Honest about Fundraising

fundraising lettersLet’s be honest, shall we? We want to be honest (even vulnerable) on this here website, so we might as well start now.

Some of you received a support letter from us. We’re talking old-school, “we’re going overseas, can you help?” paper support letter.*

We weren’t going to ask you for money

We weren’t going to do this. We were going to save up a lot of money and pay our own way around the world. There were a few reasons for that:

  • We don’t have measurable outcomes. And honestly, we don’t really want them. We’re not planning to save 5 souls a month, rescue girls from the sex trade, build a house in the DRC or bring peace to the Middle East. We intend to learn from great organizations, listen to people’s stories and affirm their worth as children of God, wash dishes, do admin work, take pictures, write, drink tea, eat rice, and love people (to name a few things). So while we intend to offer our gifts however we can, we have no planned measurable outcomes. And we know how much North Americans love them some outcomes and solutions, especially when donating.
  • We didn’t want to feel guilty. During our (approximately) 18-month journey in addition to our work of service,  we might trek in the Himalayas for 3 weeks, visit friends in Istanbul, or go snorkeling in the Red Sea. We didn’t want to feel guilty using your money to do that.
  • To be honest, I didn’t want you to judge us. I didn’t want you to receive a letter and have the thought, “So you want me to help pay for you to see the world? Maybe you should get a job and pay your own way.”

So that’s what we did. We’ve had jobs the past few years and saved up a good amount of money to pay our own way.

And then we went and asked you for money

And then a friend sat us down and told us, “Andrew and Becca, I love you. I believe in you two. I believe in your hearts and what you intend to do and believe that God is going to use you. I want to support you,” she said. “And I want to support you to take a break and go hiking, or spend a night at a hotel to catch your breath from the red light area.”

“I want to support you,” she repeated. “You just have to ask. And I think other people would feel the same way.”

Huh. That’s a good thought, but we weren’t quite convinced.

So we started asking around of those people whom we believed would give us straight, honest answers. What would you think if we asked for money?

Everyone said the same thing – Not only do we want to support you, but we want to learn with you as you experience the world and partner with great organizations.

So we were pretty much convinced that some of you are into this and want to support this. We changed our minds and just sent those old-school prayer letters to 150 of you. And then it was like…

Buyers remorse, or something.

Did we just do that? What are people going to think? Will they judge us?

An Invitation

So here is the deal. This journey we’re taking is:

  • Full of purpose, but short on measurable outcomes
  •  Big on learning, but small on answers

  • High on hopes, but low on (specific) expectations

  • Focused on loving people, not changing them

  • About story-listening first, storytelling second

Some of you will think, “Yeah, I’m not into that.” The good news is, this is an invitation that you can decline. You can even decline the invitation to give money, but come along on the journey. Read the blog. Hear the stories. Learn with us. Challenge our thinking and assumptions. We would love it!

And some of you might read this and say, “I can get behind this. I want to be a part of this. I want to give.” Well, you too are invited to give and join this journey with us. We’ve saved a bunch of money, but your gifts will help us to take the entire journey that seems to be forming along the path in front of us.

In the end, we remembered our wedding. A year ago many of you stood with us. We were intent on bringing the symbolism of community into that ceremony and recognizing the need for you all in our lives. But it was always meant to be more than a symbol. We wanted to live that out. As we wrestled with whether or not to send those letters, the question became, “Can we embark on this journey without our community?” And the truth is: We need them. We need you. We could use your help to pay for this, and we need you to come with us – in spirit, in mind, in phone calls, in emails, in prayers, in debriefing conversations, in dialogue, in visits, in wrestling, in loving. Whether or not you give money, we need you with us.

*Note: In our paper letters that some of you received, we were a little unclear about who to make checks out to. If writing a check, make it out to The Mills Church. Put the name of our project, Adding to the Beauty in the memo line.


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