January 18, 2018
Sitting in the corner of the couch, your hands hover over your keyboard as you stare at the blank screen. You’re waiting for inspiration and creative words to come to mind, but nothing does. You sigh. You’re supposed to be writing a fundraising newsletter for your upcoming mission trip, but you have no idea where to start.
There are many components that are important to writing a piece of art. You may have a gift with words and can use that to your advantage, or you may struggle with forming a complete thought on paper.
Whatever level you’re at in writing doesn’t matter. I’m here to help you make your process of writing an effective fundraising newsletter as easy as possible. After reading this post, you’ll know how to create a beautiful fundraising newsletter of your own for any future mission trips you go on.
1. Create a List
First, you are going to need people to send your letters to. These may be people you haven’t talked to in five years or they may be your friends you text with every day. Go to your contact lists and facebook friends and start a list somewhere of all their names. Never skip anybody you don’t think will be likely to support you because God can provide through anyone.
2. Ask for Permission
Many people are caught off guard when they receive something in the mail that they didn’t expect–especially if they haven’t heard from you in a long time. After making your list of people to send your letters to, send a quick individual message to them via email, text, or messenger, asking for their mailing address. Share that you want to send them a letter for a mission trip you’re going on so that they know what to expect. Getting addresses is important for sending thank you cards later to those who do feel led to give you any level of support. Thank you cards will also help you maintain those friendships and make people feel valued and appreciated in their relationship with you.
3. Keep it Simple
Write your letter so that it all fits on one page. Check your details so that you give the correct information to your future supporters. Keep your letter simple with as little confusion as possible. People are more likely to support you when they understand the organization you are going with and why you’re going on this trip.
4. Prioritize Content
The content of your letter is the most important component to make a good impression on your future supporters. Worry about the design later. What matters is your honesty, genuinity, and passion for Christ. Let your heart for sharing God’s love to people show through your words. Your letter doesn’t have to look or sound professional. It’s okay if your letter isn’t perfect. Just be yourself. Think about what type of letter you would want to read in the mail, and write for yourself. I can guarantee that your future supporters will appreciate it.
5. Check for Readability
Print out one letter before you print out a hundred. Read through the letter out loud with your parents, a sibling, or a friend, and check for grammar errors. If the words are too tiny to read, you may have to readjust your font and make it bigger or possibly print on both sides of the paper. Using spell check will also save you a lot of time and embarrassment and is more credible to your work. While your future supporters may never notice it, this is a great habit to form as a future missionary who will be writing many fundraising newsletters in the future.
6. Know Your Audience
You are likely going to send your letters to a variety of different people and not all of them may share the same faith in Jesus as you do. Write as if you were speaking the words in a normal conversation and try not to use Christianese words that unbelievers wouldn’t understand. Instead, share your heart behind why you want to go just as you would when talking over coffee–it’s not just to travel the world and experience adventure, it’s to reach people with the gospel and proclaim the name of Jesus.
7. Use Paper
Technology is great, but having a physical paper letter in your hand is even better. Write your letter on a computer or mobile device and then print it out. Newsletters are still great in emails and blogs, but sending a physical copy of a letter in the mail shows your dedication to your calling as a missionary. Your desire to connect with people will be intriguing to your future supporters and will invite more people to become partners with you in ministry by taking the time to send a letter in the mail.
8. Make it Personal
“Dear _____,” or “Hello _______!” Is a wonderful start to a letter. Signing a person’s name in your own hand will make your letter more personal. People love personal connections, and this tiny act shows that you took the time and effort in sending a direct letter to them. A fundraising newsletter is more than asking for financial support, it’s building relationships into future partnerships.
9. Give Your Trip Details
Next, share with your future supporters the specific details of your mission trip. Include when you’re going, how long you’ll be there, the organization you’ll be working/going with, where you’re going–country or state–and what type of ministry you’ll be doing.
10. Share Your Heart
Part of gaining future supporters is being vulnerable and sharing your heart with others. In your letter share why you want to go and what you’re looking forward to. Sharing your passion and excitement to be a part of God’s work around the world will impact and encourage the lives of your readers and can lead to future partnerships in financial and prayer support.
11. Ask for Financial Support
It is sometimes highly advised not to ask for financial support in your newsletter, especially when doing Partnership Development. However, if you do ask for financial support, the key to effectiveness is keeping it clear and simple as to how much you need and how they can help support you. Depending on your circumstance, whether you’re going on a short-term mission trip or a long-term mission trip, you can ask for a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation. It’s optional to tell them the full amount you have to raise because that can be overwhelming to both them and you. Remember, they aren’t just becoming supporters, they are becoming partners with you in ministry as well. Your goal is to present your goals for fundraising and get more people on your side for missional support.
12. Send Your Prayer Requests
Not everyone will be able to support you financially, but they may be able to support you in prayer. Write down three to five personal prayer requests and them to the content of your letter. You can also add that you would love to hear their prayer requests so that you can pray for them too. This communicates that you value them as a person and want to support them as much as the support you.
As another option, you can also include a separate photo of yourself with the dates of the mission trip and all your prayer requests. Your family and friends can put these on their fridges or by their beds as a reminder to pray for you.
13. Share Your Contact Information
After you are finished with prayer requests, give whatever contact information you are comfortable in giving for people to reach out to you. Emails are usually encouraged if you don’t want to give out your phone number. Also, include an online link or home address to send checks to.
14. Include a Blog link (*optional)
While blog posts are optional, this gives your family, friends, and supporters a place to go when they want to get a glimpse of what your life looks like overseas. If you have a love for writing and want to share your stories with others, then start a blog. Include your blog link in your letter and invite your supporters to follow you on your journey. As a missionary, this is not only a wonderful way to process your thoughts, but also a time of encouragement through people’s prayers and comments on your posts.
15. Write a Thank you
To end your beautifully written letter, thank your future supporters and partners for taking the time to read your letter and for supporting you in advance. You can also add your favorite Bible verse(s) as a final encouragement before you sign your name. Sign your name at the bottom of the letter in your own hand. Again, this is just making your letter personal and giving one last message that you care about your supporters.
Before writing anything, pray. Before sending off your letters, pray. When making a list of people to write your letters to, pray. Prayer is the most important part of your fundraising process and it’s humbling to remember that you can’t do any of this on your own. God is your ultimate provider and supporter, and He knows the exact amount you need. Step out in faith and act upon it. He already knows who is going to support you and how much you will receive. You and I serve an All-Powerful God Who is in control of all things on heaven and earth, things unseen and seen, and that means that there is no space for worrying and stress. He is trustworthy and faithful to do what He has promised.
Fundraising newsletters can be intimidating, but they’re not meant to be. This is a time to get excited about partnering with people who want to see all the nations of the world proclaim the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior! You are getting the amazing opportunity to invite others from all over the world to partner with what God is doing in other parts of the earth. Let your passion and motivation for God to be known in the hardest and darkest places drive you forward as you write your fundraising newsletter.