Forward Edge International has sent over 1,500 mission teams over the past three decades. During that time, we’ve gathered a few tips common among those who’ve successfully raised funds for their trip. Fundraising not only helps support your trip financially, it also provides a way for your friends and family to share in your service (and impact!) as well. Here are some of the tips we’ve gathered over the years:
- Focus only on one or two fundraising strategies or events and do them well.
- Sending a support letter is often most effective. Here you can find some tips and tricks to writing yours.
- Some people find success in establishing a side business like nannying, cleaning houses or selling meaningful products with companies like Sseko Designs or DoTerra.
- The best fundraising events tend to offer some kind of service or product.
- When doing an event, begin advertising it at least a month in advance and keep it strong up until the event.
- Strategically plan the when/where of your event so that it would be convenient for as many people in your community as possible.
- A great strategy is to create a fundraising event that becomes traditional—you’ll find it grows each year.
- Know your audience and what they would enjoy and respond to.
- Evaluate your return on investment—does the effort far outweigh the result?
- Communicate the impact your trip will make—people like to see how their financial support will help.
- It’s good to have a relationally-driven aspect of your fundraiser—people sharing their hearts.
- Review your results soon so you know what you might do differently next time.
Fundraising as a Group
We often encourage our teams to raise funds for their trip together as a group. Fundraising as a group makes a trip feel more attainable for more people and begins to build unity in a team before they travel. Some folks who have smaller social networks are intimidated by the idea of raising money for a mission trip but can leverage the combined network of the entire team when their raising funds together.
Ultimately, God always provides for those He calls to serve (because if it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill!), but we believe one of the more strategic ways He often provides is when groups raise funds together, because of the value He holds in unity among believers.
Fundraising Event Ideas
- Get donated food and other necessary items.
- Get the team involved—they do all the preparation.
- Hold your event after church.
- Charge a price or do donations (recommended).
- Do carry-outs too!
- Have pictures up or a video looping that people can watch while they eat.
- Visual aids are good (example: mosquito net in foyer by donation table).
- Example 1: After-church Salad Bar
- Very simple event to set up.
- Team members bring items for salad bar on Sunday a.m. and set up after church.
- Buy disposable salad trays from store (You can’t beat the prices from the Dollar Tree!).
- Example 2: Take-out
- No cleanup!
- One hour event—set it up and refill items as needed (or sit down for more interaction with people).
Babysitting night at church (great for youth teams)
- Set up church rooms with crafts/movies for different ages.
- You may want to advertise the event as letting parents have a “date night”.
- If a youth team: have adult supervision, but have the youth work.
- Ask for a donation at end of the night.
- Great idea for the Christmas season (let parents go shopping).
- Alternative: send team members out two at a time to houses rather than doing it in one location.
Selling an item that team members make (great for annual events)
- You can literally make ANYTHING: crochet, cook, bake, paint, build. Make and sell whatever team members have skills or interests in!
- Example: one mission team made and sold more than 700 pumpkin rolls with cream cheese filling!
- People bring their used items.
- For the success of this event you need to involve a lot of people, so make sure you advertise to the community!
- Make sure you have a plan for what to do with whatever is left over.
- Labor intensive, but can provide a lot of money and awareness for your cause.
- Find people to donate a variety of items.
- Select team members for different roles: procuring items, running the event, organizing and working at a dessert table, and collecting money at the end of the event.
- Auction item idea: auction off team members in a silent auction (to work for people, not keep!).