Charitable Giving Guide for Short-Term Mission Trips


Many charities, including churches and parachurch organizations, sponsor individuals that serve on domestic and international short-term mission trips.



In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the use of short-term mission trips. The latest data on giving to ECFA members shows that short-term missions is one of the fastest growing areas of financial support within the body of Christ.

The proper handling of funds raised and expended for short-term mission trips often presents challenging tax, finance, and legal issues for trip participants and sending organizations alike. The administration of these trips is an opportunity for churches and other charities to model excellence, integrity, and compliance with the law.

We trust this simple, how-to guide by ECFA including numerous examples and sample illustrations will help you and your organization as you serve the Kingdom through missions!


About the Author

Dan Busby (CPA) is president of ECFA, an organization that accredits Christ-centered ministries in the areas of governance, financial management, and stewardship/fundraising. ECFA’s seal enhances trust of givers, which increases generosity, providing greater resources to help fulfill the Great Commission. Founded in 1979, ECFA now accredits nearly 1,800 churches and nonprofits across the United States. These organizations have annual revenue in excess of $20 billion.

Dan has over 40 years of experience serving the Christ-centered church and nonprofit community and frequently speaks nationally on related issues. He is a prolific writer with more than 50 volumes of five book titles published. He has been recognized for four consecutive years on the NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50 list and is honored in the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Church Business Administration.

Dan was a member of the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, a national legislative advisory commission convened to address legislative proposals for the nonprofit sector.

Michael Martin (JD) serves as ECFA’s director of member services and legal counsel. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in legal counsel. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in government, summa cum laude, from Oral Roberts University and a juris doctor from Regent University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Regent University Law Review.

Michael is passionate about helping churches and Christ-centered nonprofits with legal and tax-related issues and compliance with ECFA standards. In addition to authoring and reviewing articles and other resources featured in ECFA publications, he assists with member compliance, Capitol Hill initiatives, and the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations.

Beginning with the 2013 edition, Michael co-authored the Zondervan Minister’s Tax & Financial Guide and the Zondervan Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide with Dan Busby and John Van Drunen.

John Van Drunen (JD, CPA) is vice president and general counsel of ECFA, with a bachelor of arts in accounting, magna cum laude, from Anderson University and a juris doctor from Regent University School of Law.

John’s responsibilities at ECFA primarily relate to assisting the nonprofit community in the areas of nonprofit tax scholarship, compliance, and continuing education. He oversees the compliance process for ECFA including renewals, applications, compliance concerns, and field reviews, in addition to serving as in-house general counsel. John has also been extensively involved in the work of the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations and the Religious Organizations Accounting Committee. 

Additional information

Weight 1.0000 lbs