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Tami Rumfelt “Your Job as a Missions Trip Leader”

My friend Lisa is the founder and director of a non-profit called Caroline’s Promise. It’s an organization that serves orphans and at-risk children and families in Guatemala. I’ve traveled to Guatemala with Caroline’s Promise quite a few times, and I’ve also served on the Board of Directors, so I’ve seen a lot of what happens behind the scenes when it comes to running the ministry. Like most other non-profits, fundraising is always a challenge. However, the one group Caroline’s Promise can generally count on for financial support is people who have been on short-term missions trips with the organization. In fact, Lisa says that people who have been on a CP missions trip make up 80% of the donor base.


There are a lot of good-hearted people who care about kids living well below the poverty line and who have never given money to an organization like Caroline’s Promise. But, when  those good-hearted people actually spend time getting to know and love some Guatemalan kids and their families, seeing first-hand what their daily life is like, and the community-building work being done by Caroline’s Promise and their partners on the ground, generosity is a natural response.


Those of us who work at listener-supported radio stations can learn something from this. After all, our work is missional as well. We share the gospel, serve our communities, and are ambassadors of God’s Kingdom. While we often think of listeners as our mission field, what if we also thought of them as our co-laborers in the mission?


What I’m suggesting is not groundbreaking. I’m sure you’re already doing lots of things at your station to increase listener engagement. Things like street teams, music influencers, social media, prayer pages, events, etc. And, of course you’re airing compelling stories (year-round, not just during fundraisers) so your listeners can hear how the station’s mission is being carried out in people’s lives.


The point I’m making is not so much about what we’re doing, as it is about how we think about what we’re doing. If we were to shift our mindset to think about these kinds of things as ways to bring our listeners to our mission field, and vice-versa, we might just come up with even more creative and effective ways to get our listeners involved. And, as our listeners become more deeply involved with our mission, generosity will naturally follow.


Tami Rumfelt has worked in radio for over 30 years. Currently, she serves as the Program Director at Hope 107.9 and hosts middays at Worship 24/7, She’s also an experienced voiceover talent and freelance fundraising host. She can be reached at tamirumfelt@gmail.com.

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