How to Host a Successful Fundraiser

A guide to help you fundraise successfully so you can outfit your church with new, high-quality chairs

Section 1:

What to Look For

Section 2:

Where to Start

Section 3:

Your “Fundraising Why”

Section 4:

Ways to Fundraise

Section 5:

Find Your Fundraising Team

Section 6:

Fundraisers with Strong ROI

Section 7:

Calculate Your Needs

Section 8:

Fundraising Flyer

What you will learn this blog:

  • How to get the money you need to purchase new chairs for your church
  • Where to start in your fundraising process
  • How to determine your “Fundraising Why”
  • Different ways to fundraise
  • How to create the best fundraising team
  • How to hold a fundraiser with strong return on investment
  • How to calculate your needs before you start planning
  • A free fundraising flyer template

Get a complete guide to help you fundraise successfully so you can outfit your church with new, high-quality chairs.

Download our complete fundraising guide to start planning your church fundraiser.


For more than 60 years, Bertolini has partnered with churches and faith-based groups to help outfit their buildings with the best chairs. We know providing members with a comfortable and functional place to worship can be expensive. But, an unfortunate fact of life is you get what you pay for.

Although it’s true there are some cheap worship chairs out there, you should know there’s a hidden cost when you opt to save a few bucks on chairs. Inexpensive, poorly built, church chairs manufactured overseas don’t provide a strong return on investment. They begin to fall apart shortly after purchase and need to be repaired and even replaced. They are also uncomfortable to sit in.

We think your members deserve the best chairs on the market. If you don’t have enough in the budget to purchase the chairs you want, it is possible to raise the necessary funds.

Fundraising is one of the most important, yet one of the most challenging, aspects of church leadership. That’s why we’ve put together an ultimate fundraising guide to assist you. These tips can put you on the right path.

Section 1:

What to Look for In Chairs

How do you know you’re purchasing the best chairs for your money?

It’s true that most church chairs look the same on the outside. This can make it difficult to ensure you’re getting the most for your money. However, you can’t judge a chair by its cover! What’s inside the chair is what matters, and that’s what sets apart the good chairs from the bad.

After reading this section, you will know exactly what questions to ask and what to look for when purchasing your chairs. We want you to feel confident in your investment.

How to choose the right chair frame

Steel frames are among the most durable types of chair frames. They are also among the least expensive and they offer the best storage capacity.

Look for a steel frame that is powder-coated to ensure the paint won’t chip or rub off. You may also want to look for frames that include a stack bar to minimize damage to cushions over time.

Why seats and backs matter

You should know what’s under the fabric and foam of a chair. The most common seats and backs are made from wood or plastic. Chairs with wood seats and backs are the most inexpensive, however, they are also the most uncomfortable and the heaviest to lift.

Plastic seats and backs are more expensive, but they have many benefits. Plastic seats are more comfortable and they breath better. Plastic is as durable as wood and it has the same stacking capacity, but it’s lighter, easier to repair (with no screws to fall out), and they are way more comfortable.

Speaking of comfort, you may want to look for a chair with a flex-back option.

What you should know about foam

The type of foam you choose really matters because comfort level can change over time. Cheap foam can breakdown.

You’ll get more consistency if you choose a manufacturer who makes their own foam, and it will be less expensive with no middleman.

Closed-Cell or MDI foam is more comfortable, durable, and environmentally friendly. The life of the foam will be longer, and it absorbs less, which is great for hygiene and cleaning up stains. Open-Cell or TDI foam is cheaper, but it will breakdown more quickly and it’s less comfortable.

We recommend you look for a chair made with polyethylene MDI foam. A plastic seat with dual-density foam will be the most comfortable.

Why footprint is important

Make sure you ask about the footprint of stacking chairs for storage purposes. You should look for chairs that stack 8 high, or more, and choose chairs that are designed to stack vertically. Before you make a purchase, ask how many square feet one stack of chairs will take up. Also, ask how far the stack will creep out from the wall.

