The Best Youth Ministry Fundraiser Ever: The Wall O Money

Fundraising. Ugh.

That’s what I think every fall when I realize that we have some awesome mission trip opportunities, but that we’re going to need to raise some money. So, if you’re like me, you start to make a list of all the “standards” when it comes to fundraising: pancake breakfasts, car washes, rummage sales, flamingo-ing, etc. It’s a bit depressing, and I never look forward to the work that goes into these types of fundraisers.

As I was preparing to come up with a list of fundraisers for this year, I asked my network on Facebook & Twitter what their favorite fundraisers were, and a friend sent me a note about the Wall O Money. She had told me she made close to $10,000 on this fundraiser the previous year, and so of course, I was all ears!


Essentially, we just needed to get a “wall” of envelopes that were labeled $1 – $200. Then it was as simple as making the wall visible to the congregation, and watch the money come in. It sounded great, and while I was a little skeptical, we decided to run with it.

After just having the Wall O Money up for two Sundays, we’ve currently raised about $3500 from the Wall O Money, and I have a feeling we’ll continue to raise more. And so, in my mind, it really is one of the best youth ministry fundraisers ever. At least in my experience. And here’s what I did:

  1. Purchased 200 small envelopes, and had youth label them $1 through $200 and had some fun with markers and drawing fun designs on them
  2. I made stickers out of some pictures from our previous year’s mission trips
  3. In each envelope, we put a small sheet of paper that included instructions, as well as some information about our mission trips, a link to the church’s mission blog, one of the stickers and a reminder of the dates of the trip so people could pray for us.
  4. The instructions were simply to put the appropriate amount of cash or check into the envelope, seal it, and get it back to me or put it in my box
  5. We then found a large bulletin board that was available and put all 200 envelopes on the board using thumb tacks
  6. We already had a pancake breakfast scheduled, so that was when we “unveiled” the Wall O Money, and now we just leave it up in our Fellowship Hall so that it’s easily accessible by everyone after each worship service.

Here are some of the reasons I think this is an amazing fundraiser:

  • There isn’t a lot of time and energy that needs to go into it.
  • Because the minimum donation is $1, I had many kids asking parents if they could give a dollar or two (including this young girl who gave the very first donation to the Wall O Money for $1).
  • People can go in with friends and decide to donate to one of the larger envelopes.
  • The $1-$20 envelopes went very quickly, as did the $190-$200 envelopes.
  • Some people were picking envelopes that had the same number as their birthdate, or their age or just a number they liked – so it was fun to try and figure out which envelope to take.
  • Since it’s something that we can just leave up, there will always be more opportunities for someone to give.

Again, with minimal effort, we’ve been able to raise about $3500 in just two Sundays. In comparison, a ton of planning, time, and volunteers were needed to pull of our Pancake Breakfast, and that brought in a total of $1200.

So – looking for a fundraiser for this spring? Try the Wall O Money – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! Or maybe you have a fundraiser that you think is even better? Please share your knowledge here with everyone!


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Comments

  1. says

    Adam,

    I’ve heard nothing but positive things about this fundraiser, and with the decorating of the envelopes, I think you’ve managed to make it more fun. I like that you included info in the envelopes to. Cool stuff man!

  2. says

    OH MY GOSH, this is amazing. I just started working on our blasted flamingo fundraiser, that the church and the kids love but somehow always ends up with me driving all over creation with a trunk full of flamingos in the middle of the night. I think it might be time to make a change.

      • says

        Wow! What a great idea! I just started looking for strong fundraising ideas, and this is a really good one. Thanks for sharing!

        After hearing the comments made about flamingo flocking, I want to share a fund-raising idea that has been so enjoyable and successful that I wanted to share it with you. Instead flamingo flocking try Caning. We began a Kickstarter project that lasts through September 2012. Our twist was different, and it allowed us to average $100 a yard. Please check us out at:

        caneventures.com

        I would love to share it with you. Let me know if your are interested.

    • says

      Hannah – hope it works well for you too!

      The one thing I will mention is that the person who told me about it, said that when she does it again this month, she’s going to have envelopes labeled $1 – $100 and then another $1 – $100. I think that would be interesting as well.

