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25 Fundraising Ideas for Churches: Beyond the Mission Trip

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people of different ethnicities raising crosses

In most congregations, the youth mission trip is funded by participating families and perhaps a pancake breakfast fundraiser. 

In this series of 25 fundraising ideas for churches, we’re sharing ways to grow your stewardship program and excite donors. Today’s idea focuses on how to inspire giving beyond the mission trip.

This idea starts with the service opportunity your group will be participating in and how your church can be a partner beyond just sending the team. If, for example, your youth group is traveling to an area ravaged by flooding to help with home repairs and clean up, speak with your onsite mission host partner about additional needs. If the congregation sent the team with hygiene kits, school supply kits/backpacks, laundry kits, or specific tools, would that help in a longer-term way?

If your church has a regular partner mission site, explore ways to make an impact beyond your teams by structuring giving opportunities around those. If you send teams to nations without clean drinking water, could your church work to provide funds for drilling clean water wells year-round? 

If you can give your congregation imagination for how they could make an impact not just by sending the team but by helping a long-term need in an under-resourced community, such as sponsoring a well, you’re exciting a donor. Excited donors look for other ways to advance the kingdom: they may want to underwrite future trips, help other groups serve, or start a mission-specific endowment fund at the church. 

Another way to leverage the trip is to expand the financial funding options. Consider creating donor levels – for example, a $50 contribution provides housing for one student mission participant; $100 provides meals for the group for one day; $250 underwrites one mission participant; $500 underwrites a mission participant and sponsors one drinking well. You get the idea. Give your congregation specific dollar amounts to cast a vision for how they can come alongside the team at any level.

Finally, when individual donors are giving towards a trip, it’s important to structure acknowledgments and updates to those donors from trip participants. Perhaps you invite those donors to a special reception when the team is back, and you ensure they get handwritten thank yous from students on the trip. When you go beyond the all-call “pancake breakfast” fundraiser and invite donors into a relationship underwriting the team, stewarding their gifts is critical.

We hope this gives you some food for thought as you look for ways to make a bigger impact with your mission efforts, igniting the passions of your donors in the process.  If you’d like help on this or any other giving challenge, our partnership with ACST enables us to come alongside churches looking for guidance.

About Tim Smith

Tim has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations. He has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as the Founder and CEO of  Non-Profit DNA. A boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches. By building their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

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