The rendering below demonstrates what we mean when we talk footprint. Although stacking chairs may seem comparable, once stacked they can have a larger footprint than another chair, which means it will take up more storage space.

Why do we think Bertolini chairs are the best? We’re glad you asked!

Bertolini Church Chairs are manufactured in the USA using the highest quality, dual-density foam available on the market. That’s why they are the most comfortable, and longest-lasting chairs you can buy.

Bertolini’s dual-density roam seats

If a foam seat is too soft, a person will eventually sink through the foam after sitting for a long period of time. The seat will suddenly feel hard because you’re sitting on the seat bottom. This is called bottoming out. But, if the foam is too stiff, it will feel uncomfortable right away and make sitting for long periods of time uncomfortable.

Therefore, you want a foam seat that is neither too soft nor too stiff.

Bertolini dual-density seats include two foam pads, a soft pad on top of a firm (or dense) pad so that it feels soft while being firm enough to avoid bottoming out. This makes sitting in a Bertolini church chair comfortable for any period of time.

Chair Dimentions

Section 2:

Where to Start

5 Tips to Get You Started

When it comes to fundraising, it’s a common misstep for organizations to simply jump into planning an event without first stopping to figure out what type of fundraiser would best fit their needs, or if they even need to do a fundraiser at all.

Before wasting valuable time and resources planning a large event, take the time to discuss your goals and make sure you’re in the right direction.

Start by asking these five questions.

1: How much do you need to raise?

Once you determine the chairs you want, you’ll need to estimate the number of chairs you need to order. Will you only purchase chairs for the worship area or do you need chairs for other rooms throughout the facility? If you have a rough idea of square footage and how the chairs will be used, a good sales representative should be able to help you estimate the order quantity.

Once you have this information, you’ll know your required budget and you can use that to determine how much additional money you need.

2: What type of fundraiser should you do?

There are many ways to fundraise successfully, but which is the best way for your church and your specific fundraising goal? Sometimes it’s simply a matter of calling for donations during a church service and sometimes a large event will be the best way to go.

Find fundraising ideas in Section 4.

3: Who should be involved?

If you are holding an event, it’s important to have your team in place before you begin planning. Start by choosing a leader or committee chair. Finding the right people to plan the event is central to success.

How do you find the right group? Discover traits to look for in Section 5.

4: How should you start planning?

Take the time to plan before selecting a date and announcing the fundraiser. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many churches simply announce that they are having a fundraiser before the details are in place. It’s important to know how much you need to raise and determine what type of fundraiser would be most fitting.

5: What’s the most important part of fundraising?

The Golden Rule of fundraising is, don’t be afraid to ask! That sounds simple, but it can be surprisingly difficult for some people. The reason it’s the Golden Rule is that the number one reason people don’t donate to a certain cause or organization is not that they cannot afford to donate, but because no one asks them to donate in the first place. Once you ask, you’ll likely be surprised by the generosity of the people you know.

Sometimes a Flyer Is All You Need

Perhaps after reading this E-Book you will decide you’re not ready to launch a full-scale fundraising event. However, you might still need money for something like new chairs to outfit your church. That’s okay. Simple is sometimes better.

You’ll find a sample fundraising flyer in section 8. You can use this as a template to create your own flyer or print the page and make copies to pass out during Sunday services.

Section 3:

Know Your “Fundraising Why”

Do You Know Why You’re Holding a Fundraiser?

Have one specific goal for any fundraiser

The most successful fundraisers have a specific goal or vision in mind. Simply needing more money to grow your church is not specific enough. For example, if you need to raise money in order to purchase chairs for your church, make sure to communicate that clearly. The goal doesn’t matter if it’s communicated effectively to the membership. It’s particularly important to tell them how the fundraiser will benefit them. How will purchasing new chairs benefit them?

This also means you shouldn’t fundraise if it isn’t needed. People don’t like being bombarded with fundraisers, so don’t have one if there is no reason.

Once you have your “why”, the other aspects of fundraising will likely fall into place.

Churches fundraise for many different reasons, in addition to purchasing new furniture and supporting infrastructure. Here are just a few.

