The initial support letter is key because it is the “kick-off” of your support raising efforts. This is a letter you want to take your time and draft/design it well. Here are some helpful steps to get you through the task:
- Goals – The primary goal is to clearly and simply announce the ministry that God has called you to and how people can get involved.
- What should be included?
- Basic Calling – keep it simple and remember your not writing a sermon so keep the preaching to a minimum.
- Ministry Vision – why are you going to ______ country and what are you going to do when you get there? You do not need to have all the answers and remember it is probably going to change about 30 times after you get there and the Lord refines your calling. Therefore, paint with a broad brush.
- Practical – what do you need? Don’t be afraid to communicate. People actually find it helpful to know what is required in becoming a missionary. They have probably never even thought about the realities that you are facing and would appreciate the information/education.
- Call to action – how can they be involved? i.e. support (include how they can support), care team, prayer, etc… Also, include any important dates like – departure date, support dinners, etc…
- Pictures – High quality pictures that communicate a vision of the ministry and location.
- Thank You – Make sure to thank them for taking the time to read your letter.
- Prayer Needs
- Know your audience – Unlike your monthly update letter this letter is geared towards a broader audience. This is more of a factual/information letter that should be designed to inspire people to get behind your calling.
- Keep it short and sweet – your goal should be one solid page with pictures.
What to do with the letter?
There are two avenues that this letter needs to be geared for that will require two different designs.
- Electronic – You need to design an e-mail templet that will look nice in a person inbox. It’s not a good idea to attach a .pdf as most people won’t open it. You want to capture their attention the second they open your e-mail with your well designed templet so that they will invest the 2-3 minutes it take to read it. Make sure to put in the appropriate links to your website and giving pages.
- Print – There are amazing templates for both Word and Pages that you can plug your information in. For the initial support letter, unlike the monthly update letters, I always encourage people to make the investment to mail and/or hand out the letter to everyone that can. Also, include any prayer cards, giving envelopes and giving forms that are appropriate.