We try to run a fairly good range of social activities at our church, but are looking for new ideas to add variety.We regularly do: Quiz nights, "themed" suppers (curry nights, St Patricks, Harvest supper etc), treasure hunt, Bonfire night party, talks on local interest, choir & poetry recitals, monthly cooked breakfast, sponsored ramble.We have tried and let lapse some less (un-) successful events such as Beetle drives, soup lunches, 100 club, bingo.We aim to raise funds for the church, but not all events have to be profit making: the social side is important in its own right (but prefer not to actually COST money!). The most important aspect is probably to find new activities that involve people who traditionally sit on the sidelines a bit.So what other good ideas are there out there?
How about a scrabble night?There is a version of the game that can be played by large groups. It's outlined in the printed game instruction and rules leaflet. Essentially, it is played with one board and one set of seven letters is drawn. Each competitor or competing team then makes the best word they can and writes it with the coordinates of the position of the first letter and its direction, up or down. The host collects the papers and places the highest scoring word on the board awarding the scored points to all competitors that submitted the winning word and nothing to those that didn't. Each team needs a paper grid to write in the qualifying words.Replacement tiles are drawn to restock the rack ready for the next round.It would take a little organising and explaining but I've always thought that this would make a interesting alternative to the pub quiz format.
How about a craft evening? You have a number of tables, each with a simple craft and a leader. The leader demonstrates it, then you have a go at doing it yourself. The crafts are things like card-making, making Christmas ornaments, things with felt. After an hour, you have a break for desserts and then you all swop tables and try a different craft. I think there is probably quite a bit of organisation. For instance you sign up at the start of the evening for the two options.
Churches often need things 'doing' and it is always the same people who volunteer! You might be able to get more participants and still make it into a social occasion if some sort of tuition or expertise is thrown in along with tea and cake or a glass of wine or whatever fits your situation. Often one or two members of the church will already have the expertise and many people who would refuse outright to 'speak in public' or 'give a talk' will teach quite happily in a practical setting where they are showing and helping people to do something:instead of asking for more volunteers to do the church flowers - have a practical hands on try out flower arranging with help evening - run hopefully by one or more of the existing flower arrangers;instead of asking for more people to bake cakes or biscuits for church sales - have a hands on 'make a whatever' evening e.g. an evening on icing cakes or biscuits might be popular and no problems about having to cook the stuff;instead of asking for help with the church grounds - have a practical hands on day or evening with 'expert' information on the care needed by various plants, weeding and mulching and water saving techniques etc the participants learn a bit and do a bit with guidance;instead of asking for volunteers for the choir have a 'you think you can't sing?' evening and show people that actually they can - needs to be run by someone who understands the problems some people face about singing e.g. men with bass or baritone voices who actually can sing but don't know how to 'find the note' at their pitch;not enough people to clean the church? Think of an evening with some demonstrations in cleaning - how to do silver, brass, get algae out of glass vases, the easiest way to clean a window, polishing without getting housemaids knee etc;The thing about this sort of 'event' is that people learn about something which is of use to them at home or work as well as at church - they may never volunteer at church, but maybe one or two will as so many people are held back by feeling they are not up to the task and that does include things like cleaning and cooking as many people fear they will look inefficient or ignorant in comparison to the 'experts' who are already doing the job.For more straightforward fund raising events you might want to abandon the traditional church thing of finding something which 'everyone' will come to - the result tends to be that the loyal attend many things they hate out of duty while the rest carry on staying away. Things which appeal to more specific tastes might overall get more people involved. Just about every congregation will have people who love to play bridge for example - they might not want to play bridge at the church long term but a few meetings linked to some sort of competition with a small prize (and a fee to enter) might work. There will be people who knit - currently very fashionable with pop starts photographed knitting away while sunning themselves on the beach - maybe they'd like to meet to achieve some project or to get some tuition in dealing with dropped stitches or whatever. How about a short series of 'Desert Island Discs' evenings? Someone to interview various people (inevitably the priest or pastor is a good first interviewee if they'll play ball) and play their chosen musical choices. This would make a particularly interesting series of meetings if you could get very varied people to be the 'victim' e.g. an elderly member of the congregation, a teenager, a young married couple, parents with children with all being allowed some of the choices, or a group of children each making one or two choices. Keep it to a short