Preparing for camp comes with a lot of steps: prayers, planning meetings, and packing, among many other things. We have seen all kinds of creative and successful fundraising ideas throughout the years, so we wanted to provide you with a list that may help your group cover the expenses of a mission trip with Catholic Heart Workcamp:


Pancake Breakfast

Provide pancake breakfast plates after masses on a Sunday morning and let the youth serve as waiters and waitresses for the donors. You can either charge per plate or simply ask for donations by placing donation jars on each table. A way to cut costs is to ask for ingredient donations or for your local Knights of Columbus to donate to the cost of supplies.

Flower Sale

Bulk flowers can be bought fairly cheap, if you sell them slightly marked up you can use the profit for your Catholic Heart trip this summer. The buyers will be reminded of the service you are providing when they see the flowers blooming in their yard. You could even include a prayer card with each purchase asking the buyer to pray for your group this summer every time they pass their flowers.

Basketball/Softball/Kickball Tournament

Have a small entrance fee, a team registration fee, and, potentially, a raffle of donated items in between games. Plus, the fun of the game and social night will be enjoyed by all! You could even make simple t-shirts for the event.

Rummage Sale

Everyone can declutter and find a few things to sell. Instead of giving to Goodwill this spring, try holding a rummage sale and use the profits to benef your youth group. This is a great way to involve grandparents and encourage family bonding by sorting through your basement or attic together.

Babysitting/Parent’s Night Out

This one takes a bit of planning and, depending on your turn out, a number of volunteers. Offer a night of babysitting for the parents of your church so they cam have a worry-free date night. Parents can drop off their kids and your teens (and maybe a few adult chaperones) can play games and entertain, making sure all fingers and toes are accounted for when the parents return from a child-free dinner and movie. A set price or donations can be established.

Lent Indulgence Drop

When Lent begins lots of people give up something they purchase daily.  Be it coffee, a soda, or breakfast on the way to work, by giving up this indulgence, they are left with money that would typically be going to a Starbucks cash register. Set up a table outside the church doors asking for Lent Indulgence Donations, the money they usually spend on daily or weekly indulgences can be donated to your teens trip to serve others this summer.

Bake Sale

Who doesn’t love homemade bake goods? Who can pass up goodies for a good cause? Not many people can/will pass up cookies. Get in contact with your priest and ask if you are able to have a bake sale following mass times, where all the proceeds goes to your mission trip. Take the time during the bake sale to inform the parishioners about the mission trip. Crack open those family recipes and start the ovens. Roll the dough to make the dough.

Car Wash

A lot of people do not like washing their car because it takes time and effort. With a lot of hands, a car wash does not take too long. Round up all the participants going on the mission trip and have a carwash after the last mass on Sunday. A good tip for a smooth carwash is to have groups in charge of one thing: watering the car, sponges and soap, rinsing, and drying. It can be a “free” carwash, where donations are accepted.

Gift-Wrapping

The holiday season gets busy buying all the gifts, people may forget or have no desire to wrap their presents. This allows an opportunity to fund raise money, offer to wrap the Christmas gifts in exchange for donations. The trick for this fundraiser is to go to shops that you are able to buy in bulk or talk with managers to see if there is a way for a store to donate the wrapping paper.

Trivia Night

Test the knowledge of your friends, families, and parishioners. Trivia night can be a successful way to raise a large portion of funds and have a good time with friends. The main items needed for a trivia night is: projector and screen, slideshow presentations for the questions, tables and chairs, a group ready to help collect and score answers, and knowledgeable participants. It can be fun if you allow the teams to bring in their own food and have some food available to buy throughout the night! If you do know local companies, ask if they’d be willing to donate items for an auction. That would be an easier way to raise a good sum of the funds.

Homemade Crafts

Do you like to pin DIY projects on Pinterest? This is a perfect opportunity to utilize those pins on Pinterest. Make several different crafts and sell them to raise fund for your mission trip. The specific way I raised money was I painted canvases or I took requests on canvas designs. The best time to promote the crafts is during the holiday season. The craft is more than just a gift, it is a gift that is spreading God’s love to all different people. A few ideas of crafts are: homemade ornaments, painted picture frames, t-shirt headbands. Anything that you feel like people would like to buy is something to consider crafting up. The key to make a bigger profit is buy supplies when they go on sale or when there is coupons. People really like to invest in homemade projects, especially when it is for a good cause.

