Part of the Raising Money for Summer Missions Trips series
Aside from snakes, spiders, clowns, and heights, asking people for money most certainly ranks as one of the biggest fears humankind has ever known. Sure, it’s laughable and might be a slight exaggeration, but have you ever met anyone (other than your child) who actually likes asking people for money? But sometimes, fundraising simply has to be done. A summer mission trip is one of those times.
Accepting that it is so important to include fundraising in the life and times of a summer mission trip, how exactly does each team member go about the process of raising the funds required for their trip? It is not a short, simple, or easy process. However, according to the ministry resource Making the Ask: Raising Money for Summer Missions Trips, with some intentional thought, preparation, effort, and follow-up, fundraising can be extremely effective and successful, as well as a God-honoring activity. Let’s dive into the first five points:
Personal Vision Statement.
After clarifying a theology of fundraising, but before asking anyone for money, take some time to clarify a personal vision statement for the trip. A Vision Statement is an essential foundation stone for any fundraising endeavor. Each trip participant must know and understand the motivation for their participation in this particular trip.
Each person should ask themselves key questions:
Why are you going?
What makes this trip especially meaningful to you?
What connects you and your personal spiritual journey to the mission of the ministry partner?
Become An Expert.
Team members can prepare to ask others to support their involvement on the trip by learning all the detailed information about the trip. Potential donors will have questions, and it is imperative that team members know how to answer those questions well (or know how to get the answers) so donations are not delayed in coming.
In addition, a very important part of a team member’s pre-trip learning is absorbing as much knowledge as possible about the culture the team will visit (whether at home or abroad) and then being able to communicate about that culture in a way that will draw potential donors in and make them care deeply about this culture.
Create a Prayer Team.
The first “big ask” any Summer Missions Team must make is the creation of a group of 5-10 people to become their Prayer Team dedicated specifically to pray daily that “their” Summer Missions Trip Team Member would be able to raise all the funds to cover the cost of the trip. These are specific and important prayers to support a specific and important process. This is so important that Missions Pastors and/or Team Leaders may consider making this kind of Prayer Team a requirement for every team member. Prayer Team member names can be collected and recorded in a central online database for ease of use and follow-up for future items and activities. Prayer changes things, and these Prayer Team members can be these crucial agents of that change.
Make THE LIST.
We are all surprised at who can give and who will give when asked. Examine your “Sphere of Influence.” And think about who you know that loves you. Cares for you. Or otherwise, takes an interest in your life and activities? Family, friends, colleagues, church members, professional service providers, and even social media may trigger a few more names for the list. What a blessing that God has connected us with so many souls. Then separate them into categories ranging from everyone you’re sure will give a gift of any amount to you if you ask them to people you don’t believe will give to you, but they’re on the list anyway.
Send Support Letters.
The seemingly old-fashioned practice of sending paper support letters still reigns supreme. It is a decades-old, tested-and-true technique that, when done well and in the right manner, communicates effectively, draws potential donors’ attention to you and the ministry partner being served, and compels people to send generous donations on your behalf, enabling the Missions Team to move forward in confidence.
- Start out with a catchy, eye-grabbing headline.
- Tell a captivating and detailed story about someone who will be served by the Missions Team through the Trip.
- Communicate your personal vision statement for going on the trip.
- Be clear about the amount of money to be raised. The deadline for raising it. And how the person receiving the letter can donate.
- Get it proofread before mailing.
- Ask God to bless your efforts. To bless every person who receives a letter and to open their hearts in generosity to the mission and the trip.
TIP: Team Leaders may want to keep a copy of each Team Member’s Prayer Letter in an online database. This will be helpful for future teams and for accountability for present Team Members.
Make Donors Care
In a healthy church culture that supports fundraising, remember that the donor is at the center. Fundraising is not convincing or arm-twisting people for their financial support for this particular summer mission trip. In contrast, We don’t convince donors. We help them realize that they already care. This bit of wisdom from Marc Koenig at nonprofithub.com helps us remember that we’re inviting our givers into Kingdom work with us,. To be part of something bigger than themselves. And it’s an entire culture that is needed.
We looked at how the Bible gives team members plenty of good examples of how important and how God-ordained fundraising is for Kingdom work in a previous blog. Next, we’ll reveal the remaining five steps for summer missions trip fundraising success.
Fundraising might seem like a frightening thing for most people. However, in the end, it can be rewarding, a huge blessing, and an important ministry to Summer Missions Trip Team Members, as well as the financial partners who get involved. Making the Ask: Raising Money for Summer Missions Trips outlines how it is thrilling to see what God can do when Team Members step out in faith and let Him work through them. Make the ask. Certainly, it will be good. And- to make it even easier so you don’t miss any of our Church Growth Resources– you can also receive our ministry blog posts straight to your inbox!
Most of us don’t like to ask people for money.
To help you with this very important yet stressful work, we’ve developed a free digital guide to raising funds for mission trips. Based on years of experience mobilizing financial partners for mission trips, we’ve developed helpful strategies for you to use!
Asking for funds doesn’t have to be a drag. It’s a great opportunity to help others get more involved in God’s work in your community and worldwide.
Dean is ACS Technologies’ VP of Corporate Operations. He is responsible for Information Technology and all campus facilities. Born and raised in South Carolina, he has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems Management. He serves on the board and leadership for a few local non-profit organizations. His passions include helping others succeed.