Quite frequently I get a text or inbox message saying, “What’s your secret?” First, I have a heart attack thinking I have a secret that I don’t know about, then they send another message…“for fundraising.”
Leading up to my first two experiences in missions, a missions trip to Haiti, and a Discipleship Training School at YWAM Newcastle, my mom did most of the fundraising for me. I helped here and there, but she put in a lot of hard work, while I mostly watched and expected it all to work out so I could trot along for the ride. My third missions was the School Of Innovative Youth Ministry at YWAM Newcastle. This one I fundraised for myself, and here are my 5 fundraising secrets from that experience.
1. Trust God as the ultimate provider.
Recognizing God’s characteristic of a provider has been very important for me, especially as I’ve fundraised. God provides. I’ve realised God isn’t a provider simply because He helps me reach my goals. He isn’t only a provider when I get the donations that I want. God is a provider because it’s in His nature.
2. Remember that relationships are more important than money.
It was hard, but also important for me to believe that people loved and cared about me and wanted to support me. Once I came to that realisation, reaching out to people for support became much more natural and fun. As nice as it was to gain supporters, I had to remind myself that money people give you is less important than what you can give them in relationship. I’ve also been able to meet with some of my supporters and hear about their amazing stories from their trips as well.
3. Keep supporters involved in your life.
Valuing and taking care of my supporters is important to me. They are donating to me and praying for me so that I can “go” and do what God has called me to do. They’re choosing to donate to me instead of spending that money on themselves. I do this practically through stories and pictures which I share online, so that my supporters can feel involved with my ministry and my life.
4. Choose to be thankful, even for the small things.
Instead of feeling discouraged by small beginnings, or frustrated by small donations, choose gratitude. God does provide, and He’s worth your trust. He wants what’s best for you even more than you do. Also, I’ve learned complaining is useless; whether it’s about not having all of your funds or not seeing any movement in your fundraising. Especially if you aren’t doing much to fundraise in the first place. Just like a relationship, you have to put in work and effort.
5. Motivate yourself to work hard.
When I found out I was accepted for another YWAM school, I had a feeling that this time, fundraising would be different. I’d have to work really hard to raise support, so I came up with ideas. I made wood burn designs and I also ran a t-shirt fundraiser. I love and value my supporters so I also make sure that my packaging is cute!! After fundraising for 6 weeks, I made about 50 wood burn designs and I sold 73 t-shirts. It has taken a lot of time, organization, emails, Facebook messages, driving, texts and calls. A lot of hard work.
But the best part about all of it hasn’t been seeing my “funds raised” number go up. The best part has been the relationships built along the way and seeing God use unexpected people to help me reach my goal. The creativity and effort and hard work were worth it, not just because I raised funds, but because of how the experience made me grow. I learned to trust God as my provider. I grew in my relationships with friends and family as I invited them to become involved in my missions adventure. And I challenged myself to overcome the hurdle of needing money. I hope that sharing my fundraising secrets will empower others to fundraise well.
by Emily Potter
YWAM Newcastle Alum