If you answered yes, well, I happen to respectfully disagree with you dear reader. Do you mind if I point out some reasons why? Before I do, I’d love to try and clarify my stance on this specific subject.
I believe it’s great to share budget details with an individual during a face to face appointment IF THEY ASK for the information. However, if they don’t ask, I truly believe it is good to only talk in percentages and not lead with budget information. (AKA: don’t put your budget details in your newsletter, don’t make the ask in the appointment by sharing you have X amount to raise in monthly support and X amount in cash, and don’t share the information around the water cooler so to speak)
Why you ask? Let’s start off by exploring one major reason.
It is possible if you share your specific budget details, the person with whom you are sharing the information will make uninformed judgments on your lifestyle in ministry. Let’s use an example to illustrate. Say you are fresh out of college and share with a potential partner who is also fresh out of college that your budget to go overseas is $4,200 in monthly support for two years and a cash budget of $35,000. That’s reasonable right? Well lets say that peer is struggling to find a job and could only dream of making that much money each month. When you share this information quickly with them in a face to face appointment, they don’t have the ability to see what goes into that $4,200 per month and $35,000 in cash (overseas insurance, cost of living is higher due to the country you are going to, language learning school, etc.). To them your budget merely seems extravagant in the wake of their own circumstances. In contrast, a family member may do some mental math on your behalf and evaluate that you aren’t making enough for those two years.
All of that to say, if you share your budget details off the cuff in your presentations, newsletters, etc., people are simply prone to make judgements they are not qualified to make.
So what is the solution? As I mentioned briefly above, talk in percentages! Change the sentence from “I need $4,200 in monthly support and $305000 in cash” to this: “In order to go over seas I need to raise 100% of my budget. Would you be willing to partner with me at $100 a month?“
Another very important thing to mention here: Did you notice in the sentence above I also did NOT mention my need for cash gifts? That is strategic as well, as typically it is much harder to raise monthly support than it is one-time / special gifts. Potential partners (and people in general) tend to default to the least amount of commitment possible, and if you are giving the people an option during your face-to-face appointments to give one time they will take you up on it! This will leave you with less in monthly commitments. Your partners will be patting themselves on the back because they gave, and you leaving disappointed that you didn’t get a new monthly partner.
So as a rule when making the ask: stick to percentages and ask for monthly support alone.
Now, I realize you may be asking if there are exceptions to this rule? Of course there are. Responses to “asks” are as varied as there are people, and here are some examples of when to deviate:
If you are talking to a pastor about church support, go ahead and share the specifics of your budget straight away. Pastors are different than individuals, as they tend to know more about the landscape of needs involved in ministry. Typically it’s helpful for them to have specific information on your budget, so share away!
If an individual asks what your budget is, as I mentioned before: go ahead and share. I would advise you to have something written up for this scenario that shows some of the line items in your budget to make it understandable for those who ask.
If someone cannot commit to giving monthly support, then ask if they would like to give a special / one-time gift. True it is far better to ask someone for monthly support, but if they can’t commit – definitely explain they can give to your cash budget / give a special gift.
If you are sharing a specific goal on a Facebook campaign or special post on social media, it is okay to share a line item in your budget. For instance, a couple I coach challenged their friends on Facebook for Giving Tuesday in November of last year to help them raise $2,000 toward their budget. They shared in their videos and posts that the $2,000 would go toward their language learning costs specifically. They didn’t share the entirety of their budget, but they did project a specific need out of their budget with their audience.
I hope this helps in your communications of your specific budget. You don’t have to share all of the details to ask and to keep people informed! Have any thoughts on the subject? Share them in the comments!
this post is re-posted and edited from original post in 2017 – you can find it here.
Standing out amongst a crowd is a good thing when it comes to support raising. Many ministry workers I talk to are continually looking for impactful ways to make themselves memorable. One great way to stand out is by making a strong first impression with well written and branded communication pieces. However, many ministry workers become frustrated with the lack of response they receive from their carefully crafted communication pieces, wondering where they might have gone wrong with only fractions of pastors and individuals responding to written pieces such as newsletters, emails, and texts.
I think I have a fun suggestion to solve for X.
Recently I got into a conversation with a worker that I coach (let’s call her Kate), and she mentioned she started video messaging pastors and individuals instead of using standard emails (she also substitutes video messages for texts, and some phone calls).
After she mentioned this I did what any good coach would do, and reverted to a classic coaching phrase “Say more about that“, (…honestly I was a little worried she was going way too far off the beaten path in her communication) and she began to explain how she had been using video messaging instead of using boring ole emails. To quote Kate:
“I’m a X (omitted for security purposes) district ministry worker with Assemblies, and no one really knows who I am because I’ve never been in full time ministry before. My hope is that sending a video first to pastors puts a face to the name. Having something outside of the box helps and shows that, hey! I’m a human!”
To get specific, Kate is using a video messaging service called Bombbomb.com. BombBomb’s tagline boasts “Get more replies, save valuable time, and add a human touch with BombBomb video email and video messages.” Think about it: Have you have sent correspondence to a pastor/church or individual only to hear nothing back? Have you felt bombarded by emails and quickly skim or don’t even read many of your emails? Have you sent text messages out that read like books (tl;dr = too long don’t read) that haven’t gotten desired responses?
So why does video messaging work? Well, the thing that makes BombBomb so effective is that it embeds the video message with a gif-like link in the body of the email (you can also send these out as text messages!). It moves and shakes and gets readers attention instead of just having bland words in an email. The other thing that makes it so effective is that the video is personalized to the person. For instance, in Kate’s video to me there was a banner of Valentine’s Day (I got this in early February, they rotate the banners based on holidays, seasons, and preferences) and Kate brilliantly held up a personalize sign of my name that became the thumbnail / gif of the video. It made me instantly want to watch it and find out what she had to say TO ME. Not only that, I knew immediately from the banner that it was a 43 second video (you never want to make videos long!) so I knew it was going to be taking too much of my time. Here’s a screen shot of the email (some details omitted for security purposes):
So how did this experiment in video messaging work out for Kate’s support raising? Well, as Kate began sending this videos out to pastors that she had never met before, she started getting instant responses. With BombBomb, you can ask the recipient to record their own video back or respond to the email – which gives them a fun and/or a quick easy way to respond.
Interested? Here are creative some ways you could use a video messaging service such as BombBomb to stand out in your support raising:
Emailing pastors / churches / missions boards instead of sending emails for an introduction
Texting individuals and groups reminders for events
Texting individuals, groups, pastors, or businesses for personalized communication
Kate has decided after trying BombBomb.com for free that she is gladly going to pay for the BombBomb Plus program (FYI there is a free option for Non-Profits!). She is going to switch her actual newsletters over from e-newsletters on Mailchimp to video newsletters via BombBomb (with BombBomb Plus you can send videos out to multiple people at a time). What a fresh take on a newsletter! Kate is also using BombBomb to follow up with groups.
