Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Fundraiser Ideas for Missions

by Denise Oliveri |

missions Fundraising, Uncategorized

piggy bankTaking a mission trip, whether you are leaving for a few weeks, or a few months takes more than advanced planning. It takes money, too. If you don’t have the right funding, your mission will be short-lived. Thankfully, most churches, friends and family members are usually happy to help pitch in. There are many fundraisers that can help the much-needed funds for any type of mission. Here are some ideas.

Letter writing campaign:

A letter writing campaign is simple enough. It involves sending out a well-written letter to as many people as you know. This includes church members, families and friends, or local businesses. You can expect to raise anywhere from $2000-3000 in a well planned letter. Make sure you send a stamped return envelope and send everyone who sends in money a thank you card.

Get the church involved:

Most churches are happy to help missionaries raise the funds needed for a mission trip. The church can help by giving their endorsement or sharing the idea with the congregation. Many times, churches that want to raise a large amount of money for a mission will “pass the plate” for that specific reason. You might also consider having a meeting about the trip so the congregation can understand the reason why you are going and what needs you may have. Make sure that your upcoming trip is mentioned in the church bulletin or newsletter each week.

Have fundraisers within the church:

Many families preparing to leave on a mission, will organize fundraisers within the church. This is a great idea, and most church members are more than happy to pitch in to help. You could hold a coffee and bake sale before or after church services, a large car wash, or even sell pre-made dinners that the congregation has donated. You may even consider holding a carnival-type event so the children can participate, or a penny drive, which usually turns out very successful.

Fundraisers in the community:

There are also ways that you can get the community involved in your fundraising efforts. Many restaurants and fast food places have fundraising nights where the percentage of the proceeds for a particular time is given to a charity. Call around to see if this is an option for you. Garage sales can also earn big bucks and if you are going on a long missions trip, it might be a great idea to clear out the unwanted items in your home. How about selling high ticket items on eBay or signing up for GoodSearch? There really are many ways that you can band together with others to help earn money for your mission.

Think about your fundraising ideas and plan carefully to implement them. In no time, you will have enough money for your trip.

Photo by annia316

8 Tips to Finding the Cheapest Airfare

by admin |

missions Fundraising, Planning to Go, Travel

airplane wingOne of the biggest challenges a missionary may face is funding, and a huge part of the expense is the airfare. If your organization isn’t purchasing the tickets for you, then finding the best airfare will be up to you. However, it takes more than just searching on popular airline booking sites. There are certain strategies for finding the most affordable price.

1. Shop Around
The price of your flight will mainly be determined by factors like the number of stops, seat quality, destination, date of departure and return, and flight duration. Think of that song with the lyrics, “My mamma told me, ‘you gotta shop around.’” Indeed you do.

2. Try Destination Specialists
These are brokers that specialize in providing tickets to specific locations. Examples are Travelspears.com, destinationcebu.com, cheapflights.com, and travelsense.org – this one provides a directory of travel specialists. These destination specialists often have more buying power for specific locations over traditional booking agencies.

3. Check Airlines Directly
Traditional online booking sites like cheaptickets.com or expedia.com may, at times, have the cheapest price.  However, these sites often tag on a booking charge for just buying it from the carrier that will be sending you on your mission. These sites can still be used to your advantage by using them as a search engine. When you input your departure and return flight information you’ll notice they have multiple carriers with multiple prices. You can simply note the cheapest airfare, go directly to that site and find it cheaper there. 

4. Be Flexible with Dates
If you can be flexible with your dates of travel, your savings will be heavy. Cutting your trip a day shorter or even longer can save hundreds of dollars. Prices also differ for the time of day the flights depart. The flights that leave during the week are cheaper compared to weekend flights.

5. Buy in Advance
Buying in advance is another way to save money. Ideally the best time is 2-3 weeks in advance. I find that buying too far in advance is actually more expensive as ticket prices fluctuate like the stock market when departure time comes near.  I’ve seen tickets drop suddenly the day before the flight when they want to fill the plane. However, when purchasing an international ticket, you don’t want to risk not getting a seat. Therefore, it might be better for peace of mind to go ahead and get it much earlier.

6. Try Neighboring Airports
Don’t stick to only one international airport. You may find neighboring airports, even a city or two away, are incredibly cheaper. Sure, your trip might take a little longer, but think of it as quality time to have a nice talk with someone or to chat with God about your upcoming journey.

7. Use Multiple Airlines
Airline prices are really tricky. Roundtrips are sometimes cheaper than one-ways. Don’t automatically stick with roundtrips with one airline. You may find a cheap one way ticket with one agency or airline on a specific day while finding a cheap flight with a totally different agency and airline for the return trip. You would think the agency would find the cheapest price both ways, but sometimes they can’t outprice their competition.

8. Pick up the Phone
With some effort, you may be surprised at the amount of money you can save on international airfare. Good research does take time, however. Also be aware that prices can change from one minute to the next. If you find your internet searching is making your bubble burst, calling the agencies and airlines may be the way to a cheaper airfare. You may even find that customer service reps become more helpful when you mention the purpose of your flight.

Photo by Freakland – ???????

I Have Debt; Should I Go?

by admin |

Long-Term Missions, missions Fundraising, Planning to Go

Credit CardRegardless of how you feel Christians should approach it, the truth is debt is becoming more and more common. Many Christians who feel called to long-term missions are also feeling trapped by credit card bills, car payments, and mortgages. So what should you do if you feel God is calling you, but you have debt? Should you go or should you wait until you pay it all off? Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

To Go…

On one hand, if you feel the call to live as a full-time missionary, you are going to be living a life very obviously dependent on the provision of God. To say, “I can’t go God, because I owe too much,” is the equivalent of saying, “I know what you’re telling me,  but I’m not sure I trust you to provide.” I hope that doesn’t sound overly harsh, but as Christians we are called to be obedient to the direction of God. For a missionary, every day is an exercise in faith. The good news is that, with practice, faith grows. If you know that you are supposed to be a missionary full-time, budget your debt into your expenses and be candid about it with your supporters. If they decide not to support someone with debt, trust that your funds will come from elsewhere.

