Mission Trip Fundraising: How To Successfully Raise Funds From Your Community

Kat Boogaard
Kat Boogaard

With so many worthy causes out there, determining a specific project and destination for your mission trip isn’t the problem. Instead, it’s footing the bill that can bring up a few more issues.

A mission trip is one of those common words that gets thrown around a lot, without a clear understanding of what exactly it is. So, let’s touch on that aspect first. A mission trip typically involves a Christian organization like a church, school, or missionary, which organizes a short-term mission.

Traditionally, these missions were opportunities to spread their religious faith. But, throughout the years, these trips have become synonymous with public service. These groups travel somewhere in order to complete a project that benefits that area—like lending a hand to build a school in a rural part of Africa or helping out in a state that was struck by a devastating natural disaster.

Needless to say, something that incorporates extensive travel and good deeds typically isn’t cheap for those that wish to be involved. And, most participants are typically required to pay their own way on the trip.

Luckily, if you’re hoping to join in on a mission trip, you don’t need to flip over your couch cushions or dig deep into your pockets in order to cover the costs. In fact, there are a few different strategies you can use to raise money for your trip.

1. Share Your Story

What’s the most important element of a mission trip? If you guessed the mission, you hit the nail right on the head.

That’s right, the great purpose behind your travel is what sets this trip apart from a typical vacation, a weekend getaway, or a honeymoon. And, this goal and good deed is also what will inspire your supporters to donate. They’ll feel much more inclined to support a worthy cause and project, rather than feeling like they’re footing the bill for your next vacation.

nonprofit storytelling
So, before ever asking anyone for a dime, make sure you have a solid handle on how you’ll share the purpose of your trip with your network.

If you’re unsure of how to identify the meat and potatoes of your story that your supporters will surely connect with, think over your answers to these questions:

  • What specific need or problem is this trip addressing?
  • What’s the human impact of this trip—who exactly will benefit from your work?
  • Why do you feel motivated to help with this cause?
  • Why should your supporters care about this cause—particularly if it’s far from them geographically?

Remember, you should also be prepared to explain your connection to the work you’ll do and the overall positive impact this trip will have on that community. Knowledge is power—the more details and information you can share with potential supporters, the better.

2. Set Up A Personal Fundraising Page

Now that you have your story sorted out, it’s time to focus on the more logistical aspects of your fundraising efforts.

You likely won’t be able to visit all of your potential supporters in person in order to collect fistfuls of cash. And, you don’t want to expect your entire network to take the initiative to mail you checks.

If you want to see great results from your fundraising efforts, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to donate to your cause. The best way to do this? A fundraising page.

The organization that’s coordinating the entire trip can establish team or personal fundraising pages for their participants. However, if the sponsoring organization doesn’t have an existing campaign to house these individual pages under, you can also easily set up your own site with CauseVox in order to fundraise for your trip.

Establishing a fundraising site is a great way to not only increase convenience and donations but also lend some credibility to the fundraising efforts. Participants now have an official, branded site that they can send their connections to—rather than simply knocking on doors and asking for spare change.

3. Reach Out To Your Network

Your site is all set up, and you’re ready to start bringing in some donations. Now what?

Well, it’s time to contact your network and start asking for their support. Your first step is to come up with a list of everyone you know that might be somewhat willing to support your work and trip. Everyone from your grandma to your co-workers belongs on this list. After all, the larger your net, the more donations you’ll likely collect.

Once you have your roster of contacts lined up, it’s time to get in touch with them to explain your cause (remember the point about sharing your story from up above?) and ask for their support.

Fundraising letters are a classic, popular way of doing this. Plus, they allow you to make each connection somewhat personalized—without needing to invest an unreasonable amount of time. If you don’t want to use old fashioned snail mail, the modern convenience of email allows you to accomplish the exact same thing.

Remember to include details of your work, goal, and impact in your message. And, most importantly, point your recipients to your personal fundraising page as a place where they can easily offer their monetary support.

4. Post Updates

You might think that raising money for a mission trip is far different than any other fundraising efforts you’ve ever been a part of. But, honestly, most of the key elements are exactly the same.

Much like any other instance that requires requesting assistance, making your supporters feel connected and in-the-know about your work is incredibly important. So, make sure you’re proactive about finding ways that you can keep them in the loop. One great way to do this is by making frequent blog updates while on the trip.

In your fundraising letter, ask them to pass along their email address so that you can add them to your list of people that will receive the blog through email updates while you’re on your trip. This not only reinforces that connection, but it’s also a great way to demonstrate the impact of your work in real-time.

Social Media

Social media will also be your best friend when it comes to staying connected with your supporters. So, you should also include any necessary links or your social media handles in your initial letter, encouraging your supporters to follow your trip and progress.

Post frequent photos and status updates while you’re on your mission trip, so that your supporters can actually see all of the great work their contribution is helping with.

5. Show Gratitude

Finally, we all know that a hearty “thank you” can go a long way. And, making your supporters feel appreciated and valued is crucial—particularly if you’re planning on fundraising for another trip in the future.

Show Gratitude To Donors

Make a point to personally thank every supporter that donates to your mission trip immediately after you receive the donation. However, you should also take things one step further after returning from your trip.

Much like you sent a fundraising letter, send another letter to wrap up your fundraising efforts and thank each donor for their support.

That final message is also a great place to share photos from your trip as well as facts and statistics about all of the great work you were able to complete while you were there. Again, it reinforces your gratitude for your supporters, and also shows their connection to the positive results of your trip.

There’s no denying that mission trips are wonderful opportunities to help those in need. But, they can also be quite pricey for individual participants.

Raising funds to pay your own way can seem a little overwhelming—particularly if you’re used to the old fashioned method of just asking grandma for some spare change.

However, there are plenty of effective tips and strategies you can put into play in order to raise the money you need to head out on that trip and do some great work. Use these tips, and you’re sure to be well on your way to covering the cost of your mission trip!

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