What To Do If A Financial Partner Stops Giving

What happens if you are months into your assignment and you notice that the support of one of your financial partners has come to a screeching halt? Would contacting them be awkward? How would you word such a conversation? Here are some tips on how to deal when giving drops off:

  • If someone’s support drops off, try to deal with it relatively quickly. Don’t wait 4 or 5 months (or yikes…even longer) to reach out. I think waiting until the second month is okay, but I probably wouldn’t go beyond that if you can help it.
  • If someone stops their giving don’t assume that they don’t want to give any more. It could likely be a credit card expiration situation.
  • If someone’s support drops off contact that financial partner! Personally I would use email or phone call to connect, and I would stay away from less personal spaces like Facebook Messenger or text. Here’s a sample email or phone conversation:
    • Hey Paul! Hope you are doing well! Things here are going great even in the midst of COVID-19. We have gone out of shelter in place and have been able to connect more with the local church as well as resume our English teaching with ease – which is great. It’s also lead to a lot of really great ministry moments recently that I’ll be sharing more in depth in my newsletter coming up next week. Excited to share more! How are you all doing in the midst of COVID? Everything ok with you and your family? Would love to hear more. // I want to reach out because I noticed in May that your monthly support did not come in. I’m wondering if that is a credit card issue / expiration or if there are other circumstances? Let me know if you could either way. I would love to be praying if you have any specific prayer requests and thank you for the continued support in ministry, it has and does mean more than words can say. I’ll be attaching instructions to the bottom of this email if indeed it is a credit card change. Thank you Paul!” (*include giving information, instructions on credit card changes that are extremely user friendly, and your contact information)
  • If they don’t happen to answer, don’t give up, try to reach out in another way. And/or if you are emailing and don’t get a response, wait a week or so and pop in with a quick email that says something like “Hey Paul, just checking in. Did you happen to get the email I sent you on a couple of weeks ago in the beginning of June?”
  • If they answer back and let you know it’s a credit card expiration, I would respond by providing them again with the needed information to make the change. Do as much of the work as you possibly can for them, and make it AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE for them to complete the task.
  • If they answer that they won’t be continuing and their financial abilities have changed say something along the lines of:
    • “Hey Paul, thanks for letting me know about the situation that lead to a pause on the giving. It truly helps me. Thank you so much as well for your giving over X amount of time, words cannot say enough how grateful I am. If it’s okay I would love to touch base with you later on down the road and see if jumping back on would make sense after the challenges you are facing pass – and will be praying for you in the midst of it. I’m sure it’s a challenging time and I’m so sorry you have to walk through that (*or whatever helpful language works here based on relationship and challenge they are facing*). I’ll continue sending newsletters and thank you for your continued prayers. If you would like to not get those any longer let me know and I can take you off the list. Again, appreciate you and your family and will stay in touch.” 
    • If you send this back to them set yourself a calendar reminder to email or text them in a month or two just to simply check in and ask how they are doing. There should be no other agenda for that touch point unless they initiate it. Tell them you have been praying for them (and indeed – pray for them!) and let them know you were thinking of them.
  • Just as a reminder, stay relational with your partnership team! According to Bill Dillon’s statistics in his book People Raising, 66% of people stop giving because they don’t think that you care about them or their giving. Don’t be that worker that goes off to their assignment and forgets the team beyond you and behind you that makes it possible! If that is the case, you will likely have people drop off.
  • In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, I don’t think these tips or steps change. It may be that someone on your team falls on hard times and drop offs due to the economy, and staying ministry minded will serve you well. Still reach out using the following the tips above.

How To Approach Face to Face Appointments During a Pandemic

As I write this many cities across the US have gone to lifting restrictions of a stay at home orders or will do so in the upcoming weeks. We have yet to see how this will effect America in the wake of a virus without a vaccine. In the past few weeks, we have also seen Americans polarized by the politicizing of the virus and their beliefs. Some people believe that COVID-19 is a hoax, others believe it is deadly and dangerous and wear masks while still others don’t, others are grappling with how to reenter their workplaces and remain safe, some people are trying to figure out how to continue work and take care of children who are still not attending school, and others are just 100% over it all together.

Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of Coronavirus belief (is there a better term? Let me know!) as you ask individuals for appointments in the upcoming months I believe it’s important to stay mindful that others may feel differently than you as far as safety is concerned. Thus, try to respect those differences. As you may be moving into asking for actual 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 social distance on a porch at my or you’re home, we could use Zoom and meet virtually, or perhaps meet at a coffee shop if you’re comfortable.”

Basically, it’s important to not jump to conclusions as to what your potential partner is comfortable with! Stay mindful and ministry minded. If you need a review of how to approach individuals and churches during this time, this post and this one may serve as helpful guides.

If you have been struggling to make progress in the past few months, remember that God has called YOU to your assignment. He is still on the throne and He knows the times and the seasons. He actually knew this would go down in the midst of your support raising season. Stay focused and stay reminded of your calling. I have personally been so encouraged as I have dialogued with the workers I coach, seeing so many of them add numerous new partners to their team. You’ve got this. He’s got this!

I hope these thoughts help! Reach out if you have questions!

 

 

Amendment to Prior Post: Financial Partnership And The Coronavirus From March 17

While writing the blog post Partnership Development and the Coronavirus on March 17th I referenced work from this wonderful article written on March 13th by Dave Dickens of CRU on MPD and the Coronavirus and did not cite it. Please note my error and apologies to Dave for not citing his work. I have changed the original post and copied it here. As a note, if you want a wonderful emails to subscribe to on the subject of support raising, please subscribe to Dave’s – it’s chalk full of wisdom on the subject. – JF

Many of you in the middle of raising support may be wondering what to do during this unprecedented time. Today there are more school closings, limitations on gatherings of more than 10 people, more chaos at airports, overall social distancing, and the like. We don’t know yet how the coronavirus will affect ministry workers raising support. Dave Dickens of CRU recently offered some brilliant thoughts on his email newsletter list that I wanted to share with you at explaining some helpful things to help you navigate this chaotic season (some of it is slightly adapted to serve this blog’s audience):

    • Let’s be prayerful. Pray for those affected by the pandemic, for ministry leaders who need to make tough decisions, for people’s financial situations, and for open hearts and gospel conversations as people are confronted with a broken world.
    • Reach out to ministry partners to ask how this is affecting them. Create meaningful conversations (via text, phone calls, FaceTime, etc.) and have a ministry mindset when connecting. Send your partnership team texts, emails, or phone calls. Be ready to see your inbox fill up! If you have kids at home from school, maybe have the kids do artwork and write handwritten notes of appreciation and love to your team.
    •  Here’s a sample text reaching out: “I know we are all navigating uncertain times, and was thinking of you today. How are you doing, and how is the coronavirus affecting you? I’m taking some time to pray for you today. Let me know if there are specific things I can be praying for!”
    • Send a coronavirus update prayer letter with specific prayer requests related to your assignment.
    • Because everyone is social distancing and at home, over the next few weeks it may be easier to reach people, and people are definitely wanting to talk. People are more likely to be on social media as well. Think about ways to add value in those spaces and reach out.

Here are some thoughts to expound upon what Dave writes:

  • Have you had a hard time staying organized? Are you caught up on thank you cards? This may be a good time to clean up your organization for financial partnership development. It also may be a good time to upgrade branding, overall materials, or if you don’t have an active presence on Facebook or other social media platforms to start.
  • It probably goes without saying at this point, but meeting face-to-face in person will likely be off the table for a bit (at the very least for some people). Think of partners to reach out to via video appointments. It may be wise to change course of action and instead of reaching out to your “A” list, reach out to those who would be long distance appointments anyhow.
  • It also may be a couple of weeks of relative pause on some people (maybe not all, but some) you were wanting to reach out to – that’s okay and understandable. That also doesn’t mean it’s time to do nothing. Pray, use discernment and common sense before asking for an appointment. If you have a coach, reach out to ask their thoughts on nuance situations – that’s what they are there for!
  • Many churches are not able to congregate during this time, so if you do reach out to a pastor ask for prayer needs. If you are asking for support from the church, suggest possibly doing a window online with them (especially in checking up for a already scheduled service) and be creative. It also may be good to hold off on connecting with some churches for a few weeks while they think of how to shepherd their own flock during this time.
  • One worker sent me an idea of scheduling a face to face via video conferencing, and going the extra mile to send that family some food or a snack and have it placed at their door for the appointment. Creative, thoughtful, and ministry minded!

