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The Master's College

Support Letter Tips

This page contains guidelines for writing your support letter. It is recommended that you complete a first draft during the Christmas break. If you want to send out your support letter before Prep for GO begins in January, it is very important that you speak with Lisa La George before you do so!

 

Practical Reasons for Raising Support

The following observations are compiled from People Raising: A Practical Guide to Raising Support by William P. Dillon, pages 3-7:

Participation in support raising…

  • …mobilizes a group of people to pray for your ministry.
  • …enables the missionary to trust God in new and stretching ways.
  • …increases the number of Christians who fund missionary endeavors.
  • …exposes churches and believers to what is happening on the missions 'frontline.'
  • …provides opportunity for the missionary to minister to potential supporters.
  • …opens doors for witnessing to unbelievers.

A Guide to Composing a Support Letter

Step #1: Pray!

  • Ask the Lord to build your faith in Him through the process of raising funds for the trip.
  • Ask for wisdom in how to present the ministry opportunity to other believers.
  • Pray for discernment regarding to whom letters should be sent.
  • Pray for God's bountiful provision and confirmation of His leading you to this mission trip.
  • Ask for the Lord to move people to give and to bless them for their sacrifice.
  • Pray for God to make you humbly dependent on Him through this process.

Step #2: Determine a mailing list

Start by brainstorming a list of names. Do not exclude anybody who initially comes to mind; you can decide against mailing a letter later on. Use the categories listed below to help you think of potential supporters.

  • Avoid determining in your own mind who can and cannot afford to support your trip. Leave this decision to the recipients of your letter.
  • Next you will need to obtain current information on the people you've added to your list. This may require calling your parents or your church, so plan ahead. Also, pay attention to appropriate titles, making sure that a "Mr." s not substituted for a "Dr." or a "Mrs." for a "Miss."
  • Type up your address information and format for printing on mailing labels.

Potential categories of supporters

  • Family Contacts
    • Parents
    • Friends of your parents
    • Uncles and Aunts
    • Cousins
    • Brothers and Sisters
    • Grandparents
    • Parents' friends from high school or college
    • School Contacts
    • Former teachers
    • High school friends
    • Parents of your friends
    • Coaches
    • Professors
    • TMC friends
  • Church Contacts
    • Members of home church
    • Sunday school teachers
    • Youth group leaders
    • Discipleship group leaders/members
    • Friends from youth group
    • Friends from camp
    • Camp counselors
    • Members of a church you formerly attended
  • Employment Contacts
    • Co-workers
    • Former employer(s)
    • Current employer(s)
    • Businesses (some firms offer matching funds)
    • People you babysit for
  • Other Contacts
    • Doctor
    • Dentist
    • Lawyer
    • Haircutter
    • Insurance agent
    • Mechanic
    • Veterinarian
    • Neighbors
    • People who have an interest in the country you're traveling to
    • People who've been to this country before
    • People you've been on other mission trips with
  • Other places to look for ideas
    • Church directory
    • E-mail lists
    • Christmas card list
    • Day timer/palm pilot

Step #3: Write your first draft

Keep in mind the following goals of your letter as you write:

  • …to share your heart's passion for overseas ministry in the coming summer
  • …to communicate the opportunity for ministry (when, where, who)
  • …to present the opportunity for the recipient to join in this ministry through support
  • …to explain how financial support can be given
  • …to specify ways the recipient can be praying

Consider the following tips:

  • Keep it brief. People are inundated with mail, even from Christian organizations.
  • Make it personal. Consider using the mail merge options in your word processor, or type an individual greeting at the beginning of each letter.
  • Spice it up. Add in some pertinent clip art or pictures.
  • Be creative. This letter should be uniquely "you." Don't try to conform to the typical mold. Consider using stationary with a pre-printed, color design.

Step #4: Revise your letter

Ask other team members and friends to read your letter. Encourage them to check for grammatical and spelling errors, but additionally ask them to evaluate whether the letter graciously expresses your heart.