Common Causes for Church Fundraisers

Education:

  • Church camp
  • Bible school
  • Sunday school
  • Women’s groups
  • Youth groups
  • Children’s groups
  • School uniforms
  • Youth/adult Conferences

Community Outreach:

  • Missionary work
  • Food pantries
  • Ladies’ and societies
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Relay for Life

Membership Services:

  • Member healthcare aid fund
  • J.O.Y. circles
  • Sunday school supplies
  • New building
  • New church pews or chairs
  • Ushers
  • Addiction recovery

Section 4:

Different Ways to Fundraise

What Type of Fundraiser Fits?

Depending on how much you need to raise to purchase your new chairs, different types of fundraisers might be best.

Because churches are community-based organizations they’re in a unique position. There’s great potential for successful fundraising if you have a specific goal and can determine what type of fundraiser will help you achieve that goal.

Although many people think of large events or bake sales when the term fundraising is mentioned, there are many different ways to raise money. Here are a few different types of fundraisers that might work for you and your church.

The 500 Dollar Wheelbarrow

A large wheelbarrow can hold at least 50,000 pennies, which equals $500. Put a wheelbarrow in your worship center and invite members to donate pennies.

Cupcake Bar

Have volunteers bake an assortment of unfrosted cupcakes that you can sell and then invite people to decorate as a fun activity. This is a great type of event to hold after a service. You can also sell coffee and tea!

World Food Day

Invite members from a variety of cultures to make their traditional cuisine for the congregation to sample, then charge for event tickets or by plates of food.

Talent Competition

Sell tickets to a show put on by your congregation’s youth group or children’s classes. People love to see kids perform!

Childcare Services

Offering childcare with the help of volunteers can provide a great service for couples in need of a date night and make a solid profit for you.

Cakewalk

Charge a participation fee for members to have an entry in a cakewalk, where volunteers walk around and taste each cake and then vote for a winner.

Gingerbread House Auction

Have volunteers spend an evening making gingerbread houses to be auctioned off after the next service.

Holiday Gift-Wrapping

Charge a small fee for volunteers to wrap presents for people in the congregation around the holidays.

Quiz Night

Charge admission and pick a theme such as a holiday or a “get-to-know-your-Bible-stories” event.

Car Wash

Gather volunteers and supplies and charge a small fee for the congregation and community members to get their cars cleaned.

Bazaar

Find a bunch of volunteers and host your very own bazaar or market for selling miscellaneous items. Charge each booth a fee or have them donate a percentage of their profit to the church.

Member Auction

Have an auction where volunteers from your church can share their skills and talents with others. You can auction off things like a home-cooked meal, family photo session, yard work, and knitting. Get creative!

Flower Sale

Sell flowers during special holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, etc.

5K Run/Walk

Host a 5k for the runners/walkers in the congregation with a set fee for each runner and the ability to gather donations to support teams and individual participants.

Golf Tournament

Speak with a local county club or golf course to see if you can arrange a fun tournament where a portion of the entry fee goes to your church.

Silent Auction

A silent auction can help augment ticket sales for an event or be part of something simple like an after-service luncheon.

Raffle

Gather in-kind donations and determine how much to charge for each ticket by deciding how much you need to raise and dividing that amount by the number of items donated.

Check state laws regarding raffles to make sure you won’t be charged any taxes or fees. A raffle may not be a good idea for your congregation if the tax expense would cancel out any profit from the raffle.

Catalog or Home Party

There are many catalogs and companies to choose from where people can purchase items and have a portion of their order total benefit the church. Look at popular companies like Scentsy, doTERRA, and Pampered Chef.

Section 5:

Find Your Fundraising Team

Choose Your Team

The key to fundraising successfully is having a great team and a strong leader

Enlisting a dedicated group of people is the best way to ensure fundraising success, but it’s important to have a great leader in place to keep the project on track. This takes someone with the skillset, availability, and dedication to getting the job done.

