A "Reformed" Fund Raising Idea

Comments (11)

I have blogged in the past about the importance of reformed resources and reformed theology within youth ministry programs.  It’s just as important to have resources with a reformed perspective for the entire congregation.  Faith Alive Christian Resources has come up with a creative idea that will share reformed resources within a congregation AND raise funds for the youth group. Youth groups will earn 40% profit on all books sold through this program.

You can check out the program at youthgroupbooksale.org.  

Here’s how it works:

1.       A youth group leader signs up on line.

2.       The youth group receives a packet with book samples, posters, order forms, and bulletin inserts.

3.       Church orders are placed with Faith Alive by May 1.

4.       Books arrive at the church by May 15.

5.       The youth group delivers the books.

Book titles include:

·         Daylight, by Andrew Kuyvenhoven

·         Home Grown, by Karen DeBoer

·         Leaving Egypt, by Chuck DeGroat

·         Sixty at Sixty, by James Schaap

·         Song of a Scientist, by Calvin DeWitt

·         Honest to God, by James Schaap

·         150 – Finding Your Story in the Psalms, by Kevin Adams

·         Living & Loving Life, by Howard Vanderwell

·         The Day Metallica Came to Church, by John Van Sloten

·         God Loves me Storybook Sets, by Patricia Nederveld        

I think this is a pretty good idea and I figured others who scan this blog on the Network might find it helpful.  Sign up at youthgroupbooksale.org or give Faith Alive Christian Resources a call.

Posted in: Youth Ministry; Blog Photo courtesy of Faith Alive Christian Resources Image: See Credit

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Comments

Although this is easy and safe, I'm not sure it's the way to go.....it's not the kind of activity that  fuels relationships and builds excitement within the youth. Books can be bought anywhere these days and for pennies. I would encourage being more creative. This certainly does work better for larger churches, but the smaller churches are maybe wasting their energies on a project that may not produce anticipated end results. One key to fundraising... Experiemnt with lots of things that are simple and easy and you will soon realize and identify what works best in your church and your circumstances. From experience, book-selling is not one of them. It's like door-2-door Girl Scout Cookie seliing. Outdated and no one gets excited about it, which takes away from the vision for the Mission Trip. Try new things and be creative.....just my humble opinion....

Thanks for your input.  I certainly agree that fund raising often works best when various options are tried and each church then identifies what works best for their group and congregation. I am hopeful, though that this Faith Alive fund raiser will have a number of positive results.  It will be great if it helps raise funds for the youth group.  I believe that there are far too few Reformed resources or resources with a Reformed perspective being used in our congregations, and if this program can get some high quality Reformed resources into our churches, that will be a win.  I also have a heart for Faith Alive and want to offer assistance to this incredibly important ministry partner.  So, all that to say that I figure this fund raiser might work for some groups, and the additoinal benefits look pretty good too.

 

I think that your comments would make for a great future blog for this network.  I hope you don't mind if I use some of your ideas/suggestions for a post later this spring! Thanks again for your thoughtful post.

BLOG AWAY! Although, as my sister - and especially my wife the Brit/Lit English Professor - always say....cite your work, so you're not plagerising...HeeHee

Sounds like a good way to make some money for a group - but it doesn't fit with my "philosophy" of fund raising (maybe not the right choice of word, but I can't think of anything else at the moment)!  I dislike fundraising at all but it seems to be a necesary evil in youth ministry in general.  We try to make all of our fund raisers directly benefit the church as well as our youth ministries.  We want our congregation to grow together in fellowship and faith and we try to use our fund raisers to accomplish those goals - especially the fellowship part.  We do a talent show and dessert night (Immanuel's Got Talent minus the judges), a soup supper and service auction, dinner before our annual congregational meeting, and a dinner for widows and widowers in conjunction with our deacons.  Our goal is for each of these events to contribute to the fellowship and community development of our church body first, and to raise money for our students second.

That being said, there are good titles in the list and getting more of them into the hands of our members isn't a bad thing.  In fact, we just bought a case of Kevin Adam's book on the Psalms for our congregation.  Should have signed up for this fund raiser before we ordered those!

I love that "philosophy." It's been many years since I was in youth group but some of my fondest memories are of our themed fundraising dinners. It was a way to build community and raise money at the same time. 

1) I don't think that necessarily raising money for kids needs to be a 1st or 2nd priority; that makes raising money look like it's a bad thing....and it's not! It can be if handled improperly, but there are a lot of positive features of teaching kids about fund-raising (eg. responsibility, honesty, accountability, involvement for a goal). I do, however, agree that we should also be aware of some kind relational development aspect to the types of "fund-raising" activities that you do. Although, book-selling has it's pro's, I'm not sold on the fact that it has a relational aspect to it. Our YG always attempts to do that in the activities that we choose to undertake; It needs to be a good blend and the kids with learn more, enjoy it more and remember it longer. In other words it will have a greater impact.

