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Take a minute to ask God to use this content in your heart and life.

If God is leading you to attend a conference or retreat, you can trust him to provide the finances for you to get there.

On our end, we need to be willing to step out in faith and ask: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).

The support letter is one time-tested way to make your financial need known to others.

Why ask people?

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6).

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).

When you ask people, you’re giving them the privilege of investing in your life and the lives of people God is going to use you to reach. Don’t apologize for asking.


First, you need to develop a list of people to ask.

In brainstorming, you write down all the ideas, no matter how crazy. Namestorming works the same way. Start by writing down every name you can think of. If you choose to not ask someone, you’re deciding for them that they don’t want to hear about this chance give.

You may be thinking you could never generate more than a handful of names, but research shows the average person is connected to about 400 others. Your goal is to build a list of about 50 people to ask, out of everyone you know.

Start by thinking through everyone you know in life – teachers, friends at school and church. Leaders and mentors. Here are some categories to get you started:

    • Family and other relatives.
    • Friends.
    • Friends of your parents.
    • Businessmen – Christians and non-Christians.
    • Church, but talk with your pastor first.
    • Sunday school classes.
    • Men’s and women’s groups.
    • Missionary committee.
    • Youth group.
    • Cru staff.
    • Faculty.

Get organized.

Use a spreadsheet or some project management tool to create a line or task for each person. Include their name, address, phone number (home and office) and other important information.

Now that you have all your names down, sort your names. Prioritize who will be best to contact first. But don’t delete anyone or disqualify them.

As you begin to contact people, work from this file – make notes, keep track of gifts and thank you cards. Add new contacts as people you contact introduce you to others who they think would be interested to hear from you.

Writing the letter

You’ll start by writing and sending a letter that explains your need to the people you’ve selected as highest priority on your list.

While a handwritten, personal letter is ideal, few people have the time or energy to do this. Instead, you can write a single base letter on your computer, and then create a version for each person with their name and a personal note at the beginning.

An example letter format:

    • Give your letter a specific date.
    • Your greeting should be personalized. Consider handwriting their name.
    • Acknowledge your relationship with them – help them identify you. Mention your last visit, shared interests, hobbies, etc., to help them say, “I know who you are.”
    • Tell them what you’re doing:
      • Share how you became involved in Cru, and how God has given you a desire to lead others to know and follow Jesus. Explain how you hope God will use this conference to help you reach that goal.
      • Explain exactly what you need, and your deadline.
    • Ask them for specific amounts. You can challenge them to help cover part or all the cost of this conference. Make sure to ask that all checks be made payable to Cru.
    • Let them know you plan to give them a call in a specific amount of time (most likely a week or so) to answer any questions and find out what they’ve decided.
    • Acknowledge your friendship or connection again – note why you appreciate them, and make sure to thank them for considering this request.
    • Close the letter and sign it.
    • Enclose a self-addressed, stamped return envelope.

An example letter:

November 10, 2030 [use a specific date]

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Anyone,

How are you? I am doing well, and I hope to see you at church the next time I’m home on break. I want to bring you up to date on what is happening in my life. As you know, I’m a student at the University of Learning. While there, I have been active with Cru. As a Christian, my highest priority has been to grow in my relationship with God, and my involvement with Cru has been incredibly helpful.

This coming January, I have a unique opportunity to participate in a conference organized by Cru in Baltimore, Maryland. This Winter Conference will be a time where we hear the word of God without the distractions of daily life and have time to worship God in love and gratitude.

We’ll also spend a day reaching out to people in the city of Baltimore. During this four-day conference I will not only be trained in many areas, but will also be able to put my training into action as we engaging in evangelism, in partnership with local churches.

In order to attend, I need to develop a financial sponsorship team: a group of people who will help me attend the conference. My total need is $400, for conference cost and travel. Would you prayerfully consider making an investment of $50, $100 or $200 toward helping me reach my goal?

I have enclosed a stamped, self-addressed envelope to speed your reply. If God leads you to help, please make your gift payable to “Cru.” Of course, all gifts are tax deductible.

I will give you a call in a week to see what you have decided. I can answer any questions you may have then.

I appreciate your friendship, Mr. and Mrs. Anyone. Thank you for considering what your role might be in helping make this missions trip a reality for me.

Avery Student [sign the note by hand]

P.S. I wish it were possible to visit with you personally, but I hope this letter will give you some idea of what I’m doing. I’m looking forward to speaking with you when I call.

Follow your letter with a phone call.