Here’s Kate sharing some details on follow up with groups:
“I shared at a (church) service yesterday! I’m putting all those individuals I talked with or gave me back connect cards in a group on BombBomb. Today or tomorrow, I’ll send that group a BombBomb campaign video email and say thank you, welcome to the journey, here’s what to expect now, and here’s monthly giving info, etc. I’m trying to find new ways to incorporate BombBomb in follow up tasks.”
What do you think? I think it’s BRILLIANT. Thinking outside of the box and standing out is becoming more and more important to the workers I coach, and I love that this is a unique and easy way to do that.
Have you tried video messaging? What are some ways you are thinking outside the box? What are some ways you are utilizing technology? Post it in the comments! I hope this idea sparks ideas that encourage you to stand out!
Click the link below to watch the full video that Kate sent me!
Do you ever wonder which link to use when directing people online to find out more about you and your ministry? Do you direct them straight to your giving site? Social media? Or perhaps to a website you maintain or your organization maintains? If you have multiple platforms and have a hard time deciding what is best — what if you didn’t have to choose?
Enter Linktree! And as their tagline boasts: it’s the only link you’ll ever need!
I’m not completely new to Linktree. It’s likely you are not either, and like me you have seen it utilized a few places. I’ve noticed them in a few of my friend’s Instagram bios, in some businesses, or even on various influencers pages who maintain multiple websites. I’ve also seen it used as a QR code link for large events. But I’ve never thought of it as a support raising tool until last week, when I heard a ministry couple (here I will call them the Meritt family) share their strategy using Linktree when speaking at various church services. So no… this isn’t a sponsored post in case you’re wondering! I just thought it was a really great idea worth sharing.
For those of you who aren’t aware of it, let me share what Linktree is. Essentially it’s a website you create that the user can click on whatever content/link you see fit – creating a simple hub of information. In this instance, it’s a landing page you can send someone to learn more about you and your ministry. Here’s an screen shot of the Meritt’s Linktree landing page:
The Meritt’s Linktree has some very valuable information all in one simple hub. Examples of what else could be included on this Linktree or others like it would be social media pages, organizational information, various helpful websites, and a well maintained blog (there are likely a lot more I’m not thinking of!).
For the Meritt’s Linktree — I’d love to draw attention to what a great idea it is to have a sample missions message on YouTube; particularly as they often travel to speak at churches within our denomination.
Here is a list of a few ways you may consider using Linktree in your support raising strategy:
Happy New Year everyone! I’ve been thinking of what to post this month to kick off the new year, and I wanted to go ahead and re-post this from May of last year. I think it may be one of the most essential blog posts I’ve done in awhile, so I’d like to throw you what I thought was a highlight of 2021 up front. I think creating a short goal during The Close (read on to see what I’m talking about) is an absolute game changer! Enjoy! – JF
Having a great Close to your Face to Face Appointments is almost as important as having a great Ask. What do I mean by the “Close”? Essentially, closing your appointment comes right after The Ask and includes elements like next steps, setting expectations, and getting the financial partner on-boarded to start their giving.
Do you know if your closing your appointments well? Let me ask you a few questions so we can gauge it together:
Are you having issues with new partners giving to your organization correctly? Are they seamlessly giving without any hiccups, misdirection of funds, or accidentally just giving one time instead of monthly?
Do you think your new monthly partners have clear next steps and expectations of how you will communicate with them?
Do you feel like after you’ve done your appointment the real challenge comes in getting ahold of them to turn it in? (why yes! I am aware this question is a bit redundant to the first question!)
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions – your Close may need a little work and tweaking. Or a lot… It could need a lot of tweaking. I find in the workers that I coach if the Close is not in ship-shape, the process of follow up can become extra cumbersome and challenging. Here are some quick tips to help you tighten up your Close and get those new partners on-boarded to your team.
3 FOLD COMMITMENT:
First things first! While closing your face to face appointment set clear expectations to your new financial partner with a commitment to your team. My commitment suggestion comes in 3 parts: (1) work hard on assignment, (2) communicate regularly, (3) pray for your team.
Imagine you just started giving 100$ a month to a new missionary. As a giver, you would probably like to know what to expect after you start your giving. Right? Right. Therefore, let your shiny new partners know how you will be communicating with them – is it through newsletters and a Facebook Secret Group? Is it via email? WhatsApp or iMessages or Direct Messages? Do you have a TikTok or Instagram account dedicated to your ministry? Do you have a Secret Facebook Group? How often are you doing your newsletters? This is all helpful information to include during the Close of your appointment. I like to do this in my 3 fold commitment to them. It goes a little sum’ like this:
“As a team member I would like to make a 3 fold commitment to you. First, I promise to work hard while I’m on the field, reaching the X people for Christ and working diligently to make relationships with the X people through X Y and Z. Secondly, I promise to keep you updated regularly. Though I won’t be able to connect as consistently via phone because of the connection in X country, I will be keeping my team updated regularily through bi-monthly newsletters and my Secret Facebook Group. The Facebook Group is titled X and I will send you an invitation to it tonight, so be on the lookout. My hope is to shoot out updates there every week. Please feel free to comment or like things there, but keep in mind even though it’s “secret” I still need to be sensitive to not giving too much information due to X country. I also intend to email you from time to time, which leads me to number 3! Thirdly, I would love to pray for you on a continual basis and will be reaching out via email from time to time asking for prayer requests. Please keep me updated as well with any prayer requests as time goes on. My desire is for this to really be a team, as I simply cannot do what I am doing without you. Any questions about that?”
SET GIVING EXPECTATIONS:
“Yes” comes with a wide variety of nuances. It’s like a buffet out there guys. Some will say they need to pray about an amount prior to committing, others will say they will commit 75$ and turn it in tomorrow morning, still others will just say they will turn it in “soon”. No matter their response – make sure to ask two things: (1) If they know the amount and (2) when they would like to turn it in by.
This is important for two reasons:
Because it gives you a frame of reference as to when to expect their commitment turned in by.
Because it helps you know how to respond and set up your follow up accordingly, which can be varied. For instance, if they say they will turn it in this week then your response could be “Great Shelly, that’s going to be so helpful to get to my goal of 50% by the end of the month. If I don’t see it come in by the end of the week I’ll shoot you out a text (you may ask if they prefer text or phone call) to see if you need a reminder or have any questions about how to set it up – does that work okay?” Or, say for instance they indicate they need to pray about the amount. You can then respond with “Great Shelly, do you think a couple of days would be sufficient for that or would you need more time?” (Shelly says a couple of days is sufficient) Then, “Okay, I will text you for follow up Wednesday to see where you’re at after a couple of days to pray If I don’t reach you, I may try and call to reach you. Does that work for you?”
