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Faith Leaders Resources 10min read

10 Unique Church Fundraising Ideas to Boost Summer Giving

Volunteer collecting donations and woman donating digitally to a food pantry on her phone

Summer is a season of new beginnings in many ways. The start of a summer reading program, the beginning of travel with family and friends, or simply a summer break to relax and unwind. 

For many places of worship, it can also bring a slowdown in giving as congregants head off on vacations and other summer adventures.  

But this doesn’t have to be the case. With a bit of creativity and strategic planning, faith leaders can increase summer giving while also championing important community outreach programs. 

In this blog, we’ll explore several ideas to help churches and places of worship inspire ongoing congregational support and ensure a steady flow of giving all summer long. 

Church fundraising ideas to drive summer giving

Championing community outreach programs is a powerful way to drive summer giving. These initiatives not only serve those in need but also unite congregants for a shared purpose. 

According to the 2024 Giving in Faith report, people want to give toward causes that make an impact. While tithes and offerings help to keep the lights on, people are drawn to support causes that align with your place of worship’s mission. 

As a faith leader, you can tap into this desire to do more good to increase your summer giving and drive impactful change in your community. 

Here are ten ideas you can implement to boost summer giving and foster an enduring culture of generosity within your congregations: 

1. Organize a summer food drive

When schools close for the summer, many children who rely on school meals may face food insecurity. Organizing a summer food drive can be an impactful way to address this need within the community. 

Mobilize congregants to donate non-perishable food items or make financial contributions to purchase essential groceries. Additionally, fresh produce from a community garden (see idea #2) can also provide nutritious options. 

To maximize impact, partner with local food banks, shelters, or community organizations to distribute the collected items to families in need. Consider hosting a kickoff event to raise awareness and encourage participation. 

2. Start a summer community garden 

Start a community garden where members of the congregation and local residents come together to grow fresh produce. A community garden offers numerous benefits, including fostering a sense of stewardship, promoting sustainability, and providing fresh produce for those in need. 

Allocate space on church grounds or partner with local organizations to secure a suitable location. Invite congregants of all ages and skill levels to participate in planning, planting, and maintaining the garden. You can even offer gardening workshops on composting, organic gardening practices, and nutrition. 

As the garden yields produce throughout the summer, organize harvesting events where volunteers can gather fresh fruits and vegetables to donate to food banks, shelters, or individuals facing food insecurity. 

3. Offer summer youth programs 

Develop summer youth programs that offer educational, recreational, and mentoring opportunities for children and teenagers in the community. Engaging youth during the summer months is a great way to foster their personal growth, build relationships, and nurture faith. 

Design programs that cater to diverse interests and provide opportunities for learning, creativity, and service. Consider offering a range of activities such as sports leagues, arts and crafts workshops, music lessons, academic tutoring, or outdoor adventures. 

Incorporate age-appropriate Bible studies, discussions, and service projects that encourage spiritual development and community engagement. Empower youth to take on leadership roles within the programs and involve them in planning and decision-making processes. 

4. Sponsor summer camp scholarships 

Many children long to participate in enriching summer camp experiences but may lack the financial resources to do so. Offering scholarships for summer camps can support families in need while also encouraging summer giving. 

By establishing a scholarship fund, congregants can provide opportunities for children from low-income families to attend summer camps. Promote the scholarship program within the congregation and invite members to contribute toward this cause. Consider partnering with nearby camps or recreational facilities to offer discounted rates or special arrangements for scholarship recipients. 

Not only does this initiative benefit the recipients directly, but it also fosters a sense of community and generosity within the congregation as individuals come together to invest in the next generation. 

5. Host summer vacation Bible camp 

Similarly, hosting your own summer vacation Bible camp can be an excellent way to engage children and families during the summer months while also boosting giving. These camps provide opportunities for spiritual growth, fun activities, and community building. 

Organize a week-long camp filled with interactive lessons, games, songs, and crafts centered around a specific theme or curriculum. Recruit volunteers from the congregation to serve as camp counselors, activity leaders, and support staff. 

Encourage your congregation to provide financial assistance to ensure all children can participate, regardless of their circumstances. 

6. Provide senior citizen support 

During the hot summer months, senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and may struggle to stay cool and comfortable, especially if they are on fixed incomes. 

Support elderly members of the community by organizing a fan drive or aiding with utility bills to help alleviate the financial burden of staying cool. Encourage congregants to contribute financially or donate new or gently used fans, air conditioners, or other cooling devices to distribute to senior citizens in need. 

Partner with local utility companies, government agencies, or nonprofit organizations to identify and assist elderly individuals who may require additional support. Offer tips on staying safe during hot weather and provide resources for accessing community services and support networks. 