Is there someone in your congregation who often takes the lead, and who is looking for a way to get more involved? That person could be the leader you’re looking for!

Here are some traits to look for when searching for your fundraising team leader.

  • Organized and decisive
  • Steps up to help without being asked
  • Actively participates in discussion groups, classes, and events
  • Communicates effectively
  • Social and engaged (a “people person”)
  • Flexible and easy to work with
  • Avoids drama and gossip

What’s the #1 trait to look for? (Remember the golden rule!)

Make sure your fundraising leader is the type of person who is not afraid to ask for what they need.

People who might make great team members

Once you have your team leader, that person can help you put a committee in place. Look for people who have similar traits to your leader. Also, look for people with specific experience and skill sets you need to help make your event successful.

Potential volunteers

With a committee in place, figure out who else in your congregation should be involved. For example, if you are raising money for a youth group bible camp, consider having members of the youth group actively participate. When people communicate directly with the people who will benefit from the fundraiser, they will be more likely to donate.

Section 6:

Fundraising with Strong ROI

5 Steps to Achieve Your Fundraising Goals

A fundraising event must be profitable, otherwise, you’re wasting your time and the time of all those involved. So, how do you host an event with a strong return on investment?

Follow these steps before you begin planning your event to ensure your final profits outweigh your initial investment. This works for any type of fundraiser from a simple bake sale to a large-scale gala.

Step 1: Confirm 501C3 Status

If your church is a registered 501C3 nonprofit organization, you should be charged the wholesale price by each vendor and you don’t need to pay tax. If you’re not registered yet, pause the fundraising process until that’s in place.

Step 2: Create a Budget

List out every item you will need to purchase with an estimated cost. Remember the little things like printing event tickets and offering bottled water for volunteers. Tally the estimated total cost.

Step 3: Purchase Goods & Services

It’s time to approach vendors! As a 501C3, you should be charged the wholesale price for everything and you should not be charged tax. And remember the golden rule! Ask for a percentage to be donated by the vendor or invite them to be a sponsor.

Step 4: Determine the Amount to Raise

Figure out how much money you need to raise in order to meet your goal once you subtract the cost for products and services.

Step 5: Establish Cost of Admission

Knowing how much you need to raise in order to reach your goal will help you determine how much to charge for admission or event tickets. Estimate how many people you think will attend and multiply that by the cost per ticket.

For small-scale fundraisers, such as a bake sale, you can determine how many items you need to sell and how much you need to charge for each item.

Step 6: Identify Additional Revenue Options

It’s likely you won’t be able to raise the total amount needed through ticket sales alone. If the cost of entry is too high, it might limit attendance. Look for other ways to make money such as a raffle, silent auction, live auction, cash bar, or whatever else works for your members.

Get creative! For some events, you can raise additional money with things like carnival rides, balloon animals, and face painting.

Section 7:

Calculate Your Needs

How Much Money Does Your Event Need to Raise?

Use this formula to determine attendance goals, ticket prices, and more.

Using these calculations will help you know if your fundraising strategy can be successful. You might need to return to the drawing board, but it’s better to do that before you start investing time and money in an event that won’t achieve your goals.

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Does the ticket price seem too high?

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Once you know how much you need to raise outside of ticket sales, you can begin pricing other items, such as drinks, and figure out how many donations you need to gather for raffles, auctions, etc.

Section 8:

Fundraising Flyer

It’s Time for New Chairs! We’ll Help You Raise the Money.

We think your members deserve to have the most comfortable, well-made chairs. Ones that last for years, while being easy to set up and store. We also know that outfitting your congregation with high-quality chairs requires a significant investment.

Use this flyer as a model for creating your own fundraising flyer, or print out this flyer, make copies, and distribute it to you membership.

Good luck with your fundraising goals!

Need a Fundraising Flyer?

Print this flyer and distribute it to your membership.

Bertolini Makes the Best Chairs in the Industry!

  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Built using superior materials
  • Designed to provide extreme comfort
  • Easy to transport, stack, and store
  • Guaranteed quality with a 15-year warranty