SHORT PERCENTAGE GOAL:
Setting a short percentage goal is a little trick I’ve been proselytizing lately. So what does setting a percentage goal mean? Let me explain by setting the stage for this one:
Sally has just said yes to joining your monthly partnership team and has told you she will get it turned in this week. A month has gone by and unfortunately you didn’t do a good job on your close with creating follow up expectations or creating percentage goals. Whomp. To combat situations like this in the future, when Sally tells you she is going to join your partnership team at 100$ a month and will get signed up this week, the next thing you say to Sally is “Oh my Sally! This is so great as it helps me get to my goal of 75% by the end of May! If you can get that turned in this week that would get me closer to that goal and of course closer to 100% by August. I really appreciate it.” See what I did there? I created a short percentage goal to let Sally know it matters when she gets her monthly commitment turned in. A lot of new financial partners don’t know that you will never be able to get to 100% unless they turn in their commitment (though this can vary based on your organization), and the reason is because you haven’t told them! Thus, make sure to communicate clearly (and gently…and nicely, you know what I mean) what your needs are. Creating a short goal that is less than a month away is perfect for getting a little urgency in and communicating that you are working toward getting to 100% in a timely manner. Doing so will help you get commitments turned in efficently.
SET FOLLOW UP EXPECTATIONS:
As a support raising coach I have seen that setting clear follow up expectations can make or break your season of support raising. Essentially you want to do 3 things while setting follow up expectations during your appointment:
GIVING EXPECTATIONS: As above, ask them when they would like to give and how much. (If they are praying / thinking it over this still applies just tweak it)
SHORT PERCENTAGE GOAL: As above, give them a short percentage goal and communicate your needs for having them turn it in.
COMMUNICATE AND CALENDARIZE FOLLOW UP: If they are praying about an amount or unsure of their giving, set a time frame and let them know you will follow up with them. An example could be this: “Great Sally! Thank you so much for praying about a commitment. How much time do you think you need to pray about it? A couple of days? (*Sally says yes) “Okay, how about I text you on Friday and find if you’ve come to any decisions? Would that be okay?” (*Sally says yes) “Great, and if I don’t get ahold of you Sally I may try to call. Thank you so much for praying!” The same process works if they say yes and they get it turned in in a couple of days, just change the wording a bit to something like this: “Okay, if I don’t happen to see it come in by Friday or Saturday I will shoot you a text and see if you need a reminder or any help getting it set up. I’m so thankful Sally and appreciate you being a part of this team. Your giving now will help me reach my short goal of getting to 50% by the end of the month, and 100% by August! Thank you!”
A text to Sally for follow up would look something like this: “Hey Sally! Thanks so much for praying about joining my partnership team. I really loved our time together and am so grateful. Have you come to any decisions? Let me know either way and I appreciate you!”
**Please note, it’s always best to get a new financial partner on-boarded during the appointment, so shoot for that when they choose that entree of the buffet table! It’s like getting the steak! Or maybe like getting the soft serve ice cream after dinner when you were a (big) kid. Remember buffets?!?!**
Have you ever tried to give a reoccurring gift to a worker/ministry and felt like you were doing rocket science? Unfortunately the process isn’t always easy, and yet again comes with another buffet of options for the giver. Online? On the phone? Via check? It’s likely there are multiple ways your new financial partner could give, and typically not everyone will want to set it up the same way. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for your new financial partner to give. To do this, provide a short sheet of giving instructions. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be helpful! If you don’t know various ways that someone can give to your organization, learn all of the processes and make sure you understand how each works.
So I hope these were helpful! Now you’ll be pro level closing your appointments and getting new financial partners on-boarded to give! Recap:
I know from my own experience and coaching numerous workers that seeing relatives over the holidays can be stressful, and can be particularly stressful when raising support. Do you make an ask, or just conversation? How much detail should you go into about your assignment with that relative that isn’t a believer? What’s with all the side comments and disapproval from Aunt Merle?!
Unfortunately, I can’t give a formulated response to how to handle every conversation with your relatives. There are simply too many variables, such as the strength of the relationship, how far along you are with raising your budget, if you have had a personal conversation with them or appointment prior concerning support, etc. Making an ask during Christmas may be the best course of action, however it may also not be the time for it. How does one know? The only thing I can offer here without knowing your exact situation are a couple of quick tips:
If you are going to make an ask during Christmas, I would consider trying to prepare your relatives prior, making sure they understand you want to set aside time to talk with them specifically about your assignment and ask if they would like to join some aspect of your team. Essentially, treat it the same as you would prior to an appointment, it’s just the appointment may be during Christmastime.
You don’t want your extended family members to run from you every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Right? Right. Hear me say IT IS OKAY if you don’t ask every aunt and cousin on your list during your three hour Christmas event. It may be best to wait and approach them after Christmas. Think of it too – if you see them during Christmas then you’ve had some great time to simply build up relationship and be a good family member.
If you are having trouble figuring out the best course of action on how to approach family members over Christmas about support, consider asking a seasoned worker or coach on how to best approach these important conversations. Sometimes having a sounding board, and particularly one with experience, can be extremely helpful. Don’t be afraid to get into the weeds with your coach or mentor and explain the relationship dynamics.
When talking about support or your assignment in general, err on the side of boldness and confidence. The more confidence you have in yourself and in your ministry, the more your relatives will too.
Not too much unlike, #4, favor honorable directness over beating around the bush when talking about support. Don’t hem and haw around the subject. Experience has shown me the more up front about it the better.
Lastly and most important: this Christmas, strive to be a good listener.
Listening is one of the most important skills you can learn to perfect in conversation, and all it takes to do so really is a little mindfulness. When it comes to Christmas, you will undoubtably have numerous opportunities to practice! Thus, my main piece of advice is to strive to listen. Be present in the moment, and present with the person in front of you. You can try literally telling yourself (maybe not out loud though, so those relatives believe your sane) to focus on the people around you and not on yourself. Think about listening more than you speak. Believe that your aunt Merle and cousin Gary have something to teach you, because truly everyone has something to teach you!
All of that being said, below are 10 easy steps to become a better conversationalist. Try and keep these things in mind as you speak with those relatives that may challenge you this Christmas.
Be a listener that is seeking to understand, not just seeking to get a word in and reply. Your relatives will appreciate your attentiveness and chances are you will feel more inspired and fulfilled by being mindful of the people around you and really focusing on them. Treat your Christmas parties, celebrations, and interactions with relatives as an opportunity for ministry! I pray you have a Merry Christmas friends!
