I need to raise funds?

Raising Support for Summer Missions

Mark Gauthier

Dear Summer Missions Student,

You are embarking on an incredible adventure! You have accepted the challenge of helping reach the world for Christ by deciding to join other students on a Cru Summer Mission trip. This could very well be one of the most exciting summers of your life!

My name is Mark Gauthier and I serve as the National Director for the U.S. Campus Ministry of Cru. Church history is filled with accounts of students taking the Gospel to domestic and foreign fields. You are now taking up the baton to run with passion in making a difference in our world by being Christ’s ambassador. The Lord will bless you through your summer project experience and you will be a blessing to others.

I know it was that way for me when I participated on my first mission outreach at the Newport Beach Summer Project. This project was my first opportunity to trust God to provide the necessary funding for my participation. Seeing God provide then became the foundation for trusting him for many years as it relates to the financial provision for the ministry to which I’ve been called.

As “Christ’s ambassador” (2 Corinthians 5:20) you are in a unique position to invite others to partner financially in His cause. As you offer individuals the chance to underwrite your Summer Project expenses, you will be giving them the unparalleled opportunity of investing in eternity (Matthew 6:19-21).

King David gave Israel such an opportunity when he challenged the people to underwrite the cost of building a temple for the Lord.

Because David knew that all the world’s wealth ultimately belonged to God, he boldly challenged others to channel their resources toward building a physical testimony to the Lord, a temple. As you raise funds for your Summer Mission trip, you will be allowing God to channel the resources of His people toward building a human testimony, a witness for Christ.

The following strategy for raising support can be summarized in four words:

  1. NAMESTORM
  2. WRITE
  3. CALL
  4. THANK

As you place your trust in God and carefully implement each of these four steps, you will see success! I can't even describe how excited I am for you, knowing that your summer will be life-changing. May the Lord bless and keep you as you trust him for things way outside your comfort zone.

Warmly in Christ,

Mark Gauthier
National Director U.S. Campus Ministry, Cru


STEP ONE: NAMESTORM

First, stop and take a moment to pray.

Then, start by developing an initial list of potential ministry partners. In namestorming there is just one rule – anything goes. No name should be disqualified. Don’t decide for an individual whether or not he or she is interested. If you limit yourself to those you feel will or can give, you may prematurely disqualify those whom God wants to become ministry partners. Later you will need to prioritize whom to contact first, but for now, don’t disqualify anyone.

You may be thinking you could never generate more than a handful of names, but research has shown the average individual has a personal network of at least 400 friends and acquaintances. So, you should be able to develop a list of at least 100 potential ministry partners.

For instance, you’ve probably had at least a dozen teachers alone. At the church you regularly attend you probably know Sunday school teachers, elders, deacons, and other friends who attend church. If you’ve ever had a toothache or a cavity, you know a dentist. As you think about your hometown’s business district, no doubt the cleaners, the bakery, the hardware store, and numerous other sources of contacts come to mind.

As you namestorm, associate various professions, businesses, your church, and places, with any friends and acquaintances they bring to mind. To aid you, we have provided categories to prompt your thinking. This will take time – perhaps two hours or more so get the brain juices flowing. Push yourself...see if you can come up with 200 names!

THOUGHT PROVOKERS

  1. Parents
  2. Brothers
  3. Sisters
  4. Former employers
  5. Former customers
  6. Relatives
  7. Friends of parents
  8. Parents of friends
  9. Former salesman
  10. Parents’ employers
  11. Parents’ associates
  12. High School teachers
  13. College professors
  14. Sorority sisters
  15. Fraternity brothers
  16. High school friends
  17. Community Leaders
  18. Christian business groups
  19. Church friends
  20. Wedding lists
  21. Neighbors
  22. Church missions board
  23. Sunday school class
  24. Church directory
  25. Christmas card list
  26. Bible bookstore
  27. Retired people
  28. Foundations
  29. Former neighbors
  30. Coach

Having written out your list you want to gather the addresses of the people you’ve named. creating a master name and address list.


STEP TWO: WRITE A SUPPORT LETTER

From your list of names, write first to those you feel most likely to give.

The ideal is a handwriten personal letter that presents your needs. While it would be best to send a handwritten note to each contact, it’s not always feasible if you come up with a list of 100 names. Since most people have access to a computer, you can write the same letter to each person and personalize the salutation. Sending people photocopied letters would not be the best, try to make the letters personal.

Here is a basic format you can use to compose your letter . . .

[Date]

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jones,

I want to bring you up to date on what is happening in my life. I am in my sophomore year at Purdue University. College has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned much, made great friends and have grown in my Christian faith.

Besides the pressure here to make good grades, there is also the challenge of deciding what great activities to be involved in on campus. Many of these activities provide a ready escape from the realities of a needy world, while others provide opportunities to make a difference in the world. Through my desire for the latter, I have been involved with a Christian ministry called Cru.

Cru (www.cru.org) is a ministry that has been caring for college students since 1951. The group is very active here at Purdue and on another 3,500 campuses in the U.S. and overseas. The Lord has used this ministry to help me grow in my faith and to give me a burden to reach people for Christ.

