Applying Transformational Giving to short-term missions

The Mission Increase Foundation Giving and Training Officers will be firing up a new daily blog beginning July 13–my birthday. A second TG blog–that’s a great birthday gift!

Each GTO will write a post a week. To give you a little idea what you’ll be seeing on that new blog (I’ll get you the address as soon as I get it), here’s a piece from LAX Regional GTO Matt Bates on applying Transformational Giving to short-term missions teams. Absolutely brilliant piece!

Had a site visit with a missions agency today and brainstormed a fundraising idea that could potentially double as a P to E step.

Like many missions agencies, this one sends short-term teams from the states to sites in the field where they have an ongoing presence with local Christians.

My idea is to reframe the commitment of the short-term missionaries from the very start to include the time required for the usual training, preparation and going, plus (at minimum) an additional year after the team returns from the field.

In this post year, the team would pray/recruit/write/give within their sphere of influence for the cause of world missions as it relates to the particular site where they themselves went. 

The missions organization in turn would commit to discipling the short-termers in the post year, leveraging all they know and understand about how the short-term trip is not an end, but an important step in the journey to full maturity in the cause.  The missions agency would be attempting to move the team from a collection of Ps to a collection of Es.

The giving component in the post year would include a monthly pledge from each member of the short-term team, plus a commitment to get five-ten others in each member’s sphere (starting with the folks who sponsored their own short-term mission) to match their gift.  For example, if a team member committed to giving $50 a month, and got 5 others to give $50 a month, that’s $300 a month or $3,600 in a year.  10% of whatever the team raises could be set aside for scholarship funds to send the next team to the same site, and 15% could go to the missions agency for overhead.  75% would go directly to the site they worked at to continue and advance the ministry on the ground there.

This is a much different conceptual fundraising and ministry model than most missions agencies currently employ.  What they typically try to do is get all the names of the short-term missionaries (‘alumni’) and their supporters, then get all of them to give to the missions agency once the short-term trip is over.  The trouble is that the aunt who supported her nephew to go to Moldova doesn’t care anything about the missions agency—she cares about her nephew—so she is annoyed that the missions agency is contacting her with solicitations.  In the model I propose, the nephew challenges the aunt to match his own giving in the post year, and the missions agency challenges the nephew to teach his aunt to care about Moldova.

The missions agency would also develop the praying/recruiting/writing/relating components with goals and objectives for each area. 

It’s also important that in the post year, the missions agency keeps the people in the teams that went to the field, establishes team goals, and tracks performances of team vs. team. 

Can’t wait for this second daily blog on Transformational Giving beginning next week. I’ll keep you posted!

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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3 Responses to Applying Transformational Giving to short-term missions

  1. Pingback: Blogging: a vital short term mission trip ministry « Transformational Giving

  2. Sabrina Wong says:

    Great Post – I’m looking forward to talking with Matt today about how to adopt this model for TeachOverseas. Happy Birthday Eric!

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