TEXTING STILL ISN’T THE BEST WAY TO ASK FOR AN APPOINTMENT…BUT
I’m writing this post for a specific person. It may not be you, and that’s a-okay. This document is not for you if you are having success asking for face to face appointments via phone. I will always maintain that asking for an appointment via phone is far greater than asking via text message as it promotes relationship, and any time the word “finances” is read in a text it comes across like a billboard, generally drawing people away from responding. I stand by that thought and still agree with it. (read the link for more info!) Thus, if you are calling on the phone – pat yourself on the back and let me give you a high five from the internet. You don’t necessarily need to read any further.
This post is for you if you are the person who is probably going to go ahead and text asking for an appointment anyway, even though your support raising coach and training has said it is 100% best to phone call and ask for face to face appointments. It is for you too if you are texting someone as a one off and don’t want to botch it, which I completely get.
That being said, I want to be clear that this post is not to condone texting for an appointment as the normal go-to, but knowing it will happen, at least if you text first you have examples of how to best word it. Okay! All that being said, let’s get into some samples. Well, in a minute.
WARNING LABEL TO THE SAMPLE TEXTS FIRST
First off, an important distinction to be made here – THESE ARE TEXT MESSAGES…NOT social media direct messages (DMs). Yes, there is a difference and yes, it does matter.
DMs are never going to be as warm as a text message and 1,000% less warm than a phone call. (Pause here and think back to any times you have had people solicit you on FB Messenger en mass for donations. If you have ever had that done to you, you know it’s definitely not relational.) If you don’t have someone’s phone number, DM and ask them for their contact info, but don’t DM any of these samples below.
***Here’s a sample asking for number and contact information on DM:
“Hi Christy! Hey, how is Adam doing?? Heard he had a tough fall and have been keeping him in my prayers. I hope he is on the mend. Wanted to ask — could I get your contact info? Phone number, Email address, and mailing address? Zach and I are about to embark on a ministry journey and grabbing contact information. Thanks Christy.”
Don’t give too much information when sending a text message asking for a face to face appointment. Try to be as brief as possible while still giving needed information. Remember, you are asking for a face to face appointment (or in times of Coronavirus a Zoom appointment), not for them to join your team. You do not want to make an ask in written form or have your face to face meeting over text. Save the details for the appointment. It’s easy to make this mistake and not realize you are doing it, and then all of the sudden you are asking someone for financial partnership in a text. OOOPS. (that’s not a good thing)
It’s important to realize that there is a hierarchy of relationship when it comes to asking for appointments. Doing so over the phone or even in person is much warmer and relational than in a text. If you’re struggling with how to ask for an appointment – move down this list and start as high as you can!
Hierarchy of warmth and relationship in asking for Face to Face Appointments:
Phone call / Phone call + invitation letter first == these options are always best!
Invitation letter + Text message
TEXT SAMPLE 1:
“Hey Pete! Do you have time for a quick 2-3 minute phone call?”
(**Always my preferred option for a text message. Use the text to lead to the phone call. If they don’t answer you in a text, you still have the ability to call them later that evening or even the next day – just don’t wait too long. You can also try texting again.)
TEXT SAMPLE 2: (*No invitation letter prior)
“Hey Taylor. Beau turned 1 years old?!?! WWHUUTT? The nerve of babies to grow. UGH. And how does time fly? Please answer life’s mysteries for me Taylor. I believe in you. 🙃
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Zach and I are heading to Estonia to be workers with Assemblies of God World Missions. We are pumped. If you have no idea what I’m talking about: HA! 🤗 I would like to fill you in!!
I’m reaching out because you recently came to mind. We are working on building up our financial and prayer partnership team and have to get to 100% before we can go to Estonia. I know you have been a major influence in my life and would love to connect about joining some aspect of our partnership team.
Could we A. Zoom this week or next? (I’ll order us some Panera treats or Grub Hub while we meet if it works!) B. Grab coffee outside this week or next? C. Masks and coffee inside this week?
Let me know what you think one way or another. Importantly, I want you to know that there’s no pressure. Except for you to solve life’s mysteries Tay. That I EXPECT. Love you, your friendship, and that darling 1 YEAR OLD.
TEXT SAMPLE 3: (*Invitation letter prior)
“Hi Rosie! I have been praying for you & Fred as you are recovering. My mom said you texted yesterday that you guys are on the mend- praise the Lord!💓 When you are feeling better, Zach and I would love to safely meet and share with you guys about our burden for Estonia, as well as invite you to partner with us, whether that be through prayer or finances. We are here until January 4th, so you just let me know when would be best. Much love to you guys!!❤️❤️”
TEXT SAMPLE 4: (*Invitation letter prior)
“Hey Ron and Kathie. This is Jenn Fortner. How are you all? Been thinking of you and of course Dustin recovering from COVID. I’ve been saying prayers since last time we spoke — How has he been since recovery?
Would you be able to schedule a time to safely meet this week or next? Let me know if you are available and what works best for you, we are pretty flexible. We would love to connect, hear about how you all are doing, and share a bit more about what we are doing in ministry and see if it fits for you to join some aspect of our partnership team.
Thanks guys. Most important note: Just want you to know we love you, your friendship, and praying that Dustin is well.”
*some of these samples are written during COVID, so take “safely meet” etc out of equation once things go back to normal.
**One of these sample texts mentions “no pressure”. I left this phrase in because that can be helpful in some circumstances. I personally wouldn’t over-use anything that completely gets them out of considering financial support as an important option. I hear phrases from workers all the time like “prayer is more important” or saying during an appointment “consider support and pray about it” or “if you don’t want to it’s no big deal” — which are misleading statements and not always helpful. True, prayer is important but the best prayer partner is typically the one who is giving (Matthew 6:21). True you want someone to consider partnering but don’t throw that phrase into an appointment when now is the time to make the big ask, and they have been prompted to consider prior to your appointment. And finally, plainly said it’s not true that if they don’t want to support it’s not a big deal — even though we should hold yeses and no’s loosely in our hearts — it is a big deal if they join your team! Think through these phrases giving people outs carefully, and don’t overuse them.
Welp, gitty-up people, 2021 is coming to a close and it’s already time to start talking about your Year End Giving strategy. It may feel early and still be 90 degrees outside (it’s 88 degrees currently as I type) but it’s true that now is the time. I’ve got 8 ideas with a lot of detail to help you think through yours.
I say this every year – but November and December are statistically the best two months of the year for giving. Around 30% of ALL GIVING in the United States occurs in the month of December. 12-13% of giving occurs in the last three days of the year. And maybe you aren’t singing jingle bells just yet but here are some things to think about ahead of time to get your strategy in place NOW.
