BUILDING YOUR SUPPORT TEAM
In this section we will address all the aspects of garnering the assistance you will need to participate on this Beyond Borders team. We will discuss your prayer team, fundraising strategies and communication.
YOUR PRAYER TEAM
Building your prayer team should be the first thing you do! The people you ask to join you should be people whose prayer you can count on to consistently lift you and the team up in prayer... beginning now with your preparation and continuing right through your journey. Take a moment now to identify three people who you believe will commit to pray daily for you and your team. Contact each of them personally and ask them if they would be willing to join you in this ministry. Don’t wait—do it now!
- PREPARATIONS, spiritually, financially, physically, and emotionally
- WISDOM for team leaders, church, host missionaries and nationals
- RELATIONSHIPS between missionaries, nationals, leaders and all team members
- MINISTRY that is impacting and effective, and bold
- RECEPTIVE HEARTS for those you will serve
As your prayer team commits to pray for you, you must commit to updating them regularly so that they know how God has responded, and can continue to pray specifically for your needs as they arise.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 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 1:3-6
Where to Begin? There are many different ways for you to raise financial support. These include traditional letter-writing, through electronic means, and events among others. But first, let’s look at how it is modeled in biblical scripture. God is pleased with a generous church and He greatly honors those who give sacrificially, in faith and with joy.
“As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.” - Philippians 4:15-17
Begin by “Name-storming,” asking God to put on your mind the names of those He has selected for you to ask. Prayer is the key that opens the doors of the heart. Ideally you should aim for a list of 100-150 people. This is a great thing to do as a family or with friends and small group members. There’s only one catch! You have to agree to send an “ask” to every person God gives you. Trust His purposes! You don’t know how God will use this process. People may be on your list because God intends them to be a blessing to you... but they could also be on your list because God intends you to be a blessing to them! Please take this aspect of your short-term experience seriously! It is highly unlikely that the money will just show up if you don’t work hard. In addition to asking God to provide in this way, He expects you to put feet to those prayers and that you boldly go forward in faith and with hope.
While it is true that your letter, whether on paper or on your web page, needs to contain certain information, it should also reflect you! Try to write your letter in a way that reflects who you are, your style of communication and your personal hopes for the ministry ahead. Let it be more than a “form letter.”
The letter should include:
- A statement of how and why you have made your plans.
- A brief statement concerning your sending entity (Eastside Christian Church) and the team you will traveling with.
- When and where you will be going and what you’ll be doing. Share what details you know and be sure to share the value of your project.
- Tell them what you HOPE to see happen in and through your life.
- Share your REQUEST for prayer and financial partners.
- Include your DEADLINES. That way those who desire to send in support will know when to mail the checks. Most people will wait until the deadline to send in their contribution, so be sure you are clear about when you need the funds.
- Specific INSTRUCTIONS concerning remittance for those wishing to contribute
- financially to your project.
“How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!” - Romans 10:14-15
Here is the basic “text” layout for your letter. You are welcome to use this text, though we strongly encourage you to use your own words. The sections in bold are sections that should be included and copied EXACTLY as you prepare your letter.
Dear Family & Friends,
I wanted to share some exciting news with you. Our church, Eastside Christian Church, has planned a global experience for this coming summer and I have been selected to serve as part of this team! I will be traveling to (destination) in (month/year of travel) where we will have the opportunity to serve through (what are you going to be doing?). I felt a strong desire to be a part of this project (why?). My prayer is that I can contribute to our efforts by (your hopes, desires.) I feel blessed to have been chosen for this incredible opportunity and know there is a lot of work ahead as we begin to prepare. I could use your help!
First, I would be honored if you would pray for us...for our preparation, our journey, our ministry and for the spiritual battles surely ahead. Secondly, I’d like to know if you could help cover part of the cost of the trip. Each team member has been entrusted with raising an equal share of the total cost to send us. The amount I personally must raise is ($x,xxx.xx) and much of that is due by (first main deadline).
[For “snail mail”] If you wish to partner with me in this ministry please make your check payable to “Eastside Christian Church,” and mail it to the church using the envelope provided.
[For web page] If you wish to partner with me in this ministry please click on the GIVE NOW button.
