top of page

Module 4- A Practical Fundraising Strategy

This is a lesson on practical steps to raising support.  I will add on a 5th lesson with other practical ways that I have seen missionaries fundraise.

BEGIN

1. Begin in prayer!  This the most important, yet the most neglected part of fundraising.  Part of prayer is knowing that you are released to start fundraising.  When you fundraise, you will communicate your vision that the Lord has given to you.  This is what you will be doing in missions.  If you don’t have this vision yet, you probably need to wait for fundraising.  Your vision doesn’t need to be incredibly specific, but people will naturally want to know what they are giving to.

 

2. Then you need to let people know that you are heading into full-time missions.  This sounds like a no-brainer, but I think this step is easy to skip because you want to jump into fundraising so fast.  People are less likely to give if they feel shocked and surprised by what you are doing.  People need time to get their hearts and minds around what God is leading you into.  This is especially true with family members.  If you suddenly surprise them and say, “I am going to India to share the Gospel full-time as a missionary.  Want to give me money?”  They will probably say no, not yet.  

 

If your community already knows that you are going into missions, and then you start to fundraise later, people will already be ready to hear what you are saying because they already know.  In fact, people may already start to ask you, “How can I give to you?” 

 

3. Budget – It will be helpful if you know how much money you need to raise.  With wherever you are going, what will a typical monthly budget look like?  Also, do you need to raise any upfront costs or training expenses?  Whatever organization you are joining can help you gather this information.  You can also get a better idea through online websites and travel forums for where you are hoping to move to.

4. Make a list – Now you are ready to start fundraising.  In terms of an initial fundraising campaign to launch you into the Nations, I liken it to planning a wedding.  You need to write down everyone you want to invite to your wedding at some point.  In this case, you should write down (probably in a spreadsheet) every relationship that you think would be interested in supporting you, whether in prayer or finances.  I would then organize this list by people that would care the most about partnering with you, whether in prayer, finances, or encouragement.  Now we need to start fundraising.

ASKING

1. Friend-raising – Remember, most of your support should come from your friends, family members, and church community members.  

 

2. Culture – I understand that there are different ways to ask people for financial support.  There are also different ways depending on your culture and generation.  I think it is important you fundraise in a way that makes sense to your culture.  So maybe what I am about to tell you doesn’t make sense.  That’s okay!

 

3. Make a List – I already told you about this.  This list of people should already know you are stepping into missions.  If they don’t know, you should start there and circle back to fundraising later.

 

4. How to ask – Yes, you will need to ask your donors to support you. 

a. 1v1 – You need to ask individually in person or digitally.  Now, you may have some groups of people that you can share with, which is nice.  However, most of your asking needs to be 1v1, either in person or digitally.  With elderly people that live near you, you probably need to do an in person or on the phone.  With younger people, you can try for a digital share.  Closer friends and family, you probably need to do an in person.

b. Share vision – You aren’t just asking for money.  You want to share your journey of how God has called you, what he’s called you to do, God’s heart for the Nations, and then invite them to support you in prayer and financial giving.

c. Directly – You need to ask them directly.  You cannot just suggest, hint, or share your vision and think they understand.  It is like sharing the Gospel.  At some point, you need to go straight to the heart and invite them to partner with what God is doing.  Depending on your personality, you need to ask very direct, such as “Are you willing to support me monthly?”  

HOW I PRACTICALLY ASK

 

This is my method.  I will share other methods in the next lesson to give you ideas.  This is the method I use unless they are a close friend, family member, or an important relationship, such as a pastor.  In those cases, they need an in-person meeting.

 

     1. Text message – I first send a text message asking them permission for me to share my financial need in an email.  

 

For example, “Hey X!  I am trying to raise more monthly support as a missionary before I get ready to head to India in September.  You came to my mind.  I don’t need a financial commitment now, but I’m wondering if it would be okay if I sent you an email sharing my need and how you could pray about it.  Love you!”  

 

They usually say yes, and you can get their email at this point if you don’t have it.  I like texting first because in my culture, people don’t read emails often anymore and this text helps to defuse any pressure and not shock anyone.

 

     2. Email – You should have this email already prepared before sending the message.  After they say that they are interested in the email, I then send a longer email which would have a typical fundraising appeal inside of it.  This email contains the following: your need; what you are doing; God’s vision; how they can practically give to you; a direct ask; and a mention that you will follow up with them.

 

FOR EXAMPLE:

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

“Hey X,

 

Thanks for your friendship!  We enjoy spending time with you and always leave encouraged.  Looking forward to connecting again in the future!

 

As I mentioned in my text, we are trying to raise another $1,000 a month in order to afford to live in the Seattle area with our growing family.  We would love if you would pray and ask the Lord if you are to support us monthly and if so, how much.  Even small donations go a long way.

