Someone recently donated an XBox to our youth ministry. It was a store display unit with an enclosed TV, game system, games, and integrated 2.1 sound system in one sleek structure (click here for image). I am very excited about this. Even though the system is a little dated, it will provide our students another outlet to have fun and participate in our ministry. Many youth ministries rely on donations, whether to decorate the Youth Room with secondhand couches, equip the youth worker’s office with technology, or trade bait for Bigger and Better.
Here are some tips on receiving donations for your ministry.
- Be sure to ask. There are many people in your church willing to donate. Present them with a need or even a “wish list”, and be amazed at the response you will receive.
- Know when to say “NO.” Because you are a ministry, people will try to pawn their damaged items to you rather than disposing of it themselves. Do not settle for unusable items or safety hazards. If you will never use it, say “No Thanks.”
- Don’t stockpile. I have seen ministries that say “Yes” to every donation, even when there is not a need. This bred a “packrat mentality” that not only hurt storage space but also did not benefit the ministry. Your donors are giving you items to be used, not stored away in a closet. If you cannot use it, say “No Thanks.”
- Give a receipt. For smaller items (book, Bible, CD), this may not be important. But for larger items (computer, game system, money), be sure to send the donor a receipt. This gives the person tax benefits, as well as an incentive for additional gifts.
- Say “Thank You”. Have your students write a letter to the person. Take photos of your students using the gift (on a couch, for example). Most importantly, write a letter yourself to the donor. Explain how the gift is benefiting the ministry. Express your appreciation for both the gift and the donor’s backing of the ministry. By thanking the donor, you are reminding them of their help and support of your ministry.
Look to opportunities for donations. Not only will it allow church members contribute to the ministry, but will help save your small youth budget for more important things (like resources!)