Paid…Or Not to Go

On the other hand, as Christians we have not only a financial, but also a moral obligation to our debts. The honest truth is that some potential supporters may only see their money paying your credit card rather than your necessities. Depending on your situation, you may be better off temporarily delaying your missions work while you pay off as much as you can afford until you are in a more financially stable position.

Balance

The crux of this issue is finding a balance between moral responsibility and faith in God’s provision. These ideas are not exclusive of each other, but work hand-in-hand. And the answer will not look the same for everyone. The most important thing is that you prayerfully address this issue with an open heart.

Paid photo by  *_Abhi_*
Credit Card photo by  The Consumerist

Raising Support: The Ins and Outs

by admin |

missions Fundraising, Planning to Go

Studying at the coffee shopSo, you’ve made the decision to participate in a missions trip for the first time, but admittedly, getting everything in order can be a daunting task – even more so if there are larger dollar signs attached to it. But fear not – raising the support you need is easier than you think.

Gather Your Information

Potential supporters are going to want information regarding your trip. Think: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Who are you going with? If you are going with an organization or a church, be prepared to explain who they are and what they are about. It would also be good to know who else will be on your team.

What will be the primary focus of your trip? Are you ministering in growing churches or working as a construction team? Are you visiting orphanages or prisons? This is primarily what supporters are going to want to hear about.

Know when and how long the trip will be. I am not very good with dates, so I make sure to write this one down somewhere for reference. Also, make sure you know where you are going – if the location is less than well known, be prepared to give some geographical context.

Explain to potential supporters why this trip is important to you. There could be many reasons for this – do you have a heart for the certain region you are visiting? Or are you passionate about the primary focus of the trip? Take some time to sit down and write them out for yourself before you talk to others about it.

Finally, be prepared to explain the “how.” What do you need to make this trip happen. Be sure to not only include your financial needs here, but also specific prayer needs. Oftentimes you will also have opportunities to gather donations for ministries in the place you are going. For example, one orphanage I visited with a team in Mexico asked us to request donations of clothes and toys for the children.

Bake Sale SignWho to Ask

The first person you approach about your trip should be your pastor. This way you can keep him in “the know.” He could also suggest opportunities you may not have realized were available. Be sure to ask him if you can make an announcement either in a bulletin or during a service to make your congregation aware of the trip. Many churches also have money in their budget designated for missions; don’t be afraid to ask about this, too.

Second, make a list of all the friends, relatives, and neighbors you can think of who would even be mildly interested in what you are doing. Don’t exclude anyone regardless of their financial position or spiritual background. You may think Uncle Jim may not have enough money to help support you, but don’t forget that you also need all the prayer support you can get. And while your neighbors might practice Islam, they may be touched by your desire to help others and put a check in your mailbox. This could also provide you with another cool ministry opportunity when you come home and share what God did during your trip!

Take all the information you wrote down earlier (who, what where, etc.) and put it together in a letter. While e-mail is quicker and more efficient, a letter is more personal and more warmly received. Be sure to include a reply card with a self-addressed and stamped envelope where they can mark a commitment to prayer and/or include a financial contribution. Also be sure to mention that anything they donate is tax deductible. Ideally, you want to get this in the mail six to eight weeks before you leave.

Stacks of changeOther Fundraising Ideas

Besides just asking for financial and prayer support, there are plenty of creative ideas that can not only help you get where you are going, but also involve your community.  Plan a dinner asking for donations per plate. Clean out your garages and have a weekend yard sale. Sell donuts and orange juice at church either before or after services. Some companies, like Krispy Kreme, even offer a discount program for non-profits. Check it out. Most importantly, just be creative, enthusiastic, and informative. Discuss with your team what kinds of events you could host to raise awareness of and support for your trip.

Followup

When all is said and done, be sure to compose another letter to all those who committed to prayer and donated to your trip. Let them know how much you appreciate their support and give them a briefing of all that happened.

Raising support doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Do everything you can do and trust that God is going to provide all that you need.

Raising support

by admin |

Long-Term Missions, missions Fundraising, Planning to Go, Short-Term Missions

Missions trips, whether short or long term, are incredibly enriching experiences. When you travel somewhere outside of your comfort zone, it puts you in a place of vulnerability where you gain a renewed realization of your dependence on God. Most times those who travel on missions trips return home feeling that they might have been touched as much or more than those they were ministering to.

FundraisingHowever, one of the biggest blockages to going is an apparent lack of finances, and the fear that missionaries often have about raising support.

One common justification for avoiding asking for support is that some people feel they are putting others out by asking for money for their trip. However, raising support allows those who may not be able to travel to invest in and experience second-hand the movement of God in other places. Raising support lets you give other people an opportunity to participate in your trip.

Besides involving those at home, God also wants to be involved. The same self-sufficiency that keeps us from involving others can often make us more and more independent of God. When we do ask for support, we put provision in God’s hands. We also open the door for financial miracles in this way; more than once, I have seen God provide out of what seemed to be thin air! He’s a big dude – give Him a chance to do His thing.

In missions, asking for support is not only necessary to meet financial needs, but opens doors of relationship between yourself, others, and God. It shouldn’t be viewed as a burden, but an opportunity. God will use your need as something to strengthen your faith. Afterall, He chooses to use the weak things of this world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27).

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