 

As you know, we're currently leading Continents For Christ (CFC).  Our  mission is to bring regional breakthrough to unreached and underserved communities by equipping village pastors and conducting strategic evangelism.  We primarily go where other ministries do not usually go—rural, remote locations in Africa and Asia. 

 

Right now the Lord has us planted here in Seattle.  Your support goes to us managing the ministry operations, doing the many administrative tasks, growing a local and international team, and establishing a foundation of prayer for CFC.  We understand that there are far cheaper areas to live in, especially overseas, but this is where God has us for now.

 

Looking ahead into 2022, we are excited for what the Lord’s doing.  We're having a 3rd child in September.  CFC is growing in East Africa, with the hopes of establishing a long-term hub that conducts pastor teaching seminars, women's discipleship, evangelistic crusades, and implements a number of community development projects in the region.  We're also looking forward to getting our Asia operations up and running again as the world comes out of COVID travel restrictions.

 

As you’re aware of how expensive the cost of living is here in Seattle, we need to raise more monthly financial support.  We would love if you would prayerfully consider giving to us.  We can’t do this without our community.  

 

Here is a link to CFC’s website: https://www.continentsforchrist.com/

Here is a link to our giving portal: https://www.continentsforchrist.com/dan-meg

 

Thanks again for your prayers!  We love you and we will be in touch.

 

Love,

Daniel, Megan

----

Let’s reflect on the above email.  It’s important to get this right.  This is very much an American context, but I wonder if you can adjust it to your context:

  • Personal – I take time to connect in the beginning

  • Share why I’m writing the email

  • Share the vision that God’s given to me and what I’ll practically be doing in missions

  • Share the amount you are hoping to raise.

  • Give an exact location of where they can give.

 

     3. Follow up – After you send the email, you need to text them and ask them if they got the email.  This creates some accountability, and most people don’t read emails anymore.  Then you need to tell them that you will follow up with them in a week.  You then need to follow up and ask them if they had a chance to pray about giving.  So, you are still asking directly and not getting out of that.

Some people have other ways of raising support, which is totally okay.  I will share some of those other ways in the next lesson.  At the heart of any ask is that you are sharing your vision, God’s heart for the Nations, your need, and ask them directly to give to you.  You also need to tell them how they can practically give in that ask, too.

Maybe you will get invited to a small group or church to speak and fundraise.  You may get some donors out of these group meetings.  I have found that these types of group meetings can generate one-time donors, but they may not generate long-term, monthly donors as well as a 1-to-1 ask.  Depending on the type of meeting, for example if you are preaching, you may not be able to ask that directly or you may be rushed for time, too.  Group meetings are great to also get the word out that you are in missions in general and to cast vision.  

COMMON AREAS OF STRUGGLE WITH FUNDRAISING

 

I have seen some common areas of struggle with fundraising.  Here are some:

1. Rushing the preparation and launching season – I need to do another training series on being prepared for the Nations.  A lot of prospective missionaries want to rush this process, quickly fundraise, and get overseas as quickly as possible.  The preparation season is so important to the Lord’s heart.  

 

You can think of a rocket on the launchpad ready to launch out.  While it is sitting on that launchpad, it is getting ready to go.  All the scientists and engineers are doing their tests to make sure the launch will succeed.  Then finally the astronaut gets in the rocket and gets ready to launch out.  If the engineers don’t do their job while the rocket is on the launchpad preparing to go, the rocket may explode, and astronauts die.  The preparation season is vital!

 

Fundraising takes time.  Raising up a community to support you in prayer and finances takes time.  Sharing your vision for what God is doing takes time.  It doesn’t have to take forever, but many people want to rush this season out of financial pressure or impatience to quickly get into what God has called them to do.  However, I have seen that when missionaries do this, it hurts their support and success in their calling.

 

2. Being a young Christian – If you are young (like college ages), then you may not have a large church community and friends that have a lot of spare finances to give.  People in your church community may look down on your age, too.  On the other hand, you probably don’t have as many expenses as an older person would.

 

3. Being a new Christian – You may not have many Christian relationships, or you may not be known in your local church.  This takes wisdom on how to handle this.  If you are a new Christian and wanting to get into missions, there’s wisdom in going to a missions program that has a strong discipleship emphasis, such as YWAM.

 

4. A culture that isn’t generous – Some countries do not have a strong missions-sending culture, especially in giving finances to missionaries.  I have seen this with countries that idolize college and careers.  I have also seen this with countries that are very poor.  Part of your job will be to share God’s heart for the Great Commission, how he calls us to be involved, and how he asks us to be good stewards of our finances.  You need wisdom in your timing of going to the mission field.

 

Questions

  1. Looking at the “begin” section in the above teaching, where are you in that process?

  2. With the practical text-email strategy of fundraising that was shared above, what makes sense to you?  What is confusing?  What do you think would or wouldn’t make sense for your cultural context?

  3. What practical challenges do you think you will face when start to fundraise?

  4. Where do you feel fearful in this process, and where do you feel confident?

bottom of page