Getting Started

Step 1: Take Inventory of Prospective Supporters

List all the people you could possibly contact for support. Don’t exclude anyone at this point, and keep in mind that you are looking for prayer partners as well as financial partners. Next to the name, put their contact information, and leave space to record pledges (see sample in Appendix 1). You may want to use a notebook or put together a binder for easier organization. Be sure to think through the following categories of people in your life:

  • Family members and relatives
  • Family friends
  • Friends on campus (including your campus fellowship)
  • Friends outside of campus
  • Church pastors and missions committee heads
  • Church members (home church and school church)
  • IVCF alumni from your school
  • Current/former employers and work colleagues
  • Current/former neighbors
  • Those who have influenced you spiritually
  • Special networks (extracurricular clubs, etc.)

Pray specifically for guidance as you come up with your support list. Ask God to provide the finances and prayer supporters that you will need. Pray for these potential supporters as you are aware of their needs.


Step 2: Estimate the Amount of Financial Support

Before you talk to people, it is helpful and important to have an estimate of where your financial support will come from. This exercise can also help you decide how much financial support to ask of certain groups of people. Review your inventory sheets, and fill in the blanks below:

Urban Program Program Cost:     $________
Minus  - amount you will give $________
  - amount family/relatives will give $________
  - amount family friends will give $________
  - amount friends will give $________
  - amount churches will give $________
  - amount church members will give $________
  - amount IVCF alumni will give $________
  - amount employers/colleagues will give $________
  - amount neighbors will give   $________
  - amount others will give $________
Balance should equal =       $ 0 (or less than 0)*                          

*If your balance is less than 0, it will provide an ideal cushion. And remember that if God brings you more than you need, He is looking to provide for someone else’s need on your Urban Program.


Step 3: Prepare Yourself For Asking

Many missionaries have a difficult time asking people for support. To alleviate fears and to be most effective, you will need to do your homework ahead of time. First, you need to decide how you will ask each person: via phone, email, social media, letter, face-to-face, group presentation, etc. (see “Tools for Asking” section). In some cultural settings, a face-to-face direct ask is most appropriate. In other cultural settings, an indirect ask via email or an advocate would be more appropriate. Pray and ask God for wisdom; if you still are unsure, talk with your InterVarsity staff or church leader. At a minimum, consider sending out a letter announcing your plans to participate in an Urban Program.

No matter how you communicate with people, you will need to organize your thoughts before you begin contacting them. Practice what you will say several times. You may want to outline the answers to the following questions on a note card (see sample in Appendix 2):

  • How did I become a Christian?
  • How did I hear about the Urban Program?
  • What will I be doing and learning through the Urban Program?
  • Why am I going?
  • What do I need (prayer and specific amount of money)?
  • What do I want from you (specific amount, referral, or prayer commitment)?
  • When will the Urban Program begin?

Finally, identify at least 1 or more prayer partners immediately. These are people who agree to pray for you between now and when you return. Ask them to keep you accountable and to pray for you throughout the fundraising process.