Well, deposits are in and kids are beginning to get excited about Camp and now the reality hits, “How do you pay for camp?”
Traditionally, we’ve done one of two things… take the check or raise the funds. Here are a few fundraising ideas that might help offset the cost for families:
This involves the bakers in your church. Enlist the finest chefs to bake their best desserts and auction them off either at a dessert fellowship or through a silent auction that allows the “winner” to take the dessert home or to a special occasion. I’ve also had bakers in the church agree to bake their specialty “at cost” as often as there is demand and give the profits toward camp.
What’s not to like about a Saturday morning car wash? This tried and true method involves the kids, encourages a donation, and plays out quiet well at the end of a nasty weather week!
There’s not a cheaper meal than spaghetti. Add some Texas toast, a bag of salad and you’ve got a fund raiser for after Sunday morning worship. (This would be a great place to also have your dessert auction).
Walk, Run, Ride a Bike, or Rock in a Rocking Chair… it’s all the same. Kids get pledges from willing friends and family to complete a task for a certain amount of time and then receive the pledged amount once the task is completed.
Everybody needs to clean out something, right? Take advantage of the “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” theory and sale that junk to a treasure collector. This can be an excellent way to involve the whole church and make some substantial cuts in how much each child will need to pay.
All of these are tried and true but, what about some less painful ways of financing camp? Perhaps you could consider one or two of these less-traditional ideas.
A Payment Plan:
Sometimes it just makes it easier to set up a payment plan. $300 is easier for me to part with in $50 increments. This year at my church we have one family with three kids going to CentriKid. While their situation doesn’t prohibit them from attending, it sure does make it easier if we set up four installments over four months.
“One to One” Sponsorship:
There are families who would be willing to anonymously sponsor a family by paying in full that child’s way to camp. Most of the time, we fail to make the need known. “We have not because we ask not” works well here. Place the opportunity in a church publication and just watch the generosity of your people.
Sunday School/Bible Study Classes Sponsor a Child:
Similar to the “One to One” sponsorship this one allows a class to pool their gifts together to sponsor a child in need. My senior adult classes always come through on this one.
In my last church we were blessed with several members who owed their own business and were often looking for tax write offs. While it’s not appropriate to give money directly to a individual through the church and receive a tax credit, it can be given to the “children’s camp fund” and distributed as needed. Check with your churches financial advisor to make sure, but it worked for us.
The Church Budget:
Don’t forget the obvious. Several church budgets have options for benevolence. Consider requesting a benevolent offering from the church budget for a needy family. In our church budget, the children’s ministry has a line item for camp. That line item was placed in to help offset the cost of camp for our church families. Don’t miss monies already ear marked for your needs.
Times are tough and while I hope we’re coming out of this latest recession, I know it’s still a big deal for many of our families to get their kids to camp. It might be that this year there are more struggling than we’re even aware of. Let’s be sensitive and helpful. Let’s consider some options. Let’s make sure every child has the opportunity to be at camp in 2013.