Why & How to Write a Support Letter
One of the most common concerns of those seeking to serve God domestically
or on a foreign mission is the question of how to raise the money. You are not
alone in your concern and you need to know that there are ways to get over
your fears, learn to trust God, and develop some skill at raising the money you
need for what God has called you to do. Our God is a God who hears our needs:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask
anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He
hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked
of Him (1John 5:14-15).
The most important thing you can do in raising your support is to pray. God is
concerned about you, and can meet your needs. He wants you to ask and to
depend on Him. For some raising support has been one of the most beneficial
experiences during their preparation. Why? Because it forced them to honestly
rely on the power of God and the power of prayer in a situation that was beyond
their own control. We trust that you'll look at raising your support as an
opportunity to see your own faith grow by seeing God at work.
Support letters are an extremely important and effective means of informing
people about your plans and invite their participation as a sender. The letter
allows you to share how the Lord is directing you and also gives your friends and
family an opportunity to partner with you through prayer and/or financial support.
Many people can't take the time to go on a mission themselves, but they enjoy
the opportunity of being an important partner in your ministry. Remember, people
can't take part in the opportunity if you don't share with them your need. Those
who send are just as integral to God’s work as those who go.
Support letters shouldn’t sound like a sales pitch. It is important that you provide
an honest description of your reasons for going and your need for their
partnership. Don't feel like you have to be too formal or that you must stick to a
particular format, and write using your own voice and style.
The most important thing to keep in perspective is that your support letter is just
a conversation starter. The most effective support raising is when you talk face to
face to your supporters. Each letter will invite them to call you and you will make
an attempt to call or visit as many recipients of the letter as possible.
Elements of an Effective Support Letter
Your letter should take any form that is natural for you, but it should include the
warm opening statement
an update on your life (school, work, activities, living situation, etc.)
how and why God has led you to get involved in this mission or project
**what specifically your project will entail (country, situation or needs of the
people, work you'll do, how long, etc)
how much you need to raise
a request for their partnership in this call (financially and prayerfully).
Remind them that you will provide prayer requests and updates during
your experience (a blog is good here or a newsletter).
a deadline when you need to hear back from them
a promise to be available if they call and/or a promise to call them in order
to answer their questions and tell them more.
Appreciation for considering your request
a response card and return envelope
**Brief sentences describing your ministry and the program you are involved
in are provided for you to use or adapt into your letter. See the sample
February 9, 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
Hello! I hope all is well with you. I am so excited to tell you about this amazing
opportunity I will have this March.
As a recent college graduate I have been launched into the “real world.” I plan to
return to school for special education in the fall. I am currently working with
severely handicapped children as an instructional paraprofessional. Since
January I have been working with an autistic child as a one-on-one aide.
Although this is extremely challenging work, it has forced me to rely solely on
Christ’s strength. I have found the college ministry at Bidwell Presbyterian
Church, The Door, to be a place where I am filled up with God’s love and grace.
Through The Door I have the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic.
One of the church’s mission partners, Tara Albert, a Chico State graduate and an
alumnus of The Door, serves as a teacher at the Doulos Discovery School in the
Dominican Republic. The school’s mission is to equip future leaders through
discipleship and experiential learning to serve and impact the Dominican
Republic for Christ. The purpose of our trip will be to assist in a building project
on the school campus and to engage in relational ministry and cultural exchange.
I am writing this letter to ask if you might consider parterning with me in this work
through prayer and/or financial support of some kind. It would be a blessing to
know that my friends and family are praying for me during the time I am away.
We are asked to raise $1200 for the trip.
I would greatly appreciate any contribution you can make. Please prayerfully
consider sending whatever God leads you. Your gift would be fully tax-
deductible, and any contributions I receive above my individual cost will be
applied to the team expenses as a whole. If you feel lead to give, please make
checks payable to BPC and write “DR team” in the memo section. To make
things easy, please fill out the enclosed response card. Please keep in mind that
this is time-sensitive and these donations must be mailed by (?).
I am so excited about being a part of this mission trip team, and I appreciate your
consideration. Please feel free to call me with your questions and I will try to
reach you within the next week so we can talk more fully about this opportunity.
I hope all is well with you. I am writing to tell you about a terrific opportunity I will
have this summer.
I'm still attending Chico State and keeping myself busy with studies, intramural
soccer, my fraternity activities, and the occasional date! I'm in the middle of my
Junior year and have finally decided to major in English literature. I've found that
I can learn so much about the world through literature. In each book I get a little
history, psychology, religion, and culture. It's a great education. I've also been
involved with a college fellowship group called The Door, a ministry of Bidwell
Memorial Presbyterian Church, and it's through this group that I have the
opportunity to go to Albania.
Bidwell Church has established a partnership with several ministries in Albania.
Our team will travel to Tirana, Albania for two weeks to serve and relate primarily
to two groups, The Fellowship of Christian Albanian Students, and a local church,
Emmanuel Church. Our purpose together is to promote relationships, to serve
the Albanian people, and to share the good news of Christ’s love.
I am writing to ask if you would be my partner in this service through prayer
and/or financial support. I would love to know that a group of friends and family
are praying for me during the 2 weeks I will spend in Albania. Having friends
involved will be like going with all of you to Albania! As for finances, we are asked
to raise $1750 for the trip, as well as do yard work (and recruit friends to help us)
as a fundraiser through Bidwell Presbyterian. I am also working this spring and
plan to work next year as well to make up for the money I won’t be earning this
I would really appreciate any contribution you can make. Might you consider
sending $75, 100, ($25, $50) or whatever God leads you? Your gift would be fully
tax-deductible, and any contributions I receive above my individual cost will be
applied to the team expenses as a whole. To make this easy, please fill out the
enclosed response card. Please know that if you join me I will be sending you
prayer requests before I go and giving you a full report upon my return.
I am excited about being a part of this team, and I appreciate your consideration.
Please feel free to call me with your questions and I will try to reach you over the
next 3 weeks so we can talk more fully about this opportunity.