What is the best way to raise money for a missions trip. And the best way to keep in contact with those who support you?
Jeremy, you asked the question: What is the best way to raise money for a missions trip? And the best way to keep in contact with those who support you?
Here are some ideas. (I have taken most of these ideas from material by Kevin Paszalek, Houston (TX) Southway Community Church, which I have edited and commented on.)
Keep a careful list of those who donate. It would be helpful if people could donate to your church in your name. Check with the treasurer to see if they could receive a receipt they could apply on their income tax as a charitable donation. Be sure you:
- Thank each person for their gift.
- Send a note if possible during the trip.
- Send a report with photo when you return, sharing some significant details of your experience and telling why the trip was so significant for you.
I trust these suggestions will be helpful to you.
A. Some general, guiding thoughts
1. Begin by being an intercessor. If God has called you to take this mission trip, it is basically up to Him to provide for you. He expects you to call on Him, to trust Him, and grow in faith through the process. This may be the most important lesson you will learn through the whole experience.
2. Devote yourself to the task. Give time to it. However, He expects us to do our part – to reach out to others. To get others involved in the project.
3. See yourself as a vision setter, not a fund raiser. Be an educator. As you share your vision, your call, the project that you are eager to participate in, you have the opportunity to expand the vision of others. You will need to learn as much as you can about where you are going, why this trip is important, and why others would want to get involved. In the process you will educate others to needs they knew or careed little about before they became important to you.
B. Building financial support through the mail
1. On the average, $2500 can be raised through well-written letters sent to about 75 people who know you: family members and friends
2. Spread the word widely; don't limit the letters to Christian friends and family. Be sure you describe what you plan to do, why it is important, and what the dates are. If you had a photo you could paste on the letter, all the better. Perhaps even your own photo as well.
3. Send thank-you letters for every financial gift. Sometimes, "thank you" notes will even bring follow-up gifts. If you know the people well, a phone call is even more personal, and would give you an opportunity to answer questions.
C. How local churches can help come up with the needed money
1. Give official blessing or sanction
o Provide letters of endorsement on church stationery. People will be interested in your being supported by responsible leaders.
o Let individuals share with the congregation in services. If you have been a faithful participant in the church’s activities, the pastor should be happy to allow you to share for three minutes (or even more) in a public service.
o Don’t beg, but state clearly and frankly what you need.
o Host informational meetings about the trip in your own home or the home of friends.
1. Publicize the trip
o Information in the congregation's monthly newsletter
o Inserts in the weekly church bulletin
o Call attention to those that get involved in local ministry when they return or decide to go long-term as a result of going short-term, if this has indeed happened. People like to think that your participation in this trip may have a longer term effect than just a short experience.
2. Provide direct financial support
o Provide partial funding from the church budget depending on the church’s policy.
o Help in getting out a support raising letter. Ask someone who has had experience in these kinds of letters both for suggestions and to review your draft.
o Organizing prayer support. Even if you can only get 3 to 5 people to agree to pray for you, it will be significant, especially if they would be willing to meet together once a week or so for this purpose. Expand the prayer not only for you, but also for the place you will be and the activity you plan to take part in. Prepare a list of prayer requests. Plan to meet with them.
D. Other ideas
1. Car Wash: Sell car wash coupons
2. Hold giant garage/rummage sale
3. Sell barbecue
4. Organize and teach an Internet beginners' course
5. Find a restaurant that will donate part of the cost of a meal or provide meal for people you invite.
6. You can probably think of others that would fit your context.