Short-term mission donations are hard to come by these days. Participants need to be more creative in finding income to support the mission to which God has called them. Fundraisers can be a helpful supplement to donor income, but how do you pull off a successful event without pulling out your hair?
There are three items in the Successful Mission Fundraiser checklist. Take out any of the three and you're left with an ineffective fundraiser. A good fundraiser should:1. Develop team unity.
A good fundraiser involves each team member, helping them all see how their own talents can contribute to the overall project. Because fundraisers usually have lots of parts and pieces, it helps to delegate according to passion and skill. Don't miss the opportunity to debrief the fundraising experience so the team can identify principles which will be helpful on the field.2. Create awareness.
Every time you sell something or offer a service, you have an opportunity to challenge others with your team's purpose. This may be explaining to an unbeliever at a car wash why you would travel thousands of miles to share your faith, or it may be challenging members of your congregation to more involvement in missions.3. Make money.
This may seem obvious, but I've seen my fair share of noble fundraisers that don't actually raise funds. If your fundraiser requires a substantial investment of capital up front, calculate your break-even point and determine the likelihood of exceeding it. You also should take a look at how much investment of time is required for the monetary pay off. If you would be better off taking a part-time job than organizing a charity event, skip the event.
Finding the right audience for marketing is the key to making money. If you can offer a service which people would pay for anyway, they are usually more than happy to let their funds help a good cause. So gather your group and brainstorm about what services your team can offer that people are likely to need: snow removal, yard work, babysitting, painting. Be sure you are qualified to perform the service and that you do so at a professional level. This brings integrity to your cause.
You also can sell a product people are likely to buy. You can make a cut on the margin for your effort, or you market for a company thta in turn provides you with a portion of the profits. Common programs are pre-paid vouchers or vendor discount cards. You also may offer your own products: homemade food, crafts, photographs, flowers, holiday products. With the ease of online tools, marketing to an audience beyond your church is rather simple. Consider using Craig'sList
Need a quick jumpstart for brainstorming of ideas? Consider ordering Fundraising Idea Packet from STEM International, an organization which has sent out thousands of short-term teams. If you need something quicker, download 77 Fundraising Ideas from MissionsResources.com
.David Bosworth, Executive Director of STM Toolbox, an organization devoted to equipping, connecting and serving coordinators of short-term mission by reviewing published resources and collecting/distributing unpublished resources in short-term mission. More resournces can be found on the STM site.