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9 Ways to Raise Money for Short-Term Mission Trips

By Mike Pettengill, Mar 30, 2016

In Scripture God is clear how he wants us to view finances (Luke 6:38, Luke 3:11, Matt 6:3-4, Prov 28:27). Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador and martyr for Christ said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

British theologian and author, C.S. Lewis stated, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”

And, Pastor Tim Keller proclaimed, “Nothing that you have not given away will really be yours.”

Reject Fear
Yet, our sinful heart is fearful of asking others for money in God’s name. If we truly viewed God as the originator and distributor of all resources we shouldn’t be intimidated by asking for financial support. The fear of raising finances is a major reason why many Christians do not participate in missions. The reality is when we raise money for mission trips we are providing others who can’t go, with the ability to glorify God by sending us.

The following ideas are a few practical ways to raise support for short-term missions. Before we begin let’s review a few provisos:

1. Don’t start this process unless you are covering every aspect in prayer.
2. Reading beyond this paragraph assumes you have received permission to raise support from your church leadership.
3. Every participant in the mission trip should be a participant in the fundraising.

Letters
Each participant in the short-term mission trip should write a Christ-centered appeal letter to a few dozen friends and family. Make the letters short. Include a return envelope and a deadline. Describe the work you will be doing and how the giver’s support will glorify God and impact the nations. Follow up to the recipients with e-mails and phone calls.

Yard Sale
Ask members of your church, friends, and family to donate household items for a yard sale. Advertise in your church and community. Have all mission trip participants working at the yard sale. Promote the yard sale as a fundraiser for Christian missions. Donate all leftover items to another charity.

Three Servants Parable
Based on Matthew 25:14-30 take seed money and put it in a large number of envelopes. Place some money (roughly $20) in each envelope. Stand before your congregation and read the passage. Pass out an envelope to every adult. Place a box in the back of the church. Invite everyone to participate in whatever way the Lord leads them. They can anonymously place their money in the box, keep it for themselves, or use it to purchase supplies for their own fundraiser. Invite participants to organize their own car wash, bake sale or other event. Allow several weeks for participants to complete their effort.

Car Wash
Host a car wash in front of a local business in your community. Use lots of signage and energetic participants. Instead of setting a price, allow car owners to give what they feel is appropriate. Sell advanced sale coupons in your church and to friends and family.

Rent-A-Missionary
Pick a weekend to rent out your short-term missionaries for yard work or babysitting. Allow the renters to pay as they feel led. Organize a parent’s night out at a home or church. Allow parents to drop off their kids at one location and have the missionaries babysit. Create a spring cleaning day and volunteer to take truckloads of trash to the dump.

Meal Tickets
Host a crab feed, spaghetti feed or barbecue after church. Get your food, plates, and drinks donated or purchased at a discount. Sell advance tickets. Turn the event into a church social. Have the mission trip participants serve as wait staff, cooks, and table bussers.

Bake Sale
Ask volunteers and mission trip participants to volunteer to bake cookies, cakes, pies, and cupcakes. Sell them all to the highest bidders after church. This can easily be combined with another meal or fundraising event.

Restaurant Discounts
Many restaurants offer to help churches and philanthropic organizations raise money for special service events. Work with the restaurant on their method, but frequently restaurants offer a percentage of sales on a specific day or a percentage if your organization is mentioned at the register. Frequently restaurants offer advanced sale coupons where you get all the proceeds.

Crowdfunding
There are dozens of websites (GoFundMe.com, GoGetFunding.com, etc.) that help you raise funds. The website hosts your page, receives the donations and takes a percentage. Crowdfunding support raisers work best when the URL of the fundraising site is shared via social media or e-mail. This is a near effortless way to raise support, you just have to get the word out.

Use your support raising opportunities as teaching moments for the mission trip participants and your church. Make sure everyone is regularly in prayer and seeking God’s glory and provision. Help everyone see how God provides resources for those who seek to serve in his name. Turn support raising for your mission trip from an anxiety ridden, sinful venture into a way to bring glory to the Lord and teach about his provision.

Mike Pettengill is a full-time missionary serving in Equatorial Guinea with Mission to the World.

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