Friday, June 8, 2012

How To Avoid Donor Fatigue In Your Short-term Mission Program

Does your church send out multiple mission teams every year? Do your church members become fatigued opening all the support letters that come to them? Or maybe you have a hard time deciding which people from your church to support. You don’t want to pick and choose, but you can’t afford to support them all.

A little bit of strategic planning can alleviate the stress. Here is a process that I would recommend trying:

  1. Get the church on some sort of cycle. I would recommend six to nine months or even one year.
  1.  Discourage or even forbid support letters to be sent to members of the church. Instead encourage the team members to send support letters to friends and family in other places, hold fundraisers, and even save some of their own money to pay for the trip.
  1. Promote the trips or individuals going on a short-term mission trip in the next six months to one year. Make sure people know that they are going and what they will be doing and assure them they will have a chance to contribute towards the project.
  1. Take up an offering sometime during the cycle and split it amongst all the team members evenly. If you don’t want to collect a special offering, have a pastor write one letter to the congregation outlining the trips and asking for donations. All donations will then be split amongst all the team members.
I think you will find that this removes the “first come, first serve” environment as well as keeps generous donors from being overwhelmed. After a cycle or two, your members will begin to budget and expect the annual or biannual donation to the mission teams.

Questions for the author? You can contact Tory at 520-404-0841 or

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