FTA Toolkit of Resources
As a member of the Faith Travel Association, you have access to the FTA Toolkit, built to help you serve the faith-based travel market. Use the compiled resources below when planning your trips, and don’t forget your can reach out to FTA’s Kay Saffari with any questions you may have along the way.
7 Best practices for approaching faith leaders
Use these best practices when using the Director of Faith Leaders, provided in the FTA Toolkit, and when conducting any outreach with religious leaders.
- Pastors, priests and rabbis appreciate scheduled appointments rather than random visits.
- Larger congregations often have a “gate-keeper” that you must talk to before you can arrange a time to meet with church leaders.
- The lead pastor, priest or rabbi who preaches to the congregation during service times is often the person to approach. However, in some cases an associate or part-time leader will handle travel for the congregation. It may be best to ask for the correct person with whom you should schedule an appointment.
- Since church, mosque, and temple leaders are busy caring for their members, consider a 9- to 12-month lead time when proposing a timeline for a travel experience.
- Faith leaders are often willing to consider a trip (or perhaps already have), but they quickly feel overwhelmed at the thought of planning, organizing and recruiting for the trip. Have a plan of action in mind to address these concerns prior to meeting with leaders.
- Because faith leaders tend to be very relational, develop a friendship or at least be an acquaintance with church leaders prior to approaching them to discuss a trip proposal.
- Review the background of a faith leader prior to meeting with him or her. Most have spent years studying their faiths and preparing to lead their congregations; your knowledge about their background demonstrates a true interest in your wanting to work with them to plan their travel.
Religions of the world
Religionfacts.com summarizes the major religions and belief systems of the world in this quick-reference comparison chart. Use this information to enhance your understanding and knowledge before approaching a faith leader and/or developing product for a particular group.
Groups traveling on faith-based itineraries are often interested in fundraising. The church may not have a budget for trips, or people within a group may not have the necessary funds to pay for a trip. Whatever the reason, it’s always helpful when the travel professional can offer fundraising tips outside of your typical duties. Such assistance helps to build a lasting relationship with your clients and provides additional credibility to your company.
How faith organizations can help raise trip funds
- Give official blessing or sanction
- Provide letters of endorsement on church stationery
- Let individuals share with the congregation in services
- Allow pleas for donations during services
- Host informational meetings about the trip
- Publicize the trip
- Information in the congregation’s monthly newsletter
- Inserts in the weekly church bulletin
- Provide direct financial support
- Provide partial funding from the church budget
- Help in getting out a fundraising letter
- Organizing prayer support
- Organize fundraising events within the church
- Sell salvation bracelets or other crafts
- Auction off 6 hours of the trip participant’s time
- Hold dinner/auction of baked goods
- Auction of baked goods with pie-in-the-face
- Hold penny or spare change drives
How a group can work together or individually to raise funds
- Design, print and sell t-shirts specific to your cause or journey.
- Hold a car wash and sell car wash coupons.
- Collect old cell phones.
- Earn percentage of purchases people make through an online site.
- Organize dinners or dinner theaters and sell tickets.
- Hold giant group garage/rummage sales.
- Organize and teach an Internet beginner’s course.
- Sell tubs of frozen cookie dough.
- Find a restaurant that will donate part of the cost of a meal.
- Sell restaurant meal tickets.
- Sell discount cards.
- Sell soap and other fair trade items made by African villagers or contact. An example is the Zambian Soap Company (email@example.com).
- “Green” fundraiser: Get people to donate used, unwanted consumer electronics and gold, silver or platinum jewelry.
- Set up a website at youcansend.me or gofundme.com. For a fee or percentage, you get a personalized fundraising website to share with friends and family.
- Sell hand sanitizers.
- Sell coffee. (Several companies sell their coffee wholesale and allow groups to keep the profits.)
- Sell pizza kits.
- Tap into the many fundraising ideas available on Pinterest and other websites.
The biggest factors in successful fundraising are being creative and open-minded. Being successful does require time and effort, but the reduced trip costs for your group will make the effort worthwhile.
Be certain to check local laws and regulations before you initiate your own creative fundraising ideas.
Seven Fundraising Ideas
Group fundraisers come in many forms. While every group has probably conducted bake sales, spaghetti dinners, raffles, car washes and yard sales, here are seven additional suggestions to consider.
