Before we get into this amazing post, I (Jenn Fortner), just want to say how thankful I am for another Pastor Chris guest post. In this post Pastor Chris continues to challenge us with his wisdom in a huge area of ministry partnership development: follow-up. If you didn’t get to read his first guest post you can find it here.You can also read Chris’s full bio below. Enjoy! – JF
Are You Doing Proper Follow-Up? This is a critical question regarding your success as a christian worker. As a christian worker or missionary you are going to find many people interested in speaking to you about Jesus, but they may not always be ready to make a commitment. They may not be prepared to forsake Islam or their family’s religion of many generations because you told them a nice story. Successful ministry work requires faithful and patient follow-up with that person who has shown some interest. The man who pumps my gas gave his life to Jesus, but only after I spoke with him many times. He had to know more than my “story” about Jesus… he had to know ME. Was I a worthy person to carry such a story to him? Could I be trusted? Did I really believe the message I was sharing with him?
The first place you learn and practice how to do follow-up is while raising your financial support. You may think raising money and sharing the gospel are vastly different but they are not. If you are unable to look a pastor square in the eyes and say, “I need your support to fulfill God’s call on my life” – then you will find it difficult to look another man, with another religion, square in the eyes and say to him, “I need you to abandon everything you have been taught and follow Jesus!”
Before you get to meet that man and share the gospel with him – you must meet many pastors and individuals who will help send you to the field of your calling. You will face a lot of rejection along the way. Your success will depend on how YOU HEAR rejection. Yes, you read that correctly… it is up to YOU how YOU hear rejection. When a pastor says to you, “I’ve just taken on several other families and our budget cannot support another one right now” – What do you hear? Do you hear “NO”? Or do you hear “NOT NOW”?
I have been serving on the field for many years. I have raised a lot of funds. I have done a lot of asking. I do not remember in all of those times of asking that I have ever heard a “NO”. If you hear “NO” when you ask (or if you are hearing “I DO NOT WANT TO SUPPORT YOU”), then I believe you are hearing incorrectly. Most people you share your vision with likely believe in you, and admire what you are doing. However, everyone is not going to be willing, AT THE MOMENT YOU ASK, to support you. This is where follow up becomes a key to your success.
Successful sales people will tell you the one difference between them (the successful ones) and the others (the unsuccessful ones) is performing proper follow up. Salesmen are pushed by their organizations to close the deal on the first meeting. When they are not able to do that (close the deal) they allow the potential client to drift off to a competitor, while they go looking for a new potential client. This is a HUGE mistake. Recent studies have shown that most sales come much later than originally thought and after multiple contacts.
In an article entitled – Shocking Sales Statistics as it Relates to Follow Up – the author shares these statistics:
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people make more than three contacts
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2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Look at that last line. 80% of all sales come between 5 and 12 contacts. Amazing!!! I do not know how those statistics compare to fund raising, but I believe they would be very similar.
How can you apply this information to your fundraising campaign? Here are some ideas:
1.Change the way you HEAR rejection
Unless a “NO” is a very emphatic “NO” – you must learn to hear it as “not now.”
2.Develop a Contact & Follow-up Strategy
Every contact with a potential supporter does not need to be an “ask”. In fact if it is, you may become obnoxious and pastors will run when they see you. This is true when presenting the gospel on the field also… every time you meet that guy or gal you are sharing with – you cannot ask them to accept Jesus; however, there will be the right time when you can. Every time you meet a pastor you cannot ask for money, but there will be the right setting when you can.
3.Set a Goal to Work your Strategy
If you are raising your support for the first time set a goal to contact every pastor in your district multiple times (of course always follow the protocol within your organization / your role on this one). Contacts can be any kind of contact: a newsletter, a Facebook post, a postcard, a formal letter, an invite to coffee or lunch, greeting him/her at a district function, etc. Create a spreadsheet and track how many times you have contacted each pastor. Look for the ones you have had little contact with and try to increase your connection with them.
Doing these things will help keep you moving towards your goal of reaching the field and sharing the gospel with the people God is calling you to.
Ye have not… because ye follow up not!
Begin today putting together a Follow-Up & Contact Plan that works for you!
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