Putting the FUN into Fund Raising

The Mount Olivet Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Camden, New Jersey is on the move toward planned improvements to our church building, our main goal being to attract and retain members to do good work in our surrounding communities. Besides enhancement of the main sanctuary with new lighting, carpeting, painting, and pews – an upgraded kitchen, new sound and security systems are also in development.

Raising the funds for this 1.5 million dollar effort is no small feat but it can be done and the doing can be fun. That’s what I learned as new member of the Capital Campaign Committee.

Under the leadership of Capital Campaign Committee Chairperson Lorene Brown Watkins, there have been a variety of projects developed to raise needed funds, engage our membership, and alert the community to our efforts.

One such project was a well-advertised all-day flea market on the church grounds. That event allowed all members to donate items for sale to local bargain hunters. That day’s work attracted scores of visitors raised a significant amount toward our goal. Simple. Practical. Inexpensive.

Some of the more direct methods included inviting members to pledge monthly recurring donations. Also, a donation referral program was created on an “each one reach one” platform, which asked members to complete forms listing possible donors among family, friends and frequented businesses. This program was effective for compounding contacts as well as raising thousands of dollars toward our goal.

We reached out to large donors by offering plaques in their names – of various materials based on various levels of giving - on our church lobby Wall of Dedication, appealing to their interest in advertising their support to our members and community. Or, donors may wish to purchase plaques in the name of a loved one.

We initiated special annual projects for fundraising. One was our late summer golf outing, where we not only sold tickets for the rounds of golf, but also for dining and swimming at the same venue. We invited a famous sports figure to speak at the event as an attraction. Sports business sponsors defrayed some costs. Another annual event now dedicated to the capital campaign is Church Gala, held during the holiday season.

We had a fashion show, and before that, an after-Sabbath gospel fest in the sanctuary with vendors in the fellowship hall.

How, you must be wondering, can so much activity go on in the same year? Simple: We encouraged our church members to create family or individual fundraising projects and found them willing to exercise their various talents.

We also found that members were encouraged by visible progress. So we posted a fillable thermometer on the wall and online so everyone could see our funds grow. We purchased the improved sound system for members to enjoy.  We published pictures taken at the various fundraising events to show what a wonderful time was had supporting a worthy cause. We offered donors the option of targeted giving – towards the kitchen expansion or the sanctuary improvement or the communications department.

Mount Olivet Seventh-Day Adventist Church is rich with talent and creativity so stay tuned for our next program of engagement and enrichment.


Patricia Nichols is a member of the capital campaign committee in the Mount Olivct, New Jersey Church