series and end up with an 'audience choice' evening with people nominating and voting at then end of the previous meeting for the audience choice of music for a desert island.Or have a 'Gardener's Question Time' (church probably has experts already among the congregation but a local garden centre might regard sending someone along as a good form of publicity) or an 'Any Questions' evening - one or more local councillors might be willing to go on the panel?Getting more exercise is constantly talked about but most people find it difficult. How about an evening of really fun ways to be more active without having to wear the sports clothes which put so many people off exercise e.g. doing the hokey cokey, ten minutes of disco dancing, ten minutes of the sort of 'P.E.' kids did at school during the first part of the 20th century (you will probably still be able to find an elderly member of the congregation who can demonstrate as it tended to involve things which were more about keeping you flexible than about anything really strenuous), ten minutes having a go with hoola hoops or skipping ropes or bean bags (borrowed from a school?), a bit of line or circle dancing, ten minutes of something like simple exercises to keep arthritic fingers working. Maybe even find someone around in the 1950s who remembers and can remember the 'hand jiving' (sp?) basically just dancing with your fingers and arms while seated which enjoyed a brief vogue with the 'coffee bar' generation - I'm thinking 'inclusive' here as even those who can't stand up and do stuff may be able to do this and it would give everyone a laugh.Lynn
popular with people of all ages run several dance classessalsa, tango, waltz, even street dancing for the younger ones. Have a social at the end of the six week programme where everyone can show off their moves.Wii challenge night (need I say more ?)Have an afternoon tea type event where everyone donates cakes and you try and recreate the elegance of a posh hotel Some kind of race night - my preference is for wind-up snails where you can buy a name for a snail and sponsor a race (you can avoid betting if you do not agree with it)Hope some may help.Lesley
Getting more exercise is constantly talked about but most people find it difficult.Offer bell-ringing, as long as the church has bells! It's fixed my back after a period of digging and it is fun tooAOn
Tutored wine tasting*Casino nightCookery demoBBQBarn danceFashion showTalent CompetitionWalkStreet partyMaking up gift boxes to send somewhere needyBeer festivalConcertsAny QuestionsTreasure HuntLocal food fairRG* might even be able to help you with this one......e-mail if you want more input
Auction of promisesRace night
Good morningWe aim to raise funds for the church, ... who traditionally sit on the sidelines a bit.Can you clarify where the priority is, are you looking;1)To raise funds and the social events are side effects. or2)To have social events that raise funds as a side effect? or3)To raise funds and have some fun with friends at the same time?If 1) is your objective then how willing and interested are you in raising funds from events where the participents are not only not current members of your church but who will never be members?The nearest blood donation venue for me is a church and the church gets paid for renting out what would otherwise be ununsed space. However this completely fails in the social aspect of raising funds and invites non church goers into the building.Someone suggested a beer festival, as a non member of your church I would go to that event which would raise funds but is this too commercial?ByeIan
Hi IanIn answer to your question:Can you clarify where the priority is, I thought I covered it in my OP, namely:We aim to raise funds for the church, but not all events have to be profit making: the social side is important in its own right (but prefer not to actually COST money!). The most important aspect is probably to find new activities that involve people who traditionally sit on the sidelines a bit.Using your 3 options, I would say 2 would be closest "To have social events that raise funds as a side effect" except I would rewrite it as "To have social events, some of which raise funds as a side effect"The nearest blood donation venue for me is a church and the church gets paid for renting out what would otherwise be ununsed space.We do already rent out the Church hall (to anyone that wants to use it), but it was more the social events I was looking for inspiration on.Someone suggested a beer festival, as a non member of your church I would go to that event which would raise funds but is this too commercial?To be honest, it is not the commerciality (or otherwise) that would make a difference, but more the HUGE time commitment (and financial risk) to put on a successful event of this type. Those that have the time tend not to have the skills or knowledge to put this sort of thing together. Those that have the skills tend to be too busy in the first place, at least in our Parish. In fact I end up putting a lot of this together....................!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/4925712.stmI was always impressed with this story. Similarly you could put the challenge to your friends. Give them a budget and an evening and have them do something to generate funds. Could be really good fun!KG
We've just done a First Aid course at the kids' school. It's amazing (and scary) how little people know about what to do if there's an emergency, and the St John's Ambulance came along and ran a 3 hour course for about 20 of us. You can get a bit of fund raising done by charging more than the St Johns charge you, but it's a fun evening and you come away with some potentially life-saving knowledge and a nice certificate for your wall.....