I hope some of these thoughts at least get the wheels turning as to what to do for the next couple of weeks. It’s definitely not cut and dry. As Dave writes, “in the midst let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and remember His words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 New International Version). Wisdom to be sure.

Also remember, ministry doesn’t start when you get into your full time assignment, it starts now! Ask God how you can serve those around you during this season.

What are your thoughts or questions during this interesting season?

7 Things I Am Learning About Support Raising During A Pandemic

What day is it of whatever this is? If you’re like me, you’ve lost count somewhere along the way. As our groundhog days have gone on I have been busy coaching workers who are on the front lines of raising their support, many for the first time. I’ve been carefully listening and dialing into what is working and what is not. Thus, I wanted to take a moment to share some tips I have learned from coaching numerous workers raising their support during the Coronavirus. Here we go:

  1. If you have not done a newsletter in awhile (or you did recently, just pre-Coronavirus), NOW is the time to do one. I’ve been hearing workers mention that the number one question they are getting from their supporters and potential supporters is “are you still going to do your ministry assignment?” Stave off any doubt your supporters have by sending out a short newsletter that shares the following:
    • Reassure them you are feeling your call to ministry now more than ever! Remind them there are amazing opportunities to minister as people are searching for meaning and faith right now, and you’re excited to get on the front lines.
    • Yes, you are still called! Yes, you are still going to the field / on staff / your assignment! Let them know you are working as you are able to minister during this time, continue to raise support, and pray.
    • Ask them if they have any specific prayer requests.
    • Write a hearty thank you for their continued giving during this season. Let them how grateful you are. It’s huge they are committed to giving.
    • Don’t be afraid to keep it short and to the point.
  2. Video conference appointments are working. I have been taking with many workers who are having great appointments with individuals and are adding to their support teams during this time, Thus, don’t think of it as a time to stand still and do nothing! Reach for Zoom appointments using a mixture of discernment, wisdom, common sense, and prayer. When you do ask for an appointment, follow the guidelines found in this post and develop your own scripts.
  3. I coach a couple who shared this idea I thought was brilliant: for local appointments, think about having “porch picnics” with those who are comfortable. Their instructions:
    •  Get a Signup Genius ready (www.signupgenius.com)
    • Send link to potential supporters after you have called and asked for a appointment (or those already on your team that you want to build relationship with and see) to schedule appointments
    • “Take them” to dinner/lunch/coffee. (go pick something up with washed and sanitized hands or use UberEats or GrubHub or DoorDash)
    • Hang on porch at a distance
  4. Staying spiritually healthy matters. I talked with a couple yesterday who mentioned they are praying together for a different church every day, and are viewing this time as an opportunity to dial into their prayer life separately and together as a couple. They feel blessed to have extra time to bulk up spiritually. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine that this couple won’t be lead into great opportunities as a result of their heart and prayer life. Go and do likewise.
  5. Facebook / Instagram Live Q&As can be a good way to stay active and are FUN! As we all know, there are a lot of people online right now. Why not utilize that opportunity by doing a Facebook Live Q&A or Instagram Live and talk about your upcoming assignment? The main content of a FB Live Q&A should be comprised of giveaways, trivia / info on your assignment, questions for the audience, and time to let them ask you questions. Make it simple and fun, and promote it however you can before hand.  This post outlines some details on the subject.  (*sensitive workers — this is doable for you too with some extra precautions and permissions!)
  6. Continue having ministry moments. Ask pastors if you can help serve their congregation (if you have technical skills they could probably really use you)! Ask friends and family members how they are doing, just because. If someone comes to mind take a moment and reach out. What you sow you will also reap, so continue to sow into your relationships.
  7. Having a good attitude and staying empathetic matters. Remember, your ministry doesn’t start when you get to your assignment – it starts now! And hey, I totally get it, of course this time is challenging! I SEE YOU. But here’s a wild thought: God knew about the pandemic and still chose YOU for this time. Knowing that, choose to be the inspiration of courage and hope to someone else, as chances are they need it. Chances are you will be inspired by being an inspiration. You will be blessed by being a blessing. Stick with a good attitude. Stay empathetic and serve those around you in everyday small ways. One worker I know realized she is getting a lot of joy from having flowers on her kitchen table and tending to her plant babies. She is now driving around to her existing partnership team (who are local) and putting small plants on their porches with a short note of encouragement. What a great idea!

