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Your Guide to Planning a Successful Mission Trip [Checklist]


Mission trips are important fixtures of church life — they offer members fulfilling learning experiences and provide necessary support to communities in need. They’re also incredibly popular. In fact, up to two million Americans go on mission trips every year, both domestically and abroad.

To make these trips happen, though, churches need to plan ahead and fundraise. In this guide, we’ll explore important considerations and steps to take when mission trip planning and fundraising so that you can ensure a successful experience.

Anticipating Mission Trip Expenses

Mission trips require a lot of planning — and a good amount of funds. Here are just some of the expenses you’ll encounter on a mission trip:

  • Travel, whether it’s gas money or airfare
  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • Mission supplies

While some expenses can be covered by individual participants, collectively raising funds can help offset costs and simultaneously serve as a great community-building experience. Many churches find success with fundraising, and you can too. 

youth group on a mission trip

Your Mission Trip Checklist

Get a jump start on everything from fundraising to packing with this essential mission trip planning checklist. 


Every great trip begins with research. 

Research not only gives you a better idea of what the trip will look like, but it also helps you determine how much money you’ll need to raise. Make sure to look into:

  • Destinations – Many places need your help, both in the U.S. and around the world. Look at other churches’ mission trips for suggestions on where to go, and don’t discount mission trips that are close to home. 

  • Modes of travel – When figuring out how to get to your destination, you’ll want to do some price comparisons between travel companies to ensure the best deal.

  • Travel companions – It’s helpful to do research within the church community to find out who’s interested in joining the trip. To that end, consider sending out a survey to get a solid head count. You can also make a poll to see where people would be most excited to travel. 

Research is often the most lengthy part of the mission trip planning process, but your thoroughness will pay off in the end when your participants return satisfied and fulfilled by their experience.


Fundraising is one of the most important parts of mission trip planning. Without funds, you and your fellow travelers won’t get very far. But what’s the best way to fundraise for a mission trip? 

One tried and true strategy is gift card fundraising with RaiseRight. With this method, you don’t have to plan any elaborate events that require extra spending, so you can focus your time and energy on planning your mission trip. 

RaiseRight is free to join, and you can start earning within just a few days. Here’s how it works:

  1. Enroll online at no charge
  2. Invite participants to your fundraiser program
  3. Encourage participants to buy gift cards from brands they love and shop at regularly. Each gift card purchase kicks back a percentage to your church’s mission trip fund for instant earnings.

That’s it!

One of the best parts of gift card fundraising is that program participants don’t have to spend any extra money — they just have to use gift cards to purchase items they’d normally buy with a credit card, debit card, or cash. Plus, there’s no need to spend extra time selling goods or planning events.

fundraise for your mission trip

Travel and Safety

Before you even arrive at your mission destination, it’s important to make sure all your travel plans are in order, from plane tickets to rental cars and road snacks. 

It’s also smart to learn as much as you can about the area where you’ll be staying. Many travel websites can give you information about a country’s safety levels and suggest certain precautions to take while abroad. 

Some tips to keep in mind no matter where you’re traveling are:

  • Keep photo identification on you at all times
  • Remember to bring cash in your destination country’s currency
  • Be up-to-date on your vaccines and immunizations 

Mission trips are meant to be enjoyable and spiritually fulfilling. By being thoroughly prepared, you won’t have to worry about travel and safety.


There are a few factors to consider while packing for your trip:

  • Climate
  • Trip duration
  • Suitcase weight/size

If you’re going someplace hot and dry, odds are you won’t need that thick wool sweater “just in case.” If your mission involves physical labor, like building or yard work, you’ll want to pack clothes you can sweat in and get dirty. 

Also, remember that you’ll have to bring your suitcase with you wherever you go, so packing light will save you some stress.

Cultural and Spiritual Preparation

It’s important to reflect on your mission goals before beginning your journey. Ask yourself what you want to get from this experience, and how you want to make a difference in the community you’re visiting. 

If you’re going to a country where you don’t speak the language, consider taking some lessons or installing translation tech on your phone. You can also make a list of common questions and phrases you’ll need to use so that you’re not caught off guard once you arrive.

Moreover, it's important to show respect for the customs of other countries. Take the time to learn and understand any local traditions or cultural norms that you should follow as a visitor.

Throughout this process, be sure to interact with your mission trip members to make sure you’re all on the same page. After all, missions are about building community, both in the places you’re helping and within your mission group. 

Start funding your mission trip with RaiseRight

If you need a quick and easy way to earn money for your next mission trip, get started with RaiseRight today. 

It's free to sign up and once you begin, you can earn up to 20% on every gift card purchase that goes directly back to your mission trip funds. 

Here are some next steps to get the ball rolling:

  1. See why RaiseRight is the #1 fundraising idea for churches and mission trips.
  2. Learn more about how gift card fundraising works.
  3. Download the Gift Card Fundraising Playbook and share it with others who might be interested.
  4. Start a free program by completing a short, online enrollment form.  

If you’re looking to join an existing RaiseRight program, you just need your enrollment code to create an account and begin fundraising right away.