doesn’t happen very often as we rarely get rain.)

If the heat outside is blistering, then the allure of the A/C can be too much.

In leadership, we have to be careful about developing a similar habit.

We may find ourselves waiting outside a meeting where we know the atmosphere will be chilled by attitudes.

Or maybe we hesitate to call an important meeting because we fear what may take place.

Or we put off having a tough conversation out of fear the conversation will go to a dangerous place.

Understand this: if you are in a position of leadership, find the balance between looking for problems to blow up and hiding from situations that scare you. You do not have to become a bulldog that tears into every conflict with glee, but you also cannot afford to be a turtle who hides in your shell at the first sign of unpleasantness.

As a leader, someone has placed trust in you to lead, so make the most of that trust.

Over the years, I have found that when I hesitate to do something, my hesitation is a key indicator the something needs to be done. I seldom worry and put off things that do not matter. Is that true for you? What are your own signs of the need for something to be done?

Teaching Student Leaders

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Last weekend, I had the privilege of hosting a Student Leadership Workshop. We had three churches come together, with a total of 21 students, and we spent a good part of the day equipping students to become better leaders.

To close the workshop, I borrowed a Habitude from Tim Elmore (click here to read about him). I asked students if they were a thermostat or thermometer.

Thermometers take the temperature of the room and reflect it. They do not control how hot or cold something is, but instead passively reveal the current state.

Thermostats set the temperature of the room. They determine how hot or cold a room is at the moment, and what it will be in the future.

My dream for student leaders is that they realize they have the potential to become a thermostat and set the temperature of the room through their actions, their behaviors, and their interactions with other people.

I love watching student leaders step up and lead. Few things compare with watching teenagers begin to realize they’re not too young to make a difference.

In my own life, I personally would like to become more of a thermostat than a thermometer. What about you?

It’s Okay to Hope

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Have you ever set a New Year’s Resolution?

Have you ever chosen not to set a New Year’s Resolution?

Have you ever claimed “My New Year’s Resolution is to not have any New Year’s Resolutions”?

A few years ago, I felt guilty for ever getting excited and setting some goals for the new year. It seemed every conversation covering resolutions took on a significantly negative tone. And I bought into it.

Then, I read a blog where someone said they always looked forward to the new year and the hope that it brings.

So, today, I want to take a stab at doing that for you. You may find yourself having given up hope for 2018 based on 2017 as a whole, or in part. Well, it is not too late to change your approach. It is okay to hope.

What if 2018 becomes the year you do something great? What if 2018 becomes the year you accomplish that goal you’ve never seemed to achieve before? What if you have matured as a person to the point where the mistakes you made in your younger days will no longer provide as much resistance as you remember?

Let yourself, for just a moment, find hope and refreshing in the changing of the calendar, even if we are a few days behind.

Pick one thing you’d like to accomplish this year and write it in a place where it will serve as a reminder for you. Stick with it. Keep it in front of you. Pursue it. Achieve it.

Who knows, maybe 2018 will be the best year yet for both of us. I look forward to taking this journey with you.

Lessons Learned about Blogging, Pt. 3

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*This will be my final post for 2017. I look forward to sharing with you even more in 2018!*

I have learned quite a bit about blogging over the past 11 months. Today, I want to share the most important part of what I do.

My blog would not be what it is without you. Whether you just click over and read, or you have commented or sent me an encouraging word: Thank you!

I am always thrilled when someone likes, shares, comments, or even gets in touch with me about anything I’ve written. Hitting “publish” can be a very scary proposition, so all feedback is appreciated.

But most importantly, thank you for reading. Whenever you joined me on this journey, thank you. I plan to keep it up for another 12 months and see where we are next year, but until then…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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