I suppose the first known fundraising was reported in the Bible. Biblically, fundraising was called tithing and it was the way that priests, synagogues and churches were able to operate without having other secular sources of income.

Tithing is still the main fundraising tool for church groups as far as operational expenses are concerned. Most people feel the Bible calls them to give ten percent of their income back. Some believe this means giving all ten percent to their church. Others feel like that number should include money given to other charities and needy people.

Because most people do not tithe completely or give one hundred percent of their tithing to the church, there is a need for other forms of church fundraising to pay for mission work, youth camps and other non essential but much desired items within the religious community. This article is meant to speak to the historical perspective on fundraising, not fundraising strategies for a historical museum.

As you can see, man?s earliest written records show the need for fundraising. In fact, we can not find any time in written history that fundraising ideas were not a key part of society. From a historical perspective, though, the earliest forms of fundraising were tied to the religious communities. We tried to research the history of fundraising in the United States but found very little concrete data to report. We had hoped to find an organization that recorded the earliest fundraising events here and found none.