Friends, I hope some of these tips help or get the wheels turning on ideas of your own. What has been working for you? Post it in the comments! – JF

Partnership Development and The Coronavirus: Part 2

Many of you are faced with questions as to what should I do during this early time of the coronavirus. From the workers I connect with weekly, I’ve heard everything from “I’ve been having appointments this week on Zoom and they have been great”, to “we don’t know if best to wait and not ask for appointments this early into the pandemic.” I wanted to write a synopsis of what I have been thinking through this past week as we are navigating together. Here’s an update on some of thoughts (or just think of it as an expansion) since last week when I wrote Partnership Development and the Coronavirus Part 1:

1. This is not the time to do nothing! This is a great time to:

  • Build your online presence. Everyone is online right now! Do you have a Facebook group? Set it up! Do you have Instagram or TikTok? (guys, I don’t have a TikTok yet but I’m thinking about it) Set it up! Have you tried FacebookLive? Go for it.
  • Reach out to existing partners or just friends and family and ask how they are doing, and be an encouragement. Many of them will remember the times you reached out without asking for anything. Look for opportunities to serve and stay ministry minded:
    • send postcards (with washed hands)
    • send texts
    • send cards from your kids (with washed hands)
    • send videos from your kids
    • put a bag of coffee or a chocolate bar or something from a small business on their doorstep if local. if you don’t want to spend money go pick some flowers…there will be some in the next several weeks!
    • update your team with a newsletter

2. When thinking of continuing to reach out to individuals here are some thoughts:

  • 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 time to be sensitive and loving while thinking through your asks, and it may not be the right time to ask for some people in your contact list, but that doesn’t mean that your asks need to come to a full stop.
  • When going through your list it may not be business as usual. Use a mix of prayer, discernment, and common sense while thinking of who to reach out to in the next 2 weeks (or more). Do your homework and think critically: Are they a small business owner? (you may table reaching out to them for the time being) Are they someone you would have reached out to for a distance video call anyhow? Are they ministry minded?
  • When you do ask for a social distance video appointment with an individual here’s some specific thoughts on how to proceed:
    • Always start your phone call with 3 questions: “Hey, how are you doing? How are you doing in the wake of coronavirus? How can I be praying for you?” 
      • Take your time with their response and really listen with attuned ears. Ask follow up questions and don’t be afraid to get into the weeds. Let this be a ministry moment.
    • After you have listened, tailor your response to asking for a video appointment depending on their answer:
      • OPTION A: They said they are “fine” (sheltered in place / social distancing / but fine). If they say this you respond with:

“That’s great. I know it’s been a challenge and if their are any prayer needs that stand out let us know. We are calling because we feel our call to ministry now more than ever (to X – maybe a brief summary of your ministry assignment is needed) and are still raising up a team of financial and prayer support partners. You definitely came to mind as someone we would like to be a part of that. Realizing that this is a crazy time, we are wondering if we could schedule a video call sometime this week or next to tell you more about our ministry vision and goals and see if you could join some aspect of our team?” (proceed from there…)

      • OPTION B: They said they are struggling (financially, emotionally, etc.). If they say this respond with:

“We will absolutely be praying with you during this time with your prayer needs (insert here several of the things they mentioned that are challenging). Here in a minute if it’s cool we would love to pray with you, and would love to maybe follow up with a text or phone call in the next couple of weeks just to see how it’s going. We really want to pray with you. We were originally calling because we are feeling our ministry call now more than ever (to X – maybe a brief summary is needed), but let’s table that for now because there are so many things going on. Maybe at some point in a couple of months we could tell you more about that if that’s okay? (response) For now let’s pray…” 

    • If you are responding to OPTION B it may feel inappropriate to let them know about your ministry and why you were originally calling, though I think in a lot of circumstances that would be fine. Stay sensitive and use discernment.
    • Write scripts out for OPTION A and OPTION B and don’t be afraid to use them on live phone calls.
    • Stay organized. If you say you will reach out again, actually reach out again. If you say you’ll be praying, you need to actually pray.
    • Check in with your coach (or if you don’t have one, reach out to veterans within your organization or others who are also support raising that you trust) on a regular basis. If you are running into nuanced situations, ask for thoughts.

