Sometimes, people want to step out in faith to attend our training schools here at YWAM, Tyler. But fundraising can feel like a frustratingly insurmountable hurdle. One of our missionaries, Megan Bixler, would like to share some of the wisdom and encouragement she has learned from fundraising. Please read this and be encouraged that God really will provide for all that he has called you to do.
After being in missions for the last two years, I feel like I’ve done a lot of fundraising, so I have a few tips. I also wanted to encourage you that if God is calling you to come to Discipleship Training School or School of Evangelism, He WILL provide! I know it may not make sense for you to raise the money, but God is wildly creative, and I have seen Him provide in the craziest ways! Here are some things that have been successful for me, and a lot of other people here at YWAM Tyler:
- PRAY! Ask the Lord how He wants you to fundraise. Even with months or years of fundraising experience, we can go at it with our own wisdom, but honestly, it may not get us very far. He knows exactly how He is going to provide before we even say yes to that outreach or school, so take time to ask Him how He wants you to fundraise. It may look like only asking a few people, or it may look like asking a hundred people you may not know well. In this process He is inviting you to trust Him in a deeper way than ever before. Let Him be in this process with you!
- Create relationships with people. People love to hear what you’re doing, and they love to connect with you, and they love to support you just because they know who you are! They might not even know what YWAM is or what DTS and SOE are, or what all the acronyms we use are, but they know you, and they probably want to support you. Create relationships and then ask them to support you if that is what God is telling you do.
- Share your needs. If you don’t share the need, no one is going to know. Ask from relationships that you have created. Tell them what you're doing and where you’re going, then share the need with them. For example, "Hey, I’m in need of $1,000. Would you want to help me with $50-$100?" When you give a specific amount, it’s easier for people to get on board.
- Follow up with the people you just shared your needs with. You’re probably going to get a lot of responses like, "Oh hey, let me talk to my spouse/parents/whoever about it." Also, take note of people that like your posts on social media. A lot of times, when you post something really cool about your school or outreach, people will like it, but no one really responds because they want you to make the first move and follow up with them.
- You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. You know that person in church that you don’t really know because they’re a little bit scary or intimidating? It’s okay to ask them for support. If you don’t ask, they’re probably not going to give you an answer or support. We don’t have it because we don’t ask. Just go for for it and ask! The worst thing they could do is say no.
- It’s not about the money, it’s about the kingdom. When people say no, just remember, it’s not about the money, it's about the Kingdom of God. The reality is that not everyone is going to be able to give you money, and that’s okay. Don’t worry about it. Keep on going, and the Lord will provide!
- Design and sell t-shirts. There is a company called Fund The Nations and they have a few designers that will personally connect with you and ask you questions about what you want on your shirt and what you don’t want. If you only know a little thing that you want on the shirt, like a specific picture or a verse, tell them that, and they will run with that and send you different ideas to choose from that you like best! It’s a pretty easy process. When you get the picture of what the shirts will look like, go ahead and post them on all of your social media, ask your family to post it, and send them to all your friends and family,
- Make a list of 100-200 people you know. (I promise you know this many people.) This has been one of my most successful ways to fundraise. For example: your family, close and distant, friends, people you used to go to school with, old co-workers, parent’s co-workers, people you’re friends with on Facebook/Instagram etc. After you write them all down, categorize them into 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s. Each number represents the order of giving probability. 1's mean you know they would give to you. 2’s mean you think they might give, but you aren’t sure. 3’s mean that you’re sure that they won’t give. After that, reach out to each of them with a text that says something like this: “Hey, (their name), I hope you’ve been doing well! I recently finished a Discipleship Training School with YWAM Tyler and the Lord did …… in my life, and He revealed …. to me. In my next steps, I feel like God is leading me to do a secondary school called School of Evangelism, and with that comes a cost. It would mean so much to me if you would pray and ask the Lord if He would want you to support me in prayer or finances. I am in the process of building a prayer team, so if you would like to be on that list, please let me know! I would love to call you or set up a time to meet to share more about what God is doing in my life, and I would also love to hear about what He is doing in yours. Let me know which would work for you.” This has been a profitable method of fundraising for me.
A testimony from this is that most of the people that I put as a 3 actually gave to my DTS, and it was just because I was obedient in asking them, even though it didn’t really make sense! The Lord laid one of my junior high best friend’s dad on my heart to reach out to during DTS, and I was sure that he wouldn’t give anything to me because I hadn’t been friends with his daughter in four years. I reached out in faith, and he ended up giving me $250 towards my DTS outreach, which was actually all that I needed. Step out in faith when God is asking you to, ESPECIALLY when it doesn’t make sense.
Another personal testimony: This is the last thing I’ll say here, but God totally confirmed for me to do a SOE two weeks before it started. I had little to no faith that God was going to provide because it was so soon. For the first week, I sold shirts and asked anyone and everyone I could. I was getting money, but not how I expected to. The night before I moved into the girl's dorm, I only had $800, and I needed at least $2,400 at registration. I was at a complete loss, and said, "Well, I guess I’m not doing SOE after all."
HA! God spoke to me in that moment, and it was one of the clearest times I have ever heard Him! He said, “Meg, you of little faith. I have made it clear that this is where I am leading you. Will you stop doing it out of your own strength and let Me provide for you?” I was literally speechless….I surrendered my finances over to Him at that moment. I asked God if there was anything I could do before the next day, and He told me to reach out to my pastor and ask if I could speak and share my need.
The next morning, I spoke at both my church services. I was so scared, but I just wanted to be obedient. Let’s just say God provided in abundance! My stepping out in obedience was a way for other people to also step out in obedience. A single mom of two felt like she was supposed to take out $1,300 in cash, which was basically all she had. She didn’t understand why, but she did it anyway, and as soon as I shared during the second service that I only needed $1,300 to cover ⅔ of my tuition, she knew that she was supposed to give it towards my tuition. GOD IS FAITHFUL GUYS! Don’t let your fear hold you back. Kick the enemy in the face and step into the fullness of what God has for you!
If God is speaking to you to come to a Discipleship Training School or one of our fantastic additional training schools, don't let fear of fundraising stop you! Be encouraged by Megan's story, step out in faith, and start the process today!