- Mine your local resources. Many businesses, civic groups and churches enjoy giving back to their communities, especially for youth-related causes. Contact them to see if they can get involved by sponsoring your trip. (gooverseas.com)
- Partner with media outlets. Alert local newspapers and radio and television stations about your trip and offer to write articles or do interviews. In addition to increasing visibility, the media coverage also expands your possible donor base. (gooverseas.com)
- Hold a talent show or benefit concert. Invite the members of your worship community to showcase their talents for members, family and friends. Enlist others to donate desserts, and either ask for donations or sell tickets to the event. This not only raises money but also promotes community within the congregation. (“Youth Specialties”)
- Conduct silent and live auctions. You can auction off goods, services and gift cards from area merchants to the highest bidder. These live and/or silent auctions can be stand-alone functions or take place as part of an existing event. (SYTAyouthfoundation.org)
- Post a Service Board. Members of your faith community post on a bulletin board odd jobs or service projects for around their home and a price they would pay for the service. Group members sign up to do the task for the donation. (Youth Specialties)
- Have a “thon” fundraiser. This can be a dance-a-thon, read-a-thon, bowl-a-thon, or any activity with high participation and sponsorship. As participants get pledges, they also are spreading the word about your trip to a larger audience. (classtrips.com)
- Sweet Inspirations. One worship community raised $3,000+ with this idea: Invite people to make their best chocolate treats, and have leaders contact community businesses to ask for prize donations. Charge a small fee ($5) for the privilege of enjoying the chocolate goodies while guests listen to a local jazz band play. One congregation also sponsored a 50/50 raffle at the same event and gave away a few of the free gifts as door prizes. Their local Starbucks donated coffee. Their event was scheduled the Friday before Valentine’s, and it was a smash success. (“Youth Specialties”)
Fundraising Web Resources
- Funds2Orgs.com | This shoe drive fundraising social enterprise offers a proven, unique, fun and easy way to engage with supporters to achieve organizational fundraising goals, while also assisting small business owners in developing nations.
- Classtrips.com | Many aspects of travel planning for K–12 and college groups are covered on the site, which has a special section dedicated to fundraising ideas.
- Biddingforgood.com, Benefitevents.com | Putting your organization’s donated items up on these or similar online auction sites can broaden your reach beyond your local community.
- School-fundraisers.com | In addition to offering suggestions on current projects, the site also has toolkits and resources to help with the entire fundraising process.
This listing does not constitute endorsement of these websites by the Faith Travel Association.
- Give official blessing or sanction
Information about Religions
U.S. State Department /Government Information
- U.S. State Department Faith-Based Travel Information
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Passport information
- Destination information (by country)
- Hajj and Umrah travel information
- Best practices for volunteering abroad
- International religious freedom report
- Travel alerts and warnings
- Global Embassy information
- Passport and Visa Services:
Canadian Travel Information
- NTA has provided us the research and atmosphere to brainstorm new ways of doing things and fresh additions to trips, which has led to successful business development. Rachel Ranck, WorldStrides, NTA member since 1985
- What NTA does is provide the right buyers. They provide the right people who make decisions. This is what makes this organization one I can’t afford to take off my list. John Stachnik CTP, Mayflower Tours, NTA member since 1979
- I came to NTA to build a business, and that’s exactly what it did for us, as sales came in. For me, it’s the only outlet for new ideas. Matthew Squire, Select Travel Service (UK), NTA member since 2002
- NTA membership and our attendance at the convention have provided us with more clients, more business relationships and more ideas. We are proud to belong to NTA. Daniele Panzarin, Target Travel (Italy), NTA member since 2007
- The No. 1 member benefit of NTA has to be all the great professional and personal connections we’ve made over the past decade. Taunya Wolfe Finn, CTP, Wolfe Adventures & Tours, NTA member since 2005
- We have not found a more reliable, more profitable or more consistent tourism venue in which to acquire new business than NTA. Diane Hohnstein, Hospitality Management Services, NTA member since 1999
- I believe attending the NTA conferences allow me to create valuable relationships and work together with U.S. operators in creating great Scotland product. Maggie Anderson, VisitScotland, NTA member since 2003
- NTA events provide us with beneficial networking with many top tour operators. It’s national and international in scope providing a global perspective. Tim and Elaine Moulder, Brilliant Edventures, NTA member since 2015