This past spring, Calvary Tabernacle (the church I attend) pledged to raise $3,000 for a missions program called Sheaves For Christ (SFC). Perhaps $3,000 doesn’t sound like a lot of money to you – and in the grand scheme of life, it isn’t. But for our small congregation of mostly blue-collar workers, raising that amount above and beyond our regular offerings was going to require some effort.
Our pastor chose two people to spearhead the effort: me and our youth pastor, a young man named Nick. Unfortunately, neither of us was brimming with great money-making ideas. We kick-started the drive, but Nick and I felt stuck in neutral.
Thankfully, two church members named Mike and Dick Jackson (they are brothers) came to the rescue by offering a fantastic fundraising idea that helped us blow past our goal. (Ironically, while SFC is a youth-driven fundraiser, both Jackson brothers are in their 60s.) Their idea will work for your church or organization, too. You can add your own personal twist(s) and use it to reach whatever fundraising goal you’ve set.
Mike purchased 25 dozen plastic eggs at a local hobby store – the kind commonly seen around the Easter season. He placed a small slip of paper inside each egg, with a dollar amount written on each slip. The amounts ranged from $1 to $25. When he was finished, there were 12 eggs with a $1 slip, 12 with a $2 slip, and … you get the picture. The amounts written on the slips of paper totaled $3,900.
Mike also purchased two small aquariums. He placed all the eggs with paper slips that read between $1 and $13 in the first aquarium. In the second, he placed the eggs with slips ranging between $14 and $25. (You probably figured that out.)
To spice things up, Dick added extra slips to random eggs that read “You won!” with either $5 or $10 written on the reverse side. Those slips could be redeemed for a $5 McDonald’s gift card or a $10 Dairy Queen gift card. He also stuck a $20 bill in one egg.
For 12 consecutive Sundays, worshipers were encouraged to prove they weren’t a “chicken” by withdrawing an egg, with the understanding that they would give the corresponding amount written on the slip of paper inside. (We urged them to make the donation that day, if possible.) With the more expensive eggs in a separate aquarium, people could choose the level of giving most appropriate for their budget. The goal was to get rid of 25 eggs per Sunday, thus clearing the aquariums within three months.
Calvary Tabernacle cleared 36 eggs from the aquariums on the first Sunday of our drive, and we immediately saw a spike in our total amount raised. The effort stalled a bit during August, but we kicked it into overdrive when September arrived.
We wrapped up the effort on September 8 with a special appeal from our pastor. When the service was finished, both aquariums were empty. We raised $3,900, exceeded our SFC goal, and secured extra funds to serve a need in our ladies ministry.
Nick and I owe a big “thank you” to Mike and Dick, who already are plotting how they can expand on their idea next year. Without their help, we probably wouldn’t have reached our SFC goal.
The beauty of this fundraising idea is that it is super-simple. You also can add innumerable twists to make it more fun, or expand it to raise more funds. Take it and make it your own.
Don’t be a chicken! And don’t forget to let me know how it works.