7 Hacks to Mission Trip Fundraising


Selected a trip? Check.

Held an interest meeting? Check.

Sent out applications? Check.

The excitement is now officially building as you're beginning to prepare for your mission trip… until you remember that one other thing on your to-do list: fundraising. Fundraising is one of the most daunting parts of preparing for a mission trip. Let’s be honest: Asking for money feels weird. It’s just not a comfortable thing to do.

In fact, it's the thing most people going on a mission trip stress out about the most. It’s the reason why people never consider going or even end up backing out. They are completely overwhelmed by the thought of raising the money, and the pressure that exists to come up with it all by the time the trip rolls around is more than they can take.

But you don’t need me to tell you all this. You as the youth leader know because you not only have to fundraise for yourself, but you have to help everyone else raise their money as well. 

So to help you help your students (and yourself!) raise the money you need for your mission trips this summer, I want to share just a few hacks I’ve learned along the way.  

1. Share the what and the why; don’t just ask for money. People want to be a part of something exciting. And sometimes it takes somebody hearing you talk about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it 10 times before they feel moved to donate to the trip. You can’t talk about the ministry you are going to serve or the culture you are going to visit enough. Let people see your passion and excitement for the trip. That’s what will inspire people to give.

2. Fundraise with a team mindset.There’s strength in numbers! Fundraising as a team builds excitement. Get all your students involved by coming up with ways they can fundraise together. Maybe do a car wash together. Or host a lemonade stand after church. Or organize a bake sale. Or a 5k. Or a Chick-Fil-A night. In addition to fundraising as a team, help your students build their own fundraising teams outside of the team that’s traveling together. Encourage them to ask their small group to rally around them and help them fundraise. All of these are fantastic ways to get more students involved in the mission trip, even if they aren’t all going on the trip themselves.

3. Leverage your gifts or skills. What skills do you or your students have to offer? Knitting? Yard work? Organizing drawers and cabinets? Babysitting? Pet sitting? Painting? Encourage your students to get the word out that they are offering up those skills to raise money for their mission trip. This is a great way to generate conversations about the upcoming mission trip in your congregation. Have the people who hire them donate directly to the trip. In most cases, people will donate more than they owe because they love the cause and are inspired by a teenager who has a heart for the world.

4. Break it down.Sometimes people feel like giving $10 isn’t enough so they end up just not giving at all. But we all know that any and all funds are helpful when raising money. So if you have $500 left to raise, post something on your social media like, “If 50 of my friends give $10 each, I will be fully funded!” You’ll be surprised at how many people will be motivated to help you get across the finish line!

5. Show gratitude.Write thank you notes. Talk about how honored you are that so many people wanted to be part of what you are doing. Publicly thank them, not to manipulate or guilt anyone else to give, but as a way to both remind people what you are doing and to acknowledge those who have given as a part of the experience.

6. Partner with an organization. Chick-fil-a. Sweet Frog. Any local business will do! From sponsoring 5ks and donating prizes to hosting a fundraising night at the business, there are plenty of ways for you to get the community around you involved in giving to your mission trip.

7. Talk. Talk. Talk.When it comes to fundraising, it’s all about the conversations. People often skip this part because it requires a lot of energy. For some of us, it’s easier to shovel snow than it is to have a conversation about what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it! But remember, people don’t respond when you approach them simply because you need something. They respond when you invite them to be part of something. Engaging in a conversation and sharing your enthusiasm for the experience can help you do just that. Instead of asking people for money because you need it, let them catch the why behind your excitement and let that be the motivation to financially support your cause.

So there you have it! I’m sure you’ve discovered your own fundraising hacks along the way, and I’d love to hear them. Until then, hit the ground running and put these (and more!) ideas to work to raise the money you need to support your team as they go out and change the world.

Ashley Bohinc