How to Write a Mission Trip Fundraising Letter
It’s common to feel nervous about writing fundraising letters: What will I write? Who will I send them to? These are good questions to ask, but the most important thing to remember is that your letter isn’t just about money. It is about inviting people to participate in what God is doing in the world and in you through this trip. The steps below will guide you through the process of writing, sending, and following up on your fundraising letters.
Step 1. Create a contact list.
Create a list of potential contacts. Your list can include family members, friends, family friends, school staff, coworkers, teammates, doctors, dentists, neighbors, coaches, and 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.
What to include in your mission trip fundraising letter
Introduction: Begin your letter with a personal greeting and 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 you will be serving. Share the dates of your trip, the name of the specific place you will be, and how you hope to see God work during this trip.
Explanation of need: Explain why you need financial and prayer support for your trip. First ask people to be part of your prayer support team. Then share with them the specific amount of money you need to raise and ask them to contribute.
Conclusion: Close your letter by thanking the recipient 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 believe God is calling me to go beyond the boundaries of [our local community] and to share God’s love with people around the world. This summer, I will have an opportunity to live into that calling. From July 18 to 25, I will be serving with the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD) as part of a 12-person team.
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 get to speak with local pastors and join them in worship and sharing the gospel. We’ll 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 with our team’s help. 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 ask God to give my team safe travel, caring and generous hearts, and the right words to minister with. Your prayers are 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 for me 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 considering supporting me through prayer and/or a financial gift. I look forward to joining God’s work around the world through my team’s mission trip to Nicaragua!
Step 3. Prepare and send your letter.
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, include instructions for that 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.
Deliver your letters to the people on your list either personally or by mail. Do not put the letters 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 them when you return. Keep track of whom you have received money from. If your team is sending donor receipts, send those now as well.
Step 6. Share your trip experience with your supporters.
After the trip, send a follow-up letter telling your supporters about your experience. Thank them again for helping make the trip possible.
Additional tips for mission trip team leaders
If there are a lot of people on your team who have never written a fundraising letter before, it can be helpful to hold a letter-writing night. Gather the group, explain how to write a fundraising letter, share a template or sample letter, and spend some time writing together. Encourage team members to ask each other questions and share ideas.
Your team can also collaborate on coming up with contact lists. This can help you strategize about how to get the most support. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily want everyone on your team sending letters to the same people, and sharing your lists can ensure that you don’t overwhelm a small number of potential supporters with your letters.