First off, in September, October, and early November, it’s great to LASER FOCUS one’s efforts on face to face appointments. If you can, kick it into overdrive and set goals for more appointments and initial contacts than usual! Why? Well, typically speaking it’s one of the easiest times of year to schedule appointments. Summer is over and people are into routine, school is back, people are checking their calendars and not overwhelmed with plans. Scheduilng appointments this year needs to incorporate a question of what an individual is comfortable with as far as meeting. Keep in mind with Face to Face Appointments for potential partners who don’t want to meet in person due to the pandemic, Zoom is your friend! Zoom can be GREAT. Don’t hold off on meeting with someone because it’s virtual. Okay? Okay.
Secondly, toward the holidays there are additional touches you can create to show your existing team you care as well as generate some excitement and cash gifts. After Thanksgiving, let things shift a bit from business as usual. Build out your Year End Giving Strategy BEFORE Thanksgiving. Think it through and start working on it in October. If you let it slide until after Thanksgiving, you’ll most likely miss out on some strategic opportunities due to poor planning.
Thirdly, September and October are also excellent months of the year to reach out to churches. Churches typically schedule services months in advance so calling in September or October may get you service in January or February 2021. If you wait to reach out to a pastor/church until November or December, you may get radio silence until January due to the church’s busy holiday schedule.
Lastly, consider creating a specific goal for all of your Year End Giving and try a multichannel approach that all work together to support that specific goal. Maybe you want to raise $3,000 for your language learning costs, get $200 in new monthly support, or reach 75% funded. Just make sure it is reasonable and attainable.
With all of that being said, here’s a break down on some specific ideas for your Year End Giving strategy.
1. FACEBOOK LIVE Q&A
The main content of a FB Live Q&A should be comprised of giveaways, trivia and information on your assignment, and questions from the audience. Make it simple and fun, and promote it however you can before hand. Consider doing one somewhere towards the beginning-ish of November. Here are some thoughts on a Facebook Live from a worker who did theirs in 2019:
REFLECTIONS ON A FACEBOOK LIVE Q&A:
“I used my iPhone because it has a better camera than my chrome book. If your laptop has a good camera though, I’d recommend using that because I think it’s easier to the comments that come in. I basically had my computer off to the side reading comments from there. Also FYI if you start the live on your phone vertically you have to keep it that way-it won’t switch over if you turn your phone. I’d recommend starting horizontal.”
“I did giveaways of books. They were just what I had on hand as I thought of giveaways last minute. I had a prayer book for XX as well as some of the books from my ministry.”
“My trivia was how I did the giveaways. Some was about me and my testimony and others were about the country.”
“I announced it a couple days ahead of time, and went Live the day before just for a few minutes to make sure everything worked well. You can also practice going Live on your own feed by setting your security settings to “only me”. I did that just to set up the lighting, and to make sure my background was not too distracting. I also think it would be helpful, if you had somebody reading the comments to you. As a single gal, I was wishing that I had asked somebody to do that for me in the midst of it. Also, my parents had come up with quite a few questions that I had on hand just in case people were not engaging, or the questions lagged for a minute.”
Facebook Live is a fun way for people to hear more about your assignment, get information, build up some hype. Think of them more as a space to get people interested or hear more, but not for asks. I think it’s fine during a Facebook Live to mention you are raising up a team of supporters and to tell them to please DM or comment if interested in joining some aspect of your team, provide the giving information needed, etc. It may also be a great way to kick off or end a Facebook Campaign– but typically Lives are not the place to push direct asks.
Pro tip 1: This also could be an Instagram Live if that’s a pretty robust space for you and your followers. (TikTok isn’t off the table either?!)
Pro tip 2: There are ways to go Live without ruining any security risks. Think through ways to keep things safe such as using your closed group only to host the Live, or use a safe account. Whatever you do make sure to touch base with your leadership to follow protocols.
Here’s a quick example of an announcement of a FB Live. You’ll likely want to do 2-3 posts to generate buzz and get the word out prior to going Live.
2. GIVING TUESDAY
Giving Tuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a day for non-profits and others raising funds to solicit donations. It is a GREAT DAY to post something online asking friends and family to give. Giving Tuesday donations has risen 143% in the last 7 years.
The example below is from a family who was going to a sensitive location. For Giving Tuesday they set a specific goal of $1,000 to go to pre-school and language learning. They promoted throughout the day (and prior!) by posting multiple times it on their Secret Facebook Group, which was comprised of people who were already a part of their team either in prayer and/or finances. They also created a post prior to Giving Tuesday on their regular Facebook page, asking if anyone was interested in hearing more about their journey. Then they added those interested parties to their Secret Facebook Group so that they could see the posts. BRILLIANT.
Do you want to know if they made their goal? Screen shots of their posts and progress are below. For security purposes I am not sharing the totality of their ADORABLE video, however, I did write down their script and have it below. It’s a great example of how you can raise over $1,000 in cash in ONE SINGLE DAY with a little bit of effort and excitement. By the way, the Smiths were EXCELLENT at face to face appointments and had a solid team in place by the time Giving Tuesday came. You may think Giving Tuesday wouldn’t work for an already established team…but see below for the results!
VIDEO SCREEN SHOTS:
Jason: “Hi guys, we are the Smith family. This is baby Justin, my wife Sara, and I’m Jason. Justin just turned 1 year old yesterday (all: YAY!) We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!”
Sara: “After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday if there is anything left in your bank account today is what is called “Giving Tuesday”. It’s an opportunity to bless people who are in the process of raising money. Many of you know that we are moving to X in the spring and we have been in the process of raising our monthly budget. But we also have to raise a cash budget up front. We are asking our friends and family on Facebook to consider giving us a cash gift of $25. Our goal is to raise $500 for Justin’s school and $500 for our language learning training for a total of $1,000 in just 1 DAY! You can give towards Justin’s school which will give him the opportunity to learn language, learn the culture, and make friends. Or today you could choose to give to our language training which will give us the opportunity to learn X and connect with people in their language.”
Jason: “Now it’s super easy to give, all you have to do is click the link and it will take you straight to the page where you can give. Then if you would send us a Facebook Message telling us which of these two things you gave towards – that way we can keep a running tally. Otherwise we won’t know for a couple of days, and that’s way less exciting.”
Sara: “Thank you friends for your generosity we appreciate you more than words can say.”
Both: “Happy Giving Tuesday!”
*funny bloopers with Justin and family at the end
*graphics displayed on video about link with arrows, Giving Tuesday, and Thank You.
*fun music in the background – light and airy.
3. NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER
Send out a regular newsletter at the beginning of November, even if you have done one recently.
Keep it to 1 page – be brief.
Keep it ministry focused with specific stories.
Use it to promote any Facebook Live or Giving Tuesday efforts you will be doing.
Say a very hearty thank you!
Don’t do any asks on this newsletter.