 

2) How about Financial Fellowship Development...it kind of has a nice ring to it; I like it!  :>)

Don't be too hard on those Girl Guides and their cookies!  This is from their 2010 annual report:

"The skills girls learn through the Girl Scout cookie program certainly have an annual payoff: in the 2010 program year, some three million girls sold 198 million boxes for a record $714 million in cookie revenue to support Girl Scouting. More importantly, the cookie sale helps give a new generation of girls the courage, confidence, and character to claim their rightful place as leaders."

Everrettvh: Thanks for proving my point!!! (I didn't even have to search this one out) Although, I have nothing bad to say about the Girl Scouts (in case you are trying to read things into something that's are not there) The EMPHASIS is on the PROFITS and not on the relational/fellowship aspect....(I LOVE Girl Scout Cookies BTW!) But if you've ever had a Girl Scout at your door (even those whom you know), it's not about fellowship; and the "footnoted" three C's that they are regurgitating are the 3 C's that are their cookie cutter answer to everything; ....Sort of like....OK, I'm going to get myself in trouble here (AND I'm a true-blue Cadet supporter)....the Cadet motto, "A Cadet must be reverent, considerate, trustworthy...." so forth and so on. At that age they don't fully know what it means but bordering on indoctrination (however, I did not say brainwashed...LOL)

Guide

I agree... I think a great fund-raising idea post can come out these comments Paul!

But I also think that maybe this particular fund-raising option can be used alongside other campaigns churches run. Let me first preface this by saying I work for Faith Alive, but wanted to offer just a couple of thoughts:

- People in our congregations are always going to be buying books for themselves or as gifts for people. This option allows that "book" money go directly to two sources: their youth group and their denominational publisher. This gives people in the congregation the chance to bless the youth group and the FA/CRCNA with their purchases instead of putting that money in someone else's pocket. And the part of that money that comes into FA goes right back into producing better products for our churches.

- This actually can open up some of those "intergenerational" doors that everyone is talking about. The teenagers in your church are going to have to know something about these books in order to tell the congregation about them and help point people to certain titles that may interest them (FA should help them with that). They may recommend a book to someone in the congregation, who then reads and loves it. That person then has a connecting point with the teen(s) that sold them the book to say, "Hey, I really liked that book you guys sold us/recommended." Books have always been a connecting point for people, and this can help your congregation connect in new ways.

- These are great book/study group titles. What a great opportunity to buy multiple copies for groups in your church and know the money is going to your kids. While you are at it, think about buying copies for the teens selling them and invite them to join your "adult" book clubs and discussion groups!

- Buy a few extra for the young adult/college-age members that may not have the extra money and invite them to read along with your groups or just give them as gifts. 

- Theology matters. The number of Christian books, studies, devotions, and whatever else out there is huge. Like Paul mentioned, it seems there are far too few solid Reformed resources on our book shelves and church classrooms. We at FA works hard to publish books that will help to edify, inform, and challenge readers with solid Reformed ideas and worldview. 

Like I said, just a few thoughts. This doesn't have to take the place of what you are already doing and the fund-raising efforts that give 100% back to your congregations. But it can help raise some extra money on the side for the youth groups while supplying the congregation with great resources and reads.  And it supports "us" (your church, FA, the CRC) instead of Amazon.com, etc. It's a win-win I would think... but then again I work here :)

Derek: OK, I appreciate your honesty and reflective support.; you have definitely thought this through (although, you work there - in sales maybe? LOL, just joking) And, I don't think I was saying I wouldn't support this program, only that there are SO MANY MORE creative ideas & activities that do a better job at Financial & Fellowship Development. This is definitely a more passive approach (more likely & easier geared to being promoted and supported by an older generation of reformed leaders - which I consider myself a part of)  I think this program would be more appealing as "something in the background" that was continuous throughout the year - and maybe it is, but I only saw the program as being initiated for the month of April only. Send me some info on the program and maybe you would be willing to tailor it to our fb page. I think the "kit part" is cumbersome, too. Younger kids want to see things work a little more hi-tech. Let congregates know, at various times of the year, that it is available and have it so they can go online, purchase and the residuals automatically are transferred to the church YG (eg check, debit, bank acct) Very similar to what we do with our clothing consignment that builds and develops funds for our Mission trips, in the background, throughout the year. I didn't mean to write quite so much, but you get the point, eh?

Guide

Haha, no, not sales or marketing. I actually edit curriculum, so stuff that doesn't have anything to do with this sale at all!

My intent was just to point out some ways the sale could be used to drive fellowship too, since it does come off a little "transaction-based." I really think your "in the background" idea is interesting. Running this in addition to traditional congregational-based fund raising is probably going to be most attractive to churches.

Another option could maybe be to offer a quarterly or twice-a-year option aimed at developing some kind of pattern/rhythm so churches can come to rely on it as a way to learn about and acquire new FA books, plan some of their reading group topics or adult ed studies around it, etc.  What are your thoughts on that?

I'm glad to see such good engagement with the topic on here. I'm going to pass this along to the professionals over in sales/marketing to follow-up with you on.  Thanks for the great feedback!

 

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