So, you’re going on a mission trip. Worried about raising support? You’re not alone.
You need to develop a support-raising plan, but first, know that God has already chosen people who will invest in your ministry. As you follow His direction, He will lead you to people who are willing and able to support you.
The information below gives specific steps to discover the support that God has already appointed for your trip. Resist the urge to think of this as a system or a strategy to raise funds on your own, but a way to faithfully invite others into your calling and to discover His provision for your trip. So, pray and begin that journey of support raising.
Step I. Begin with your home church.
The first step is meeting with the leadership of your home church if the trip isn’t already organized by your church. By contacting your church first, you recognize your church, your pastor and your elders as your spiritual leaders and seek their approval on proceeding to enlist support in the church. You will benefit from your church’s counsel now and in the days ahead. You need to have your church on your team.
There are four things you want to accomplish when you meet with your church:
- Articulate how God led you to be a part of this mission trip.
- Share your financial need.
- Gain a clear understanding of the steps you should follow to request church support.
- Identify ways to present your ministry in the church.
Step II. Determine who to ask for support.
The second step is to make a list of people to ask for support. This list should be anyone who knows you and cares about you. Don’t try to qualify them to be on the list based on their ability to give or even based on their faith in Jesus. You have the privilege of inviting people into ministry with you and you never know the impact that could have on a friend or loved one.
Step III. Organize your potential donor contact info.
The third step in raising support for your short-term mission trip is to compile your list of contacts and their contact information in an easy-to-use system. Ideally, you will computerize this list. In fact, MissionLinked allows you to create groups and house the information for quick and easy electronic communication before, during and after your trip.
Step IV. Distribute your prayer letter and giving page.
In step four, you let people know how God is leading you. In the past, support letters would be mailed to the people on your list and those people would mail in support checks. However, most of the communication and giving is now being done online. Today, a common alternative to a prayer letter is an online giving page.
With MissionLinked, your giving page not only communicates what you’re doing but allows people to see how much you’ve raised, how much you still need to raise and even give toward your goal.
Make sure your giving page includes these five components:
- Provide a brief update on your life.
- Convey your mission and why you felt led to go.
- Write about who you will be working with and what you and/or your team will be doing.
- Provide some photos or videos (if electronic) to help people better understand what you are doing.
- Share about your needs and give people a way to respond.
Once you’re done, distribute the link to your giving page or mail out your support letter. You can text and email out your link to your giving page or even post it to your social media accounts. If you use MissionLinked, you’ll be able to email people directly from the platform to connect them to your page. You can also connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can directly post it from your MissionLinked account.
TAKE NOTE! Your giving page or support letter is a tool for information sharing and giving — it’s not the actual ask. That’s coming in the next step.
Step V. Ask people to pray about joining your Support Team.
In this step, it’s time to individually ask people to pray about joining your support team. Set a goal and start communicating individually with people each week. It could be 5, 10, 15, or however many people seem realistic for you and your schedule. Remember, you’ll have to plan to follow up with people each week in addition to talking with new people.
Order your list by the people closest to you and work your way out. Again, try not to rank people based on their ability to give, the amount they could give, or even how likely they are to give. Remember, you’re not the one persuading them to give. The Holy Spirit is the one moving!
Communicate with the people on the list the way you would normally communicate – that could be over coffee, a text message, social media post, a phone call or even an email. Follow up to make sure they received your link to your giving page/support letter and ask them to pray. See if you can follow up with them in a week or so to see how the Lord has led and then do so. Keep following up until you get a “Yes, or a “No.” Then don’t forget to thank them and continue to communicate with them as part of your support team if appropriate.
Be aware that support comes in many forms so don’t make it only about money. Make anyone who supports you in any way part of this support team.
Step VI. Stay linked with your Support Team and potential donors.
Don’t make this a transaction by reaching out to someone when it’s time for your trip and then cutting off contact once they’ve given. Make it a transformation! Take advantage of the tools in MissionLinked to keep people informed of your progress toward your financial support goal, thank your donors, provide updates to those praying, post updates to social media and share how you saw God move in and around you after the trip.
Raising support is so much more than just paying for a trip. It will stretch your faith, create a space for God to demonstrate what He can do and give many more people the opportunity to be part of the ministry than ever before. This is your opportunity to develop a ministry team where everyone gets the privilege of fulfilling their role in God’s plan for redemption. Some will be goers and some givers, others will pray and support in different tangible ways, but all of us will be working together for the glory of the Lord!
By MissionLinked, a ministry of MissionWorks.