You've had your fundraising events and coffee dates, and people have said "yes" to supporting you. You're drawing closer and closer to your goal, or maybe you've already reached it. It may seem like you're nearing the end, but really, it's just the beginning -- the beginning of having a group of family and friends jump onboard this journey with you.
How exciting! Before you sign off from fundraising, however, don't forget the work still ahead. Now you must learn to steward these relationships and continue to maintain communication past the initial support. Here's some of our tips for loving your supporters well, and thanking them for getting you to where God has called you to be!
1. Keep Good Track of Them
Keep a Google doc or notebook full of your supporters' information. Keep track of each donation, who it was from, and when it was donated. You can also keep track of what made them donate -- was it a fundraiser you had, a call you made, or a presentation you gave? Record-keeping can help you understand what made people feel the most included, and what made them excited to donate. This information will help you in future fundraising seasons. It's also a great way to look back and be thankful for how far you've come!
Here we’ve attached a chart of how to keep track of your supporters. We've included some personal information which can be useful if you’re creating an email list, sending supporter gifts, or want to give them a personal thank you call. It can easily be modified depending on your strategy.
2. Thank Them Immediately
People appreciate appreciation. When someone donates and says “YES!” to your big journey, celebrate it. It could be through a call, a photo with a message, or a coffee date. Don't be afraid to make it creative! Send a fun Boomerang, or create a video personally saying thank you to each supporter. Appreciation for their donation will make them feel valued and build more excitement for what's to come, and it could even lead them to give again in the future.
3. Regularly Update Them on Your Life
Think of ways to continually include those who’ve supported on your grand adventure. This could be through a Facebook group with weekly updates, a blog, newsletter, or phone calls. By donating, they’ve joined you in all the excitement, so help them experience the "fruit" of it! Though life in missions can be busy, make time each week to update loved ones and those who have donated.
4. Pray for Them Regularly
Another way to give back to those who have donated is to pray for them. Chances are, they are praying for you as well. For every day of the week, commit to praying for one of your supporters. If you have more than seven, plan out one day a month, or whatever works for your situation. Prayer draws you closer to them through God’s heart, and if you hear any specific messages, you can give back by sharing these and other words of encouragement.
5. Send Them a Thank You Gift
As a full-time missionary, I send one gift a year. Whether you’re about to do your DTS, or you’ve been in full-time missions, it’s important to continue to show your love for your supporters in tangible ways. It doesn’t need to be anything huge -- it could be stickers from wherever you go on outreach, or fun candies from the country where you’re doing your DTS. Attach a handwritten letter, saying thank you for all they’ve done! If you aren't able to do that, maybe when you return home, cook a big meal at your house and invite everyone over. Spend an evening telling stories about your life-changing time.
When it comes to your supporters, go the extra mile to love them, because they've done the same for you. Be creative, and use these tips to find your own ways to show your appreciation. Without financial partnership, we would not be able to accomplish all that God has called us to do, and the spreading of the Gospel would come to a halt. With it, however, we can continue our work in fulfilling the Great Commission.
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