I will be the first to admit fundraisers are not my favorite things. In fact, I don't think anyone really loves doing them. When I started in ministry, I made the choice that I would not ever ask the children in my department to go out and sell something. They do that at school, they do it for their sport leagues, they shouldn't have to do it for church. And I know the feeling of seeing a child come up with an order blank wanting me to buy something and I can not because I simply don't have the funds to do so. I don't want to be the reason that someone is put in that position at church. But we have to raise funds right? So, what to do? Here are a couple things that we have done that has worked and yet, hopefully kept people from being put "on the spot".
Make a meal
Many people in my church go out to eat on Sundays. So, twice a year at my church, we provide a meal after the morning worship service. Soups are always a big hit and we provide several choices for people. Last time we had four types of soups (all homemade), several sandwich options (including a create your own sandwich bar), dessert, and a beverage. We have done baked potatoes instead of sandwiches, but the sandwiches are much easier unless you have multiple ovens in which to bake potatoes or keep them warm. Remember, you can't sell food unless you have a license but donations are fine. If you have people who are willing to donate food for the event, this can be a wonderful fundraiser. Plus, the people enjoy being able to sit and fellowship with their church family after the morning worship service.
A Lemonade Stand
I got this idea from another Children's Pastor friend. For one month in the summer, near the parking lot of our church, we set up a lemonade stand and as people go to their cars, they can pick up a cup of lemonade and sometimes a sweet treat as well. We put out a donation jar and it's a wonderful way to connect with people, but it's not pushy at all. And the kids get a kick out of putting out the "orders". It's a fun and simple way to raise funds.
Ongoing Donation Jar
Have a place where people can always leave a donation if they so desire. When I was in high school, we had a large water bottle that sat in the church foyer to raise funds for Nazarene Youth Congress. It was a great, no pressure, way to raise funds because it simply just sat out in the foyer. Theft was prevented because the top was too small for the money to be taken out of by hand, it was always in a public location when it was out, and it was locked up between services. People don't always have a check book handy, but they do generally have some change in their pockets. This is an easy way for that change to help your ministry.
I have seen this done a couple of different ways. In one, people donate items for a yard sale that is run by the Children's Department. In another version, people purchased table space for their own yard sale at the church. Either way can be a great fundraiser.
There are lots of other fundraisers that are out there and lots of ways to do them. Hopefully these give you a starting point.
Have a blessed week!