When you contact people for support, use your inventory sheet to record conversations and pledges. Write down what you promised and your plan to follow up. Use the Donor Support Record when you receive their check (follow directions on the document).
Ideally, try to meet face-to-face when asking individuals for support. It’s the most rewarding way to raise support and get people excited about your summer mission. Consider taking the following steps:
- Call or email the person to make an appointment. Let him/her know up front why you wish to get together and for how long (at least 30 minutes). Depending how busy the individual is, give several days or weeks advance notice.
- Be early to your meeting. Relax and enjoy this time that God has given you to share.
- Although small talk is okay, be sure to allow for enough time to talk about your Global Program and to invite him/her into partnership. Be sure to specify what you want.
- Ask if he/she has any questions.
- Ask how you can pray for the individual, and end your time together in prayer.
After your meeting, thank the individual for the meeting via email or thank you card. In your message, confirm again what he/she committed to (e.g. “Thanks for committing to pray for me weekly and pledging $100.”). Try to do this immediately after your meeting, so you won’t forget! Also, if appropriate, write down the amount pledged on your inventory sheet.
Asking Your Small Group
If your church or campus small group is not already missions-minded, this is a great opportunity for you to share what you are learning about the importance of missions. It's important to influence those around you with the gospel as well as those that are at the farthest corners of the earth (Acts 1:8). It’s important to serve the poor in your local community as well as those in other parts of the world (Luke 4:18-19). Begin to consciously point out God's worldwide concern as it comes up in whatever scripture your group is studying. Ask your fellow small group members to join you in your Global Program preparations:
- Together, research the country or places you will go. Pray for that country using Operation World. Learn some of the language. Go to the library.
- Ask your small group to pray for the director of your Global Program, for the people you will meet overseas, for your team. Can they hold you accountable to pray?
- As your assignment becomes clearer, share with the small group. What role can each member in the group play in accomplishing the mission? Can they quiz you on the language or history?
- Invite your small group to build friendships with international students on campus, or invite your small group to serve the poor in your local community.
- Ask your small group to support you financially. Ask your small group leader if you can give a short presentation one week and ask for support from the members.
- Ask your small group to help you raise support, both prayer and finances.
Asking Your InterVarsity Large Group and Other Groups of People
If you are in a fellowship which meets as a large group, consider sharing about your Global Program at the large group meeting. Again, this is a great opportunity for you to introduce the importance of missions to others around you. The first step you may want to take is to discuss your ideas with your staffworker and ask for your staffworker’s help in mobilizing your fellowship. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Ask your small group to prepare 5 minute presentations on Christian witness in different countries and lead the large group in prayer. Try sharing about 10 different countries in 10 successive large group meetings.
- Ask previous Global Program students to share their experiences and why they got involved.
- Present a profile of the country or place you are going to.
- Ask your staffworker to dedicate a large group talk on “God’s Love for the World” or “Loving the Poor.”
- Get together with other students in your fellowship who are going on summer missions, and do a presentation to the large group together. At the end, pass out a pledge sheet (see Appendix 4).
Asking Non-Christian Friends
If you have many friends who are not believers, you may want to consider asking for their support as well. However, it is not ideal for you to rely solely on this group of people for support because in most cases, they will not be able to offer prayer support. Nonetheless, inviting their financial support could offer an opportunity for you to share more about your faith and more about God’s love for the world. Here are some suggestions:
- Think about your non-Christian friends and their values. Which values do they have that are also found in your Global Program? For example, if your program serves the urban poor in the Manila and your non-Christian friend values caring for the poor, consider framing your program in that manner.
- Think about your non-Christian friends and their ethnicities. If you are heading to Manila on your Global Programs, think about the Filipino friends that you have. Would any of them be excited that you are spending a summer in the Philippines? Talk to them about it.
- Invite your non-believing friends to help you in your preparations, such as researching the country you are going to.
- Don’t send your non-Christian friends the same letters or emails that you send to your Christian supporters. Instead, tailor the letter to your non-Christian audience. Don’t hide the fact that you are a believer and InterVarsity is a Christian organization, but be sensitive to your audience.
- If you’re non-believing friend is hesitant to contribute financially to InterVarsity, a Christian organization, ask if they would be willing to contribute to your personal expenses for the summer.
Asking Your Church
The first step in asking a church for support is to speak with a missions committee member or the pastor. If you don’t know them personally, have a friend in the church who does know them introduce you. It is also extremely helpful to know the history of the church – how much they typically support summer missionaries, what do they usually require from missionaries, etc. – before inviting the church to support you. This will prevent you from asking for too much or asking for too little. Do your homework!
When you meet with the pastor or missions committee member, be prepared to answer questions and be prepared to ask questions. What are their policies regarding fundraising? What would be most effective in growing a support team within the church? Allow the pastor or missions committee member to guide your next steps. Keep them in the loop on your progress, and ask them their opinions about the following ideas, which may or may not work in your church:
- Ask your pastor if you can give monthly reports to the congregation about Christian witness in the world or in the country you will be visiting this summer.
- Ask your Sunday School class to do similar things that you’re asking your small group on campus to do.
- Do a presentation about your Global Program (see Appendix 2) during or after the Sunday service.
- Do a presentation about your Global Program to Sunday School classes. Pass around a prayer sign-up sheet (see Appendix 3).
- Schedule a special Saturday brunch at church, where you could invite church members who are interested in missions.
- Ask if the church can designate a special offering one Sunday for people who want to designate their offering toward supporting your Global Program.
- Ask if it’s acceptable for you to distribute your prayer letters at church or to send an email to the church directory regarding your Global Program.
- Schedule a meeting with the full missions committee. Be prepared! It makes a big difference when you talk to a missions committee to show them your budget and say:
"My total summer expenses will be (i.e.) $3,675. Between what I, my parents, and my school InterVarsity chapter can give, I have commitments of $1,200. My church at school gives $200 to all students who go overseas. That leaves $2,275 which I hope to raise through this church and through other friends and family."
Compare that presentation to the more typical: "God has called me overseas this summer. It will cost around $3,600. Would you support me?”