Raising money for a youth mission trip? Consider writing a fundraising letter to solicit donations friends, relatives, local businesses and even local schools and universities. A well-written letter can demonstrate your commitment to your cause and give your supporters a deeper understanding of the project you’ve taken on. It also gives you the opportunity to reflect on what you want out of your experience and how you hope to grow spiritually from the opportunity. We’ve compiled some fundraising ideas to help you begin the writing process.
- Consider your audience.
Sharing the link to your online fundraiser on Facebook is a less direct way to begin the fundraising process, but when you get ready to write a mission trip fundraising letter, choose the recipients more carefully. Contact people who you expect will support the premise of your trip, are in a financial position to help out, and are close enough with you or your family to expect a direct entreaty. Because of the costs associated with printing and postage, you may want to keep this list fairly limited and adapt the letter to make it more personal to each recipient. Many people turn to family friends, their parents’ friends, their friends’ parents, grandparents, neighbors, extended relatives, or friends from Church. Use your best judgment.
- Start with the basics.
Begin your letter by greeting the addressee and outlining the most basic information about your trip. Explain where you’re going, for how long, and what you’ll be doing there. If you are going with a specific church or campus group, introduce the organization to readers who may not know about it or have heard about your involvement. Explain what drew you to this specific trip and why you feel qualified to take on the responsibility. Describe what originally attracted you to the project, and fill them in on your fundraising goals.
- Make it personal!
In the body of your letter, express what aspect of your mission trip you are most excited for, and briefly describe the preparation process so far. What steps are you taking to learn about the culture you’re about to enter and its history? How will you spread your message while respecting the traditions and mores of the people you meet, and what has become the most meaningful part of the preparation process so far? If applicable, highlight the ways in which your trip aligns with your own talents or interests, will contribute to your spiritual growth, and what you hope to accomplish in the community you are entering. Above all, convey how important the trip is to you and how you will use it to spread compassion.
- Choose your words carefully.
Use language that reflects a genuine respect for those you will meet and work with, and take a moment to look over your letter and rephrase sentences that position yourself as the “savior” or hero figure. Make sure you do not disparage or exaggerate the hardships of the people you will meet, even unintentionally, and use language that emphasizes your desire to learn from and work alongside the local community. This is one of the most important steps in writing your fundraising letter; by expressing humility and using language that reflects your respect for the community you’re entering, you demonstrate a maturity that will likely make people feel more comfortable donating to your campaign.
- People can support you in many ways.
In your final paragraph, be sure to thank readers for any kind of support they can offer, whether that’s a financial contribution, donated items or gear you might need, or their thoughts and prayers. Include an envelope with paid postage and your return address so they can easily mail you a check (especially if you are contacting someone who isn’t particularly internet savvy). Also include the link to your campaign and ask them to share it on their social networks. The easier you make it for recipients to help you out, the more likely they are to do so! And if you want to make your letters especially personal, consider handwriting them.
Ready to start fundraising for your trip? In addition to writing a letter to close loved ones, let others in your life learn about and support you on your journey by starting a free online crowdfunding campaign!