November 25, 2019
In this blog, I will be listing and explaining 51 of the best ways to fundraise for your missions, both short and long-term trips.
Here is a look at the different topics I will be covering. Within each topic, there are extensive practical examples and fundraising tactics.
- How to Fundraise for Missions
- Use and Create a Network
- Make Giving Easier
- Hosting Events
- Short-Term Business Ideas
How to Fundraise for Missions
A local home church is one of the most efficient ways to raise consistent support if you are seeking long term missions. If your home church cannot fund the amount that you need, other local churches can partner with you. Keep in mind that the longer the trip the more expensive it will be.
But what do you do if your local churches won’t or can’t support you? What if you are not fully established in a local church? How could you possibly raise thousands of dollars? What if the support you do raise from churches is not enough? There are practical ways to do this that have proven themselves to be successful through creative fundraising.
Top 51 Ways to Raise Support
In this section, I am listing 51 of the top ways to raise support for your mission trip. You do not have to use all these avenues to successfully raise funds, however, you can use as many as you see fit or need. The list isn’t in a specific numerical order. It is, however, organized in sections by the different ways to fundraise.
Use and Create a Network
Missionaries cannot flourish alone. God did not create humans to be alone. He created man and woman. He created family, unity, and community. Moreover, He established the Body of Christ with many different parts and roles. Your role may be going, but the role of others is sending. Therefore, use and establish a network of believers to support you in as many ways as possible. Include your community, even those who aren’t believers. The bigger and more reliable your network, the more work you will be able to get done.
Prayer should always be the first resort that we go to, no matter the situation. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 declares, “Pray without ceasing.” Furthermore, we see prayer as a significant way of life throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The early church dedicated itself to prayer before making decisions.
Acts 1:4 states, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” There is something powerful that occurs when we pray. We pray about where to go on our mission trips and when to go. Why would we stop praying when it comes to fundraising for the trip?
God can work supernaturally through prayers and provide all the finances you need. However, through scripture and experience, I have noticed that God works very closely with and through humans. God can do all things, yet at times He finds it best to bless His people through other people.
Pray that you would receive all the needed funds. Pray that you would have wisdom in handling finances. Additionally, pray that you would be creative and ambitious in your funding. Pray for strength. Without ceasing, pray.
2. Gather a Group of Reliable People with Similar Vision
Gather a group of reliable people who share your vision to be co-laborers with you. Involve others in your work. Let them know that they have a significant role in the work of God. Encourage them to join you if God is so calling them. They can join you by attending the trip with you. Or, they could help you with the fundraising process. Gather prayer partners to intercede for you and your mission.
Fundraising isn’t easy. If you have a team of people helping you with the details and logistics, you will work more efficiently. Family and friends are a great support system for this. Even if they are not Christian, they may still be willing to help on your behalf. In fact, it may become another opportunity to reach your nonbelieving peers and community. The more trustworthy people you can get involved, the better. Make sure you use wisdom when delegating specific tasks to these people.
3. Raise Support
Simply raising and asking for financial support is a significant way that many missionaries are funded. Make a list of all of your contacts. Send out a newsletter explaining what you are doing and what you need. You can even use phone calls, emails, and social media. Also, meet personally with as many people as you can. The more connected people are to the vision and purpose of your mission the more likely they are to support.
You can also raise support by asking of your local church or other churches in the area. At times, churches will allow you to speak in front of the congregation about your trip and your needs. People may give you a one-time donation in an offering style. Or, you could ask for a long term partnership with a monthly amount.
4. Partner with Local Churches
As I stated earlier, you can ask to speak at local churches and take up an offering. Additionally, you can work with the local churches in your area with fundraising and events. Whenever you partner with other sources, you will have increased resources and a network. Even if you only know one person at another church, that person may advocate on your behalf in front of his or her church. That same person may also be willing to speak on your behalf to coworkers or other family members.
