Trusting God to Raise the Funds Needed for Your Internship

You are about to embark on one of the most exciting and challenging adventures you will have in your life. However, we know that you are very aware of your need to trust God for the financial costs involved in this internship, and you are wondering how in the world you will see this happen before you leave for your internship... I have good news for you!  If He has called you to this unique work, He already has a plan in mind for how it will come to fruition. It will also be important to have a team that is supporting what you are doing, both in finances and in their prayers. The reality is that there are people in your sphere of influence who will want to join your team. You just need to find them and give them a good reason why they should invest in your life and work!

Some Biblical Perspective:

You are giving people an opportunity to invest in eternity!
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6: 19-21 NIV)

You are giving people an opportunity to channel their resources toward a kingdom building endeavor - your internship!
9 The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly. 14 "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." 
(1 Chronicles 29:9, 14 NIV)

In this passage, King David gave Israel an opportunity to underwrite the cost of building a temple for the Lord. Furthermore, he knew that all of the world's wealth belonged to God, and he boldly challenged others to channel their resources towards building a physical testimony to the Lord, a temple. Through a similar process, you have been given the privilege of enlisting others help in kingdom building, restoring broken lives, and raising up leaders who will change their communities for eternity.

Some ideas for developing a personal Support Raising Strategy:

As we read about the prophet Nehemiah in the bible, it is obvious that he spent some critical time on his knees; recognizing what had happened to Jerusalem, his responsibility for doing something about that condition, and his incredible need for God! He then stepped out in faith. Being moved to action, he solicited the King for his favor and went to the place he was called to help restore. Finally, he cast vision to those who could help, and engaged them in the work.  It seems that this internship that the Lord is calling you to might elicit a similar strategy!

A. Begin!

By thanking God for this opportunity! Ask him to reveal any hesitations, fears, dreams and desires as you step into this important journey of faith. Ask him to give you a vision and a passion for the work you are about to enter into. Admit your need for him to show up in this whole endeavor!

B. "Namestorm"

An initial list of potential ministry partners. Research has found that the average person has a personal network of at least 400 friends and acquaintances. Heck, I have over 400 "friends" on Face book alone! At first, don't leave anyone out. DO NOT answer "no" for anyone. We have found that the most unlikely people will give the most sacrificially. So, give everyone the opportunity to invest in you and your ministry, and let them decide for themselves what they can or can't do!  (Your bible study group, Aunt Martha, the dentist, that little old lady in the prayer group-what was her name, again?)... you get the idea.

C. Write Them a Letter

While it would be great to meet everyone you know for coffee or write them a personal note, you may want to start with a general support letter that will inform people of your internship and specific needs. Then you can follow up with a phone call or a personal meeting, especially with those who are most interested in your work or most vested in you personally! You may also be tempted to just send out an email to everyone, but I would recommend against this for several reasons. Your email may end up in a "spam" folder, and you will never know it.  It might not get read. It will be difficult to give them a tangible "response" tool like a self-addressed stamped envelope. The following are some guidelines for the letter you will be sending out to your "namestorm" list.

  1. Put a specific date on your letter  - timeliness is an issue.
  2. Personalize your greeting (don't use a generic greeting -"Dear fellow church members").
  3. Acknowledge your relationship to the reader -  especially if they might not be that familiar with you.
  4. Share with them what you are currently doing -  a few sentences about what has led up to this internship.
  5. Explain to them about this internship opportunity -  how the Lord has been leading you, what you will be doing, and your excitement for this.
  6. Express your need -  remember the purpose of this letter is to ask them to join your team! Be very specific!
  7. Involve them by asking them for a specific action based on the needs you have shared -  This might include challenging them to help cover some of the specific costs involved (provide the total amount needed as well). Challenge them to a specific range ($100, $200, $300, or some other amount). Give them tangible things to pray for you and your upcoming internship.
  8. State a specific deadline for when you need them to commit by.
  9. Acknowledge your relationship again  - your desire to connect with them further, thank them for prayerfully considering joining your team, express appreciation, gratitude, etc. Let them know that you will be calling them to answer any questions they might have. 
  10. Sign it  (don't photocopy your signature; make it "real")
  11. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped return envelope-This is KEY!  You need to give them a tangible, easy way to respond!

D. Call Them!

You might be surprised to get some immediate, enthusiastic responses in your mail box. Praise God!  However, a follow-up phone call to each of the people you sent a letter to is important for the following reasons.

  1. Most people suffer from information overload. Mail can be overlooked or unread.
  2. You need a lot of money in a short amount of time. A follow-up phone call ensures that you have their response in a reasonable time-frame. You might want to start calling people a week after you send out the letter. The reality is that most people will decide after they have read the letter, what they are going to do.  Then the letter gets covered up by the next day's mail, or it gets thrown out by accident, or the dog eats it, or it gets put into that huge stack called:  "things I need to get to when I have the chanceā€¦"
  3. It's a courtesy to your potential ministry partners. Many people will want to help, but they won't unless you call them to answer some questions they have, or to explain in more detail what you are doing, which will help them make the decision.
  4. Ask them for help finding additional partners.  After they have given you an answer whether yes, or no, ask them if they might know anyone else who might be interested in hearing about the incredible work you will be doing.  Assure them that you understand that their "friends" might not be a position to join your team financially, but they might still be blessed by what they hear, be able to pray for you, or know others that might be in a position to help. 

E.  Write Them a Thank You Note 
Be sure to send out a thank you note the same day you receive a decision. Be sure to keep a record of this so you don't send one to the same person twice! This thank-you letter is an important part of developing a relationship with your ministry partner and to share with them how much you appreciate their generosity and how much you are looking forward to sharing about what God does to build the kingdom through their partnership. This should be a personal, hand-written note, not a form letter. You might also follow this up with an email if they are more likely to read that. Let them know how they can track with you through a newsletter, blog, twitter, etc. Make sure you send an additional letter at the end of your internship time, sharing what the Lord has done, so that they can rejoice with you as well as see tangible results of their partnership with you!