By MOHI on Dec 26, 2019 8:00:00 AM
Mission Trip Support Letters Do More Than Ask for Financial Support
Missions experiences are just as much for you as they are for the people you are serving and the community that is supporting you. When you embark on this journey, you’re not just committing to your own spiritual growth or to simply meet the tangible and spiritual needs of an under-resourced and under-served area. You’re also bringing together the communities in your network, and helping them serve with open arms by providing an opportunity for them to give and receive the gifts of God right alongside you.
In the grand scheme of things, the act of asking for spiritual support for your trip is easy — a natural extension of how you currently put your faith into practice. Asking for financial support, on the other hand, can require you to find a deeper trust in God’s plan. Great news! There are many ways to support a mission trip and meet the financial, relational, and spiritual support you need to start down the path and love like Jesus.
As one of the easiest ways to seek a wide range of support, writing a mission trip support letter has always been a crucial way to both kickstart and compliment your fundraising efforts. It allows you to:
- Get the word out about your trip
- Explain your trip's purpose
- Acknowledge your personal reason for going
The best support letters are brief — about one page — but are also exciting, engaging, informational, and personal. Here are some best practices to follow for putting one together for your next trip and some ideas for using yours to create a foundation for a long-lasting and supportive community.
Three steps to a stand-out mission trip support letter
Step 1: Connect with the recipient
Our best recommendation for beginning your letter is to briefly bring the reader up to date with what is going on in your life.
- Where are you living?
- Are you in school?
- Have you started or are you growing your family?
Many of the recipients of your letter will know you in some capacity and truly care about where you are in your life. Once you’ve shared, let them know why you’ve been called to serve. Include a few details like:
- Your mission’s location and purpose
- The partners and local ministry
- How God lead you to be involved
- What you will be doing
- What you expect to learn
- What kind of impact you hope to leave
You may also be called to include bible verses that have been inspirational to you or that highlight the importance of this particular mission.
Finally, think about why your community might want to give to your trip. Try to include any information that might answer their questions — especially if the purpose of the trip might resonate with their passions, if the partnering organization or ministry is close to their heart, or if they have a personal interest in helping you grow your faith.
Step 2: Clearly explain how recipients can best donate/support you
Missions are not successful on money alone, so remember to give your readers a wide range of options for supporting you. Can they organize a prayer group or donate material items? Let them know. The key is to make their participation easy and to include a deadline.
Here are some things to consider when asking for:
- Tell your readers how they can donate. Should they send a check or send money online?
- Give them an idea of the size of gift they can give and what its impact will be. For example, if you’re feeding children, explain how many meals a $10 donation will support.
- Don't forget to include clear instructions. Where should they mail a check? Will they benefit from click-by-click instructions for online donations?
- Make sure you list any activities or events you have planned in your letter. Include any necessary details or let them know where they can find them.
- Direct them to a place where they can find information about anything you might plan after you mail your support letter.
- Give a list of items you need and be specific. Do you need “new and unopened” items, a specific size or brand?
- Outline drop off or collection dates and times. Are you able to come to them or do you have donation centers setup in your local community or church?
- Offer ideas for prayer in support of your trip. Give them a list.
- Include a “promise to pray” card and a stamped envelope.
Step 3: Create a community
Don’t be afraid to get social with your mission trip support letter. When you give your recipients an opportunity to continue engaging with your cause long after they read your letter, you’ll be more successful. Here are some ideas for building a community around your mission:
- Start an online support page — try Facebook — and dedicate it to your mission trip as a way to raise awareness and rally prayer from your friends and family.
- Follow up with your support network by picking up the phone, inviting key individuals for coffee, or scheduling a Skype or Facetime call.
- Ask your home church if you can have a few minutes during a service to speak about your exciting opportunity.
Step 4: Get the word out
Congrats! Your letter is written. Now it’s time to send it — give generously. When doing so, it’s important to be open minded, holding back a letter because you assume someone won’t donate can limit your fundraising ability. You just cannot predict who will or won’t support you.
Start by making a list of 50-100 potential supporters. Your list could include:
- Church members
Don’t forget to respect the relationship you have with the individuals on your list. When sending your mission trip support letters, avoid using salutations like “dear friends and family.” Instead, use names directly. A personalized letter will encourage a response.
The most important thing to remember, however, while on this journey is to be responsible. No matter the success of your request for support, be gracious. Openly share your appreciation with your supporters and exclaim that any kind of donation is helpful to your cause. Stay engaged with your support community by updating them while you are serving and create an opportunity to share your experience and inspire others when you return. Now, go — be witness to His love!