4. CHRISTMAS CARD / YEAR END LETTER
Do Christmas cards along with a year end letter sometime before December 31st (think about sticking it in the mail the day after Thanksgiving). I think it’s a good idea in some circumstances (see below for more on this) to bundle these two and stick them in the mail together, the card of course being Christmasy with the year end letter inside. Send these out to your existing financial and prayer partner list.
Include the following components:
Merry Christmas greeting.
Express your authentic thankfulness for your support team. Emphasize and focus your letter on the impact your partners are having.
Percentage update of where you are at raising your funds.
A gift-wrappy-Christmasy-wonderful-snowy graphic that has your organization’s giving website / ways to give. (Make it pretty – I made the one to the right in 5 minutes using Canva.com)
An actual ask in the letter for finances (yep, this is the only time of year I say go for it on a letter!). Consider making it about one story of a life changed or need.
Try to stay away from “I” language and use “we” language instead. Example: “I need $500 more in monthly support” to “In order to keep this ministry to the United School in South Africa and impact people like Miles, we are looking for $500 more in monthly support.” Answer the question “What difference will this make in someone’s life?”
Do a nice handwritten PS.
Tips for year end letter:
Switch this up from a regular newsletter. Use a slightly different template than a regular newsletter and make it more like a letter.
Don’t send an ask year end letter to anyone who recently started giving, just gave one time recently, or just increased their giving. (probably within the past 6 months). Just send them Christmas cards instead. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too many asks.
Consider creating a different version of your year end letter to those who haven’t started giving yet or didn’t give when asked. Change particulars as needed for the audience.
Perhaps for people who have said that they can’t give- give them a soft opportunity to give. Change the thankfulness for being on your support team and instead thank them for their prayers and involvement in your life.
For those you haven’t yet met with, change the particulars to reflect your desire to meet with them soon and thank them for the involvement in your life. You may want to include a soft ask but not as bold as to those you send it to who you’ve already met with.
Snail mail your year end letter.
Keep it to 1 page make it look really nice!
5. FACE TO FACE NOW!
In November and December are you are tempted to put the breaks on contacting individuals for F2F appointments? Yeah, don’t do that. Sure, time for interaction may level off the weeks of holidays but experience has taught me that it can also be a GREAT time for face-to-face (I use face-to-face arbitrarily – that could mean virtually) appointments; particularly if you are in from out of town and catching up with family members or old friends! Are we going to be meeting with our families this year?! Who knows! But don’t stop reaching out to connect with people and making the ask. Some tips:
Try and ask them for a F2F early. Give them a couple of extra weeks to put it in their calendar.
Get a small gift for your potential financial partner and bring it to your appointment.
Make it about them when you meet as much as it is about you. Ask questions and get excited about who they are. Don’t let your appointment become a monologue.
Send a thank you card within 48 hours after you meet – regardless of responses!
If you cannot reach someone toward the holidays, don’t sweat it. Try reaching out to them again in January.
Pay for their coffee if you meet in person.
6. SMALL GIFTS
Send your members of your partnership team small gifts. December is a great time of year to express your thankfulness to your support team. Go above and beyond that newsletter!
7. FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN
A well crafted, intentional, relational Facebook Campaign can be helpful during these months of giving. Consider creating a Facebook Campaign in October, November, or December if you haven’t already done one recently. Keep in mind, this is advisable only if you have gotten far enough in your financial partnership (75-80%) to start one. Also, in general for Facebook Campaigns I think it’s best not to do one for the end of the year if you already plan on doing Giving Tuesday and a Facebook Live Q&A. Try to pick between Giving Tuesday posts + a Facebook Live Q&A, or doing a Facebook Campaign. It’s best to NOT do all a couple of weeks apart so that you don’t over saturate your social media audience.
Last note on Facebook Campaigns: GET SILLY. (this applies to Giving Tuesdays as well!) Shave a head if you reach your goal! Do a weird dance! Eat something weird! Write a song! Don’t discount the lure of silly rewards. Here’s a screen shot of a worker who jumped into freezing waters on the last day of their Campaign (they reached their goal of $1,000 in monthly support in 10 days):
8. EMAIL AFTER CHRISTMAS
Send out an email on December 29th or 30th. Include the following:
Greeting of Happy New Year for your partners
Remind them of your ministry as they execute their giving.
Use that christmasy-graphic and update it to be new-years-y with a clickable link on giving online.
Don’t include a formal ask. Just thank yous’ and the graphic on how to give online.
Stay consistent with your goals and shoot for a multi-channel approach. The secret sauce for creating a successful year end strategy is all about sequence. What does that mean? Essentially, sequence is you creating a goal and using that message/goal consistently to create a multi-channel integrated approach. Your goal should be consistent across any blogs or websites, social media, email, and written mail.
Have your strategy in place and communication pieces written BEFORE November.
Sequence maximizes the return on your effort and time investment. Stay consistent.
Try to get a hook when creating your goals. Maybe an image, theme, tagline, story.
Try to be eye-catching. Be compelling.
Less is more. The fewer words the better. Try to keep letters, etc. personal and short. Keep videos as short, fun, and informative as possible.
Don’t send a year end letter to anyone who just started giving, gave a special gift, or increased their giving in the last six months. Just send them a Christmas card.
Customize two different letters: one for on-going financial partners, one for non-givers.
In your wording, focus on the partner. Example: “There is hope, and that hope is you.” Talk about how your partners make the world better with their gift: “You gave 50 kids the gift of Jesus last year with your donation, and now you can do more.” The partner and the partnership between you becomes the hero of this story. Acknowledge their important role in your mission.
Get creative! These aren’t the only ways to utilize this season, just some ideas I’ve seen work very well.
Don’t let your partners only hear “asks” from you. Be sure you stay on top of personal communication. The routine newsletter that arrives in early November will be helpful – 1 page with pictures, ministry focused with specific stories. But get beyond that and reach out in micro relational ways to your team.
Here’s posts from a couple who did both a Facebook Live Q&A and Giving Tuesday:
I heard a phrase recently and it’s really stuck with me the past couple of weeks:
“There’s a lot of water in the water.”
Roll with me here. The phrase essentially means there is a lot going on. Let’s think about the phrase in the context of surfing. Somedays the ocean can be easy going and smooth. On those days, you can catch a wave with little effort (unless you’re me…cuz that’s never going to happen), get back on your board and repeat. Other times, the exact opposite is true and it’s a big ole struggle. Because there are currents coming from different directions, you can be in the exact same spot, with the exact same water, and what was an easy day yesterday becomes a very challenging one the next — making catching waves and paddling seem nearly impossible. All the sudden you’re expending at least double the energy to do what would have been so easy just the day prior. Hence, there’s a lotta water in the water.
