For a few years now I have had the desire to be able to use my talents as a developer and open source enthusiast to be a full-time missionary. As the project leader of OpenLP, an open source worship presentation application, I have had the desire to be able to work on OpenLP full-time in order to concentrate fully on implementing essential features that our users are asking for, as a part of our vision to support the Church.
In essence, I want to work on my open source software and I want to be able to advise churches on how best to make use of open source software to aid in their ministries. In the African context expensive proprietary software is not n option, and I know that most churches simply don't know what to do about it. I'd like to not only provide them with answers but also training, and I don't want them to have to pay for it.
The Big Question
The biggest question for me is how to still earn some sort of a salary in order to support my family.
I personally know a number of missionaries who have to raise financial support, and I'd like to know how to do this. The two biggest hurdles I see are:
- Finding people who are willing to give me money
- Getting people to commit to giving money on a monthly basis
Give Me Your Money
In finding people who would be willing to give me money, I see two problems particular to my intentions.
Firstly, I don't know many people who would be able to support me. As I mentioned earlier, quite a large portion of my friends are missionaries themselves, and this means they are unlikely to support me. The rest of my friends are not particularly well off either, and for them to support me would mean they'd have to stop supporting their church or other missionaries.
Secondly, due to the fact that I would not be doing traditional evangelism in my work, few people would be keen to support me when they can see more direct results from traditional missionary work.
More Money Please
From experience I know that many people are willing to give a once-off donation to a cause they might feel partial to, but few folks are really motivated to give a substantial amount of money on a regular basis.
Couple that with my unconventional approach to being a missionary, and I feel that for me to get people to be willing to give on a regular basis is going to be extremely difficult.
As someone who really knows nothing of raising support, I'm very keen to hear what others have to say about it. Am I wrong? Am I going about it the wrong way? How should I go about looking for supporters, and what should I do to encourage people to support me? Do you have any tips or tricks for me with regards to finding folks who would be willing to support me?