      For all of you, if you do this fundraiser, please come back and let us know how it goes!

  3. Aaron Ferry says

    Good afternoon! I really like this idea and it does seem very simple and easy with regards to planning, time frame, etc. My one question has to do with the “instructions” that are placed within each envelope. Can you elaborate?

    • says

      Aaron – here is what I included as my insert – obviously it would need to be tailored to your youth group:

      Please put whatever amount is listed on the front of this envelope into the envelope, and return the envelope to Adam Walker Cleaveland or place it in his box in the office.

      Please make checks payable to “Asbury UMC” and write “Youth Mission Fund” on the memo line. Feel free to use the enclosed sticker to seal the envelope or keep it as a reminder to pray for us.

      Thank you very much for your donation to Asbury’s Youth Mission Fund! We wouldn’t be able to go on our trips without your generous financial and prayer support. We have an exciting summer of youth missions in 2011. From July 3-9, 15 high school youth and 3 adults will be on an SSP trip to South Los Angeles; from July 24-30, 21 youth and 5 adults will be in Sacramento for our Mission 2011 trip and then a Youth 2011 convention. Please keep this note as a reminder to pray for us while we are on our mission trips this summer. You can also follow along our mission trips at our Missions Blog: http://asbury.posterous.com

      Thanks so much! Asbury Youth Group

    • Gene Davis says

      I have a question regarding the presentation…….
      Once those envelopes are filled, do you just leave the spot open and wait for it all to disappear or do you replace it with another envelope?

  4. seth says

    Adam,
    I just wanted to say “Thank You!!!” I’m so glad you posted this online. We just did this, and it has truly been the easiest and most effecient fundraiser ever. In the first month we raised over $3000. We put a picture of a youth and their prayer request in the envelopes, and its helped the adults in our church connect with the students better than any fundraiser before.

  5. Travis Sills says

    Adam,
    I’m writing long after this post was published but I’m writing to ask what size congregation you did this project in? My congregation is a smaller one; maybe our average worship attendance is 200 a week… Should I shoot for a smaller number of envelopes? 1-50? or 1-100?

    I’m just curious to know if you have reflected on this any since you did the project and since you have moved onto your new role as pastor.

    Thanks!

  6. Joy Martin says

    We did 1-100 for a congregation of 150. About 1/2 of the envelopes were gone in 2 weeks and the 3rd week only a few more – so I think we will be done soon. Maybe 75 would have been better for a congregation our size. People loved it – didn’t need to buy something they didn’t want or attend anything extra. Thanks for the idea!!

  7. says

    We have done this one before. Instead of envelopes I asked a local contractor if I could have some left over bricks. We took sponge brushes and painted on the numbers 1-100. We sold the bricks to people in the church and told them they were helping “lay the foundation” of our ministry.

    We didn’t sell all 100 bricks. We did however make about 3,000 on the whole deal.

    Just FYI here is a break down of what you can make if you actually get money in all your envelopes.

    50- $1275
    100- $5050
    125- $7875
    150- $11325
    175- $15400
    200- $20100

    Don’t count your sunday attendance but how many families are in your church. And be realistic. How many people in your church will really drop 150, 149, 148, 147?

  8. Mindy says

    I’m late to the conversation, but we are considering this at our church for a mission trip fundraiser. One question that kept popping up – there’s no anonymity. How do we keep people from being embarrassed about taking a lower number or a higher number? Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  9. Ricky says

    We are going to use this idea at our church with the youth. I feel inclined to tell about something our church did this past year. At the beginning of the year the pastor talk about the parable of the minas in Luke 19. After doing so he gave $5 to anyone who wanted to participate in the mina project. The project was once you receive your $5, you then had to wisely invest through out the year and see what your $5 could raise by the end of the year. I don’t know the exact figures, but I don’t think he handed but maybe $150 to different people in the church. By the end of the year we as a church raised 10,000. We have a smaller church and 10,000 in one year was an excellent investment of such a small amount of money.

  10. John Sutton says

    Perhaps a silly question but one someone takes an envelope, do you replace or do you leave an empty spot, with the goal being all envelopes being used?

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