Congratulations! You have taken a major step towards an amazing adventure. If you are like others, the thought of asking for financial support might rank up there with having a dental procedure on stage in front of thousands of people... but take heart! There are dozens of people out there that would love to support what God is doing in your life. Here are a few basics to get your personal fundraising page looking good... followed by some general advice and things to consider as you go down this path of fundraising.
This is taking the place of the old letters that people used to receive and will give you a quick place to point people who are interested in where you are going and what you will be doing. Here are a couple of quick things to make it look good:
How do I get to my page?
As soon as you are accepted on a trip, you should receive a notification that will direct you to your personalized page. However, you can also get to this page any time via your Dashboard. Log into the system and click on your upcoming trip. The personalized link should be highlighted in blue (see example image).
How can I edit my page?
Click on the Edit Personalized Content button at the top of your page to edit or add any information. There might be default text there to help get you started. Either way, you can add your own story, share why you feel this is a good time/trip for where you feel God leading, what you are hoping to do while you are there, or even what you hope to experience. Need some help on what to write? Check out the next section below.
If you have a video that helps explain this to potential supporters, you can also include that link here. Additionally, you can upload a background image (your personalized profile image is loaded on your profile). If you uploaded the wrong one by mistake, just upload the correct image and click "Save Changes".
Knowing the Purpose behind Fundraising
While at first it certainly seems like fundraising is for the single purpose of raising money, it’s far more. You are beginning a journey of inviting others along with you in this experience and allowing them to participate by means of giving financially, encouraging you along the way, and praying for you. From the beginning, we have to see fundraising as an invitation for others to journey with us, not simply using people as a means to raise financial support.
Asking the Right Questions
This all starts by asking the right questions and placing yourself in the position of the person you are asking support. The more you can respect the heart and dignity of the other person, the greater your success in inviting them into your journey.
- How is this respectful to the person I’m asking for support?
- How would l like to be treated if I were receiving this request?
- How can I invite others into this experience with me?
It’s a Matter of Stewardship
It’s important to remember as well that all finances are simply on loan and we are given the opportunity to steward them well. You are taking on the role of stewardship by taking in fundraising and using it for this opportunity. Your supporters are also being stewards of their resources by giving them to you for this program. But in the end, you are both stewarding your time, talent, and resources. All of us are called to steward what we have well and here we see the common journey that you share with your supporters. Just remember you are inviting them to steward what they have been given for something in your life.
Building Your Campaign
Coming up with your initial list of names for who might help support your trip may seem daunting at first. We would like to suggest you start with a few suggestions and brainstorm individually or as a team to build your list. You’re not limited to these but they are a great start...
As you share your plans, be prepared for people to spontaneously ask how to help (it does happen). Be prepared with a response... and then send them to your personalized page.
Some Quick Tips & Tricks
- Make this page personal and the content specific to you and your situation.
- Follow up with potential Supporters. We recommend calling or emailing them a week or so after your initial request. You don’t need to be pushy, just a simple note to ask if they received your letter and ask them if they have any questions about
your upcoming trip.
- This is a good time to let people know about stories on your page. This is a simple way for you to write in one place all of your experiences and learning and invite all your supporters to connect with you this way.
- Include a photograph or video link. This helps potential donors feel confident that this is the right landing page and that their support is going to the correct person.
- Send letters and invitations to former employers, former teachers, etc. You would be surprised how many non-Christians will contribute financially to your trip.
- Have at least two others proofread your content and check for grammar, spelling, and reader comprehension.
- Thank your Donors! There are many ways to thank them, but here are a couple of simple ideas:
- Link to the Story Page of your Trip so they can follow along as team members post stories from the field.
- Write thank you letters/emails
- Small gift from the location you serve. Many times, you can come home with a small gift item, post card, or something that symbolizes your time and experience.
- Picture party - When you get back, host a picture party at your home and invite donors over to learn about your trip.
- Write an entire book... try to keep it to a couple of paragraphs. Remember that supporters' time is often limited. Keep it concise and then plan your longer version for those supporters that ask, take you to coffee, or ask for an early copy of your memoirs.
- Don't over-saturate your letter with Christian jargon or phrases. Try to be as real and authentic as possible to communicate why you want to go on this trip.
- Don’t forget to send out handwritten thank-you cards, emails (other forms of communication) upon receiving support responses.