Favorite Fund Raising

Fr. Peter Daly

Parish Diary

May 27, 2010


Fr. Peter Daly talks about fund raising and some favorite fund raisers.


            Fund raising. It is a fact of life for parishes. We hate to do it, but we have to do it.

            Every parish has its favorite fund raisers.  

            Here are some of mine done in our parish over the last 15 years. If your parish has some creative fund raisers, let me know. We can share the wealth.

            “Cow Chip Bingo” was the biggest grossing fund raiser of all time in our parish. It requires a slow moving cow, which won’t jump the fence, and is not constipated. It also requires a large field and a couple of “line judges.” We divided up our parish field into about 3500 quadrants, each about two feet square. We staked out the ends of the rows and used a laser to determine the square boundaries. We sold each square for $10.

            Then we released the cow onto the field and waited for Bossy to do her business. Meanwhile we sold refreshments to the admiring crowd. Eventually she made a deposit on a square. The owner of that square got 10% of the wagers. Our parish made about $30,000 and one happy owner of a soiled square went home with $3,000.

            There is a variation on Cow Chip Bingo. It involves chickens. The chickens either lay an egg or make a deposit, ala Bossy. The problem with “Chicken Chip Bingo” is the tendency of our Men’s Club to come up with names for it that we can’t put on a church poster. There is also a problem of timing if you wait for eggs. Chickens lay eggs less frequently than cows make “chips.”

            Dining for Dollars is a close second for “most popular fund raiser.” It is easy. All you need is a local restaurant that wants extra business on a slow night. That is practically any restaurant.

            Our youth group did this recently. They printed up flyers asking people to eat at a particular restaurant on a particular night. After each of the Sunday masses, they passed out the flyers. All the parishioners had to do was go eat at the designated restaurant on the designated day and hand their server one of the flyers.  The restaurant gave us 20 % of the check (not counting taxes and tip) of each table that presented a flyer. Hundreds of people showed up. We made a couple thousand with little or no trouble. The restaurant was happy too, because they got hundreds of first time customers.

            “Cell phones for cash” is also a good fund raiser. Generally I hate cell phones, but I like them when they make us money. We use them as a fund raiser for our pre-school. People bring drop their old cell phone in a box at the back of church. Every month or so, a volunteer mails them off to a company that recycles them. They pay us anywhere from $10 to $50 per phone. Easy money. Another variation of this fund raiser is “Cartridges for cash” which collect old toner cartridges.

            Finally there is “Ransom Father.” I didn’t like it much, but it made money.  The youth of my parish made a video showing me being kidnapped by them. On a weekend when I was going to be away, they played the video in the back of church, complete with an appeal for my ransom, which I recorded “in captivity.” We made a lot of money on this. But it’s risky. It is possible that the parish won’t pay to get the pastor back.

            Those are my favorites. What are yours?