Unification Sermons and Talks
Funding Your Sunday School
by Vicki Henry - Minnesota Sunday School Director for HSA-UWC
(First in an occasional series of article dealing with Sunday School)
My article in the November issue offering the "How to Start a Sunday School" guide and other manuals prompted many replies. Of these, at least half were from brothers and sisters who have just recently been given the mission to start a Sunday School. I also received four inquiries from outside the US. (One sister even called from Australia!) Clearly Sunday School is an important issue at this time. There are 4,500 blessed children in the US alone. If our blessed families are to have a true victory the education of our children is crucial to that victory.
But as with all new activities, money plays a key role in getting started. Just how does one get the funds necessary to start a Sunday School? One way that seems the most obvious is to take it out of the Il Jeung Fund or Blessed Family Fund in your state. Budgeting from the monthly tithing is another option. However, in some locales there are so few members that this is not a feasible route. In other places there may be so much debt that nothing can be spared for Sunday School. This leads to many Sunday School teachers funding their efforts with their own money. (I have personally gone this route. But when our phone bills alone started reaching $80-$100 a month from calls made to all my teachers, my husband said there needs to be a Sunday School budget.)
Another avenue of funding is taking up a collection/offering in your Sunday School classes. The Washington DC church collects a dollar from every student from Pre-K on up for every Sunday School class attended by that student. I will add that we in Minnesota have also initiated this policy but have stipulated the money gathered to go towards certain equipment. At the end of one year we hope to have attained the funds necessary.
Collecting an offering from the children has a two-fold purpose. Not only is it a fundraising idea but it instills the sense of offering/tithe in our children.
From here one must start getting creative in the raising of funds. I organized a church carnival complete with five game booths, face painting (by a sister who dressed as a clown), puppet show, a children's sidewalk art contest (drawing on the sidewalk with colored chalk), and an international food fest (a buffet of one dish each from a variety of countries and ethnic groups.) We also had entertainment provided by a Japanese sisters' choir, various children's talents and a special guest appearance by "Elvis" (my husband singing in the "King's" style.) Individuals were charged $8, families were $15 to attend the entire event lasting from 12-3 pm on a Saturday afternoon. This entitled them to play as many games as they wanted (winning tokens they could exchange for prizes), see all the entertainment and eat all they wanted. We raised over $300.
One side not to this is, if you really want to raise a lot of money doing a carnival, open it up to the public so you are not just relying on our members. Make up flyers on the event and pass them out at other churches. Invite your extended families. even putting an announcement in the local newspaper is not unreasonable. You can not only use the carnival as a fundraising tool, but also as an event to bring guests to. Make it a community event.
Speaking about the community, many area businesses offer money to no- profit organizations such as schools and churches through various means. Some offer a certain percentage on the store's receipts that are collected over a certain period of time. Others, such as Burger King or Dominoes, will set aside one evening where a percentage of their sales, from anyone who says they are from that particular organization, will be donated to it. Campbell's soup has another type of fundraising available. Look around. I'm sure you will find many people, businesses and clubs that have various programs for non-profit organizations to use. And it's a good way to meet people and get involved.
Other ideas for a fundraising include; a children's art auction, a raffle, bake sales, a rendition of a play, a concert, etc. Maybe it doesn't seem like the "big" money like going out on the "old fundraising team," but remember-the purpose is not just the money, but having fun doing it and letting other people offer their own unique talents and be recognized for it. For some this may be the only way they can contribute. How many instances are there for a clown or an "Elvis" to perform at a conference? What of all the artists, cooks, seamstresses, actors, in short, everyone in our church who has a talent that has yet to be tapped? To be creating takes a mind that has no concepts and is big enough to embrace everything and everyone. To raise funds takes the same.
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