Worth the Cost: How to Raise Funds For Your Missions Trip

World Map and Money from the nations

Show Me The Money


Whether you're considering your first short-term missions trip, or you're preparing to answer the call to full-time missions, sooner or later you're likely to encounter a mountain-sized obstacle: finances and funds development.


The good news is, there's no need to live in fear of finances on the missions field. "God's will, God's bill" is a mantra adopted by many in Youth with a Mission, and one that is consistent with our belief that, in all things, God is in control.


But there's still a personal responsibility to grow in how we handle the gifts the Lord provides, and there's room to grow in how we cast our vision for ministry and fund raise.


In this following article, our friend and YWAM Orlando Staff Andy Miller shares with us from personal experience and research some philosophy about faith and finances, and he wraps it up with 10 principles for fund raising for your missions trip.


Take it away, Andy!


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“The thing about money is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.” [1]


All of us have probably wrestled with this statement at some point in our lives.  We have allowed money to guide our decisions.  We usually think that means the temptation to steal, lie, cheat, and compromise in our pursuit of money.  However, have we ever ignored something God has asked us to do or we felt He was wanting us to be a part of because we “lacked” the money to say yes?


Then [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest field.” [2] Wow!  If Jesus told us to pray for more laborers so earnestly (with passion, strength, intensity), then it must have been important.  “[And] If more laborers are the greatest need, then what is the greatest obstacle to filling that need?” [3] From my experience over the years and the research which I have done, the most common barrier to raising up full-time Christian workers is finances.


“Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the US Center for World Missions, estimated that over 20,000 Americans each month inquire about [potential] opportunities with various [missions] agencies across the country, and yet only a trickle (as little as 1% of those) ever make it into long-term ministry assignment.” [4] Twenty thousand potential missionaries a month!  That is almost a quarter of a million Americans a year who inquire about serving God in missions, and yet a high percentage of them walk away from the possibility - most likely because of the FEAR of fundraising or a lack of UNDERSTANDING on how to raise funds.  So let’s take a second and talk about both of those.


person jumping across a creviceyouth with a mission orlando florida usa raising money for missions

First let’s discuss fear. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  There may be things that Jesus asks us to do that stretch us, make us feel uncomfortable, or challenge us in a way that we have never experienced, but the leading of God should never guide us into fear.  The Bible says that fear has to do with punishment, but God’s love drives that fear out and leaves no place for it in our lives.  In this context, we are talking about the fear of asking people for finances in order to pursue a Discipleship Training School (DTS) or full-time missions.  If I believe God has called me to take this next step, I can trust that it is good.  It may not be “comfortable,” but it is good, because God is good.  Todd Ahrend says, “Life begins where your comfort zone ends.” [5] At times, pursuing the uncomfortable, could be your first step in obeying God.  And maybe the best way to kill fear, is to do the opposite of what it is telling you to do.  As one legendary missionary stated, “Do that which you fear most.”  [6] It could be the key that opens the door to your destiny.


Come. Train. Go.  A Discipleship Training School could change your life.


Second, let us consider the idea that many of us may lack a practical understanding of how to raise funds.  Where do I begin?  What does this look like practically?  Who do I even ask?  All of these questions can lead us to a place of discouragement and so, not only do we fail the journey, we don’t even begin the journey!  Obviously we should have radical faith that believes God is our provider, but many times, even as we are praying and trusting Him, God will ask us to take some practical steps in partnering with him along the way. When we do the possible with excellence and to the best of our understanding, God comes in and does the impossible.




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Ten Fundraising Tips for Discipleship Training School:

1. Perspective
Get God’s perspective of the situation.  The perspective is that God is your source and your provider.  Not your mechanisms, skills, or even other people.  He often uses people as a channel for giving; but God is your provider.


2. Pray
Throughout the entire process, spend time in prayer with the Lord.  You may even want to get wild and incorporate fasting (food, music, etc.) into the process.  Bill Bright says, “Talk to God about men, before you talk to men about God”. Prayer demonstrates that my dependence is on God as my source.


3. Communicate
Start an email list with as many people you can think of who would want to hear of your journey (friends, family, all your social media relationships, etc.)  You can use an email database like Mail Chimp.  You may have some people on your list who don’t use technology (i.e. Great Grandma Betsy), so you may have to transfer the email to a letter format and mail it to those individuals.  It is key, as you make this list, that you don’t think “would they want to give money,” but rather, “would they like to hear my journey or story?”


4. Announce
Share the vision and invite people to join you in the journey / the journey God has you on - don’t make an appeal in this email.  Just send a “blast” to everyone, telling them where you are going and what you will be doing (DTS = lecture phase and outreach phase).  Tell them you will be sending them regular updates unless they say otherwise.


5. Create
Create a list of POTENTIAL PARTNERS by going through the email list you just created.  Ask God to highlight specific people that you are to ask for a financial gift.


6. Risk
Take a risk with people you may want to add to your potential partner list.  God may make it clear to ask someone and you say “No way, God!”  That is fear speaking.  You are called to be courageous!  Read Nehemiah 1 & 2 to see how Nehemiah took a risk as he asked and God rewarded his courage.


7. Invite
Invite the potential partners to pray about giving.  I think face to face or a phone call is best, but you can also do this through Facebook Messenger, email, text, or any other social media platforms that occurs to you as you think creatively.


8. Update
Once a month, update your donors and your general email list, both during the lecture phase and the outreach if possible.  Share the fruit of what God has done in you and done through you.  Along the way, be sure you send a thank you note or say thank you whenever people give.


9. Passion
Have passion for what you are about to embark on and let that passion come out in your appeal.   If you don’t express passion, it will be hard for potential donors to be passionate in their consideration of giving.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said that, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”  So be enthusiastic in the expression of your journey and appeal.


10. Expect
After you have done your part, walk with an expectation that God is going to provide for you and meet the need.


William Carey, who was a Bible translator and missionary to India, said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” You can do this! Run with that burning fire in your heart and let the passion of God inside of you come out!  Even as fear calls to you and tries to derail you, don’t let it. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” [7]


Written By:

Andy Miller | YWAM Orlando Staff

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

Foot Notes:

Wall Street.   Oliver Stone.
Matthew 9:37-38.
Funding Your Ministry. Scott Morton.
Todd Ahrend.
Jim Elliot.   Unknown source.
Joshua 1:9

Additional:  some general input and ideas from Terry Sherman.  YWAM New Castle.  You Tube.