You’re itching to do something you've never done before. Something in you is stirring, and you sense God is leading you to go on a mission trip. You think “Nu-uh, too much work! Do you have any idea how much money I would have to raise?” Heck yeah – He knows how much money, and if it's more than you have, He knows that too! And He also knows how He wants to provide for you.
So after squirming and making excuses and conquering fears you surrender your free time and your desire to stay comfortable, and you commit to going on a trip. Now what?
Advantages to Social Media Fundraising
There are many different ways to fundraise for your mission trip, and with countless platforms of social media it's easier than ever to make your need known. Like so many things, technology is a powerful tool that we can use skillfully to cause a lot of good, or use unwisely to cause a lot of damage. So before you start tweeting, read our tips for fundraising well.
Technology is a powerful tool that we can use skillfully to cause a lot of good, or use unwisely to cause a lot of damage.
An excellent advantage to raising money through social media is the way it can broaden the number of people who are informed about why you are raising funds. Many people whom you might not keep in touch with on a regular basis may still have a desire to be involved with you on this journey.
Easier to Track
Fundraising through technology can also be easier to manage and keep track of people who have donated and how much they have given. This can eliminate you stressing about what you did with the cash or check someone gave you or wondering what your total amount is. Gofundme is an online giving site where you can direct people to donate for your trip.
Fast & Ongoing Communication
Promoting your trip through social media is a quick way to spread the word that people can be involved. This is particularly effective for last-minute needs – for instance, a disaster relief team that's responding to an emergency situation. Social media is also a great way to keep people posted as you go. Sharing about God’s faithfulness and answered prayers is always encouraging to read!
Disadvantages to Social Media Fundraising
Ok, so now that we have gone over a few of the advantages hopefully you’re beginning to feel more prepared to tackle this fundraising beast. Now let’s take a look at some disadvantages that you will want to be aware of as you get started.
A key element to raising support for you mission trip is relationship. Fundraising is about so much more than promoting a cause or reaching a goal: it’s about people coming together to advance the kingdom of God. Honestly, if you believe that you have deep and close relationships with all your Facebook friends, you might be disillusioned.
Fundraising is about so much more than promoting a cause or reaching a goal: it’s about people coming together to advance the kingdom of God.
Please, please, please, don’t beg for money! (See what we did there?) If you post how much more money you need to reach your goal every hour on the hour, it will come across as manipulative and likely garner some "unfollows." Those kinds of posts and updates get real old, real fast.
A Lazy Solution
It won’t be enough to just promote your mission trip through social media platforms. Fundraising will cost you time, work, money, and personal comfort. Be careful not to go the path of least resistance. Social media is the easiest way to get the word out to lots of people at once, but easy doesn't always mean effective. Don't shy away from the hard work of communicating with individuals, organizing events, doing extra jobs, and all kinds of other creative ways people have come up with missionary support.
Balance is Beautiful
Fundraising is challenging, but that's a good thing – you'll grow through it, and you'll know God more as you see Him provide. Don’t limit God or your fundraising methods! As you prepare to use social media to raise funds, remember: balance is a beautiful thing! Here are a few ideas that utilize social media while keeping things personal.
Email a Fundraising Letter
Craft a short-and-sweet description of the ministry you will be doing and share the financial need. You may want to include a picture or two of where you are heading and a link to the organization you'll be working with. Include a direct, non-manipulative request that the recipient would pray about giving financially towards your mission trip. (Don't skip this part! Asking for "prayer for financial provision" is not a good way to be direct and non-manipulative.) Be sure to provide instructions and a link where people can give.
Host a dessert night (or spaghetti supper, or pancake breakfast – whatever works for you!) and have your laptop set up so that people can donate right away. Here’s how a few ways to help it be a successful:
- Don’t do it on your own. Ask a few people to make scrumptious desserts and schedule a time to share with potential supporters. You could meet in someone’s home or church. Be sure to extend personal invitations to people who may be interested in sponsoring your trip. Create a Facebook event to get the details out to everyone. Post information about your trip, as well as the event details, and shoot out a couple of reminders as it approaches.
- Share your passion. Describe the culture you will be visiting, the needs people have there, and why God has called you to go. Invite people to join you in this incredible opportunity to show the love of Jesus to people in another place. Commit to keeping them posted through a blog, Twitter, or Instagram.
- Have a laptop set up for people to donate online. Let’s be honest, life can get busy and we easily get distracted. You'll be much more effective if people are able to give to your need right away; once they leave, they may forget.
Set up meetings one-on-one with people to share what God has called you to do and invite them to partner with you. People who have relationship with you will want to be a part of what you are doing, so don’t feel bad for giving them the chance to be involved. Social media can be a great way to set up the initial meeting, but what about that sweet old aunt on your dad’s side who's never ventured into the foreign territory of Facebook? Pick up the phone and give her a call.
In any of your meetings, be sure to give people instructions on how to give. You can show them how to give online right there in the meeting, but be aware that some would be more comfortable just writing a check.
It's not uncommon when asking someone to support your mission trip to get a response along these lines: “Oh, yes! We want to give – let me talk to my husband about the amount, and I'll get back to you.” It’s so great to have people eager to give, but it’s very important that you follow up with them. People are busy and can easily forget. Ask if it’s ok if you get in touch with them in a couple of days. Then actually DO IT. Yes, it can be a scary phone call, but God is with you and will honor your faithfulness.
Fight For It
If you want to go on this mission trip, you’re going to have to fight for it. God's going to come through for you, but part of trusting Him means stepping out in obedience to what He's called you to do.
So fight for it. Fight for it in prayer. Fight for it in sacrifice. Fight for it by being bold and not letting your fear of what people may think hold you back. If you're unwilling to face the challenge of fundraising before you go, you may not be up for the challenges this mission trip will present.
Don't worry: God sees your heart and knows your need. And when you see God transform people on your outreach, you can be confident that all those challenges were worth it.