This summer, I have an unbelievable opportunity to take part in a summer mission trip sponsored by Cru. I will be going with approximately 60 other students to Lake Tahoe. A summer spent on a project like this can be invaluable. Few other environments can top this in developing spiritual leadership and ministry skills to equip me and others for campus outreach and ministry after college.

There will be great opportunities to share my faith as vacationers and college students flood the area this summer. Our group will be involved with outreaches on the beach, on area campuses and in the community. At the same time I will be in a small group Bible study and discipleship ministry.

My heart’s desire it to increase my understanding of God’s Word, deepen my relationship with Him, and be more burdened for reaching people with the Gospel. Truth be told, I am both very excited and nervous at the same time. I know my faith will be stretched as I do things I have never done before!

In order to make all this possible, I need to develop a team of ministry partners... a group of people like you who would give to make my trip possible. As you might imagine raising the necessary funds will be one of my greatest steps of faith in preparation for the summer. I need a total of $4,000 by May 31 which covers room and board for the summer as well as transportation.

Would you prayerfully consider joining my team by giving a gift of $100, $200, $300 or more? Of course whatever amount the Lord leads you to do is the right amount.

All gifts are tax-deductible and checks should be made out to Cru. In order to know how close I am to reaching my goal, I will call you next week to see what you have decided and to answer any questions you might have.

More than anything I need your prayers as I seek to follow the Lord by participating in this summer mission trip. Thank you for considering joining my team to help reach people for Christ at Lake Tahoe this summer.

Thank-you,


In writing your letter be sure to:

  • Give your letter a specific date.
  • Your greeting should be personalized. If you use a form printed letter, hand-write the name instead of using “Dear friend.”
  • Acknowledge your relationship with the reader. What can you say that will help the person identify with you? Refer to your last visit or letter, business concerns, sports interests, hobbies, etc., to help him say, “I know who you are.”
  • Bring your reader up to date on what you’re doing.
  • Educate your reader. Share how you became involved in Cru, and how the Lord has given you a desire to reach people for Christ. Explain how you hope the Lord will use the Summer Mission in your future ministry.
  • Explain your need. The purpose of your letter is to give your reader an opportunity to help. Make sure you explain exactly what you need.
  • Involve your reader by asking him/her for specific action, based on the needs you have shared. This can include challenging them to help cover part or all of the cost of the conference. State the deadline by which you need the money.
  • Acknowledge your relationship again with an emphasis on thanks, appreciation, gratitude, partnership and commitment. This ties your opening acknowledgment to your request.
  • Close the letter and sign it.
  • Enclose a self-addressed, stamped return envelope.
  • Be sure to ask each person for specific amounts (see sample letter); make sure to ask donors to make checks payable to “Cru” and remember to include a return envelope.

STEP THREE: CALL

The degree of your success in the letter-writing strategy depdends on your follow-up phone call. The follow-up phone call is critical for three reasons:

  1. Most people suffer from information overload. Consequently, mail is easy to ignore or forget.
  2. Your time frame. You have a lot of money to raise in a short period of time. A follow-up phone call will help you get decisions as quickly as possible. The best suggestion is to call one week after you’ve dropped the letter in the mail.
  3. Courtesy to your ministry partners. Many people will want to help you but won’t unless you call to answer any questions and to get their decision. Your phone call takes the burden of response off them and puts it on you.

Be sure to establish a specific time in the letter to get their decision.

If when you call your potential ministry partner has not made a decision, set another time to call within a day or two.

  1. Introduce yourself. “Hello, Mr. ________. This is _________ calling. How are you?” Let him respond. Take a few moments to establish rapport, but be brief.
  2. Refer to your letter and explain your summer plans. “As I mentioned in my letter, I am planning to go on a Summer Mission sponsored by Cru.”
  3. Share what you hope to see God do as a result of your time at the conference.
  4. Be very specific to ask for a definite response. “In my letter I asked if you would be in a position to support me financially. Have you had a chance to think about that?” (wait)
  5. Ask to have the check mailed in the self-addressed stamped envelope you enclosed with your letter.
  6. Remind them to make their check payable to “Cru.”

STEP FOUR: THANK

Send a thank-you note the same day the ministry partner gives you her decision. Be sure to keep a record of this so you’ll know to whom you’ve sent one and so you won’t send two to the same person – that would be bad.

This thank-you letter is an important part of developing a relationship with your ministry partner. This should be a personal, handwritten note or letter. Do not print or copy a form letter or send an email. Always include something personal in your note to show specifically how you and Christ’s cause have benefited from their generosity. You owe them a good thank-you note.

The following is a sample “thank-you” note . . .

[Date]

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Smith,

Thank you for your gift of $100 to support my ministry this summer. Your prayers and finances are greatly appreciated. Your investment will have far-reaching results as I help reach people for Christ!

Please join me in praying that God would continually deepen my commitment to the cause of Christ. Your prayers are very important. Thanks again for your help.

In Christ,

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