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5 Virtual Mission Trip Fundraising Ideas

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by Abbie Thiebaut Abbie is a full-time member of the EM staff who uses her experience leading mission trips to encourage others to serve in communities across the U.S. and around the world.

NOTE: This article has been edited to reflect the most recent updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic, as of April 15, 2020.

As social distancing, "stay at home" orders, or all-out quarantines are still happening, many mission trip teams and participants may find themselves asking, “Will I even be able to go?” and “If I can go, how do I fundraise the money while separated from my support network?” We want to be a resource for all mission trip teams and individual participants as we all navigate this unknown situation together.

If you find yourself wondering, “Is fundraising still worth it?” we think the answer is, "Yes!" Regardless of what the future holds, trips that are months away are still 100% worth pursuing. Here are a few reasons to keep moving forward with all aspects of your mission trip.

— At EM, we’re cautiously optimistic about many of our summer mission trips and communities, and we’re working with individual teams to make sure as many people as possible are able to say "Yes" to loving others and serving more like Jesus in 2020.

— There’s flexibility to your funds. EM is working to help people change locations, dates, or offer partial credits toward future trips in the event that travel to certain communities is not possible this summer. For 1-2 week teams, all trip payments made between April 15 and 30 days before your trip are 100% transferrable to a trip next year.

It’s a chance to bring people together. Regardless of whether or not you end up on a mission trip this summer, faithfully moving forward in this process can give your team, your church, and your local community HOPE and something to rally around as they come together for a good cause.

Our Top 5 Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Virtual Mission Trip Fundraising


1. Sell Mission Trip Shirts

This fundraiser can be done entirely online! It also provides people with a tangible item they can use to feel connected to your group and your trip. You can work with a company to design a custom shirt or design your own, collect online orders, and mail them to your supporters —all while keeping appropriate social distance!

TIP: Our friends over at Fund The Nations are still going ahead full-speed and can get you started today!

2. Flower Bulb Sales

As spring is upon us and families are stuck at home with time to kill, this is a great chance to help brighten up every neighborhood. Purchase flower bulbs in bulk online and sell them to your community or church members, dropping them off on people’s front porch or setting up a blind pick-up date for people to grab their order. You can even include a special rate to include delivery or planting!

Virtual Mission Trip Fundraising Ideas

3. Rock-A-Thon/Game-A-Thon/Telethon

We may all be stuck at home right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel disconnected. Create a personal challenge for yourself (like rocking in a chair for 12 hours, walking 25 miles, or bouncing a basketball outside), then get your friends and family to make pledges to support this feat. Cast the entire event over Facebook Live for accountability and to make everyone feel included.

TIP: Get the whole family involved. Consider asking another relative or friend to offer commentary or play-by-play for the event to make it more engaging for friends and family who tune in!

4. Sell Coffee!

Contact a local coffee roaster and ask about a special deal for selling coffee on their behalf or through a bulk order. You can then charge a little more for the coffee and sell it to your networks as a fundraiser. You’ll be giving your community a chance to not only support you but also support a local business who may be facing financial hardships in light of social distancing restrictions.

Virtual Mission Trip Fundraising Ideas

5. Create a Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Charge a small fee (through Paypal, Venmo, or a donation toward your trip) to get access to a scavenger hunt that people can participate in online at home! Pick a starting point online and create clues that lead to places like church websites, the EM website, or even local businesses. You could even include comments on old Facebook photos or Instagram posts that reveal the next destination. Get creative! The last clue can lead to a Google form where someone can input their email address and declare themselves first place. Add a prize for the winner to make it extra competitive!

Virtual Mission Trip Fundraising Ideas

While the future may feel uncertain as it pertains to travel, we’re inviting you to remain optimistic! The summer is still months away and we all need something to hope in on the other side of this crisis. Whether you’re fundraising for a 2020 mission trip or getting a headstart on 2021 mission trips, virtual fundraisers are a great opportunity to bring your community together right now in a fun, safe way.

Want more fundraising ideas? Download our free Mission Trip Fundraising Guide for short-term teams and IMMERSION!


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