Donuts, a Dining Room Set and Red Paper Clips

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There is a room in God’s Kingdom somewhere in northern Alberta where His children tried something quite radical.

Four youth groups gathered together in this small community for a weekend retreat. They partnered with Happy the Dog, a Christian ministry that works with churches, schools, camps, and retreat centers to leading meaningful worship experiences that bring people to Christ and nurture and nurture that lifelong relationship. Happy the Dog's team includes gifted speakers and praise and worship leaders who are committed to serving the Lord while serving others. The worship time for the weekend was fantastic, challenging the attendees in their relationship with our Creator, God. 

On Saturday the group was stretched in a unique way. One of the youth leaders had a dream to find a creative way for the group to reach out into the community and at the same time raise money for the local food bank. Through lots of prayer and planning, there came a story that inspired us, about a young Canadian man who began with one single red paperclip. He traded the paperclip for one item, then traded that item for something else (and so and so on) and did so for one year. At the end of the year, he ended up with a house! 

We didn't have a year but we had an afternoon. We divided into groups of four or five and each group armed with one red paperclip, spent the afternoon trading for things. We booked an auctioneer to auction off whatever the group had received by the end of the day. We had the foresight to announce in the local newspaper that an auction would be taking place that day but we had no idea what we would have to auction. We were extremely nervous but we placed it all into the Lords hands.

Groups came back with cash, an autographed photo of Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers (who just happened to retire that very night from the NHL), a dining room set, bikes, donuts, a fireplace, clothing, firewood. You name it--a flatbed trailer loaded with stuff. All from 12 red paperclips. This was an incredible “loaves and fishes” moment. God took what we had and fed the many. We raised about $2000.00 that afternoon for the local food bank.

John 6:9-11 says, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

Fundraising ideas and stories are so helpful for us in the trenches. Does anyone have a story they can share? Love to hear them. Let’s list as many as we can.

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Two come to mind. First, the "free" car wash. Get businesses to sponsor your car wash. Make pamphlets to advertise those businesses. When customers offer to pay, tell them its free. We made over $3000 in one day.

Second is the non-dinner fund raiser. Everyone's busy, right? To busy to go to a fundraising dinner? No problem! Sell tickets for a non-event that won't be held on February 30. Make a fake menu that won't be served. Take a night to make a creative video of your students preparing for no one. Hilarity, and a quick $3-400.

Is it a problem to name the community of the event? Strange. But great that you posted the event.

Guide

Hi Shirley, thanks for your comment. There was no official name for the event. The weekend was hosted by Neerlandia CRC and the auction took place in Barrhead, Alberta. The planning team tried this event as an experiment to see if we could gather a few rural CRC's together for community building and outreach. 

Community Builder

We have 4 specific fundRaisers each year. (1) A Valentines Dinner (Feb) where we hire a real chef to cook the meal and decorate to feel romantic - we limit the seating so that it fills up entirely, (2) A Pancake Breakfast April/May - Self Serve, (3) Serve/Cook/Coordinate the food at the Church Picnic (July) and Apple Pie Making (250 pies) - Nov. Then mix in a few new ones that become available throughout the year. Our biggest money-maker, though, is the Apple Pie Making during the holidays. No matter what the fundRaiser idea, though, the key is getting the kids to come out and help. That's what makes it easy and enjoyable. No great insight here, but we do see success in consistently doing some common fundRaisers each year; plus, you become more efficient at doing them, as well.