The Last Thing I Expected to Learn from Mission Trips | Fundraising 101

Over the next few weeks I am going to dive deep into what may seem like an odd topic for this blog. However, my hope is that after reading this post you realize this topic is actually right in line with Life Rewritten’s purpose.

So what is this strange topic?


Specifically, fundraising for mission trips.

The last thing I expected to learn from mission trips is that I love fundraising for mission trips. This is the beginning of a 6 part series on how to fundraise for short and longer term mission trips..

Back in 2005, my husband read a blurb in our church bulletin about a meeting for people interested in going on a mission trip to Brazil. He leaned over during church and told me he was going to go to the meeting. I rolled my eyes.

Mission trips cost money. Money we did NOT have.

John came home from the meeting excited about the trip. Over the next few weeks he convinced me that not only should he go on the trip but that our 14-year-old son, Andy should go as well. Thus launched my entry into the world of fundraising for mission trips.

John and Andy in Brazil

John, Andy and the team touring the rainforest while serving alongside Amazon Vision Ministries on the Amazon River near Manaus, Brazil in 2006. Photo Courtesy of John Patton

Truth be told, our first experience fundraising didn’t go so well. It was good enough but by no means would you call it a glowing success. However, this was only the beginning.

Over the next few years, as John kept taking our kids on mission trips, we got to practice and practice and practice fundraising for mission trips.

John and Dale in Greece

John and Dale Schwartz visiting modern day Corinth while on a vision trip with Hellenic Ministries in 2009. Photo Courtesy of John Patton.

John and Keighty in Corinth.

John and Keighty visiting ancient Corinth while serving with Hellenic Ministries during Operation Joshua in 2010. Photo Courtesy of John Patton

John and Blake in Honduras

John and Blake riding in the back of a pickup truck to their ministry site while serving with Lifetree Adventures in Choluteca, Honduras in 2014. Photo courtesy of John Patton

Eventually, I caught the mission trip bug, and God gave me the audacious opportunity to travel with Adventures in Missions and 4 other women from our church to Bangkok, Thailand.

This is really where my fundraising story begins. Prior to that I only helped John and the kids write support letters; fundraising had never been personal. And I certainly never had to meet such a large goal.

Traveling to Thailand isn’t cheap!

Thailand Team at Tiger Temple

The Springbrook team visiting Tiger Temple while serving alongside Adventures in Missions and their local ministry contacts in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013.

Since then, mission trips have become part and parcel of our life.

John and I led a trip to Rwanda last fall; Keighty is on the World Race; Blake leaves in a few weeks to help lead a youth trip in Puerto Rico; John and I are headed back to Rwanda in the fall, and Blake has a trip to China with Fuge in the works.

Not to mention, Andy works for the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, a non-profit which regularly fundraises to meet the needs of their organization’s expeditions.

Rwandan mission team on safari

John and I with the Springbrook team on a safari while serving alongside Africa New Life Ministries in 2014.

Keighty in Cape Town South Africa

Keighty and her team visiting Cape Town, South Africa during month one of the World Race in July 2015. Photo Courtesy of Mary Dunn, Team Wimbi member

Andy working with CSNTM in Athens, Greece

Andy and the CSNTM team heading to Athens, Greece to digitize copies of original New Testament manuscripts in May 2015. Photo courtesy of CSNTM

God has moved our heart for the nations, and that has required fundraising. Lots and lots of fundraising.

We have not fundraised for every mission trip nor have we fundraised 100% for every trip, but over the years, we have asked friends, family, and other donors to give thousands of dollars to support the mission trips God calls us to go on.

This process taught me the craziest thing. In fact, it is the last thing I expected to learn from mission trips.

I learned that I LOVE fundraising for mission trips!

I love fundraising for mission trips this is the last thing I expected to learn from mission trips. This is the beginning of a 6 part series on how to fundraise for short and longer term mission trips..

I enjoy the planning. I enjoy the letter writing. I enjoy the communication. I enjoy executing events. I enjoy it all.

If you know me this is probably not a surprise. I like to organize things. I like to write. I love to speak. I value innovation, thinking out of the box, and creativity. For heaven’s sake, I like spreadsheets!

But none of these things are the reason I like fundraising, they just make the task easier.

I like fundraising because I love connecting people to a cause.

Seeing how the women in our church rallied around the five of us going to Thailand completely altered my perspective on fundraising for mission trips. Their passion to help, serve, and give showed me that fundraising isn’t about asking people for money, it is about asking people to invest.

Since our humble beginnings in 2005, John and I have not only learned a lot about fundraising, we have found ourselves both leading and serving alongside a lot of people taking the bold step of going on both short and longer-term mission trips. This gives us ample opportunity to teach what we learned along the way.

My guess, is that if you are reading this blog, somewhere in your heart you want to make a difference- maybe not overseas but somewhere in someway.

That is why I want to take the next few weeks and share with you some of the most important lessons I learned as well as some practical ideas about how to fundraise for short and longer-term mission trips.

Here is what you can expect to learn:

The Last Thing I Expected to Learn From Mission Trips | Fundraising 101

Why Fundraise | Fundraising 202

The Single Most Important Thing to Do When Fundraising | Fundraising 303

Critical Pieces in the Fundraising Process | Fundraising 404

Fundraising Ideas | Fundraising, Masters Level

The Two Keys to Successful Fundraising that Lasts | Fundraising, Ph.D. Level

Although, I have a lot of experience fundraising for mission trips, I know there are a million more lessons to learn. So as we journey into the murky waters of how to ask people for money, feel free to share your success stories and even some of your worst failures in the comment section. As always, I can’t wait to learn and grow from you.

Ready? Great! Let’s go.

With Love, Amy E Patton

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