3. When reaching out to churches here are some thoughts:

  • If you are reaching out to a pastor during this time, always start by asking the pastor “Hey, how are you and your congregation doing during COVID-19? What are some things we can be praying with you about?” 
  • Same conversation applies with OPTION A and OPTION B above, just tailor it to the church. Stay sensitive. Realize now may not be the time to ask them for anything but prayer requests and that’s fine.
  • Do your homework. Does the church have a strong online presence? Does it look like they haven’t got everything online yet? Great places to check are the church’s website, social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, etc. If it looks like the church hasn’t posted several services online yet you may want to wait until it looks like they have made progress.
  • A lot of churches have seen reductions in their offerings and now may not be the best time to reach out to some churches, and that’s okay!
  • If you are close to a church(es) that you live near, ask if they need help with food distribution or assistance in setting up their on-line services (if you already have this expertise).
  • Stay sensitive and ministry minded. Always ask the pastor what works best for them and if now is a good time.

I hope some of these tips help! In closing, remember you are called and that God is still on the throne! You’ve got this. Go back and read the scriptures and stay spiritually healthy during this time. – JF 

Partnership Development and the Coronavirus

Many of you in the middle of raising support may be wondering what to do during this unprecedented time. Today there are more school closings, limitations on gatherings of more than 10 people, more chaos at airports, overall social distancing, and the like. We don’t know yet how the coronavirus will affect ministry workers raising support. Dave Dickens of CRU recently offered some brilliant thoughts on his email newsletter list that I wanted to share with you at explaining some helpful things to help you navigate this chaotic season (some of it is slightly adapted to serve this blog’s audience):

    • Let’s be prayerful. Pray for those affected by the pandemic, for ministry leaders who need to make tough decisions, for people’s financial situations, and for open hearts and gospel conversations as people are confronted with a broken world.
    • Reach out to ministry partners to ask how this is affecting them. Create meaningful conversations (via text, phone calls, FaceTime, etc.) and have a ministry mindset when connecting. Send your partnership team texts, emails, or phone calls. Be ready to see your inbox fill up! If you have kids at home from school, maybe have the kids do artwork and write handwritten notes of appreciation and love to your team.
    •  Here’s a sample text reaching out: “I know we are all navigating uncertain times, and was thinking of you today. How are you doing, and how is the coronavirus affecting you? I’m taking some time to pray for you today. Let me know if there are specific things I can be praying for!”
    • Send a coronavirus update prayer letter with specific prayer requests related to your assignment.
    • Because everyone is social distancing and at home, over the next few weeks it may be easier to reach people, and people are definitely wanting to talk. People are more likely to be on social media as well. Think about ways to add value in those spaces and reach out.

Here are some thoughts to expound upon what Dave writes:

  • Have you had a hard time staying organized? Are you caught up on thank you cards? This may be a good time to clean up your organization for financial partnership development. It also may be a good time to upgrade branding, overall materials, or if you don’t have an active presence on Facebook or other social media platforms to start.
  • It probably goes without saying at this point, but meeting face-to-face in person will likely be off the table for a bit (at the very least for some people). Think of partners to reach out to via video appointments. It may be wise to change course of action and instead of reaching out to your “A” list, reach out to those who would be long distance appointments anyhow.
  • It also may be a couple of weeks of relative pause on some people (maybe not all, but some) you were wanting to reach out to – that’s okay and understandable. That also doesn’t mean it’s time to do nothing. Pray, use discernment and common sense before asking for an appointment. If you have a coach, reach out to ask their thoughts on nuance situations – that’s what they are there for!
  • Many churches are not able to congregate during this time, so if you do reach out to a pastor ask for prayer needs. If you are asking for support from the church, suggest possibly doing a window online with them (especially in checking up for a already scheduled service) and be creative. It also may be good to hold off on connecting with some churches for a few weeks while they think of how to shepherd their own flock during this time.
  • One worker sent me an idea of scheduling a face to face via video conferencing, and going the extra mile to send that family some food or a snack and have it placed at their door for the appointment. Creative, thoughtful, and ministry minded!

