Over time, my own STM involvement has required that I do my share of fundraising, and I’m by no means a specialist. It takes ideas and today… idea generation often begins with a Google search.
I want to save you a step and share some of the resources that I’ve come across and particularly like:
(note: Books & blogs come from various doctrinal confessions with great best-practices in the area of fundraising.)
Both sites below have premium product or content for sale, but the links provided take you to free content (articles or blog-posts).
Find the titles listed right at their Amazon store:
As a rule… Communication is key with any relationship building exercise related to raising financial partners.
- Marketing: Whether you think in these terms or not… you must become a marketer. What are you marketing?
- Your call to missions
- The country to which your called
- The work that God is calling you to do there
- Principles of Marketing: Trends in marketing need to be reflected in the way you present your yourself and your STM opportunity. Currently for example…
- You’re building a brand…. something that becomes immediately identifiable with you and your God-appointed mission.
- You need to be present in various Social Media platforms. Go where your potential supporters are. You don’t have to be a ninja on every platform… but you should be present in several.
- Communication needs to be image-rich. The days of text-only reports, newsletters or blog posts are gone.
- Increasingly, even image-rich communication is taking a back-seat to video formatted communication. (If you can do video, great. If you can’t, don’t sweat it … at least be image-rich. I’m just a novice in this area myself.)
- Don’t kill yourself trying to learn all of these things at once… but if you can either (a) learn them bit-by-bit or (b) get help from someone who knows this stuff… your fundraising will be further ahead.
- Keep a Personal Element: Mass communication is by far, much easier and it’s unthinkable to handwrite every request-for-support letter that you intend to mail out, however keeping a bit of a personal element in there somewhere will help your fundraising efforts.
Stop to think… how much time do you spend reading the email that’s been cc’d to 1,000 people? Right, not that much. Now… what about the emails that have your name and your name only in the “to” box? Right again… there’s a much better chance you’ll read it through.
Find some way to keep it personal.
- Quality Speaks: Whatever you do in terms of marketing materials, whether online or in printed form, you need to make things look good! Pastors and church-members get many appeals for financial support, so yours must stand out.
In a series of upcoming posts, I’ll share how I applied the ideas above into our own fundraising efforts leading up to France and since we’ve been here.
BUT… if you’ve been accepted by a sending organization and already have a time frame for your STM trip, start now!
– start reading
– start preparing
– start building resources
– start pulling together a communication strategy
Time goes quickly and the more you do now, the less stress & scrambling you’ll experience at the last minute.
I encourage you…
STM involvement is an incredible opportunity. If God has called you and men have affirmed you (sending organization), you are well positioned to live an extraordinary life. If you have questions, leave them either in the comments section below or email me via the “E-Mail” button.
God bless your preparations!