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?