I hope some of these thoughts at least get the wheels turning as to what to do for the next couple of weeks. It’s definitely not cut and dry. As Dave writes, “in the midst let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and remember His words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 New International Version). Wisdom to be sure.

Also remember, ministry doesn’t start when you get into your full time assignment, it starts now! Ask God how you can serve those around you during this season.

What are your thoughts or questions during this interesting season?

Overcoming Obscurity

Below is post from guest author Pastor Chris. Originally this was posted in May of 2017 but thought it would be helpful for some of you newer to the blog to read. Enjoy! If you haven’t read some of his previous posts you can find them herehere, and here. They are all excellent!  – JF

OBSCURITYThe state of being unknown, inconspicuous, or unimportant.

When you are starting out on the path of fundraising your number one problem is OBSCURITY.  People do not know who you are.  More and more our culture is becoming relational.  People and churches want to know YOU before they know what you are called to do.  For this reason you must make it a priority to become known among the people and churches that you hope will fund your calling.

This problem is not unique to fundraising.  50% of all business start-ups fail in the first 5 years.  One author says 80% of all new business owners know they are failing in the first 18 months!  Some will have bad business plans, too much debt, the wrong location… but the majority simply cannot overcome obscurity.  Their potential clients do not even know they exist.

“Obscurity is the single biggest killer to a business or entrepreneur.” – Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone asks young business leaders two questions in relation to obscurity:

#1. How far will you go to get attention?

#2. How frequent will you be in your attempts? 

The ONLY correct answer is = “WHATEVER IT TAKES”

When it comes to fundraising we need this same attitude.  Please do not take this too far and manipulate “whatever” to mean being immoral or unethical.  I don’t believe Grant intended that and I certainly am not taking an extreme view of that word.  But we have to get the desperation that is in that phrase into our hearts and lives.  What will you do?  Whatever it takes!!!!  Will you face your fears?  Will you be uncomfortable?  Will you accept rejection?  Will you remain prayerful and positive?  Will you work 40 hours a week?  Will you work 60 hours a week?  Will you work 80 hours a week?  Your answer to all these questions and a thousand more must be “Yes – I will do whatever it takes!”

The reality of your situation is that there are lots of people with lots of money that want to give it to a worthy cause.  Trust me – there is NO shortage of money.  So how do you break out of the obscurity you are in, find these people, and get them to join your team?

#1 – You Must Renew Your Mind

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. -Romans 12:2 NASB

To break obscurity you must first stop seeing yourself as obscure. (Remember obscurity is the state of being unknown, inconspicuous, or unimportant.) The only way to do this is to constantly meditate on God’s word… then you will make your way prosperous and you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).

You are NOT obscure… You are a child of the Most High God!  He has made you the head and not the tail… He has set you above and not beneath… He has called you and given you a divine purpose and destiny.  He has made you an overcomer and more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!

If you see yourself as obscure then you are obscure.  You cannot expect to break out of obscurity until you first break the obscure mindset that is holding you back.

OB1

#2 – You Gotta Get Social

Personally, I hate Facebook and I don’t Twit or Tweet or whatever! Whether you love it or hate it: You Gotta Get Social!!  The people you are seeking to join you in your mission need to know you on a personal level. Do not wait to meet people.  When you call a church, ask for the pastor’s email.  Search for his name on Facebook and send a friend request.  If he gets to know you, his church is more likely to support you.

#3 – You Need to Dig Your Well

Harvey Mackay wrote the best book on networking long before Facebook and even before email, it’s entitled Dig Your Well Before You Get Thirsty.  If you should read his book you may be put-off as he describes how to set up your rolodex (some of you may need to Google “rolodex”).  Look beyond that technical part (or lack thereof) for the true heart of how to network.

Mackay opens his book with a story about getting a call from an old friend at 2am who was semi-hysterical and said he needed $20,000 that day or he would be at risk of going to jail.  He writes, “The strange thing is, I hadn’t talked to him in over ten years. I offered him a few thousand dollars, but I didn’t give him what he needed even though I could have.