Contributions to our project are tax deductible, charitable gifts, and Eastside will send a statement for tax purposes at the end of the year.
You are very important to me. Thank you for praying about being a part of my team. If you have any questions, I’d love the opportunity to tell you more, so just give me a call or email!
SIGN-IT! We recommend that you put your name and contact information at the bottom of the letter in type, but that you personally sign the letter above your name. It actually says much if you take the time to personally sign each letter and, if you like, include a brief hand-written note connecting you to the individual.
The apostle Paul wrote letters asking individuals for the support they gave. We also believe that if Paul had the Internet available to him, he would have used that too! You will be able to use this same personalized letter on your own web page that we’ve utilized just for you. This will enable you to reach potential supporters through email and social media. The organization we are using is GROUPREV. This is a wonderfully safe and effective way for your supporters to give online. Remember to check on it regularly to see your supporters and your current balance. You can also communicate easily with people through this site.
*All funds raised, even those given in cash or check will be added to your GroupRev total weekly.
Embrace the Unique Power: Social media enables you to broaden your base of potential donors and communicate easily and instantly. You can reconnect with old friends and develop “contacts” into friends (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) Sending prayer updates with snappy photos about your ministry is easy to do.
Understand the Limits: The effectiveness of communication is limited It can be difficult to make a deep impression. Can prevent bonding with the donor/the person being supported. There is no physical dialogue. Limited to how much one can share. Physical presence increases the joys and heartaches of relationships—we were created for relationships, not chat rooms.
An Important, but not Major Role: Social Media alone cannot carry the weight of your funding or communication strategy. Move people offline as soon as possible to your hard-copy letter, phone call or face-to-face. Human interaction is at the top of the communication effectiveness chart. Don’t overdo it by overwhelming people with too many posts. Social media is only the “frosting;” hard copy is the “cake.”
Time-tested Rules: Do not send your letter as an attachment. Readers promise themselves they will “open it later,” but never do. Put your letter in the body of the email or post. Keep it short so the reader doesn’t have to scroll constantly. Capture the value of telling short, straight-from-the-battle stories. Include a photo of you in action with a one-sentence caption. Readers are in a hurry but they will glance at the photo. Use eye-pleasing templates. And, utilize the secret of one: one topic, one photo, one prayer request, one story.
Make all of your prayer and financial supporters a part of your journey...allow them to walk beside you all the way. How do you do that? Send financial supporters a personal handwritten thank you note (or at least a personal text) once they’ve contributed. Post regular updates and you may want to send out a newsletter. Please direct people to the Eastside Compassion Facebook and Instagram pages so they can receive updates when you are in-country serving. Before you depart, send out prayer requests to your team. This will help them to feel a part of the project and guarantee you that you are receiving specific prayer support during the project.
While in country send postcards and buy small gifts for all your supporters. Once home, email, mail and/or post a report. Tell them the stories... the tales, trials, triumphs and testimonies of your trip. Let them know how God moved in the ministry, in your life and in the lives of those you met along the way. Lastly, find some time to personally connect with as many of your supporters as possible. Get together for lunch and share your photo memory book or host a get together at your home and invite those who supported you. Perhaps next time they will be the ones going!
Other financial considerations
Eastside is unable to reimburse participants for trip related expenses. Funds raised are to benefit the team and ministry program, and not the individual. Any funds raised in excess of the amount required to send an individual will benefit other team members still raising support, or will go toward the trip ministry costs. All funds raised by Global Compassion team members will be used solely for the purpose of sending out Global Compassion teams and not for any other ministry purpose. Should you wish to receive a donation credit for trip related expenses, this can be done. A receipt, or photo copy of the receipt, referenced with the team member’s name on it, should be turned into the Global Compassion office. The expenses will be credited to your giving and a tax deductible statement issued at the end of the calendar year. Below is a list of acceptable trip related expenses to claim as a donation.
- Needed Luggage
- All toiletries
- Gifts for nationals
- Clothing (Only if there is specific clothing required that you must buy.
- Passport Expenses including Passport & Visa photos
- Postage & printing for support raising letters, newsletters & reports