Thursday, January 23, 2014

The COST to count it all joy

While I would much rather write about all the joy that happens on a mission trip, the reality is we have to address the one issue  most people would rather not have to think about - {insert gloomy sound here} - the actual cost to send 12 to 15 people on a mission trip.

Last year, we took a team of 7 for under $2000. That included our t shirts, our travel, fuel, all of our meals, and our silly incidental junk as well. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  We were able to keep our expenses low due to the generosity of Ridgecrest Baptist church (lodging us in their childrens ministry building) and North River Church (who provided us lunch each day and helped coordinate our trip).

The success of a mission trip depends on a number of factors - the least of which is funding. But without the funds, the mission trip can't succeed at all.

I like to be transparent when it comes to the cost of a trip, and what's being done with the money. So I create a budget, and offer line items to show where the money goes.  Below is our summer budget based on a 15 person team.

Budget: $6000
Goal is to raise about $500 per person. This covers fuel, meals, team shirts, etc.

$1000 Fuel – Around $800 - $1000
$2625 Meals - $25 per person (15) per day (7)
$375 Incidentals - $25 per person (15) total (this covers unexpected expenses)
$675 Shirts - about $15 per person (professionally screened) and each person needs 3
$500 Ministry Blessing – Variable, but would be nice to give them a $500 gift.
$5175 TOTAL

The "Ministry Blessing" is an important part of what we are about. We are asking other ministries to come along side of us, and support us while we are in NOLA. These are the people who live in New Orleans, and continue the mission long after we're gone. :-)

We use a number of avenues to raise funds for our trip; basic "ask" letters, facebook posts from our GoFundMe account, and auctioning off van seats. We also have a couple of fundraisers where we invite clients, friends, and the general public, and serve a meal, offer baskets for raffle, and silent auction items. Currently, we are working with some local restaurants to offer "flyer fundraisers" as well.

As funds come in, I post our running total one or two times a month. We also keep a sheet that tracks each person's donation, as well as their contact information so that we can mail them a year end giving letter.