Keys to Raising Support for a Mission Trip
“God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.” -Hudson Taylor
This quote is a blessing for those who stand at the edge of deciding to sign up for a short-term mission trip. There are major barriers that stand as tall as Goliath between those who want to join a team and actually getting to the field. Perhaps one of the largest is money.
The greatest excuse many potential short-term mission team members have is, “I don’t have the money to go!” This fear can be struck down by making a solid plan for support raising, and the first step in that plan is making your support letter really pop. The focus must not be on raising money but casting vision about God’s work to take the gospel to the nations. Giving to missions is biblical, and you're giving your supporters a chance to participate in the mission with you. For many, the letter they receive could be their first step into joining a lifelong commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission.
Here are a few steps to help you raise support for a mission trip.
Write a Letter
There is nothing more fundamental than writing a letter and making one’s need known. Even if you have the financial means to self-fund, it is important to write a letter. Letters can cast vision. Use your letter to outline the who, what, where, why, when, and how of your trip. Explain where you will go, what you will do, and why you are going.
Make a list of potential supporters, which could include family members, teachers, coaches, friends, neighbors, and other people who have a vested interest in you. Offer people the opportunity to join your team through both prayer and a financial contribution. Your priority is not to raise money but to cast vision and mobilize others to get involved.
Use the Why to Answer the What
Simon Sinek is right when he said, “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” People support people and causes that move them. The why always overshadows the what. No one will argue that what you will be doing will be awesome, but sharing why you are doing what you are doing paints a bigger picture of God’s work in your life. Your financial partners will be able to see themselves in this work as well after you return home.
Make Giving Easy
Make it easy for partners to contribute. One of the easiest ways is to make your giving electronic. If financial partners have to find a checkbook and a stamp, the odds of them giving to your mission decrease. If your mission organization allows it, set up an online giving link through the organization’s website or through another approved site. It’s best to steer clear of posting a giving link on social media, but using email and private texts make it easy for willing supporters to donate.
Share About the Organization
Tell your future partners about the vision, mission, and values of your sending organization. Share the story of how short-term teams with this organization partner with church planting movements in the darkest places on the globe. People will be willing to give to a reputable mission agency.
Follow up with Potential Supporters
We live in a busy world of information overload. One way to stay on top of the information pile is to tell people you will be sending them a letter, send it, and then follow up with them after you send it. People will truly appreciate the reminder. They will know you are really serious about your mission.
Say, “Thank you”
Say it early and often. Immediately upon receiving a gift, send a quick thank you note. Send another thank you from the field, if possible. Send another thank you after you return. Invite your supporters to a picture party and share a few takeaways from your mission.
Support raising may feel like the most difficult part of a trip, but it can be one of the most rewarding as well. It will begin to stretch you and cause you to depend on the Lord before you step foot in another country.