I love missionaries. Honestly, they are some of my favorite people on the planet. My uncle started an orphanage in Kenya that is giving a home to more than 300 kids. Compassion International does some great work and I’ve recently made friends with some folks in Haiti. Like I said, I love missionaries. That’s why in addition to helping you write short mission trip fundraising letters, I thought it would be good to help you set up the perfect fundraising family photo.
Have you ever received one of these in the mail? I have. Dozens in fact, but most of them make the same mistakes. There are a few very easy things you can do to dramatically increase the money you are able to raise for your missions. What are those things Jon? I’m glad you asked.
Today, I’ve posted a two part look at the missionary family photo. This post is the before, using a photo my family sent out in 1977 or so. My father worked for InterVarsity, and although he didn’t travel overseas, he was in essence raising ministry dollars. So let’s look at what my family did incorrectly:
1. Where is the machete?
I wish this wasn’t true, but people like sponsoring exotic missionaries. We like the idea of you swinging through the jungles or crossing the desert to reach a far off people group that needs to hear about the Lord. My dad kind of looks like he is being sent to minister to Ohio in this photo. (No offense Ohio, I heart you.) In addition to not having a machete visible, he’s wearing a tie. Ties traditionally cause you to get a 17% smaller donation. I made that number up, but it feels right.
2. Always rock a “missionary mustache”
I have been very honest about my feelings when it comes to facial hair and Christians. I think all male Christian counselors should have “wisdom beards” and all missionaries should have “missionary mustaches.” But here, in this photo, my dad is not mustachioed. He instantly loses 23% of the funds he could have gotten had he grown a mustache.
3. No lottery face
I love missionaries that are happy in their photos. I mean they are doing the work of God, are living life where they were called to be, but my mom looks too happy in this photo. She has “lottery face” like someone just told her she won 10 million dollars. In the after photo, featured in part 2 of this post, you’ll see how she was able to dial it down using my advice. (I realize I was only 2 at the time but I was very insightful and was able to give them advice on how to improve the photo despite the fact that I was still wearing a diaper.)
4. Mo’ kids, Mo’ money
Now that we have two kids, my wife and I giggle that we ever thought one kid was a lot of work. One kid is like a dream compared to two kids. You each have to watch one of them when you have two. You can’t play zone defense anymore. It’s all man to man now. Two kids is just harder. That’s why it’s good to always have at least three kids in your mission fundraising photo. If you’ve only got one, then borrow someone’s kids for a few minutes and add them to the photo. (That only feels unethical because it is.)
Those are my four tips, but before we move to the after, I want to point out something. Look how solemn I am. Seriously, look at my little face. It’s pensive, quiet and downright missional. I knew at that moment that I had to rock my serious face and not my cute playful face. If I had gone cute, then people that saw the photo would have said, “Awww how cute, that baby doesn’t need our money.” So instead I went hardcore serious, and people said, “Look at that stoic baby. He’s like the CS Lewis of toddlers. Let’s support the mission he is on.”
But if you think that’s a nice move, just wait until you see the photo my family took a few years later.