This week has led me to two conversations where people that are either current or former “missionaries” discussed how difficult support-raising can be. This model of fundraising is inherently strange because you are asking people to pay your salary. My salary is paid through grants and donations, but they are donations made to my organization, which has budgeted a certain portion for my income. However, missionaries are doing similar work that is just as valuable to love people who are vulnerable or hurting. Therefore, this week’s suggestion of how you can change the world is to financially and prayerfully support individuals that do incredible work and are responsible for their own support-raising.
Of course, you should hold these individuals to the SAME standards you would hold any charity to which you donate. Here are some questions to ask them before pledging your support
- What does their typical day look like?
- Not only what are you doing, but how are you doing it?
- What percentage of my donation goes to you versus your organization?
- What is your monthly budget?
- (For missionaries serving in a culture different than their own) How do you practice cultural competence? Does your organization have staff from the country, or neighborhood, in which you serve?
No one asking for money should be offended by these questions, and you should not let your assumptions on what the answer might be keep you from offering support. Ask questions, pray, and pledge support! Every organization to which you donate has paid staff. Therefore, when you support a missionary, you are supporting their work just like when you donate to a nonprofit.
P.S. short term mission trips can sometimes do more harm than good, be sure you’re thoughtful about who and where to give