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Messy Money

Posted by Lucy Moore on 28 Feb 2011

An email came recently, describing first a phenomenal amount of publicity put into a Messy Church, then saying:

'So far, we have not brought in any money through the event and have been covering the cost from church funds, but we know we can't continue to do this for long. Do you have experience of Messy Churches going from this position to bringing in funds, and if so, what's the best way to do this?'

Jane and I suspect this anxiety is shared by some other churches so we replied to the email with a list of ideas to try out, as below. Though with regard to the car boot sale, we're not sure where legitimate enterprise stops and child labour begins...

While everyone’s situation is different, here are some ideas that have been tried successfully:

  • Charging a small amount per head or per family (£1 / £2)
  • Having a pot or two for donations prominently displayed (one MC has a MC piggy bank made out of a balloon papier-mache that children love putting money in!)
  • Having a fun fundraising night separate from MC, for example, quiz night / fish and chip night
  • Seeking funding from central church, for example, diocesan mission fund for a seed grant
  • Running a MC session on 'sharing' as a Christian virtue and introduce the idea of tithing (you might want to run this for your inherited church congregation too)
  • And ideas that I feel would be good though I haven't seen them tried:
  • Asking people from inherited church to tithe specifically to MC for a set amount of time
  • Having a gift day for MC and asking for both money and gifts in kind, for example, craft equipment
  • Taking your MC team and congregation to a car boot sale and selling something you’ve made at MC
  • And convincing your inherited church that raising money from your MC congregation is going to take time and that the church is actually paying for MISSION on its own doorstep and that is very very important!
  • Also think about activities as well as crafts which don't cost quite as much money
  • Look at your local Councillors Community Initiative Fund (CCIF) to see if any money is sitting there waiting to be used
  • I use a bright donation bucket with a rota of children as bucket shakers and as folk give they receive a celebration chocolate on the way out.
  • I have heard that the Mothers' Union has a small grant for family projects too.
  • Do deals with your local shops like butchers/bakers/chip shops re. food as we have found them keen to have the business here in Liverpool and now they let us put posters in their shops too. We send thank you cards to them periodically to update them on how MC is going.