Let’s face it, not everyone absolutely loves fundraising. It’s very easy for people, even myself, to not like fundraising for many different reasons. “I feel bad for asking people for their money”… “People will think I’m annoying”… “Why would anyone want to donate to me anyways?”
I believed all those lies for a long time. When I first joined YWAM Newcastle to do my DTS, I was absolutely petrified of even thinking about trying to raise funds. Actually, all I did to raise funds was email some support letters out to friends and family, explaining what I was doing and sharing how much my DTS would cost.
When I felt God calling me back to staff, I instantly thought about finances and the dreaded word again: ‘fundraising’. However, when I took a three month break at home to figure out how I was going to do this, God challenged me in quite a few things regarding fundraising.
Here are four tips from my experience with fundraising.
1. Have a good attitude!
If you don’t believe that people should support you, then why would they? When I was at home my dad taught me this lesson. He shared with me a story about how some friends of his at work thought I was throwing my life away by volunteering with YWAM rather than pursuing an education. Even worse, they told him that he was terrible for supporting me financially. His response was remarkable. He told them that what I was doing was worth more than what anyone else was doing at my age. To actually pursue God and fight to make Him known throughout the world is something Jesus commands all of us to do, not just the people who choose to be missionaries. My dad told me that he wasn’t just supporting me because I am his daughter, but because it is his privilege to help make God known among the people of the world. He said that he can’t go because he has a family, a house, responsibilities to uphold, but he does have a well paying job to help enable me to go. I had to change my attitude of thinking “Why would people want to support me?” to “People should be excited to support me!”
2. Remember that those who support you affect the world!
This is another my dad and my supporters have taught me. My dad has always said to me, “If I support you, it’s like I am the one reaching those people.” And he is right! The money, the prayer, the support that people give you help them change the world through you! Being in the mission field, I’ve shared so many stories from what God is doing in my supporter’s lives that have helped the people to whom I’ve ministered. It’s not just me who is reaching the world, but all of the people who support me as well.
3. Ask God what to do!
Ask God and do what He says. When I got home from my DTS, I asked God, “How am I supposed to convince people to support me as a young missionary in YWAM?” God told me not to worry about it and to only focus on developing the relationships with my family and close friends. Literally that was God telling me to do nothing in the area of finances. That was so hard for me to do, but every time I told people about what I was doing in YWAM, I decided not to bring up finances. Instead, I had people ask me about finances and ask how they could support me first. I had people decide to raise money for me and ask people for me. The one time I tried to do a fundraiser to raise money, it actually didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I remember on that day being very frustrated with God about how He could ruin my fundraiser when He had called me back to staff, but He very clearly reminded me that He told me not to worry about finances. Within two days, I had received the rest of the money I needed to join YWAM on staff and I am still doing well.
4. Keep your supporters updated!
Fundraising can seem very transactional because it is all about finances, however, fundraising provides a chance to grow relationally with others. The people who donate to me aren’t donating just for me, but donating to the vision, my goal of reaching the world. Invite people into your story, into your mission and your goals. Your supporters want to know what’s happening and the difference they are making. Use pictures, blogs, emails, and videos! Keep them updated with how they are changing the world and it will not just serve you and the people you reach, but serve them as well. Pray for them too; we all need prayer .
When I realised I could not only survive fundraising, but come out the other side with supporters, it gave me new confidence to do missions. I hope my story encourages you not to fear or cringe when you hear the word ‘fundraising’; instead, rejoice, because God loves providing for His children.
YWAM Newcastle Staff