I wish that I could afford to just pay for myself (and my family) to go on missions trips all the time. BUT… I live in the same reality that most of you do. Too often there is not enough month left at the end of the money…
Even if I did have the money, there are LOTS of reasons to find outside financial support when going on a mission trip. A couple of the big ones are…
- Faith strengthened by God’s provision
- Leads towards humility rather than pride
- Builds accountability rather than autonomy
And if I am honest, fundraising for my (very expensive) trip to Kenya and Uganda has been one of the biggest stress points for me as I prepare.
My fundraising plans include a few different pieces that I thought that I would share with you here…
- A fundrasing letter campaign (here’s mine)
- An email campaign using missionmatchup.com (see my trip profile)
- A bake sale after a Sunday service at my church (details below)
- $50 of baking materials out of my pocket
- Other cakes, cookies and brownies donated by family/friends
- $250 worth of baked goods donated by a local Amish restaurant (thanks Willard from Troyer’s Dutch Heritage!)
- Asking only for donations we made $1400!
- Engage the online community through this blog
But rather than copying the specific things that I’ve done, I’d like to share some of the best advice that I’ve gotten regarding holding a successful mission trip fundraiser. I’ve learned that the keys to a successful mission trip fundraising effort are…
- Strong relationships
In a way, this is a step that begins LONG before you ever even plan a trip at all. The truth is that people will invest more into people that they like. And this doesn’t mean putting on a ‘fake’ nice-guy attitude. It means really investing in your relationships with other people. It means regularly putting others before yourself. And don’t do it so that you can get something out of them later on. Do it because that’s what Christian brotherhood is all about.
- Connecting your message closely to the Gospel
It is also important for people to see how your trip is connected to the Gospel of Christ. The more closely it is connected, then the more important it becomes to people. In my church, I had the opportunity to get up front and share briefly about my trip as the congregation prayed for me. This also happened to be the same day that I did my bake sale (mentioned above). What I shared went something like this…
I’m going to be joining a ministry called Five Talents International on a trip to Kenya and Uganda. Five Talents is a faith-based organization that specializes in microfinance. In case you are not familiar with what that is, it is a great tool used in the fight against extreme poverty. Basically it is just like you getting a small business loan, but these microloans are for small amounts like $50 that allow people to buy tools, equipment, or livestock that will help them to generate a regular income for themselves.
Our team will be going over there to teach these people basic, Christian business skills that will help them to be successful with the microloans that they will be getting. In fact, the lesson that I am primarily responsible for is the finance lesson, which is very similar to something like a Crown Financial seminar that we might have here in our church. But regardless of the lesson, we teach them to put God first, and we use the Word of God as the foundation for everything that we do.
But this trip is about more than just the microloans or the teaching. The more that I learn about these people, not only do I see many cultural differences, but I also see that they are very much like you and me. They are mothers and fathers with hopes and dreams, and with kids that they want to provide the best that they can for. Their kids get sick just like ours do, but the difference is that where we have doctors everywhere and drugstores on every corner, they don’t have the luxury of resources like that or the means to pay for them. So when a disease like malaria has such a high mortality rate over there, it is often not because the disease itself is so deadly, but it is deadly because they lack the means to be able to treat it. Therefore, something like malaria is a disease of poverty.
So personally I try to identify with the father who worries about not being able to provide medical care for his kids, and who also has to let his kids go to bed hungry every night. And it is things like this that cause these people to live with a great deal of shame, and with a lack of hope.
So like I said… For me this trip is not as much about the loans or the Christian teaching that we will be taking over there, and that is much needed… But this trip is about delivering hope in the name of Jesus. It is about delivering dignity in the name of Jesus. And that is something that I feel extremely blessed to be a part of…
To give you some perspective, we were only expecting to make about $600 or so with our bake sale… $700 if we were really lucky. So imagine our shock when we counted about $1400! And if I had to attribute that to anything, I attribute it to getting these two rules right.
I just pray that God continue to be glorified through this whole experience! I can certainly see His hand in all of this, and am encouraged by His strength and provision. Amen!
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