Question about Funding for missionaries:

"What costs are included in a missionary’s budget?"

"Budgets cover all the costs of sending the missionary, not just what they need to live on."

Answer from Marti, who has served as a mission mobilizer since 1995, including more than ten years with Pioneers.

While the amount of money missionaries need to raise varies considerably, rarely is it limited to "how much do I need to live on?" Most missionary budgets include all the expenses of fielding the missionary. Besides a salary, budget categories generally include taxes, health and life insurance, retirement, travel expenses (including cost of furloughs), and administrative expenses (including the costs of communicating with supporters, and often a certain percentage that supports the mission agency's home office). Many missionaries will need to raise funds for training costs (e.g. language school), purchase or rental of property, and/or purchase and maintenance of a vehicle.

It's also wise to include some kind of surplus account, or perhaps a 5% buffer built right into the budget in anticipation of lost support, cost of living increases, changing exchange rates, or inflation. Workers may also be asked to set up an an emergency fund and/or purchase insurance that covers medical evacuation.

All this can add up to a daunting amount. Cutting corners is not worth the savings, though. Being well prepared will help the missionary family avoid some of the stress of getting to the field and not having what they need.

Most mission agencies include some kind of "admin fee" in the amount a missionary is required to raise, and what these fees cover varies considerably. A high admin fee may include some of the expenses listed above, and a low one may suggest these items are listed elsewhere in the missionary's budget.

It's tempting to cut out things like contingency and retirement funds, but if missions is your career, you may regret neglecting such things.

Some online resources you may find helpful include sample missionary budgets and basic budgeting forms. See also this helpful article: How Much Is Enough?

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