Faith-based Fundraising

How to Fundraise as a Missionary

Recently, I have been working with the missions team at my church and helping individual missionaries fundraise for their work. While I know very little about missions fundraising, I do know some extraordinary missionaries who helped me with great ideas for fundraising. I owe a BIG thank you to Rachel (pictured below with me) who planted a church with her husband Mike in Cork, Ireland.

 Here’s a few ideas on how to kick off your fundraising if you want to serve as a (funded) missionary in the field:

Idea #1: Gain support of a church as a paid staff missionary. In this case, individuals in the church will give as they feel led (through the church), and the church will make up the difference from the general missions fund so the missionary receives the same amount each month.

  • Present your vision before your home church missions board and ask for their blessing and possible support (usually a few hundred a month). Sharing on a Sunday morning is vital as well to get the congregation behind you.

Idea #2: If paid staff is not an option, gain speaking presentations at a number of your “hometown” churches; craft unique and appealing donation requests to offer during presentation as well as donation cards/envelopes.

  • Host a country-themed dinner where people pay to get in and then solicit guests to support your mission’s work (and hopefully you can renew their support year after year).
  • Print up new prayer cards every year with your photo and support information to give out as many people as possible.

Idea #3: Create a social media profile in order to share your work with potential donors.

  • Facebook profile (update daily with photos and short updates on work)
  • Twitter account (update daily with photos and short updates on work)
  • Blog and/or Website (update weekly or bi-weekly with pictures and stories)
  • Ask your friends/followers to share your messages with their friends/followers to broaden your exposure

Idea #4: Gain donations from your friends, family and their friends and family.

  • Send out prayer/support letters to Christian acquaintances,
  • Host an information night in your hometown at your house (or your parents or a prominent church member) to explain your ministry and your calling to go help a specific region/culture. Provide visuals of the country, the population and the location of your mission. Explain (in detail) what you will be doing
    • At the meeting, ask people to sign up to sponsor you for a specific amount ($50, $100, $1,000+) each month for a year. This way you know how much you will receive consistently throughout the year. This also creates success for you to share with other individuals who you want to support you (i.e. we have 60% support raised)

Idea #5: Gain online donations from anyone and everyone.

  • Utilize an online donation-processing tool like PayPal or Network for Good. Or partner with a church/nonprofit who will accept your donations and offer a tax-deductible receipt and thank you letter
  • Place “donation button” on your blog or website
  • Offer specific opportunities for individuals (or groups) to sponsor projects within your ministry:
    • Purchase a cow that will provide the orphanage with milk and meat = $1,000
    • Sponsor one game of soccer with 20 kids (cost of uniform, soccer balls, goals, nets, cones, flags, staff time, etc.) = $250
    • Sponsor ne Sunday church service (let donor pick the date) = $500
    • Send out an email twice a year directly soliciting everyone on your email list. Tell a personal story of success that came from your mission’s work (include pictures). Ask for support to continue this work. Direct people to your online donation link.
    • It’s important to make it easy for people to support you. Not everyone will donate online, so make sure that your online presence also gives individuals an option to donate through cash, bank transfer or check by providing an actual postal address or bank information.

Idea #6: Invite churches and youth groups to take a mission trips from US churches to your mission location. This will provide exposure to your work by potential donors. Also, consider requesting a donation from each group that visits you.

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