Why should you “think different” about your support letters?
I’ve heard too often from missionaries that “writing support letters is a chore… I’d rather be working with the people I’ve been called to serve.” If that thought has been running through your head, let me encourage you to think differently about the reasons you would send your support letters…
Most missionaries or short-term project participants have the wrong perspective about support-raising.
Maybe you do, too. You must realize that your first and most important ministry is to your prospects and partners!
Support is not about you and your needs. Rather it is about providing a unique opportunity for friends, relatives and others to participate in something that is of great importance — even life-changing.
The wrong way to approach people is to ask them to support you because you are going to do something important. The right way is to invite them to JOIN you in DOING something important. Change your perspective about meeting YOUR needs to meeting THEIR needs by helping them participate in a great cause. This can dramatically affect how — and what — you communicate.
Here’s one of the most important tips we can offer you:
Instead of Focusing on YOUR NEEDS focus on the OBJECTIVES of your work.
The tendency is to believe that your ministry is all about you. In fact you are a conduit to achieve an outcome of some kind — perhaps to reach people for Christ in a foreign country, or to help victims of a natural disaster, or to show love to kids in an orphanage.
Whatever the intended results of your ministry activity, it is not about you. Rather you are a means to a greater end. This is where the focus of your communications should be.
If you are initially raising support, show your prospects and partners how THEY will make a difference by joining your team. If you are writing to existing partners, encourage them by demonstrating the IMPACT THEY are having.
Shifting your focus away from yourself and to those you are serving will ALWAYS make for more powerful communications (and remember that you are serving your PARTNERS by representing them in your assignment).