Lately, reminding myself of this phrase has been a great way of slowing down and staying calm when there is a lot going on – whether that’s anxiety over something specific, general circumstances, or a day feeling more complicated than usual for whatever reason. I also feel like the phrase encapsulates the pandemic and what we are all going through right now: Yep, there’s a lotta water in the water on that one.
With that being said, I just wanted to touch base on support raising in the midst of the pandemic. Some of you may be navigating it all swimmingly (see what I did there?), but lately I have been coming across a few questions. Questions such as: How should I meet with people? What do I say to figure out if we are going to be wearing masks? What about meeting outside? What if I don’t want to meet with people right now because I am immune compromised or am unvaccinated? What if they don’t want to meet in person and they are being more careful than I am? Guys remember the good ole days when getting the place and time nailed down for an appointment was the easy part? THERE’S A LOTTA WATER IN THE WATER. That being said, here are a couple of tips that may be helpful no matter what your beliefs are on COVID and Delta etc.
1. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of handling the Coronavirus, as you ask for appointments it’s important to stay mindful that others may feel differently than you do as far as safety is concerned. Thus, try to respect those differences. As you ask for face to face appointments, it may be best to try to approach your potential partner by asking what makes them feel comfortable. Here’s a sample dialogue asking an individual for an appointment via phone:
(after beginning conversation and briefly explaining your ministry assignment)“…I would love to grab some time with you sometime in the next few weeks to talk more specifically about the vision and goals of this ministry assignment and joining some aspect of my team, whether that’s in prayer or finances or both. I don’t know what you’re comfortable with right now as far as meeting — would it be best to mask at a coffee shop, stay outside, Zoom, or none of the above and your not worried about it — what are you doing to stay comfortable and how can I accommodate?”
Basically, it’s important not to jump to conclusions as to what your potential partner is comfortable with! Stay mindful and ministry minded. I wrote some posts early in the pandemic (this post and this one) that may serve as helpful guides that you can adapt.
2. It’s not time to pause completely or indefinitely. God still called you to ministry and that hasn’t changed because there is a pandemic. People need ministers now more than ever. It may be a teeny bit trickier, but that doesn’t mean that your asks or appointments need to come to a stop.
3. Build your online presence. Everyone is still online right now! Do you have a Facebook group? Set it up! Do you have Instagram or TikTok? (ok, I don’t have a TikTok YET) Set it up! Have you tried FacebookLive? Go for it.
4. Video conference / Zoom appointments are still working and remain a great option when needed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been taking with many workers who have had (and are having) great appointments with individuals via Zoom. If you need to Zoom with someone go for it!
5. Have your appointment outside! If it makes you or your potential partner feel more comfortable to meet outside – embrace Mother Nature with a smile! Find a patio, coffee shop with outdoor seating, backyard, or park to meet someone at. Go on a walk! A hike even! Take lunch to a nice park. Go get ice cream! Or heck, a hotdog I dunno. Bottom line: outside can be great! Just make sure you plan accordingly and bring what you need for yourself and your potential partner to make it comfortable (bug spray, sunscreen, water, etc.). Have a rain plan if need be as well – think through some outside spaces that are covered if you need to stay outside, or have a backup Zoom plan.
In closing, It’s true there are a few more hoops to jump through as you navigate support raising through a continuing pandemic. There’s a lotta water in the water. But it’s not impossible or too much to move forward with! Keep your eyes on Jesus, know He has called you, and keep moving forward! I hope some of these thoughts help everyone! Have questions? Ask them in the comments!
Do you wonder what to do when a potential supporter doesn’t answer the phone? I’m sure you’ve run into a scenario like this one:
It’s Tuesday evening at 5:30pm and you call Stephanie hoping to connect and ask her for a face to face appointment, but she didn’t answer. Sadly Stephanie didn’t answer your text after you called either. Whomp. Okay, you tell yourself, par for the course. No biggie. Try again later. So you try Stephanie again on Thursday (early afternoon this time) but it’s still crickets so you leave her a voicemail and say a prayer. Nope. Nothing. Now it’s Saturday and you decide to send another text message and ask if Stephanie has time to connect soon. Nada. Now it’s the following week on Wednesday, you try Stephanie’s phone again and she doesn’t answer so you send her a quick email and wait.
And after all of this you are wondering; WHAT HAPPENED? Did I cross the line? When do I stop trying to reach someone who doesn’t answer the phone?
And here we are folks. Have you been there? Are you wondering how do you proceed when someone doesn’t answer phone calls or texts? When is it time to switch means of communication and try to reach them another way? When is it time to stop trying to connect all together? Should you send another text? One more email?
I’ve been there. Below is some advice I hope you find helpful!
VOICEMAILS AND INITAL CALLS
If you are reaching out to a prospective partner for the first time via phone and you reach them: HUZZAH! CONGRATS! If you don’t reach them on that first try, try to remember it’s okay and NORMAL. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to talk to you. Breathe deep. And here’s a little hack: if that first attempt goes to voicemail, consider hanging up without leaving a voice mail. This gives you the ability to call back again a day or two without need for explanation.
Another consideration for the first phone call without an answer (and no voicemail) is sending them a brief text message directly after the failed attempt that says something like the following:
“”Hi Stephanie! it’s Jenn Fortner. Could you let me know if there’s a good time to chat for a couple of minutes this evening (or another time soon that works better)? Or I’ll just try you back in a bit. Thanks!” (wording taken directly from a worker who used this and said it was gold!)
They may or may not answer the text. If they don’t answer, don’t give up! Call again, and this time leave a voicemail and communicate the following:
If you sent an invitation letter first, tell them that you were calling in reference to the invitation letter you sent them a week ago and would love to connect with them further. You don’t want to give them too many details as to why you are calling, so keep the information short and to the point.
If you are calling without prior context (no invitation letter), communicate that you are wanting to talk briefly and mention that you will be calling them back.
It should go something like this:
“Hi Stephanie! Hope you are doing great. I would love to catch you sometime soon – if you grab a minute give me a call but I’ll try to see if I can catch you at another time. Have a great day and hope to talk to you soon!”
If you feel more comfortable texting rather than calling, consider sending someone a text before you call them (or after you call them – as explained above). In a text prior to calling – ask if it would be a good time to call and that you’d like to speak with them briefly. A brief warning here: Don’t skip ahead and ask for an appointment on a text… I know, texts seem SO MUCH easier than phone calls. Truly, texting is a whole other subject so headhere if you want more details as to (1) why a combination of a text message and phone call is better than just a text message for scheduling appointments (2) how do text without giving too much information or (3) why is no one answering my texts.
HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD I CALL BEFORE I QUIT?
Don’t give up too early, but don’t move into stalking mode either! Neither are good! How often do you call? And when do you throw in the towel? Here’s some advice:
Go 2-3 times beyond what you are comfortable with in trying to reach someone on the phone. From what I’ve seen, we are likely to stop ourselves short in attempted communication way too early. It’s likely our fear of rejection or insecurities in asking will get the better of our reaching out way before we become too pushy and cross a line.
