Writing a Support Letter: Asking for Money in your Support Letter

Be honest.

If you’re struggling to raise enough support, say so. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t try to guilt people into giving (e.g. “I guess if I don’t get $600 more a month, I’ll have to come home”). If you’re tired of asking for help or overwhelmed by the amount you have to raise, maybe it’s ok to say that, too.

In this support-raiser’s four years of experience, this letter was probably the most effective:

Now, as I wrote last month, I am preparing for a three-year contract. Even though I’m incredibly excited to pursue this calling, I feel a little bit of dread. Will I be able to find the means to stay? And then last month, my support account dipped into the negative for the first time.

So I write this letter to humbly ask for your help.

Besides several generous one-time gifts, I have had 13 loved ones graciously commit to supporting me monthly, a total of $540. For my $1,400 monthly net pay, I need to raise $2,336 each month (which includes Social Security, taxes, insurances). This leaves $1,796 for me to raise each month.

Can I tell you the truth? As I entered those numbers into the calculator and hit =, the $1,796 came up like a punch in the gut. I feel like it’s just too high, just an insurmountable task. And then I think about how I felt when I accepted the internship in the first place. Overwhelmed. How can I possibly raise this money? How can I ask for this?

Yet now, I think back over the past 10 months with gratitude. I have had so many loved ones help me raise all the money I’ve needed; I’ve been encouraged in incredible ways; and I’ve found myself in a community where I have been challenged to grow and learn, and where I have been able to offer my gifts and reflections and struggles. I know my heart has been able to grow in gratitude through this process. And I know it’s about to grow a whole lot more, as I believe my needs will miraculously continue to be met.

You are doing this work for a reason. Your supporters have chosen to support you for a reason. Keep inviting them into your work, and keep inviting new people. Be honest, be authentic, be vulnerable. There’s no need to be a sob story. But do invite with confidence and sincerity.

When have you felt best about the way in which you asked for financial support?