The following resource was submitted by Rick Smith, minister from Abingdon. It was selected Resource of the Month for April 2013.
This is a great fundraiser that will help you literally multiply your offering! I’ve seen this idea work in youth ministry for missions and even a large church raise thousands of dollars to build a hospital overseas. The concept is simple and has amazing potential, and your people will never forget this. Give the offering back to your congregation as a seed offering and ask them to work to multiply that seed over the next few weeks and then bring it back by a specific date. Encourage them to pray, be creative and work hard, to do whatever it takes to multiply their seed. It works best when they are raising money for a specific project. Here is how we used it to raise funds to purchase a church van… We called the project Accelerate. I preached a message on The Parable of The Talents/ Stewardship. We then showed a humorous video and presented the vision to raise $15,000 to buy a 15 passenger church van. We then gave the congregation $2,600 in cash (approximately 70 people were in the service). Everyone, including the youth, received a sealed envelope with either a $20, $50 or $100 bill. I asked them to not open their envelope to see what they had until I explained the Accelerate Project and how to use their seed offering. I challenged them to take their seed offering, be creative, and work to multiply it over the next 8 weeks. At a minimum, they could return their seed amount. If they had a need, they could keep the offering, no one would know about it or ask them about it, this was God’s gift to them. They could match their seed dollar for dollar. Or they could come up with a creative way to invest their seed, work it, and multiply it as much as possible (this is the main goal - to get them involved.) They could do whatever they wanted, as long as it was legal! The people went crazy with the challenge and had a ton of fun. It was a great lesson in stewardship. One teen invested her $20 to buy ingredients to make pineapple upside down cakes and took orders at church, making her over $200. A small group pooled their money together and sponsored a taco dinner for the community, turning their $270 seed into $817. Two men invested in items to wash windows for local businesses and multiplied their seed three times, and then they donated the leftover supplies to the church janitor. Another couple struggled for ideas and kept praying, and at the last moment received a corrected IRS refund of $70, the exact amount they had received in the offering; they matched their gift dollar for dollar. One family purchased fundraiser candy bars and sold them. One man invested his seed into gas for his lawnmower, then drove around town and mowed lawns, giving him $200. Two men invested their $70 and bought hot dogs, chips, and drinks and stood outside of Dollar General giving it away and took donations, giving them over $240. Another lady invested $20 into coupon fundraiser books from HyVee (they sell them for $1 each), sold them for $5 and raised $100. As you can see, the ideas are limitless. It empowers and challenges your people to get personally involved in your fundraiser. It was amazing to watch our people help each other with their projects. The Parable of the Talents will never be the same. After 8 weeks, we had a celebration offering for everyone to bring their Accelerated offering. We placed an offering basket up front, and literally every person in the church came forward to give their multiplied seed offering. The results … our $2,600 seed offering brought in over $8,000, giving us almost $11,000 toward our purchase!