For many people who go on short-term mission trips, one of the scariest parts happens before ever even leaving the country – support raising.
One can look at the total cost for joining a short-term mission trip and immediately have the thought, “I don’t know how I can afford that!” run through their mind. Although there are individuals who feel called to go on a trip and have the finances to afford to pay for their trip out of pocket, this is never the assumption of LifeVesting International. In fact, we encourage all team members to involve as many people as possible in what they are about to embark on – helping plant churches and reach people with the gospel in SE Asia.
We involve others in what we truly believe in and love. Our prayer for those going with us is that you would do the same. The following is a basic introduction on some of the do’s and don’ts to support-raising for short-term trips.
1. Create a list of people you would like to involve in your team.
⁃ Prayerfully ask the Lord to bring to mind people in your life who you should ask to join your support team
⁃ these can be people you’ve known for a long time through church, school, etc.
⁃ these may also be acquaintances or even friends of a friend
⁃ remember that the Lord moves and works through avenues that we can’t even comprehend
2. Set up face-to-face meetings with as many of these potential supporters as possible.
⁃ there is no reason to make this awkward or to surprise them – let them know you are going to be asking for their financial support for a mission trip
⁃ during your conversation, give as many details as possible as to where you’re heading, who you’ll be reaching, and what exactly you’ll be doing
⁃ for instance, you don’t want to communicate that they’ll be helping build houses for the less fortunate when you are actually going to communicate the gospel through leading ESL clinics!
⁃ you want to continually be reminding others of how they, too, play a key role in your involvement and in the overarching church
⁃ make sure that your meeting takes place at a locale that is convenient and a good place for conversation – you don’t want to be misheard because your surroundings were too loud
3. If sending emails or letters, personalize each and every one of them.
⁃ people feel much more drawn in to something when they’re addressed by their names, rather than “Hey guys!” or “To Whom it May Concern:”
⁃ just like with a face-to-face meeting, be up front about what you are asking them for, and then give them details on how you want them to be involved and what you will be doing on this trip
4. Be specific in asking for financial support.
⁃ We have a tendency to over-spiritualize things as an excuse for not being up front with our needs.
⁃ Although it can definitely be uncomfortable, we all sometimes need to be reminded that we are part of the body and, in that, we have different roles to play
⁃ Just within missions, there are five particular elements to how we are all to be involved:
5. Expect support. Expect rejection.
⁃ Expect the Lord to bless your endeavors and to provide for your trip
⁃ However, do NOT presume upon the Lord’s provision
⁃ Don’t get frustrated when others respond with “No.” or “Not right now.”
⁃ Typically, it takes anywhere from 5-10 meetings to see one person feel led to support
6. Follow up!
⁃ If they choose to support you
⁃ Give them as many options as possible to actually give
⁃ If they respond with a maybe – tell them that you will get back in touch with them in a couple of weeks and do just that…set up a reminder for yourself and give them a shout two weeks from the day!
⁃ If they reject you or simply say, “Not right now.” – ask them if they would join your prayer team, at the least, in order to keep them in the loop on what is going on with your trip
7. Continue to pray for the Lord to provide for your trip, as well as the rest of your team.
8. Thank each and every person on your support team – before and after the trip.
⁃ consider having a celebration party afterwards to let everyone know what you saw and experienced on the trip
⁃ think about bringing a little something back for those who truly sacrificed to make sure that you were part of the trip
1. Forget how impactful it can be just to be asked to join in on something like this!
⁃ people feel honored when asked to be part of helping someone reach the nations
2. Skip the list-making and meetings – there are plenty of people who think they can simply rely on social media, and their plans almost always backfire
⁃ be as personal as possible!
3. Forget about your milestones for deposit, travel cost and total amount due dates.
⁃ if you need to, tell people that you must have x-amount of support in by y-date in order to meet your milestones
4. Be vague or timid in what you are asking someone to be part of.
5. Take rejection personally – the Lord will very well NOT allow some people to support you (out of their own financial responsibilities or simply not feeling led to join your team)
6. Forget to follow up!
7. Forget to thank each and every person who has given towards you making an impact in SE Asia.