Three missions in Ghana get creative about funding missions
By Victor Bajah
Fundraising is the unsung hero of the missions movement. While it can be overlooked or even perceived as an embarrassment, missions is not possible without it. Fundraising is a herculean task, not just because some come from countries with weaker economies, but because the concept is unfamiliar. Those who do it may face the misconception that they are irresponsible or beggars.
Nevertheless, three missions in Ghana are paving the way around this financial roadblock by getting creative with raising and managing funds. These organisations, Footworks International, Teens Aloud and Excellent Youth Outreach (EYO), all focus on discipling young people and sending short-term teams to locations in and beyond Ghana.
How funds are raised
Most funds are raised from local churches. Student travellers are also required to raise some support from family, friends, schoolmates, lecturers, etc. EYO holds fundraising drives to solicit funds from individuals, businesses, churches, campuses and former members who have joined the working class in society. Teens Aloud relies on their alumni to donate also.
Donors are also encouraged to provide items such as groceries, stationery and Christian literature in place of funds. This helps to cover feeding expenses during pre-missions training (at least four days residential) and on the field (usually three weeks).
In addition, Footworks runs small businesses to raise money, including animal and crop farming and importing computer accessories to sell.
Keeping costs down
These organisations largely operate as platforms for short-termers (STers) to have an opportunity to serve on the field. Some are sent in teams of two to five people per country. It is easier for families to host small teams, which avoids the cost of accommodation in a guesthouse or hotel.
Missionaries also travel by road to reduce costs. One organisation reports that airfares can cost significantly less when they travel by road and fly out from a neighbouring country. Missionaries must raise funds for flights, but the organisation pays for expenses on the ground.
A minimum of six months is used to raise funds for each trip. Key to preparation is prayer and trust in God’s provision. At times families and churches in the field are willing to host the teams and cater their food, accommodation and transportation. One organisation explained that they had been beneficiaries of countless acts of generosity from many believers in other countries.
Most of these missionaries only go for short-term trips, but EYO and Footworks also send long-term workers who serve up to two years. Teens Aloud have managed to sustain a small number of long-term missionaries in about seven countries.
These three missions clearly demonstrate that it is financially possible to send significant numbers of STers. They are often young, and their exposure to missions can confirm God’s calling in their lives, while their enthusiasm gives a boost to ministries in the field.
Although these funding models work well for STers, supporting a family long-term is more expensive and poses more challenges. However, these groups are blazing the trail for the glory of God, using the little they have to achieve results for the gospel among nations.