Eclectic events ideas

 

The number and variety of fundraising events held at and for churches across the UK is truly fabulous.

We have gathered this gallery together to give you inspiration for your own events as well as ideas for publicity and other practicalities. Remember, you can always bring together a few smaller activities into one large event.

You could find other ideas to use in our '50 things to do in a church' which celebrates the many and diverse uses of church buildings and asks the public to share their favourite things to do in a church or chapel.  As part of the campaign, Michael Palin explained why finding peace and quiet in a church is important for him.

We would love to feature your event here.

Please email a high quality image and a description of what you did to support@nationalchurchestrust.org

  • Outdoor banners can be relatively inexpensive, and are great ways of attracting attention... try to make them generic enough to use more than once

  • Interest in family history is booming... why not make a small charge for perusing your records at a special open day

  • Consider holding an art exhibition and sale... ask local artists to donate work or add a commission onto the sale price

  • How about a spring wedding festival, with dresses and photographs from couples married in your church... you could team it with an ticketed evening event or a wedding fair where companies pay for a stall

  • A Christmas tree festival adds colour and festive cheer to your church... ask local businesses and organisations to sponsor and/or decorate trees

  • Craft activities are great ways to engage with children and families... make a small charge for materials and participation

  • Get the wow effect with something like this Green Men & Garlands event... local schools made green men, local people donated greenery and volunteers decorated the whole church... a great way of attracting visitors and donations

  • Always try and get as much media/press coverage as possible, you never know what they will be interested in or what they may need to fill time/space

  • Involve the whole community with a pub quiz... charge for taking part and offer a prize (perhaps donated by the pub)

  • Open days are great for local people and visitors to discover your church and it's hidden gems... make sure you give visitors plenty of opportunity to donate

  • Make sure you put posters and flyers in places where people will see them... don't assume they will look at your noticeboard, get them out and about as widely as possible

  • Think about how other organisations advertise their wares... this chalkboard is a great way to attract attention, and can be altered easily for each event

  • Engaging guided tours are always loved by visitors, especially if you can give specialist knowledge or let people into normally hidden areas... make sure you charge for these treats

  • Flower festivals are often the mainstay of church events... try mixing them up with other activities or themeing them in an unusual way to attract new visitors

  • A winter walk, carols, mulled wine and mince pies are just what's needed after the Christmas splurge... this one meets at Roche Abbey from three local churches and raises money for all three plus a local children's hospice

  • A reading or talk with book signing are great ways to attract new people to visit your church, and a treat for your regulars too... ask for donations for signing and/or get a discount on some books from the publisher and sell them on when signed

  • Craft fairs are hugely popular, especially before Christmas... charge local craftspeople for s stall and sell refreshments and raffle tickets

  • Take part in events organised by others... serve refreshments for walking festivals, open days, garden trails and much more

  • Don't underestimate peoples fascination with what's behind the hoardings, a talk by your architect or specialist builder will be very well attended... charge for entry or suse the talk to ask for donations towards the work

  • Great hospitality is a defining feature of many churches, with tasty teas and homemade cake galore... don't undercharge and try and get ingredients donated by local companies

  • When planning an event make sure that you have all the supplies you need... candles can generate a lot of income so make sure you have enough

  • Homemade cakes and buns are always in demand, and the cake stall is always busy... ask local people to make and donate cakes and perhaps even ask local supermarkets to donate ingredients

  • Your local BBC radio station will always love local stories... try and find out if any presenters have a particular love of churches, architecture or history

  • Many churches have summer or Christmas fairs... why not make it a more regular thing and host a farmers market stocked with local suppliers

  • People love a view... use our Tower Safety toolkit to help open up your highest point and encourage people to donate to enjoy the view

  • Bring the world wide web to your community with digital classes or interactive interpretation... if you have wifi for these activities you could also charge for daily use (your church would be a much nicer place to sit and work than a coffee shop)

  • Sponsored walks or cycle rides are very popular... check our website to find out more about our September Ride+Stride

  • Visitors and local alike will love to buy great tasting fair trade foods... have a stall in church all the time, or just for events

  • Have a laugh at a local comedy night... perhaps you could have a local open mic fundraiser or sell tickets for a bigger show

  • Group singing is all the rage, but it's spiritual home is in churches... offer new choirs the chance to sing where generations have gone before

  • Many visitors like to light a candle, the number sold can even be used to guage visitor numbers... make sure you always have them available

  • Take your tea and cake one step further with vintage cream or afternoon teas and a live piano player... perhaps offer them for special events like Mothers Day

  • In rural areas the church might be the only public building left, ad can provide space for much needed local services... this can be done in many ways, but all can help sustain and maintain your church

  • Church camping is proving very popular, and you can now be part of the project... visit www.champing.org.uk to find out more

  • Your churchyard is a haven for wildlife, flora and fauna... if you have a local expert why not consider offering specialist talks or discovery walks

  • Everyone loves an 'experience' and to 'have a go'... perhaps you could let people come and play your organ or read a poem from your pulpit

  • Churches and beer go hand in hand, with the first brews being created by monks and most churches having a pub close by... bring the two closer with a beer festival, perhaps even work with a local craft brewery to spread the benefit

  • Many rural churches are in dark sky areas so why not host a stargazing night, with telescopes and talks... and not forgetting to sell warming hot drinks and maybe even puddings

  • Fundraisers love a challenge... if you can do it why not arrange a sponsored abseil from the church tower or other parapet

  • Whether for a regular series or a one off hollywood blockbuster, a film night will bring in new people and new donations... don't forget the extras like drinks and popcorn!

  • What better space to energise body and soul than an ancient and beautiful church... if you have space, and your floor is warm enough

  • Real, carved or in stained glass, churches are full of animals... create a 'find the animals' hunt for children around the church

  • Churches are known for wonderful music... involve the whole community in a sponsored hymathon or singalong

  • If you are lucky enough to have bats, why not encourage people's fascination with them by holding a bat night... find a local expert to talk and identify them and serve hot drinks to stay toasty warm

  • Provide an escape from hectic modern life, with a haven of peace and quiet in a wonderful environment

  • Your churchyard is full of natural wonders and you could use them to attract visitors or to base events around... snowdrop teas, yew tree heritage days and wildflower surveys are all common

  • Skateboarding in church is pretty 'out there' but doing something wild and unexpected will gain you lots of publicity and new visitors and supporters... what could you do?

  • Even newer churches have lived through generations of history and heritage... why not 'step back in time' with a vintage activity or historical reenactment

  • Your church is an amazing venue... why not offer it to local, regional, national or even international performers

  • People love people... tell the stories of your people with leaflets, digital interpretation, storytellers and events