This is a vital step in the support letter process. A phone call allows you to make a more personal connection with each person, and invite them to give. It can also remind them if they’ve put your letter down and forgotten about it.

Ask directly for a decision, then stay quiet until the person responds. This will protect you from nervously rambling, and will help them focus on making a decision.

If they would like more time to decide, set a specific time in one or two days to call back. Then, set a reminder in your phone right away to call them back at that time.

A phone call script:

    1. If yes, ask them to mail their check the self-addressed stamped envelope you enclosed with your letter. Remind them to make their check payable to “Cru.”
    2. If no, thank them for their time, and as them to pray for you and the conference.
    3. If not yet, ask them if you can call them back soon. “What would be a good time to reach you tomorrow or the next day?”
  1. Always remember to thank them for their time and/or generosity before you hang up.

Wait for a response.

    1. If yes, ask them to mail their check the self-addressed stamped envelope you enclosed with your letter. Remind them to make their check payable to “Cru.”
    2. If no, thank them for their time, and as them to pray for you and the conference.
    3. If not yet, ask them if you can call them back soon. “What would be a good time to reach you tomorrow or the next day?”
  1. Always remember to thank them for their time and/or generosity before you hang up.

Always mail a thank you.

Send a thank-you note the same day the ministry partner gives you their decision. Make a note of what they’ve pledged and when you send the thank you note in your spreadsheet or project management tool.

A thank-you letter is a vital part of developing a relationship with your ministry partner.

Thank you notes should be a personal and handwritten. Do not print or copy a form letter or send an e-mail. Always include something personal in your note about how you and your movement has benefited from their generosity.

Sample thank you note:

November 24, 2030
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Anyone,

Thank you for your gift of $100 to support my going to the Winter Conference. Your prayers and finances are greatly appreciated. Your investment will have far-reaching results as I help reach people for Jesus!

Please join me in praying that God would continue to deepen my commitment to helping lead others to Jesus. Your prayers are very important. Thanks again for your help!

In Christ, Avery Student

You don’t have to do all this alone.

If you have a group of students who need to raise money for a conference, consider organizing a series of letter parties. You can support each other and have some fun as you write your letters, stuff them, make your phone calls, and send thank you notes.

Always start with prayer, and encourage students who are finished first to help the others until everyone is done. Don’t forget to end with prayer as well, asking that God will provide what everyone needs.

Letter writing party:

If everyone has access to a laptop computer, you can hold a letter writing party. An event like this can help give students a concrete place to start, it can encourage students who feel like they don’t know what to say, or need to verbally process before they can start writing. Encourage students who don’t need the help to show up as well, to help edit and offer suggestions.

Everyone will need to bring:

    • Their list of contacts.
    • A laptop computer.

You bring:

    • Letter template.
    • Food, coffee, focus music, etc.

Everyone will work off the template as they write their unique base letter. You can even work step-by-step through the suggested letter format above. Then, they’ll trade letters with another student for a peer edit. Then, if you still have time, students can start writing the personalized introductions for each letter.

This can help students who feel like they don’t know where to start, who need some encouragement to get their thoughts down, or need to verbally process before they can write.

Letter stuffing party:

Folding, addressing, and stamping can be long, tedious process. A letter stuffing party can help students follow through and get their written letters into the mail.

We suggest you tell people to bring:

    • Written and printed letters.
    • Names and addresses.
    • Enough stamps for letters and return envelops.

You bring:

    • Food, coffee, music, etc.
    • Enough envelopes for everyone.

Start your time with prayer, and don’t end until everyone’s letters are signed, addressed, and stamped.

Phone call party.

Making follow-up phone calls is intimidating for everyone. Support each other with a phone call party about two weeks after you mail your letters.

Make sure this is a good time to reach people, like mid-morning on a Saturday, or a weekday evening, 7-8:30.

  1. Pray together for courage and that God would provide.
  2. Spread out in groups of two.
  3. Take turns making calls as the other student prays.
  4. At the end of your time, gather together to share what happened and pray again.

Everyone brings:

    • Phone.
    • Spreadsheet (or other project management tool/app) with names/numbers.
    • Thank you cards/notepaper.
      • If you don’t plan in a specific time for writing notes, encourage students to write the name of the person on the card/note and address an envelope for each pledge. Then, they can finish the cards/notes on their own.

Remind everyone to make notes after each conversation, to write down financial pledges, and to send thank you cards right away.

Written by Ryan McReynolds

Take a few minutes to ask God what He is teaching you and what He might have you do in response. If you have next steps, write them down or share them with a friend who can help keep you accountable.

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