Writing fundraising letters is something people sometimes feel nervous about. What will I write? Who will I send them to? These are good questions to ask, however the most important thing to remember is that your letter isn’t just about money.it is about inviting people into what God is doing in the world, and in you, through this trip.
How to Write a Mission Trip Fundraising Letter
Step 1. Create a list of potential contacts.
Create a list of potential contacts. Your list should include family, friends, family friends, school staff, coworkers, teammates, doctors, dentists, neighbors, coaches, church members. Shoot for a list of between 75 and 100 people.
Step 2. Write your letter.
Write a personal letter requesting donations. This letter should be no longer than one page.
Include with your letter a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a support form for people to fill out and send back to you with a check. This form should have a place to make a prayer commitment and a place to make a financial commitment. If there is a way for people to give online, instructions for online giving can be included on this form as well. Ask that checks be made out to your organization, not to individual team members. Otherwise, the donations will not be considered tax-deductible.
Components of a fundraising letter
Introduction: Begin your letter with a personal greeting. Then briefly share what you have been up to recently. You should personalize this section in each letter based on your relationship with the recipient. Do not start your letter with “dear friend.”
Background: Briefly explain the purpose of your mission trip and the ways in which you will be serving. Share the specific dates of your trip, the name of the specific place you will be, and how excited you are about how you will see God at work during this trip.
Explain the need: Explain why you need financial and prayer support for your trip. Ask people to be part of your prayer support team first. Then present to them the specific amount of money that needs to be raised and ask for their support.
Conclusion: Close your letter by thanking people again for their ongoing support. Sign each letter personally.
Dear [insert name here],
My summer plans are coming together, and I am very excited to be able to share them with you. I feel God is calling me to go beyond the boundaries of [our local community], to reach out to people around the world and share God’s love. This summer, I will have an opportunity to live into that calling. From July 18 to 25, I will be serving with CEPAD as part of a 12 person team in Nicaragua.
Our mission team will be working with CEPAD to support and encourage communities as they go through a process of community development. We will spend several days of our trip in a village in the countryside of NIcaragua, encouraging the community members as they build sustainable agriculture, grow food in gardens, develop local leaders, and start small businesses. We will also have the opportunity to speak with local pastors and join them in worship and sharing the gospel. We will also spend a day working alongside the community as they add a room onto their school, a project that they have already begun but will finish more quickly as our team joins them. I am so excited to go and serve the Lord by caring for these people in a small but crucial way, and I can’t wait to tell you about my experiences when I return!
There are two ways that you can join in this ministry with me as I prepare to serve in Nicaragua.
- Pray for us. Please pray for God to give my team safe travel, the words to minister with, and giving and caring hearts. Your prayers are so crucial for this trip. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Prayer does not equip us for greater works; it is the greater work.”
- Offer financial support. If you feel called to support the work God is doing in Nicaragua, please prayerfully consider mailing or giving me a donation. I am responsible for raising the $1,500 it costs to go on this trip to Nicaragua. Your support will enable me to participate in this exciting opportunity. Checks should be made out to [insert church name]. All contributions are tax-deductible, and you will receive a receipt for tax purposes.
Taking part in a mission trip is an incredible spiritual experience. I am very excited to be a part of the work that God is already doing in Nicaragua, to grow in my faith, and to share those experiences with you when I return.
Thank you so much for prayerfully considering joining God’s work around the world by supporting me through prayer and/or a financial gift toward our team’s mission trip to Nicaragua!
Step 3. Send your letter.
Either mail or personally deliver your letter to the people on your list. Do not put the letter in people’s church mailboxes.
Step 4. Follow up.
After a week or two, contact the people you sent letters to and ask if they have any questions or would like more information.
Step 5. Thank your supporters.
Send a thank-you note as soon as you receive a donation from someone. Indicate in your note that you look forward to sharing pictures and stories with the person when you return. Keep track of whom you have received money from. Send each donor a receipt (if this is how your team is doing it).
Send a follow-up letter after the trip telling people who supported you about your experience and thanking them again for helping make the trip possible.
Group mission trip fundraising letter tips for leaders
If there are a lot of people on your team who have never written a fundraising letter before, it can be a good idea to hold a letter writing night. Gather the group, explain how to write a fundraising letter, maybe even share a template, and spend some time writing together. It can help to talk through questions in the group, and people can share ideas in the process.
It is also a good idea to share the lists of people each team member will be sending a letter to. This can help your team create a strategy around getting the most support. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily want everyone on your team sending letters to the same people for support, so sharing your lists can ensure that you spread the love and don’t overload a small number of potential supporters with your letters.