A question from a student, emailed this morning:
"I have officially confirmed a spot on the trip and I am now beginning to be active in raising support. . . what I could possibly do to to be proactive and effectively find support . . . I was wondering if you could give me some ideas!"
Here is part of my response:
When asking for financial support for missions and ministry, do two things right at the start:
Chunk it and seek direct support.
Chunk it. Breakdown the cost in two ways by asking these questions.
What’s the money for?
Specifically, it’s for airfare, housing, food, materials to help support (this will help communicate what you need).
Generally, it’s for a greater purpose: creating a ministry center in a village/city in central America, training local leaders in Africa. Basically, it's leaving something behind after you leave.
How much is needed?
If it’s $2000, break it down into smaller chunks. Twenty sets of $100, 40 sets of $50.
Ask directly for help. Do not send a general could-be-written-to-anybody letter. Be ready to meet face-to-face, by skype, Facebook Live, whatever. Just look the potential donor in the eyes. You're asking another person to help other people. Treat them like a human being not an ATM.
Identify 20 or 40 people (twenty or forty couples, families, individuals) that you know personally. When you meet face-to-face to talk about your trip, talk about what you need specifically and generally (see above).
Tell them why you are going (the general purpose outlined above), this is the real reason for the trip. It's the basis of the burden, the divine design of why the trip and your presence is necessary.
Respond as well to any questions about what the funds could be used for specifically. They are supporting you, so let them know what you need. They are helping you respond to God's calling, so what will it take you to be obedient?
Ask for an increment of the total cost--$100 or $50 or more--whatever the Spirit leads you to ask them for. This is where your faith kicks in.
Be ready at that time to offer the ways for them to give. Have a reminder or a receipt of some kind: a card that has the amount they have given or will give. Check boxes with the increments or a blank to fill in for whatever amount they can give.
On this card, put the address to send a check (should not be your address but the address of the organization sponsoring the trip), and add weblink to send payment electronically. Give a time frame when the money has to be received. If they give cash, this can be a receipt with the title of the organization/church, trip destination, amount, and date given).
Ask for their contact information. Send a followup letter just before you leave. This can be typed with a handwritten personal note for each donor, thanking them for their faithfulness and willingness to participate in this trip by helping you go. And, send them an update during the trip if longer than two weeks as well as a letter reporting the good news of what happened on the trip after you return.
Ask to invite generosity
that is already present, because the Spirit that sends will also provide.
"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness." (2 Corinthians 9:10 NIV)