Many young people and adults go on mission trips each year. The months leading up to summer find many looking for ways to raise money for a life-changing trip to minister for a few days to a few months. Raising the money is a challenge in and of itself. Using a support letter to help you get the money you need for your trip is one of the most common ways of fund raising.
You will probably be given a sample letter to use when creating your support letter. Use the sample letter along with these tips to appeal for prayer and financial support on your trip. Bathe each step in prayer. Ask God to guide you in contacting the right people. Pray that they will be sensitive to God’s leading in the matter. In the end, realize that God has all the money you need. He may choose to supply it through a completely different path than what you expected. Just because God put on your heart to contact a certain person and they did not donate, does not mean that they are not listening to God. They may end up being your biggest prayer warrior for your time away.
Compile a List
Make a list of people to whom you would like to send your appeal letter. Don’t just think of the richest people you know. Ask God to bring people to mind who might be able to help you. It is easy to think of family members for this project. But don’t limit yourself to just them. Try to add people to your list who are interested in your spiritual growth and who would honestly pray for you and your trip.
Your parents’ friends are potential candidates too. Don’t forget about your peers. While your high-school buddies may not have any more money than you do, they may be willing to sacrifice $20 towards your mission trip. Send letters to your friends’ parents as well.
You don’t actually need to hand write each letter, but I think you should seriously consider it. Of course, if your handwriting is so bad that no one can read it, you would be better served to skip this step. Even if you don’t hand write every letter, you should pick out your closest friends and family members to receive this special treatment. This shows you are especially interested in them. And don’t photocopy these. Each one should be unique.
Personalize your Letters
Even if you don’t write each letter by hand, they should be personalized. If you write the letters using a computer you should personalize each one. You can write in a special note by hand, or modify a paragraph or two to let the person know that this letter was written especially for them. A letter addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam” will not go over too well with your grandmother (nor with anyone else for that matter).
After you introduce the trip and how excited you are about going, tell the recipient exactly why you are writing. Tell them how much money you need and that you are dependent on gifts from others to help you on your trip.
If the donation is tax-deductible let your recipients know. It will depend on how the money is being handled as to whether it will be. You need to know this information and include it in your letter. For your grandfather it may not matter, but your mom’s business partner will want to know.
Include all the information the person needs to know about the trip and their donation. What are the dates for the trip? When does the money need to arrive? Where can they donate? Do they need to mail a check, or will you be available to pick it up? Include any addresses and phone numbers the recipient will need to know to help facilitate their donation. If donations can be made online, that information should be included as well.
While the person you sent the letter to should be given the option to contact you at any time, be proactive and tell them when you will contact them again to see if they can help. This is not meant to be pushy, but it gives the person time to think about the trip and the assurance that will be reminded later. Let them know that in the mean time you will be praying about their participation.
Businessmen like it when a young person conducts themselves in a business-like manner. If the recipient of the letter seems like the type to want to make a business transaction, let them know you will call their office at a later date and set up an appointment to discuss your trip and give more information if necessary.
Don’t forget to follow up on each of your letters.
While I have talked about “letters” you don’t have to limit yourself to paper and ink. You can send letters through email or Facebook if you feel this is more appropriate for your recipient. Tailor the letters you send to the needs and style of the person you are contacting. This tells them that you did not just crank out 100 copies of a form letter and send it to everyone you know. Rather, you took the time to communicate with them in their own special way. This means that sometimes your “letter” won’t be a letter at all. A phone call or lunch date may be the most appropriate way to appeal for help.
Send thank-you notes even if the person on your list did not send any money for your trip. Because you asked them to pray even if they could not help financially, you should assume that they did. By praying they are as much a part of your support team as you biggest financial donor.
These tips should help you as you write support letters to help you raise the money you need for your upcoming mission trip.
Other Resources About Missions: