Mission trips are expensive, but don’t let that deter you from going on one.  There are many ways you can fundraise the money to go on a mission trip.  I’ll go over some of the techniques here.

A man pulling $5 bill from his wallet.  Mission trips cost money.  Hold a fundraiser!
Mission trips cost money. Hold a fundraiser!
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)

The Cost of Mission Trips

I’ve been on several mission trips, many domestic and one international.  In a previous article, I discussed why it’s good for every Christian to go on at least one international mission trip.  In this article, I’m going to focus on how you can fundraise money to go on a mission trip.

Mission trips cost a lot of money.  Most domestic mission trips will cost somewhere between $400-$1,200 depending on where you go and what organization you go with.  International mission trips can cost anywhere from $1,200-$5,000+, again, depending on where you go. 

When I went to South Africa in 2002, it cost me around $4,000.  Most of the money is for the cost of the plane tickets, food and lodging, and any other expenses and training each person will need.  On top of the costs of the mission trip, you will want to bring spending money.  There are fun days and shopping days on most mission trips, so you’ll want to bring some cash to exchange into the country’s currency. 

That’s a lot of money, and most people don’t just have it lying around.  You can save up for years to get the money to go, or you can fundraise.  I fundraised every penny of my mission trip to South Africa.  These tips on how to fundraise don’t just work for mission trips, but also for youth groups who want to go to youth conventions and other church trips.

How to Fundraise for a Mission Trip #1: Support Letters

Mailbox with the flag up.  Fundriase by putting out support letters.
Fundraise for your mission trip by mailing support letters.
Photo by Abstrakt Xxcellence Studios from Pexels

Support letters are the number one way to fundraise money for a mission trip, hands down.  You can use email or snail mail, but I find snail mail to be more effective and less likely to be ignored.  Support letters are uncomfortable to write, because you’re asking people for money, but believe me, it works.  They’re simple to write, just follow this format:

  • Personalize each letter. It takes time, but it helps.
  • Inform people of what the mission trip is, where it is, and what you’ll be doing.
  • Include a scripture.
  • Let people know the total amount you need (including your spending money).
  • Ask people for their support either finically or with prayer.
  • Give them an address to send money to and who to make checks out to.
  • Sign it.

The next step is to send the letters to everyone you know!  Family, friends, co-workers, people at your church, friends of your parents, etc.  And don’t just send them to people who you know are Christians.  Send them to everyone! You’ll be surprised by who donates money.  I found that the majority of the time, the most significant donations I received were from people who weren’t Christian.

If you are looking to fundraise money for a mission trip, send out support letters. And don’t forget to send everyone who donates money, or offers to pray, a personalized thank you card. It’s important.

How to Fundraise for a Mission Trip #2: Car Washes

Teens having a car wash.  Fundriase for your mission trip by holding a car wash.
Fundriase for your mission trip by holding a car wash.
Photo by Isaac Taylor from Pexels

Car washes really only work during the warmer months, but they are an excellent way to fundraise money for a mission trip.  Ask your church or local businesses if they will host a car wash.  Most places will say yes if they have a big enough property.  Find some friends who are willing to help wash cars for three or four hours.

Get some hoses, buckets, big sponges, and car wash soap.  Put a friend out by the road with a large sign that says, “$5 Car Wash for Mission Trip Fundraiser”, or something like that.  A lot of people like to get a cheap car wash and help fundraise for a good cause.  Just make sure you and your friends do an excellent job of washing the cars.  If you wash cars at your church, do it on a Sunday afternoon.  People leaving the church can have the option to get their car washed first. 

And after you’ve finished, end the day with a water fight with your friends.  Just for fun.

How to Fundraise for a Mission Trip #3: Bake Sales

A tray of fresh baked cookies.  Fundraise for your mission trip by having a bake sale.
Fundraise for your mission trip by having a bake sale.
Photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels

Bake sales work best at church or going from business to business.  This requires some work, baking skills, and some salesmanship, but it’s a great way to fundraise money for a mission trip.  Bake some yummies people will enjoy; cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and other baked goods.  You can even make your own candies.  Once you have a good store of fresh baked goods, ask your church if they will let you put up a table and sell them after services.  Don’t charge too much. And put up a sign up with information on what you’re fundraising for. 

Or you can go to local non-food related businesses and see if they’re willing to allow you to sell your baked goods to their staff at break time.  The worst they can say is no.  You can also go door-to-door in your neighborhood and sell your baked goods.  Most people will want something yummy to eat and will be willing to support a mission trip.  Just be ready to answer any allergy or nutritional questions people may ask.  Remember to make your packaging of the baked goods presentable.  You are selling them, after all. 

How to Fundraise for a Mission Trip #4: Support Challenges

A basket of fried chicken wings.  Fundraise for your mission trip by having a support challenge.
Fundraise for your mission trip by having a support challenge.
Image by mrpizzamandc from Pixabay

Support challenges are simple and often fun.  You pose a challenge and ask people to donate an amount based on your performance.  Again, this is surprisingly effective when you want to fundraise for a mission trip.  Some examples:

  • I will run for five hours. You donate X amount of dollars per mile for my mission trip.
  • I’ll eat as many hot wings as I can in an hour. You donate X amount of dollars per wing consumed for my mission trip.
  • I’ll do a lock-in at my church and stay awake for 24 hours.  You donate X amount of dollars for every hour I’m awake for my mission trip.

Make sure you keep a list of everyone who donates and how much.  Support challenges are fun because you can often record or live stream them, and people can track your progress.

These fundraiser techniques have worked effectively for every mission trip I’ve ever been on. If you’ve been on a mission trip and you had your own way of fundraising, please share in the comments below.