5. Get the Word Out
Many people are willing to support your cause. Perhaps the biggest thing keeping them from supporting you is because they do not know there is the option. Or, they don’t fully understand what you are seeking money for. Clearly communicate what you are doing. State when the trip is occurring. Explain why you are going and what your vision and purposes are. Update them on current work that is being done in that area and how your trip will be contributing to it. Tell them exactly what their money is going towards. People don’t want to give money when there is the potential of it being misused.
Essentially, you want people to be compelled in the mission just like you were when you first made the decision. Involve them in as many ways as possible if they so desire. Use whatever platform you can to get the word out. Ask to speak about it at community events. Contact local businesses and ask if you can place flyers or pamphlets in their store.
6. Regularly Communicate with Prior Donors
Once you have raised support, keep those people within your contact list. Keep them in the loop before, during, and after your trip. Even if you aren’t doing long-term overseas missions, you can communicate with your donors about other ministries you are involved in. A popular way to do this is through newsletters.
Now, due to the internet, many people are opting out of paper letters and are saving money by using online resources. You can always provide the option of paper or electronic communication. Some people respond better to paper letters because they are more personal, however, others don’t mind either way. It’s not bad to ask your donors if they have a preference.
The benefit of retaining communication with prior donors is that they are more likely to donate again or to partner with you long term. Also, remember to send thank you cards or notes to your donors. Studies have shown that donors, especially those who give large amounts, are much more interested in giving again to those who show gratitude.
7. Partner with Local Businesses
Ask local businesses if they would be willing to partner and support you. Clearly explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. Family-owned companies may be more willing to support, rather than large corporations, but it doesn’t hurt to ask either way.
You can also partner with local businesses by advertising for them at various events that you may host. Some local businesses will donate items to use as a raffle or will give financial support.
8. Invest Yourself in Raising the Money
Asking others to fund your trip is often a necessary and crucial thing to do. You may not have the resources or ability to work a significantly greater amount of hours due to family, school, etc. Even if you did, you still may not have enough money. Despite this, you should continue to put in the effort through hard work.
When donors recognize that you are working hard to fund your trip, they are more likely to fund you. If you appear lazy or uninterested, people will respond in a similar way. Donors want to see that you are passionate and adamant about your cause. When they see you dedicating your life to a cause, they will be inspired.
This also builds trust within people. Many individuals have witnessed charity money being used in deceitful ways. Due to this, people tend to be more specific about where they give their money. You need to retain good character and integrity if you are hoping for financial support from outside sources.
9. Apply for Scholarships and Grants
If your mission trip is through a school or program, you may be able to apply and receive educational scholarships. Some scholarship programs are more strict, but others are eligible for educational purposes. You can also receive grants from private businesses, foundations, or individuals. Check your local scholarships and grants to see if you are eligible. Even if they haven’t supported mission work in the past, you can try to make an appeal.
Make Giving Easier
Use all resources that you can as a means for receiving funds and promoting your mission. It is best to receive cash, checks, and cards. You can also use resources such as PayPal or cash app. The more avenues that you receive funds, the better. Make it as easy as possible for people to give.
10. Create a Fundraising Website
A fundraising website is an easy way to keep your donors and supporters involved in your mission. It is a great way to present the details and reasons for your trip. A website can also make it easy for people to donate.
Put a permanent link to your website on other media sights that you use. That way, if people are considering to donate, they will find your website easily. Life gets busy and at times people want to donate but they forget. By having a website readily available you may indirectly remind those who forgot.
11. Set Specific Donation Amounts
Another way to gauge your funding is to set recommendations that people can give. You could start or end at any amount that you like, but try not to go too large. Start with a one-time $5 or $10 donation. Then you can go up to $25, $50, $75, and $100. You can also offer another option that the donor can give as much or as little as they choose.
After this option, you can offer monthly donation amounts on the same scale. With monthly donations, it is helpful to offer the option of automatic withdrawal, instead of requiring your donors to pay each month.
12. Communicate How Much is Raised
Communicate how much money has been raised and is still needed. This helps individuals when they choose how much to give. Furthermore, if an individual gave a one-time donation, they may be willing to give again later if they see you still have the need. By giving updates, you are also marketing your financial need again, which will give you more exposure to other potential donors.
