Fundraising is an essential part of mission trips. You cannot go on a mission trip without the means to get there. Since many people raise their funds through writing letters, I am offering some tips for how to write excellent letters that are more likely to get you the response you are desiring.
CLICK HERE to download this post in a PDF format to share with your mission team.
Here is a video where I offer some similar tips about writing and sending fundraising letters for short-term mission trips.
How to Write Excellent Fundraising Letters for Short-Term Mission Trips
1. Make it PERSONAL.
Don’t write a letter about “saving Honduras.” Obviously, you can’t do that in two weeks. Make a letter about an individual or two you know and care about, whom you hope to touch. Put a human face on the need, because your work will be intrinsically personal when you arrive on your mission trip.
2. Make it CLEAR
People can’t respond to your needs if they don’t know what your needs are. Be as clear as possible about where you’re going, when you’re going, when the deadlines are, how much you’re needing, and how you intend to use any funds you receive.
3. Make it LEGIBLE
Even if you have written a wonderful letter, if it’s all bunched up on the page, it will be hard to read. Use bold letters for significant point.
Put s p a c e around things you want people to notice. CAPITAL LETTERS are another way to add emphasis. Make it so that a person can glance over your page and see the major points without having to read every word.
4. Make it EASY
If you’re asking for a favor, don’t make it hard on people to help. The best way to do this is to include an envelope that already has the address where they need to send help as well as the stamp to pay for whatever they send. Don’t allow any possibility of confusion. You might even include a small slip of paper that has your name so that the person receiving the donation can know “This donation is to help (YOUR NAME).”
5. Make it GRATEFUL
You should ideally be asking for help from people you actually know. Whether or not they help you, you should assume they have probably prayed for you, or at least have wished you well, even if they couldn’t help financially. Especially if they do help, be sure to acknowledge their gift with a “thank you” letter. But more importantly, you should contact every person whom you asked for help after the trip and tell them all about your experience. Tell them about how God worked. Tell them about how people’s lives were impacted and tell them how your life was changed.
Example of a BAD fundraising letter:
Hello! I’m going on a mission trip to Costa Rica this summer. I want to ask you to be praying for my trip. If you’re up for helping me with my trip, I would really appreciate it. I am excited about the trip and look forward to bringing Jesus to Costa Rica. Thanks for your help!
Why is this a bad letter? Because the information isn’t clear.
- When are you going specifically? Is there a due date for financial help?
- How much financial help do you need? Is that even specifically what you’re asking for?
- If I wanted to help, where am I supposed to send the donation? To whom would I make out the check?
- Bringing Jesus to Costa Rica is vague and inaccurate. Jesus is already there. There are churches all over the country. More specifically, what are you going to be doing? Medical missions? VBS programs? What are you doing there?
Example of a GOOD fundraising letter:
Dear (PERSON’S NAME — Make it personalized!),
This summer from June 28-July 8, I am planning to go with the First Church on a mission trip to San Jose, Costa Rica. We will focus our work especially on children’s programs at the church, including a VBS, as well as personal evangelism and a few humanitarian construction/renovation projects.
A mission trip is both exciting and daunting. I’ve never been out of the country before! Even though I’ve learned some Spanish, I’m still a little nervous to try it out with native Spanish speakers. I am hoping you will commit to praying for the trip. I know with your prayers and support, God will help us all to grow through this experience and will use this trip for his glory.
I am also hoping you would consider helping me with the financial cost of the trip. The total amount of money I need to raise for my trip costs is $1,000. Anything you could help with would be dearly appreciated and utilized well. If you aren’t able to help financially, I totally understand. I have enclosed an envelope addressed to the church. If you send a check, please make it payable to First Church and put MY NAME and MISSION TRIP in the memo section of your check. The envelope already has postage, so you can just drop it in the outgoing mail.
Thank you so much for considering my request. I look forward to telling you about all the ways I get to see God work this summer in Costa Rica!