Mission trips are an exciting way to learn about other cultures, offer aid to those in need and share the message of Christ. Even if your trip is a domestic one, you’re sure to encounter people from all walks of life, some of which are far different from your own. Unfortunately, these missions of goodwill and assistance do cost money. From travel and daily expenses to funding the assistance programs you’re planning to organize, there are a variety of expenditures that your group will be faced with covering over the course of your mission trip. To help raise money for these expenses, consider the following ideas.
Hold a Bake Sale
There’s a reason why bake sales are an old standby in the world of fundraising: they work! In addition to raising money, pooling your resources, time and effort to churn out baked goods for a bake sale is a great team-building exercise, and can help you to foster a sense of teamwork amongst participants in your mission group before you ever leave home. If there are skilled bakers within your congregation, they may also be willing to donate time or food items to support your cause.
Send Out Fundraising Letters
Writing professional letters of solicitation to be sent out to members of your congregation or faith group can garner donations from those who would love to help, but aren’t quite tech-savvy enough to manage crowd-sourcing sites or navigate social media. Your own church directory is a great source for mailing list information, especially if you’re part of a very large congregation. While you can print out address labels that will make the work of preparing snail-mail much less time-consuming, hosting an envelope-stuffing party where every member of your mission trip pitches in to stamp, stuff and address mailers is another way of working team-building exercises into the fundraising process. Remember, it’s never too early to start building the bonds of teamwork and partnership.
Look for Business Sponsorships
Some businesses, especially those that proudly advertise their faith-based approach to business, may be willing to sponsor your mission trip for advertising or tax purposes. Don’t be afraid to send polite letters of inquiry to local business owners that share your faith, as business sponsorships can be quite hefty and can make all the difference in your fundraising efforts.
Make Inquiries Regarding Church Support
If your mission trip is officially sanctioned by the clergy and elders of your church, they’ll almost certainly be willing to either provide donations or hold a special collections ceremony to help fund the trip. Speaking with your pastor about the options available to you may open more doors than you ever realized, and could help you expand your mission trip far beyond your original intentions. Working closely with church leadership is essential if you’ll be representing your congregation to the rest of the world, especially if there’s any chance of media attention.
Hold a Car Wash
There’s something about a car wash that tends to pull in even those that aren’t affiliated with your church. You will need to look into obtaining any necessary permits before setting up shop on a busy street corner, but high-traffic areas can yield big results. Unless you live in an area that’s warm year-round, however, car wash fundraising efforts are really only effective in the spring and summer months.
In addition to these ideas, there’s also something to be said for good, old-fashioned brainstorming sessions. Gather your missions group together to discuss everyone’s ideas for raising money. When you make a collective effort to think outside the box, there’s no telling what you’ll come up with!