13. “Pick a Number” Board
Fill a wall in your church with various numbers that represent a donation amount. This makes it easier for individuals in your church to give and also makes them feel involved. If they see others giving, they may be more inclined to give as well. Ask your church to make an announcement and give instructions about how you can receive the money.
14. Envelop Fundraising
Envelop fundraising is similar to a number board. However, instead of having cards with numbers on it, use envelops. Donors can then place cash in the envelopes and return them in a locked money box. Or, you could give instructions on how to give online.
15. Use Social Media as a Platform
Use all social media sites that you have a reliable following on to promote your trip. You can even make a specific facebook page or Instagram account to keep all your potential donors in the loop.
16. Start a Blog
A blog is another way to inform donors. You could use a blog as a means to collect money and have all the information concerning your trip in one place. Additionally, you could write a blog about a popular topic and receive revenue from ads, affiliates, selling personal products, and offering services.
Events are wonderful ways to get people involved in your vision. Events raise money through admission costs, sales, or donations. They also bring awareness to your mission and gathering a group of people around your goals.
17. Benefit Dinner
Host a benefit dinner. This doesn’t have to be fancy or formal, but it can if you so desire. Typically benefit dinners serve spaghetti or other easy and inexpensive dining options. Ask your local church to host you. Aquire volunteers who would be willing to prepare the food and set up the event. Charge a donation amount per person for the meal.
18. Pancake Breakfast
In the same way, you could host a pancake breakfast. You could also host this at your church or a more neutral building in your community that would attract others who are outside of your church body or contact list. Charge a donation per person or set a specific price.
19. Direct a Performance
Direct a performance and charge admission. You could do a play, musical, talent show or anything else you could think of! Use your community theatre building, school, or church. Raise extra funds through concessions.
20. Silent Auction
Collect donations for a silent auction. Have different categories that would appeal to both men and women, or host two separate auctions. Receive donations from family and friends, the community and local businesses. You could also pair this with a benefit dinner and raffle.
21. Movie Night
Host a movie night on a big screen either inside or outside. Charge a small amount for admission or receive donations. Sell popcorn, drinks, and treats to raise extra money. Play more than one movie to keep people involved. Pair it with other games or activities. If you have a projector and a community park, host it in the middle of your town or city.
Host any style cookoff that you choose. Either have an entry fee for each competitor or charge admission for the guests. Make it a competition with a prize at the end. Envolve the crowd and get them excited about the event. Take the time to explain why you are hosting the event and be sure to thank all who are involved.
23. Trivia Night
Trivia night has become a trendy thing to do. You could either charge admission per trivia team, or you could take donations. Make additional revenue from other products, food etc.
24. Charity Concert
Ask a well-known band to perform for a small amount or for free. Then charge admission and concenssions. If there is an up-and-coming artist, this may be the cheapest and easier route to choose from.
25. Themed Dance
Think Prom, but open for adults. Make it formal and fun. Host it in a cool building or use decorations to formalize the space. Charge an amount per couple for tickets.
26. Ice Cream Social
Host an ice cream social for $5 per person, or whatever you see fit. Provide lots of options with flavors, toppings, cones etc. Buy in bulk to save money.
27. Karaoke Night
Similar to the trivia night, take donations or receive an admission charge. You could also make an option for guests to pay to make another guest sing. Then, the only way that a guest can get out of the deal is to match the donation price. Of course, no one is really forced into it. But many people will join in the fun!
A raffle is a simple and easy fundraising avenue that can be paired with nearly any other event. This is a fast way to make extra money. Do a 50/50 raffle where the winner gets 50% of the raised proceeds. Or, receive donations and make those the prize.
29. Kid’s Carnival
Host a kid’s carnival with various games, prizes, and activities. Many activities can be handmade or assembled. Or, rent out equipment. Sell food. Have a raffle. Involve the whole family.
30. Thanksgiving Dinner
Many people don’t want to cook on Thanksgiving or don’t have a home large enough to fit all their family or friends. Host a Thanksgiving dinner with delicious foods, and cute decorations. Charge per guest or family.
