While some people have sufficient money in hand to pay their way to camp, for others the most difficult issue about going to a camp is having the finances to do so. If you’re making your plans early and camp is still several months away, you have time to begin earning and saving funds—a little each month. If you’ve waited to the last minute to come up with the funds, you better get busy! Here are some fund-raising ideas; you can probably think of others:
Take on a part-time job for a few weeks or months.
Hire yourself out to neighbors and friends to do work, such as mowing their lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow, washing their house windows, helping paint their house, babysitting, washing their cars on a regular basis, or other jobs. (But don’t neglect your regular duties to your own family).
Auction yourself off to people in your church congregation. Let them come up with jobs they need done around their house, you pick dates you’re available to do the work, and then have an auction after church and let the people bid to get your labor.
Give a talk at your church about why you want to go to the mission camp, and ask the members to sponsor you to some degree. You can place a “mission camp box” on the Info Table at your church (maybe with your picture and the dates of the camp on it) and let people put donations in there for several weeks or months. Even if people drop in only their loose change each week, it will add up over time.
Ask your friends and relatives to help sponsor you. Tell them why you want to go to camp and ask them to donate to your camp tuition. Even if they don’t have much money, maybe they could pledge to donate a little bit each week—it all adds up. (Download a “Sponsorship Form” to help you collect donations). Best when viewed on Internet Explorer
Make cookies, cakes, candy, bread or some other food item and sell it to your friends, neighbors and at church. Or make homemade greeting cards or other craft items to sell.
Ask your pastor to host a breakfast or dinner at church as a fundraiser for your mission trip (and maybe other missionaries as well). Charge a fee for the meal (to cover the food costs and to make some profit). You work hard to help plan, cook and serve the meal.
Do you have a talent you could teach to others? Maybe you could charge to provide lessons in music, art, sports, etc. Younger children would be a good target audience.
Have people (friends, neighbors, church members) donate items for an auction or a sale (garage sale, yard sale). The people could donate good used items they no longer need, or they could donate items they make (such as crafts or food). You help organize and run the sale or auction, and the proceeds can be used for mission work.
If you do a fundraiser involving a group (such as your church), consider sharing the proceeds. In other words, maybe designate the proceeds as being for “mission work”—have part of the money help sponsor you to go to camp, and have the rest of the funds go to help other mission work.
Write a “request for sponsorship” letter and mail (or e-mail) it to family members and other friends. If people who know you are aware you have a passion to go to a mission camp, some of them will want to help sponsor your trip—even if they are not Christians themselves. Below is a sample letter; rewrite it in your own words.
Dear Uncle Bert and Aunt Martha,
You’re probably pretty shocked to be getting a letter from me. I know I’m normally not very good about writing, but I’ve got something I’m excited about and I want to share it with you.
You know I’ve been quite involved in my church and I’ve grown in many ways. I appreciate all the opportunities I’ve had, and now I’m looking at a new challenge. I want to know what it’s like to share the good news that I’ve learned about the love of Jesus and His way of life with people in another culture. I feel I’m at the point that I want to stretch myself and reach out more to others, so I’m hoping to attend a week-long mission training camp this summer.
The camp, called Crossing Borders, will be on the Texas/Mexico border, and we’ll be making several trips into Mexico. We’ll get training in puppetry, drama, music and other ways to reach out in foreign cultures and across the language barrier with the Christian gospel. In Mexico, we’ll help with service and construction projects, provide free food for the people, help with children, and have times where we’ll share our faith—my faith—with the native people.
This is sort of scary, but I believe God is urging me to test out missionary work at this camp. Even if I don’t end up pursuing further missionary work, I believe it’s important that I learn what this sort of Christian service is like. And while I’m at camp, I’ll be learning about helping people who live daily in need of many of the basic things that I take so much for granted.
I’m earning and saving money so I can attend this camp, but I need help to afford to go. Would you consider helping sponsor me financially? The camp costs $*** for the week, plus I need about $*** to cover my travels costs to get from here to the base camp in Laredo, Texas. No one (especially me) likes asking for money, but I’ve got a passion to go to this camp and to grow in my Christian walk. I’m not asking you to pay all my expenses. I’m saving as much of my own money as I can, and I’m asking others for help as well.
If you could help me out, I’d appreciate it a lot. Think of it, you’d be helping sponsor a missionary to a foreign country. As a Thank You, I promise to learn as much as I can and to serve those people while I’m there. And I promise to write you again after camp and tell you all about it.
Thank you for considering helping me to attend mission camp.
One more important point about fundraising: Besides taking care of your personal camp expenses, we encourage the missionaries who attend Crossing Borders to collect (if possible) cash or in-kind donations to be given as a gift to those we serve across the border. We use any cash donations to purchase items we discover to be critically needed as we serve onsite. For example, in a previous year we found that 30 to 40 children at a group home had no underwear, so we spent cash to purchase these needed items.
In-kind donations can be brought along with you to camp. These items normally include things such as toys, balls, school supplies, T-shirts, socks, underwear and other items of general use. Often the missionary can collect these items (new or good-used) around their own home, from friends or neighbors, at garage/yard sales, from a church donation drive, or from local businesses in your community. You’ll have a great sense of pleasure knowing you are providing needed items to those we are serving.
To help you collect cash and in-kind donations, download the form “Donation - general request form”