Switch up your mode of communication after several attempts via phone (my advice is 3 attempts at the very least) to a text message or a Facebook message. However, prior to this try hard to avoid written messages in asking for appointments whenever you can (lots of reasons for why can be found here).
Stagger your attempts at calling. Consider waiting a couple of days before trying again if you’ve gotten radio silence thus far. It may look something like this:
July 1st – Attempt 1 to call Stephanie Jones (no voicemail). (brief text message afterward “Hey Stephanie it’s Jenn Fortner. Could you let me know if there’s a good time for you to chat this evening (If not another time that works?) Or I’ll just try you again in a bit! Thanks” )
July 2nd – Attempt two to call Stephanie Jones (brief voicemail“Hey Stephanie it’s Jenn Fortner. Hope you are doing great. Just trying to reach you and don’t want to take too much of your time, about a ministry thing. Give me a call if you grab a moment or I’ll try and call you soon. I hope your at the beach or something! I know you were talking about going. Have a great day!”
July 7th – Attempt 3 to call Stephanie Jones (brief voicemail: “Hey Stephanie it’s Jenn again. Just trying to reach you, If you get a chance give me a call, but I’ll probably try you again. Hope to chat you soon.”)
July 21st – Attempt 4 to call Stephanie Jones (Text before: “Hey Stephanie, just trying to reach you one more time. There is something important I would love to discuss with you – and briefly Can we use the phone for a minute?”)
August 7th – Attempt 5 to call Stephanie Jones (maybe voicemail or no voicemail with a text after, but something like this: “Hey Stephanie. I’ll go ahead and email you on the thing I’m trying to connect about to see if that works better for you. I’m sure your busy and hope you guys are having a great summer. If you get a chance to check your email that would be great. Thanks Stephanie!”)
August 20th – No answer from email. You text The Final Contact (see post for wording).
If still you get nothing from emailing or texting it’s likely time for The Final Contact. Make sure you read this important post if you haven’t already to word that crucial text the best way possible.
SWITCHING COMMUNICATION METHOD
If it’s evident after several failed phone call attempts that the phone is not for them, try switching to text, email, Facebook Messenger, or a combination of some of these things. How you choose to switch it up should largely be placed on past communication you’ve had with that potential partner.
If you don’t hear back from that potential partner after switching modes of communication, try sending the Final Contact. After that Final Contact, you may consider putting that person in some type of organization system you have kept with other potential partners, noting the times you tried communication. And lastly, consider reaching out again after several months of waiting. You never know after several months or when you’re closer to the finish line if that person may get inspired to give. It’s possible that they just needed some time to think about it.
There’s a lot of contingencies in the world financial partnership development and phone calls, but I hope this post helps a bit as you think about your strategy in reaching people who don’t like to pick up the phone.
What are your thoughts? What works best for you? Post it in the comments!
If your in a season of support raising it is likely that you have thought about your capacity recently. Questions may have come up such as “How am I going to find the time to raise this budget?” or “What do I need to get done this week to reach my budget goal?” or “What’s more important, getting this laundry load folded or spending another 15 minutes calling potential financial partners on the phone?”
Believe it or not – capacity actually has nothing to do with time. We all have the same amount of hours in a day, we simply focus our 24 hours differently.
“If you grow in your awareness, develop your abilities, and make the right choices you can reach your capacity. In other words AWARENESS + ABILITIES + CHOICES = CAPACITY.”
Let’s quickly explore awareness, abilities, and choices in light of capacity.
AWARENESS AND ABILITIES
It’s not naturally what you would think, but capacity truly has everything to do with self awareness. The better word for capacity often times is the plural form, “capacities”. Another way to say it perhaps is “abilities”.
To explain – being realistic about your limitations, strengths, and weaknesses can create awareness that can be helpful in optimizing your capacity. If you are aware which capacities you have strengths in and others that you can explore growth in, you’ll naturally be more likely to grow.
You may find yourself struggling in an area that someone else may excel in (classic examples include organization, public speaking, task management). Exploring what comes naturally to you and what areas you can improve in have everything to do with maximizing your capacity. The more your grow in self awareness, the more you can challenge yourself to grow in areas of weakness – it’s all about knowing who you are and working to strengthen your abilities!
As Maxwell states, a large part of our capacity is also determined on what choices we make. If we make the right choices to work toward our overarching goals, we can be healthy in our capacity concerning those goals. To do that, we have to figure out what goals we have and what we want our lives to be all about.
The hard part comes in when we have to make decisions on what we are willing to give up in order to reach the goal or do the thing we really care about. The mom with 2 kids may decide that time with her family is more important than her career goals, and take a step down at work. A person raising support may have to decide not to lead the small group or church committee anymore and let someone else step in to do it, so that they can have more time to devote to raising funds. The student who decides it’s important for them to take care of a sick parent may decide to move back in instead of stay on campus and maybe take a few less hours that semester. Bottom line, the choices we make have a great impact on our capacity. And sometimes those choices can be very challenging to make.
In a season of raising support there maybe some good things that you have to hit pause on. That’s okay! The thing to keep in mind is to know where you want to focus and ultimately land. If we aren’t intentional typically the loudest voice will grab our attention instead of the goal or area we really want to focus on. Before we know it – we look up and our capacity is swallowed by a thing we never intended it to be! Oftentimes I see this in workers who are raising support but also have full time demanding jobs. With these workers, the loudest voice is their current job and it’s rigors, and they struggle to find extra time to raise support. If they aren’t careful they will loose the long term goal they have to get to their field of ministry, because they are so busy trying to keep up with the job they will eventually leave behind. Our goals and our “why” in life often have to be fought for, especially in circumstances when they aren’t actualized immediately and take hard and consistent work to achieve. Those long term, non-immediate goals need to be known, recognized, and remembered to intentionally spend ourselves on. Ultimately it’s a CHOICE that requires diligence along the way.
In summary, if you find yourself challenged with capacity in this season of raising support, think about the following:
A. Are you self-aware? Are you aware of the places you naturally excel and the places you find challenging to implement? Challenge yourself to grow in those areas and give extra time and thought into expanding the capacities you find yourself low in.
B. What choices are you making with your time and this season of life. Are you reaching toward your long term goals, or listening to the loudest voice that may be crowding out your capacity and overall ability to reach that goal? Maybe it’s time to make some changes to adjust life according to your larger goals.
I hope this post inspires you to think about your capacity and how you can grow in this season!
This post is a re-post from 2018 I tweaked just a bit. Capacity is such an important topic to discuss in the area of support raising. I hope you find these ideas helpful! – JF