31. Parent’s Night Out
Have a parent’s date night either at your church and provide childcare. Or, host a night of games and fun for children to attend to give parents the option of having a night alone without the kids wherever they choose.
32. Present a Virtual Tour of Your Trip Location
Decorate a room within your church to mirror the culture that you will be visiting. Buy and make authentic food, use specific decorations, and incorporate games or activities that are known by that culture. Have an entree fee or a donation at the end.
33. Create a Sports League
You could create a sports league or tournament. Basketball, dodgeball, and football are very common sports that are chosen. Most schools will allow you to rent out a gymnasium to host your event.
34. Organize a 5k Run or Walk
By organizing a 5k run and walk, you can charge for entry into the race. You can also use it as a community event and sell food and drinks and take up donations.
Short-Term Business Ideas
Business ideas will help you raise support as well as give you exposure concerning your vision. Some business ideas will function on their own without much effort. Others, only take a day or so. Don’t feel bad to also ask people to run these businesses for you or at least help you plan and execute them.
35. Sell T-shirts
Design a t-shirt that is specific to where you are going or what you are doing. You could also sell t-shirts that are already designed. Bonefire is an online website that allows you to choose your shirt design and then receive funds from selling them without managing inventory or details. Fund the Nations also had a t-shirt program to help you raise funds.
36. Offer a Service
Offer a service for a donation or set wage. Babysitting, lawn mowing, raking leaves, cleaning houses, and organizing an office space are all common services that people need.
37. Car Wash
Car washes can raise significant amounts of money, especially if you have a large group working together to clean numerous cars at a time. Springtime is one of the best times to have a car wash if you live in areas that get adverse weather.
38. Teach a Class
Use your talents and hobbies as a way to make money. If you are good at art, teach art classes. If you enjoy working out, train other people or lead workout classes. Classes can be taught on virtually any subject matter so be creative!
39. Receive Donations for a Garage Sale
Collect donations and have a garage sale either at your house or church. If your church has a space that can hold garage sale items for an extended period of time, open the sale for more than one weekend.
40. Sell Baked Goods
Baked goods are a popular fundraising effort. Ask individuals to make and donate baked goods to your cause. Then, sell them at other events, sports games, after church services, and within community events.
41. Mug Art
Sell coffee cups, thermoses, and mugs with a logo or design on them. It doesn’t have to be particular to your trip but it can be.
42. Sell Bags with Your Logo
Bonfire also has the option to sell uniquely designed tote bags. Its hassle-free with no need to store inventory or deal with logistics.
43. Sell Hats with Your Logo
Make customized hats on Bonfire as well.
44. Sell Homemade Art Work
If you are an artist, sell your paintings, drawings, sculptures, pottery, and other collections.
45. Loose Change Collection
Decorate or label a jar or container with some of the information about your trip. Ask local businesses and churches if they would let you display this donation jar.
46. Collect Recyclable Items
In some states, pop cans can be recycled for money. Other items, such as scrap metal can also be exchanged for money. Old cell phones can be purchased and recycled. Research the recycling laws in your area to discover more.
47. Book Sale
Collect used books from as many people as you can and then host a book sale or have an ongoing sale.
48. Wrap Christmas Presents
Some stores will allow you to wrap presents for donations. Other individuals would pay you to wrap their presents outside of stores. Contact local businesses and see if you could set up a table. Or, advertise to individuals.
49. Lemonade Stand
Set up a lemonade stand or even involve your younger siblings, cousins, friends etc. to run a lemonade stand for you! You could give them part of the profit, or they simply may want to help without charge.
50. Buy and Flip Products
If you are familiar with specific products you could buy them, clean or restore them if needed, and then resell them. People do this with antiques, furniture, sports equipment, and many other things. You can do this online or in person.
51. Buy and Flip Houses
In the same way, you can buy and flip houses. You could live in a house for a while and then as you make improvements the value will go up. This is a little more specific and time-consuming approach, but it has worked very well for certain individuals who have the experience.