7. Host summer community service days 

Organize summer community service days where congregants volunteer their time to make a positive impact in their neighborhoods. Ask your congregation to support the initiative with financial contributions and encourage volunteers to donate as a gesture of gratitude for the opportunity to serve. 

Volunteer projects can include neighborhood clean-ups, home repairs, or beautification efforts that address specific needs within the community. Collaborate with local schools, businesses, or nonprofit organizations to identify meaningful service opportunities and coordinate logistics. 

Provide necessary tools, supplies, and guidance to volunteers, and ensure that projects are accessible and inclusive for individuals of all ages and abilities. Celebrate the collective achievements of volunteers and recognize their contributions to building stronger, more resilient communities. 

8. Organize a back-to-school weekend or community fair 

As summer draws to a close, many families face the financial burden of purchasing school supplies for their children. Support students and parents by hosting a back-to-school weekend or community fair that provides resources, support, and encouragement for the school year ahead. 

Invite congregants to give financially or donate school supplies such as backpacks, notebooks, pencils, and calculators. Partner with local businesses, healthcare providers, and educational institutions to sponsor the event and provide additional resources for families, such as health screenings, backpack giveaways, and informational workshops such as bullying prevention, study skills, and parent engagement. 

Foster a sense of community and collaboration by bringing together families, educators, and community members to celebrate the start of a new school year. 

9. Sponsor a nearby school 

Building strong partnerships with local schools is a valuable way for faith communities to support education and invest in the well-being of children and families. Consider sponsoring a nearby school as part of your summer giving initiatives. 

This could involve providing financial support for school supplies, organizing a school beautification project, or offering volunteer assistance to teachers and staff. Identify areas where the congregation can make a meaningful contribution, such as volunteering as tutors or mentors, organizing school supply drives, or sponsoring extracurricular activities and field trips. 

Establish ongoing relationships with school administrators, teachers, and students to ensure that support is tailored to the specific needs of the school community. By working together, faith communities and schools can have a positive impact on students and teachers alike. 

10. Host a summer fundraising event 

Summer is the perfect time to host a fundraising event that provides an opportunity for congregants to come together in fellowship and support a common cause. Organize events such as benefit concerts, fun walks or runs, and community picnics that appeal to the interests and passions of the congregation and the wider community. 

Encourage congregants to invite friends and neighbors to participate, expanding the reach of your fundraising efforts. Highlight how the funds raised will support important initiatives within the community and share stories and testimonials to illustrate the impact of charitable giving and inspire generosity. 

Consider partnering with local businesses, artists, or performers to enhance the event and maximize fundraising potential. By creating memorable experiences that bring people together for a purpose, faith communities can raise awareness, build connections, and make a difference in the lives of others. 

Tips to further increase summer giving 

In addition to implementing these summer church fundraising ideas, take proactive steps to further increase summer giving with these expert tips.

Embrace digital giving 

In today’s digital age, technology can be a powerful tool for increasing summer giving. Online and mobile donation apps like Givelify make it easy for congregants to give anytime, anywhere, even when they’re away on vacation. With features like reminders and recurring giving, congregants can continue to give consistently. 

For places of worship, Givelify Analytics Studio makes it easy to create designated envelopes to channel donations to specific campaigns or causes. You can also use social media and email newsletters to share giving links, reminding members of the ongoing needs within the community and encouraging them to contribute. 

Say thank you 

Remember to express gratitude regularly to your congregants for their generosity and support. Recognize individuals or families who have made contributions, whether financially or through volunteering. Host appreciation events or send personalized thank-you notes to show your sincere gratitude for their ongoing commitment to the mission and ministry of the church. When people feel appreciated, they’re more likely to want to give more. 

Show the impact 

Demonstrate the tangible impact of congregational giving by sharing success stories, testimonials, and updates on community outreach initiatives. Use newsletters, social media, and in-service presentations to highlight the transformative power of generosity and inspire continued support. By keeping congregants informed and engaged, you can build trust and encourage continued generosity throughout the summer months and beyond. 

Get ready to boost summer giving  

Summer may bring a slower season of giving, but with creativity, intentionality, and a focus on community outreach, faith leaders can inspire congregants to give generously throughout the summer months. 

By implementing these ideas, churches can increase giving while making a meaningful difference in the lives of their members and the broader community. 

Summer is a season of opportunity more than it is a season of lack. Take this opportunity to cultivate generosity and compassion, ensuring that summer becomes a season of giving and blessing for all. 

About the Author

Lindsey is the Customer Marketing Content Lead at Givelify. She is passionate about creating educational content and joyful experiences that help our Givelify community find success with our mobile giving platform. Through her content, she aims to uplift and support faith-based and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to do more good in the world.

Lindsey Hood