Many church budgets are tight enough as it is—how are you supposed to fit in a guest ministry line item when you have bills and salaries and coffee to pay for?

Guest ministries are a vital follow-up to your outreach efforts, and they sustain churches for growth in years to come by retaining guests and turning them into disciples.

If you’re just starting a guest ministry, great! You might be wondering how to raise the necessary funds to get it up and running, and then have sustainable income to keep investing in it over the years. If you already have an established guest team, you might be looking to allocate specific funds to keep it afloat as you continue to invest in your guests.

These four ideas give you different ways to raise funds for your guest ministry, whether new or ongoing!

Specify part of weekly offerings to go to guest ministry

If you church has weekly offerings that can be specified by ministry, consider including a guest ministry option. Let your members who tithe know that this option is available, and explain where the money will be going—whether to buy gifts, fund a new welcome center booth, or print guest welcome packets.

This option is best if your church has regular attendance of first-time guests, so you need consistent funds throughout the year.

Start a capital campaign

A capital campaign allows members to pledge money, either as a one-time donation or an ongoing contribution for a specified period of time. These flexible options allow for even distribution of large gifts that can be used immediately and steady funds that help keep the ministry afloat, especially in early stages.

This is a great idea for churches looking to start a guest ministry from scratch, when you need a large sum of money to jump start your new ministry and fund all the necessary pieces as you build your new program.

Ask for one-time sponsorships

One-time sponsorships are a low-commitment and relatively cheap option for your members; it gives them an easily accessible way to get involved and creates ownership of your guest ministry.

For example, you can have members donate $X to sponsor a guest. That amount would cover the entire cost of a guest gift pack—from coffee mugs to tote bags to welcome packets. You can even have donors write a handwritten note to the guest so they are connected to the guest they sponsored (without saying “I sponsored your gift!”).

If your church has an established guest ministry, sponsorships allow your entire congregation to be involved in a tangible way, even if they’re not officially on the guest services team. If you’re just starting your guest ministry, this is a great way to get people interested and involved in the team!

Request other donations

If your congregation is unable to make monetary donations, consider asking for the donation of time and talents instead! This is also a great way to physically get people involved in a ministry, rather than just donating money.

If you’re just starting a guest ministry, you can ask for members to build a welcome center booth from scratch, create homemade thank-you notes, or make homemade snacks to send home with guests.

If you have an existing guest ministry, this would be a great tactic to use as you rethink/rebrand your team.