6 Steps to Build a Funding Team for Short Term Missions

This is the fourth post in a 4 post series on Fundraising for Short Term missions.  The previous posts introduced the topic and presented 3 Reasons We Avoid Fundraising for Short Term Missions and 3 Reasons to Fundraise for Short Term Missions.

We've seen the Why, now to the How.

Getting started is the hardest part.  For many of us, if we've committed to raising funds, we just send out a newsletter or, if we're a little more technologically saavy, an e-mail or a Facebook post.  But this rarely works.

What we need is a paradigm shift and a process.

The Paradigm Shift

You are not raising money.  That's not enough.  It wouldn't be enough to just get the money.  Rob a 7-Eleven.  The money isn't the goal.  You're looking for something more.  We need to shift our thinking.

We aren't raising money, we're building a Funding Team.  You don't want donors, you want investors.  If people's hearts follow their money, you want to make sure you create space for hearts as well as dollars.

Making this paradigm shift - from money to team - does three things:
  1. Making the shift removes some of the tensions
  2. Making the shift amplifies the impact
  3. Making the shift brings in more money
Don't just raise up funds, raise up a funding team.

A 6 Step Process (that won't remove the fear, but will make it easier)

1) Commit to the process, not the outcome

God controls the outcome.  Our job is to be faithful.  Faithfulness is success.  This is a rule for ministry of every kind: evangelism, discipleship, preaching, missions ... even fundraising.  We don't control the outcome. 

When we fixate on the outcome, we become desperate and are tempted to manipulation.  Fear and guilt become levers we're motivated by in our fundraising.  And we fail.  Don't do this!  Commit to the process.

2) Pray

If you're going to be asking people to get behind you, to come on your team and to support you by funding your trip, ask God first.  This is low-hanging fruit.  No one loves you more than God, affirms you more than God, holds unconditional positive regard toward you more than God.  He is the one person whom, when you ask, nothing in the relationship is tense or risked.

And He provides.

3) Identify

Who are you going to ask?  Think broadly.  Be generous in your estimation and expect people to be generous.  Don't discredit people who can only give small gifts.  Don't decide for them whether or not their going to give.  Give them an opportunity.

Who are 5 people that come to mind that you could ask to join your team?

4) Notify

Don't jump straight to asking.  Give people a heads up.  Let them know what you're going to be doing and that you're going to ask them to join your funding team.  Here's a sample of simple notification ...
I'm trying to go to Haiti to serve orphans in a month and I'm really excited about it.  I'll give you a call this weekend to tell you more about the trip and see if you want to help me make it happen.
That heads up removes awkwardness for them (Why are they calling?) and for you (How do I bring it up?).

Here're 6 ways to notify:
  • Paper newsletter
  • E-mail
  • Facebook message
  • Text message
  • Announcement at Small Group
  • Tell your Mom (she'll be so proud, she'll pass the word)
5) Ask

Do this in person if possible.  Over the phone is okay, but awkward.  You have to wade through silences and give people space to think.  Make sure people know what you're going to do (build wells) and where you're going to do it (orphanage in Haiti) and why (the kids are at risk for disease because they can't get clean water).  Feel free to share the total amount you need, but don't feel like you need to explain where every penny goes unless they ask (and then be prepared).  Don't hesitate to suggest an amount ($200 or whatever you can do) ... this helps people know you aren't asking them to bankroll the whole trip.  Make sure you know how they can give (and whether their gift is tax-deductible).

Whew.

And while you're asking ...

I put the money part first, but remember, you're building a team.  Talk with them about how they might pray for your trip, supplies they might provide, ways they can follow your progress.  Do the hard extra work to really include them.

6) Report

If you can't or won't do this, don't raise funds.  People have to see how the trip went.  They need to know that their generosity and sacrifice meant something.  They need to hear stories and see pictures.  Don't keep all the joy to yourself.

And if you do this, they're more likely to go on a trip in the future and more likely to give to missions work in the future.  A lot of us don't give to missions because we feel like we're giving into a black hole, throwing our money away.

What steps would you add?  Would this help you?

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