Thursday, September 6, 2012

FUNDRAISING: What's your philosophy?

There are two basic philosophies regarding keeping track of funds for fundraising.  Some like individual accounts and others like group accounts.  Major fundraising is usually done for mission trips, youth gathering trips, or community building trips like campouts, etc.  Minor fundraising is usually something that builds the fund balance for general use such as food or decorations for simple youth events, mission donations, etc.  Some smaller congregations do not have the money to support the youth at all and their fund may be needed for song books, curriculum, sports equipment, etc.  How that money is spent should be based on a vote of the members of the group and adult guidance.

Individual Fundraising "Accounts"
This is basically the philosophy that every youth has their own account within the youth fund and they work for the good of themselves.  Somebody keeps track of what money each individual raises and it can be put toward any event they choose, shared with somebody else, etc.  People like this because it can cause fewer agruments about who attended which fundraising event, how hard they worked, and how much they earned.  This philosophy is good if you have a large group and a lot of different major events kids may choose to attend.  Kids can use their money to go on the mission trip of not go and save their money for another event.  They have a youth group savings account.  When they graduate and leave the group their saved funds transfer into the general youth account.

Group Fundraising Account
This is basically the philosophy that everyone works for the good of the whole and money is equally divided.  This philosophy is good if you have a small group that comes to everything, works well together, and everybody pitches in for each other.  It is about building and supporting the community as a whole.  It may seem much simpler but there may be arguments if there are people who don't pull their weight and still get the same amount of money the others do.  The response to that argument may be the Parable of the Prodigal Son or the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. 

The Combo Plan
Personally, as a church professional, I believe that we do what is right before we do what is popular or convenient.  It is not Biblical to work toward the benefit of ourselves.  Fairness is not a Biblical teaching.  Given that, I understand the problems of money and suggest a combination of both.

Money earned as a group should be divided evenly among the group members and money earned as individuals can be considered individual earnings.  If the group has a garage/yard/rummage sale, the money is distributed evenly.  If kids go out into their community to sell bedding plants and one person sells $4000 worth and another only $250, that should be taken into account. 

Remember that trips and fundraising and everything else done with and for youth is not only about giving them experiences but also teaching them.  If one or two kids aren't pulling their weight in participating in fundraising the answer is not a financial penalty.   It's a conversation.  Adults don't have individual accounts at church and kids shouldn't either.  Families that give more than others do not receive more than others and those that give less are not penalized.  We do not tell people they didn't bring enough food for the potluck so they can't eat dessert.  For Biblical references please turn to Matthew 20:1-16 and Luke 15:11-32.

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