I’ve personally been on three short term mission trips. I am also currently support raising for an entire year of mission work (check out my Ukraine page!) so I can confidently say I’ve done this a few times.
I’ve had a few people recently ask me questions about my mission trips and their number one reason for not going is because they can’t afford it.
This mindset is wrong. Do you feel God calling you? Do you feel a stir in your heart, an interest? This is not a vacation and it will not always be fun or easy so why let a price tag stop you from pursuing the Lord and His plan?
Obviously, you need to address your own heart to see your purpose in going (check out this post) but after the door opens a little bit more, you need to begin trusting that He will provide.
Fundraising for the purposes of kingdom work is Biblical. It isn’t something our culture made up with selfish intentions. It was clearly a method of equipment throughout all Scriptures. Read Luke 8:1-3. While this doesn’t show Jesus asking for support it does say He and the disciples accepted support. Look at Paul too one of the most traveled original missionaries. He sent out letters woven with requests for support for His kingdom work as well as thanks for it. He communicated using letters and I will explain more about how we can use this method below! God uses the request for money to humble us and remind us why we are going, for Him.
Things I’ve learned through the fundraising process:
1. I tend to limit God
At what point did I think that the price tag of my trip was bigger than my God? What I have access to does not limit God’s ability to provide for my trip. So why am I doubting Him?
2. All steps pre-mission trip are preparation
God will use every step of the process to prepare you for what is to come. It can be life changing if you pay attention because God is working in the details. Your trip doesn’t begin and end at the airport. He will equip you beginning with your decision to embark on the journey with Him.
3. If I am seeking His will, doors will open and close as they should
Ultimately this trip isn’t for me or about me so God will work and move pieces. Whether your destination changes, you are on a different team or the date changes; God is working. In the end God will bring you where He wants you. Be open to change.
4. This is the chance to bring people into the process & build community
The fundraising process gives you the unique opportunity to bring people in. Community is so important so why not build it now? You are given the chance to share what God is doing in your life in a radical way before you leave and during your trip. Use this as an opportunity to grow together.
5. This could be God teaching others about giving
I bring this up only because I know how hard it is asking people for money. We have this pride that tells use we shouldn’t rely on people but in reality it can be an opportunity for others to be blessed in relation with God. Giving is something we are called to do & by them giving to you they aren’t lining your pockets. They are equipping you for kingdom work.
6. It isn’t about you
Not one bit of this is for you. This whole process, this whole trip is about God and how you can serve Him & His people. Don’t make it about you.
There are so many different ways to approach the actual support raising process but I am going to share what I have done all three years.
My first two trips were through my college, Grand Canyon University, so I was guided through the whole process start to finish. What they had us do, which I completely recommend, is send out letters. These pieces of mail are more intimate and personal than a social media post. They show you are being intentional in building your community and you honestly want them to be involved.
This can be time consuming. Ask your parents for help. Send them to family, family friends, doctors, anyone you have interactions with in your life. Gathering addresses is the hardest part but build a spreadsheet and keep a backup. I have had the same list for every letter so it made it easier every year!
Now for the actual letter writing part. Here is my latest three letters. If you read them you will see I have obviously matured and each year is different. You can read them for examples!
& Ukraine Letter.
Support Letter Outline:
Introduction: Basic introduction & what season of life you are in
Backstory: How did God guide you to this point & what is the purpose of the trip & with what organization.
Needs: Focus on your need for prayer partners including specific requests then ask for people to prayerfully consider supporting you. Include your way of receiving money.
Show them a Way to Stay Involved: Whether this is an email list or just a facebook group keep them up to date.
Conclusion: Show appreciation & love. Hand sign it.
Fun Addition: Add some fun facts about the country your going!
Okay. Now that you have written letters and are sending them lets talk other ways to fundraise:
T-Shirt Sales: Always a good one. I promise people buy T-shirts especially knowing the proceeds go to a good cause. If you aren’t going through an organization then check out Fund the Nations. So many ministries use them. You will pre-sell shirts then order them & deliver!
Market Your Skills: Tutor kids, clean your neighbors house, help someone with a project. Ask around if anyone needs something done.
Crafts: My personal favorite. There are so many different crafts you can do to make money just make sure the profit is worth the labor. You don’t want to spend an hour making a small sign worth only $5. Here is my fundraising ideas Pinterest board.
Baked Goods: Go make them cookies, cakes, breads or bars. This can be a cheap way to make some money. Ask mom for a really good BASIC recipe then knock on doors or sell at church.
Cultural Items: I’ve seen some team sell drinks special to the country they are going to. Research your country to find inspiration for maybe tea or coffee then sell it with a mug! Make it a package deal!
Stickers: I’ve seen some college students make puny stickers and they sold them for $5 dollars. That’s a decent profit!
Please don’t be anxious about this. Don’t worry about coming up with the money. Write a prayer. Post it on the wall. Place the money in the Lord’s hands daily. Find joy in the process.
// If you have ANY questions comment or contact me! I would love to answer them!