Mission Trip Fundraising

So you have started planning your mission trip. You know about how many youth will go on the trip, you have your week reserved at the location of your choice, and you have a budget. Good for you!  Now, how will you pay for the trip?  That’s what this article is all about!  (If you don’t have the initial planning done, check out the last mission trip article to learn how to begin planning)  But back to the fundraising.  There are several questions you must answer before you begin fundraising:

Question 1: How much will you charge each youth for the trip?  I recommend that you charge each youth a minimum amount, at least $50, so that they will have some skin in the game.  If they don’t have to pay anything, it is much easier for them to back out of the trip at the last minute, leaving you holding a reservation that you have already paid for without a youth to fill that spot!  It is also important not to make this amount so high that it discourages youth from going.  I would suggest between $50-$200, depending on the trip. I tend to charge more for my Senior High mission trip than my Junior High because they go further and do more complicated work. Note: You should always have scholarship money available for any event or trip you take your youth on. Money should never be a reason for someone to chose to not go on a trip.

Qestions 2: How much are you going to charge each adult volunteer for the trip?  Obviously, you would not charge them more than the youth, but it is a good idea to reduce the price for adults (perhaps half) so that you can get adults to come on the trip.  I don’t charge adults anything for mission trips.  I think it is enough that they are giving up a week of vacation to go with a bunch of teenagers to work and sweat all day and sleep on the floor at night.  Making them pay for that experience doesn’t make sense to me!  So I work my budget so that the adults don’t have to pay.

Question 3: How much can you put in the youth budget from your church to help cover the cost of the trip?  If you can’t get any in the budget this year, be sure to show the actual cost of the trip in your budget and show it as paid from other sources.  You want to include part of your mission trip in the budget if possible, so try to work this item into your budget for next year!  And try to increase the amount each year.

Now it’s simply a matter of math.  You know how many youth are going on the trip (plus or minus a couple).  You add in the appropriate number of adults for the trip (at least 1 adult for each 5 youth).  You have an estimated cost of the trip because you have put together a budget for it.  Just subtract the amount you will collect from the youth and the amount in your budget from the total cost of the trip.  This is how much money you have to fundraise.  Where do you go from here?  I recommend doing 1 or 2 big fundraisers and putting all of your effort into that.  You can only raise a few hundred dollars with bake sales and car washes, so why not concentrate everyone on one big fundraiser and get it all over with at once?  Some big fundraising ideas are:

  1. Sell Mission Shares – Have the youth sell “shares” in their mission trips to the congregation, their teachers, relatives and neighbors.  We sell shares in increments of $25 each (but will take any amount!).  If they buy 10 shares for $250 they are a “Gold stockholder” and get a special gift from the youth.  Then you have some special event at the end of the summer to allow the youth to share what they have done with the people who helped send them into the mission field. We serve dessert and show slide shows and the youth give testimonies about each trip.
  2. Gigantic garage sale – This works best if the youth are the only group in the church who do a garage sale. One church does this up big each year and gets items like cars donated.  Don’t think too small if you do this fundraiser!
  3. Auction – Ask people to donate items and services and invite everyone to a live auction to bid on these items.
  4. Dinner & Talent Show – Invite church members and those in your community to a special dinner followed by a talent show.

There are lots of other ways to raise money.  These are only a few.  I’d love to hear how your youth raise money for their mission trip.  Please post your ideas here.  And good luck with your mission trips this year!

Georgia Harrison
Youth Minister
Holy Covenant UMC, Carrollton, TX
georgia@mcyouth.org

About Georgia Harrison

Education Minister at First United Methodist Church, Wichita Falls, TX.