Have you decided to be a missionary? Or to go on a missions trip, and are completely lost on where to begin raising the funds? It can feel very overwhelming to the point where many give up before they begin. This should not be the case, with a few pointers and a step by step guide on how and why you should write support letters, you’ll be on an airplane before you know it.
What is a missionary support letter? A missionary support letter is a detailed invitation to potential donors and prayer partners who will help you to get on and stay on the mission field. Support letters are written to inform friends, families, churches, and anything in between, of the mission God has called you to carry out. It provides an easy way for people to easily connect with you and to donate.
There are two main questions that will be answered in this post: why and how you should write a support letter. This will make it very easy for you to sit down and write a letter in no time at all.
Why Write a Missionary Support Letter
Often when we think of heading out to do missions we immediately go to the issue of funds, we can become consumed and stressed by the idea of raising thousands of dollars, and to further that, when we think of sending out letters of support, we think that if money doesn’t come from that letter that it was sent in vain.
Let me tell you though, you will have not wasted 55¢ on a stamp if you do not receive anything from a recipient of your letter.
Support letters are twofold and lead to other possibilities.
First, support letters go beyond fundraising, they invite friends and family or even acquaintances to join in your mission whether that be through prayer, giving, or passing your mission on to someone who is in the position to give.
The second part which is not really separate from the first is that prayer is such an integral part of the Christian life and the mission that we are ALL called to.
Prayer is the greatest gift you can receive, and that is coming from someone who has seen hopeless situations utterly transformed because there was an army of prayer warriors crying out to God.
When you enter the mission field it won’t be easy; there will be spiritual warfare, there will be team dynamics that can be potentially challenging, and other things that come with doing missions. The ultimate goal is to see God’s will being done and people becoming disciples of Christ––this calls for prayer.
So don’t get discouraged, because you are raising support whether it seems that way or not!
How to Write a Missionary Support Letter
Now onto the how-to part. This part is pretty exciting, as you get to tell people all about what God is doing and how you are partnering with Him in bring about the Great Commission. So let’s dive into the key elements of a good and effective support letter.
Make it Personal
If you’re anything like me, writing letters about myself and what I am doing makes me stiff as a board. I suddenly become serious and professional, writing with enthusiasm where I am the subject is something I have had to train myself into.
Writing as though you are speaking to a friend, and not a business partner is so very important. People need to know it’s coming from you, that it’s YOUR heart, YOUR call, and that YOU are excited to be a part of God’s mission.
Write as though it’s a friend and that you are excited to tell them what you’ve been up to!
Make it Easy to Navigate
This is huge.
Have you ever gone to a website in search of some information and immediately clicked the back button because the writer seemed to have thrown up on the screen?
There were no breaks, no headings, no subheadings, nothing. It was exhausting just looking at it.
Unfortunately, technology has made people lazy readers, we want the work done for us and if it isn’t, we generally toss it and move on to something easier.
The same can be said for support letters, make it easy for them to navigate!
BE SURE TO INCLUDE EASY ACCESS TO YOUR CONTACT AND DONATION INFORMATION.
This is the most important part of easy navigation. Make it easy for them to help you! A lot of people make the mistake of overcomplicating the giving process which results in lost donors.
Keep it Short
When writing your letter too much information is just too much information, and it’s key to know that people are giving to you because they know you and believe in you. Its generally not because of the work you will be doing.
So when you write your letter keep it to about one page, give the most crucial information, such as: where you’re going, what ministry you’re going with, what work you’ll be doing, how long you’ll be staying, and how much it costs.
Don’t Try to Sell It.
Treating the mission like a sales pitch is something that happens often, and it’s understandable. We feel as though we have to convince people that the work we are doing is worth their money. But it’s important to remember what we discussed at the beginning of this post.
We are inviting people to partner in the mission, not to just give to our cause.
When we remember that we are joining God’s mission, not our own, it shifts our perspective entirely.
Remember to take the pressure off of your shoulders. God has called you to it, and it’s an honor that we ALL get to join it!
Ask for Prayer
Again, this was emphasized earlier on, but don’t forget to include it in your letter! Not everyone is in a position to give, but everyone can pray.
Prayer is crucial to the mission, and it is also a way for everyone to sow into the work being done!
Thank Your Donors
Don’t forget to let your potential donors know that you are thankful for whatever can be given, whether prayer or funds.
If you’re a missionary already on the field who is trying to raise support so you are able to continue, let your donors know that you are thankful it’s very important and goes a long way!
For anyone reading who would like to dig deeper into this subject, I have provided a few excellent resources that I have found to be very helpful in my own missions experience.
- Types of Missionary Funding and What Works Best – Blog post by Bethany Global University
- The Fully Funded Missionary: A Biblically Based, Hope-Filled Guide To Raising Financial Support – Book by Rob Parker
- Sample Support Letter – By the World Race
- What NOT to Do When Raising Support – Blog post by Tim Parlier