Missionaries deal with many things. Poverty, Disease, Visas, Political upheaval, driving on the “wrong” side of the road, and more.
Perhaps the part of the job or calling which brings the most dread is support raising.
Every job has things which we do not like. Whether you are in business, medicine, or missions. I have yet to meet a missionary who enjoyed raising the necessary funds to do the job.
So whether you are a life long fundraiser, a soon to be sent out new missionary, or even one whose role is to fund overseas endeavors; here are some suggestions for raising support.
Ask –The most obvious, but often most neglected part of support raising is to ask. Sometimes God does tell people not to ask, but for the body to function the way it is designed, we need to make our needs known. God can provide, but 99% of the time it is in the context of relationship, not a check falling from the sky.
Communicate – Too often missionaries depart and no word is heard from them. With technology, there is absolutely no excuse to lack communication. Be brief. No one wants to read your daily journal. A web page or a simple email newsletter using services like Mailchimp are simple even for beginners.
Connect– When you share, you want to connect. Do not tell people how hard life is on the field, or drone on about the sacrifices you are making. Tell stories, especially of individuals. If you are a family on the field, tell things through your children’s eyes. Sharing our journey of adoption has connected us with other families who have walked that road. They make a beeline for us, because of our mutual connection.
Causes – People are interested in investing in causes or projects. Frame some of your needs around these. It can be a great way to fund ministry projects. Some will give to causes, but would never give towards “missions” in the traditional sense.
Think beyond yourself –What is your greater ministry doing? How are the nationals you trained or developed different as a result of your involvement? What are your “graduates” investing in others since they’ve left you? All of this is apart of your fruit and your mission. Share it!
Think outside the box –Support raising is so much more than newsletters. You can raise support for others outside or your immediate family like your national workers. This helps you accomplish your goals.
When you travel home, host a dinner or provide a taste of your nation at the weekend service. People remember this. We brought South Africa vuvuzela’s made famous by the World Cup with us. The church knew we were there and remembered us!
The bottom line is, no one really enjoys raising support. But, rather than throw up our hands in exasperation, let’s share what has and has not worked.
I invite you to help others in this endeavor. We are all on the same team after all!
What has been successful for you in raising support?
Are there other principles you would add to the list I’ve shared?
– Chris Lautsbaugh, Missionary teacher and author with Youth With A Mission, living in S. Africa.
Blog: NoSuperHeroes Twitter: @lautsbaugh Facebook: NoSuperHeroes