For a long time the word “fundraising” was a bad word in my life. I would hear it and automatically begin stressing at the mere thought of having to ask people for money, and I know I can’t be the only one out there with this problem. While in Peru I learned about fundraising in detail from people who understand and have lived on the mission field. We got to hear a little “why and how” behind this huge idea of fundraising and the practicality behind it all. Since then, I can confidently declare that it doesn’t scare me as much anymore, so i’m here to pass that wealth of information on with some of the tips I got and experienced on how to fundraise.
Understand it will take hard work and dedication.
If you are anything like me, the beginning stages of fundraising are a ball of stress and procrastination. It’s the weird time where you haven’t actually done anything to fundraise, and then being stressed due to said procrastination. The best way to begin fundraising is understanding that it will take time and effort. Don’t be like me and begin with the “maybe money will fall from the sky” mindset, but rather know that it will take work to get funded. Make an effort to sit down and map out the how to do the fundraising and start thinking of practical ways to accomplish this.
Don’t be afraid to be honest
Here’s the truth we all know: asking people for money is extremely difficult. Here’s another truth: getting asked to donate money really isn’t that awkward. I can think of a million times that I freaked out and stressed over conversations I would be having about money. I asked the “what if” questions over and over again. This stress has even led me to just back out on asking for donations. On the other hand, I can think of plenty of times people asked me for donations and none of them made me uncomfortable. You can’t fundraise if you don’t ask. Yes, asking people for money is awkward, but people want to help you. Don’t be afraid to be honest with people on where you are at and what you need.
Tell your story
Going along with that last point, you have to ask people in a way that is personal. The absolute best way to ask people for donations is to invite them into your story. Fundraising is beautiful in the sense that you’re raising money for a cause. Instead of just asking people to support you and give you money, describe to them how they can partner alongside you to help facilitate change. Missions is not just some organization looking desperately for donations, but it’s an individual person called to help people in need. Fundraising should be personal and not just raising money. Always be prepared to tell your story in the beautiful way it is being uncovered to you. Invite people in the beautiful mission God has called you to.
Utilize tools to help you
There are so many incredible things out there to help you fundraise.
First off, you have a plethora of websites available to help you raise money, which are so helpful in keeping your money in order while also having a place where people can check your progress. (if you are doing this specific internship I recommend using Modern Day. You can look more into the benefits of using them, but I can guarantee that they provide a great service.)
If you happen to be skilled in writing, or even if you’re not, a blog is a huge way to connect with your fan base. This is a big commitment and I can tell you sitting down and actually writing a blog is harder than it seems, but is absolutely perfect in helping people stay connected to your progress and story. Check out WordPress or Squarespace to get your blog started FOR FREE (<— music to a missionary’s ears).
Those are just a few ways to jumpstart and keep your fundraising going. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you have.
Understand the reason.
If you haven’t paid attention to anything so far, this is the one you need to focus on.
I’m a big picture person, so this is the part that excites me the most. There is so much work and information that goes behind fundraising that it is easy to forget the “why” behind what you are doing. People are the reason for everything, including fundraising. I always saw fundraising as something I needed for me and me alone. Super selfish I know, but it really has nothing to do about yourself. You are allowing people to help support missions and be a part of everything that God is doing in the world. Through you, people can connect to missions and, even more, the heart of God. It is so helpful to remember while your fundraising that it’s not about you at all. You are raising money to be a missionary and serve the people and church of another location, and those giving to you are connecting to mission in the way they can- generosity.
Don’t let fundraising be this huge road block that takes forever to get over and makes you just want to cry. Raise money with purpose, understanding that it’s not about you. It’s all about what Jesus is doing in your life and in the lives of those all over the world. It’s all about people, even fundraising. Invite people to listen, learn, and give to the world of missions.