We have seen all kinds of creative and successful mission trip fundraising ideas throughout the years, so we wanted to provide you with a list that may help your group. We would love to hear from you about your fundraising ideas!  Email us at [email protected]

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 cheaply. 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 benefit 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 turnout, a number of volunteers. Offer a night of babysitting for the parents of your church so they can 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 baked 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 go 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.


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 raise money and offer to wrap 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 are a 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 funds for your mission trip. The specific way I raised money was I painted canvases, or I took requests for 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 for crafts are homemade ornaments, painted picture frames, and t-shirt headbands. Anything that you feel like people would like to buy is something to consider crafting up. The key to making a bigger profit is to buy supplies when they go on sale or when there are coupons. People really like to invest in homemade projects, especially when it is for a good cause.

Ideas From Youth Ministers:

  • Wine Cellar… Ask parishioners to donate 1 or two bottles of wine. Sell raffle tickets the winners will receive wine. Each person is required to sell a certain amount of raffle tickets. Depending on how many bottles are donated. Have 4 winners. First, receives 30 bottles. Second receives 20 bottles. Third 10 bottles and Fourth 1 bottle.
  • Map It Out… 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.
  • TACO TUESDAY NIGHT… At CHWC, we have Taco Tuesday. 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!
  • “Change for ChangeHave 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.
  • Pancake Sausage BreakfastAsk all the teens going to camp to donate a specific food item for 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.
  • Christmas Sale… Sell wreaths, garlands, etc., for Christmas. Get merchandise from sherwoodforestfarms.com. There is no money due until a couple of weeks after the delivery of merchandise, which is nice.
  • Take Stock in our YouthMake 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.)
  • Super BingoWe presell 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. In 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 Officienados…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.
  • Hoagie SaleWe make Hoagie sales after all Masses one weekend every 3 months.
  • Basketball TournamentWe 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 played 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.
  • Battle of the BandsTo organize the event, you can ask local bands to sign up through a physical or online platform. Once you have registered the bands, you should advertise the event across the region through flyers, community event listings, email, and social media. You will be able to raise the money you need by selling tickets for the event and selling concessions during the show.
  • Night of Cultural CuisineThis is the perfect event for you to raise funds for your cause. Have your friends and other people who love cooking bring their unique dishes. Invite people to taste the different dishes and vote for their favorite with a few dollars. You may also incorporate a performance to make the evening more entertaining.
  • Talent ShowTo hold a successful one, you need a good venue and a few people to perform. You may invite local artists, comedians, or people with other talents. In such an event, you can raise money by charging a small attendance fee, and you can also sell concessions as the show goes on. Also, the show gives you an opportunity to tell the guests about your project and persuade them to contribute.
  • Themed PartyParties are fun, and people love them. Therefore, themed parties can be a good way to raise funds for your project. Though they can be a little expensive, they attract larger crowds and can raise more money. Charge a different entry fee for guests who attend in a themed costume and for those who show up in their usual clothes. Also, you can devise other creative means to raise money during the party, for instance, do games of chance, have fun contests.
  • Lantern Release.. Lantern events are incredibly spectacular with people coming together to light the sky. Though they are mainly popular in memorial ceremonies, you can also hold the event to fundraise for a cause or project. Invite family members, friends, and other interested people and tell them about your project. You can decide to charge them per lantern or balloon, or you can setup a donation box for people to contribute. You may also hold the event together with another such as a dinner.