Every type of service trip like this will require fundraising. Most of us don’t have enough money laying around to afford two months abroad…especially not if you’re also in college. So how do we make it happen? We have two main ways:
- Support letters
These are letters that include as much information as we can fit on a page about our trip. The people who we send support letters to are people we care about and who care about us too. You all want to know what we’re doing this summer and we want to tell you about it as well as let you know what we need prayer for (regardless of if you send us financial support).
For the past few trips I’ve helped lead with the Ember Cast, I’ve been ‘in charge’ of checking support letters for our team and helping to approve them before they get sent out. The Ember Cast takes sending “beauuuuutiful” support letters very seriously. Why? Because no one wants to read a support letter that looks like something I turned in for a grade. It’s boring and overwhelming. But how do you do that?
Anyone who knows me, know that I love rules and guidelines. So, here are a few that I send to students to help them figure out creative ways to make their letters beautiful. Of course there are many things that could be included, but here’s a start. Maybe you’ll find them helpful for your next trip.
- No Times New Roman font. No 12 point font. If it looks like your English paper, it won’t get approved. Yes, I have actually not approved people’s letters for this.
- Add something handwritten. Most of the time, I encourage at the very least your signature, but I highly suggest a small note.
- Use a template. Find some on google docs, word, pages, or whatever you use. Obviously, you’ll need to edit it and probably move some things around as well to make it more personal to you, but it gives a start that isn’t as overwhelming.
- Include pictures. I suggest of yourself, of the place you’re going (maybe a map), a flag of that country, that sort of thing. This helps make the first tip not seem so intimidating too.
- The information. Obviously. But make it easy to read. If it’s in a paragraph, people won’t remember it. How can people pray for your trip if they don’t remember that you even sent them a support letter.
- Your creative revenue plan (see below).
- Creative Revenue Plan
The Ember Cast believes that missionaries of the future will rely on a ‘portfolio of revenue.’ Basically, we need to actually make some money outside of personal donations. Most people won’t be able to be fully fundraised just by sending out letters to family and friends, especially if they’re like me and some people are getting a support letter for the 6th time now. If it’s the first time people are getting a letter from you, you may be in luck, but otherwise, you need something else too if you wish to be fully funded. Our teams are required to dream and execute one of these plans in which each student uses their talents & gifts to make money for the trip. We believe in our trips and what we will be doing. We’re serious about them and this is one way we show it.
I care deeply about these trips I go on. I care for the people that I have met and will meet and for the friendships I have made. I care about the service work I’ll be doing. I care and believe in the good news of Jesus Christ. I care so much about these things that I work to pay for these trips. I am a full time college student, but I also work and babysit. The money that I make doing these things go toward my trips (aside from food & gas money). Throughout the year, I continually put money aside for missions. I have a heart for serving and reaching out to others in God’s name and it does not matter to me who or where, just simply that I can be of help in some way. I pray year round, for God to prepare me, for the people I am to serve and for safety. These trips happen because of prayer, people financially supporting me, and me financially supporting myself as well.
All support is crucial to what we do, but financially support allows us to actually go and do what we say is important – telling the world about Jesus. We hope that we have your support too. For everyone that will be a different role but whether through prayer, finances, or both, you are needed.
**If you would like to receive a support letter and/or prayer card in the mail and you haven’t already, contact us and we’ll get that to you!**