Ideas from Youth Ministers

  • Flamingo Sale…Your youth can sell pink flamingo yard ornaments. People in the parish pay for a flamingo (or 100) to be put in someone’s yard. The group would then one night drive to the homes and “deliver” the flamingos. The group can also sell “flamingo insurance” for the homeowners that don’t want any in their yard. Joe Welch, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Make a map that shows the distance from our church to Workcamp. Parishioners can buy a mile to help you get closer to your goal of getting there. Make a cross or a hammer cutout and put their family name on it. Could say something like: The ________family supports St. Joseph Youth. Rene Platten, Memphis, TN
  • At CHWC we have Taco Tuesdays…TACO TUESDAYS NIGHT…Invite the parish for a free taco dinner (have someone sponsor the food). Have the teens give witness talks and show pictures and videos of their work at CHWC. You can then ask the people to write checks and leave them in the paint cans on the tables. The pictures and stories will touch people’s hearts! Maggie McGowan, Lakeland, FL
  • “Change for Change” Have your teens talk at mass about what they will do at CHWC. Ask the parishioners to donate their spare “change” (bills and checks) to help us make a change in the world. Have your teens stand outside of mass with paint buckets for the people to put their money in. Michelle Murphy, Sanford, FL
  • Pancake Sausage Breakfast…Ask all the teens going to camp to donate a specific food item for the breakfast, that way you will have no cost and everything you make is pure profit. They are “All You Can Eat” breakfasts and all you ask is a free will donation. Mickey Nickrent, Mahomet, IL
  • Sell wreaths, garland, etc. for Christmas. Get merchandise from www.sherwoodforestfarms.com. There is no money due until a couple of weeks after after delivery of merchandise, which is nice. Mickey Nickrent, Mahomet, IL
  • Homemade Pizzas… order all supplies from Sam’s. Make them available for pick-up Superbowl weekend. This makes very good money. Mickey Nickrent, Mahomet, IL
  • Take Stock in our Youth…Make a flyer that will say…Our youth will be participating in Catholic HEART Workcamp (explain what CHWC is). Add what the total cost of the trip will be. Our Teens are selling “STOCK” in themselves to raise money for this service trip. A donation of $10.00 or more entitles the donor to a piece of this experience. The donor will be invited to attend the Saturday evening mass before the trip, with a cookie and punch reception following to meet the people they have invested their money in. They will be sent a “dividend statement” from the camp updating them on the work being completed. And finally, invite them to another cookie and punch event to view pictures of the week and hear stories of the participant’s adventures and how their experiences enhanced their faith. To purchase stock ask them to mail their contribution to (put name of contact and address where to send.) Maureen Ragsdale, St. Louis, MO
  • Super Bingo…We pre-sell tickets…$25 per person…$1,000 jackpot…20 regular games with specials and other “rip-off” games of chance. We start with a plate lunch that the kids serve and we really make money when people buy extra cards and specials. The last few years we have averaged $4,500-$5,000 for one afternoon of work. We have found that the Saturday between the last NFL playoff game and before the Super Bowl weekend is ideal to catch all of the Bingo Aficionados…male and female…also we advertise the Bingo at the local area bingos several weeks before the event…the diehard bingo players…not necessarily our parishioners are the ones who support these Bingos. They like the lunch and helping the kids too! Mary Blythe, North Huntingdon, PA
  • Murder Mystery Dinner Theater…The kids in the youth group do a dinner theater play…we serve a dinner and give away a few door prizes. We love it because the kids have a ball putting the play together…it doesn’t require a lot of extra practices or scenery etc. The audience likes getting dinner and guessing “who dun it”. Mary Blythe, North Huntingdon, PA
  • We sell Advent Supplies (Calendars, Candle sets, Wreaths, Religious Cards etc.) after Masses for two weekends before Advent begins… the Parishioners are grateful to get their Advent sacramentals and we make about $1,500 for very little work. Mary Blythe, North Huntingdon, PA
  • “Cross Ornaments”…We make crosses out of construction paper…attach a small envelope (coin size) to the envelope and on it write…”You’re invited to…” then inside the envelope we ask the people to pray for our youth who are going to NCYC OR CHWC etc. so that they will grow spiritually…then we also invite them to share the monetary burden if they choose by returning the envelope through the collection basket with any donation they care to make. People put in $5 – $500. We hang the cross ornaments on a Christmas tree in the back of church for a couple of weeks about 2 months before the designated event. Mary Blythe, North Huntingdon, PA
  • We do Hoagie sales after all Masses one weekend every 3 months. Mary Blythe, North Huntingdon, PA
  • We host a 32 team 5th and 6th grade girls and boys basketball tournament. We have $4,000 in the bank from entry fees before the tournament even starts. With admission fees and concessions, we will make around $8,000! A lot of work over two weekends (we only play Friday night and Saturday) but great rewards…AND we use it as an opportunity to show everyone what we are doing at CHWC with a video playing the entire time. Randy Alderman, Greenville, IL

Additional ideas