Over 2 million individuals will go on a short term mission trip in 2012. Many of those who go will simply be able to write the check for the trip, but others will be a part of individual and organized fundraising events to shore up the money to serve.
Since 1975 I have been raising my personal support. Here at Mission Discovery each staff member is asked to raise a portion of the funds needed to supply their annual salary.
In 1975, way before my Mission Discovery days, I was on staff with Youth for Christ (YFC). When YFC offered me a position as a young leader in their Campus Life program, I knew nothing about fundraising. YFC offered some helpful seminars, but one afternoon a YFC National Director, Jack Hamilton, took time with me to talk about my work.
In that meeting I remember Jack asking me what I found to be my greatest hurdle? It was a simple and quick answer. "Fundraising!"
Jack looked at me and asked me two questions.
"Maury, what is the most enjoyable check you write?." And, "Maury, have you and Ann decided to give away an amount of money this year?" My answers to his questions were quick. The most enjoyable checks I wrote were the ones that were gifts to others and my church. And to the second question, yes, Ann and I had an idea about how much we would give away that year.
"Maury," Jack continued, "I want you to consider this. Ask God to allow you to cross paths with people just like you and Ann, people who love giving away money and those who have decided how much to give away this year."
Jack explained away one of my concerns in fundraising too. This sense of begging. Jack explained that people who have decided to give away money are, like Ann and I, looking for a place to see that money go to work for the Kingdom's sake! "So we are not asking someone for something that they have not already decided to give away," he said.
I like that Jack's plan for me began with prayer. His plan also had neatly tucked inside an evaluation of my own giving. Was I a joyous giver?
The month following my meeting with Jack I raised 110% of the pledges I needed for my year at Youth for Christ.
I know this may sound a little strange but I even wrote out a donation of support to Youth for Christ for my own work. That's right, if I was going to ask friends and family to believe in the work I was doing, I needed to believe with a gift as well.
As a participant in a mission trip you must also be a contributor. It will be to your benefit to supply a good percentage of the dollars out of your own pocket. In other words be what you are asking others to be.
I realize for a youth participating on a mission trip this is more difficult. But don't you agree there are ways everyone can earn money? My experience is that when a 7th grader rakes leaves for 3 hours he/she is usually paid double the going wage!
Jack asked me another question that day. "Maury, how many people have ever invited you to a lunch to ask you to personally give money to their work?" To that point in my life the answer was, "No one." "What an honor it would be," Jack said, "to have someone sit down with you and ask for your help? Honor people that way Maury."
So consider this. Don't write a single letter, rather, make appointments to sit down with cheerful givers to tell them what you hope to accomplish on your mission trip and how much you would love to have them as a partner in prayer and finance! Tell them you are working hard to find extra jobs to earn money too.
So start with prayer, contribute yourself, and look for God to allow you to meet people like you....those with a great gift to serve and give.