Then Mackay asks a revealing question:

How many people could I realistically count on to bust a gut to help me out if I’d called them at 2am?

OB3

#4 – You Have to Learn to Write

I am still learning this skill myself but if you say, “I’m just not a good writer” – you are most likely copping out.  Remember? – You said you would do whatever it takes!  A good amount of your support will come from writing letters, emails, and newsletters.  So learning how to do it correctly is important.  Write a lot!  If you write an appeal letter, ask a pastor you are friends with to give you an honest opinion. Did it sound needy?  Was it a crisis appeal?  Was it too long?  Was it boring?  Did it communicate the vision?  Did it make you feel connected?  By honestly assessing your writing you will get better.

#5 – You have to Learn to Speak

One Sunday morning after the church service the pastor was feeling quite proud about the message he had just delivered.  On the way home he asked his wife – “How many genuinely good preachers do you think there are in the world?  She muttered under her breath, “One less than you do.

If you think you are a good speaker you are in the most danger because you are probably not as good as you think you are! So regardless if you think you are a poor speaker or the best thing since Paul the Apostle, there is room for improvement.

Anyone can get up and say things in front of a church, but can you make your appeal with passion?  A pastor friend once said to me, “I cannot remember the last time I had a missionary in the pulpit who had a passion in his voice and a tear in his eye for the people of his calling.  Remember it is not what you say but how you say it.  You are not trying to convince people or sell them a product, you are endeavoring to share your calling from God and invite others to sacrificially join you in changing lives.

#6 – You have to Learn to Ask

You may be bold in the pulpit, but if you are obscure when it comes to “the ask” you may find your support raising going slowly.  Be convinced of who you are and of your calling.  Be confident that you are not asking for “yourself” (you are not begging). You are simply saying – Has God touched your heart with this vision and will you use your resources to work with me?

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#7 – You Should Make a Schedule

You are going to get busy with many things that will keep you obscure. Thus, create a calendar to guide you daily in overcoming obscurity.  If you are raising support for the first time I would recommend:

  • Tweeting as often as you like, but no less than once per day
  • Posting on Facebook no less than once per day
  • Sending one E-Newsletter per month
  • Mailing one paper snail-mail newsletter per month

If you are using other networking platforms like LinkedIn, make sure you add them to the schedule.  You should also add in how many personal phone calls you will make per day, and how many personal emails you will write (and send) per day. 

#8 – Lastly, You Ought to Go to EVERY Event That You Can… and STAND OUT!

If your district or denomination hosts events, go!  If your home church has events, go!  If friends invite you to the park, go!  Don’t make every event just about your financial needs, but work to build life long relationships.  If you do that the funds will come naturally (see my previous post on how to grow a long tail).

Look for ways to stand out, both personally and with your mail and media.  Get creative!  Use your own photos when sending post cards.  Hand address envelopes and if you know the person write a one-line sentence on the back of the envelope.  When you go to an event, if you can, wear something that makes you stand out – especially if you can get something from the country of your calling.  This season of fundraising should become the most hectic and crazy and social and fun period of your life.  If done correctly fundraising is FUN-raising!   

Obscurity is your #1 hindrance to raising your budget.  Make Overcoming Obscurity your #1 goal, and you will be well on your way to reaching your budget in a timely manner.

– Pastor Chris

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7 Ideas for Better Support Raising Habits in 2020

Happy 2020 everyone! Guys, I love January. There’s nothing like a fresh start. Every conversation, podcast, and sermon is trending this month towards goals, habits, and health and I am INTO IT.

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So, not to add to the pile of all those resolutions you have made, but OKAY! I’m going to add to the pile…

As you are thinking through your New Years Resolutions, I would challenge you to find something to add to your list when it comes to partnership development. Novel idea right?! If you are in full time ministry and live off of support, working on your financial partnership development is a VITAL part of your life. How you view it and treat it are fundamental to your success and longevitiy as a minister.

That being said, are you slipping into any bad habits? Is your communication strong with your partnership base, or has it slipped to the dusty corners of your to-do wishlist? When was the last time you wrote a newsletter? When was the last time you reached out to an old friend or prayed for them just because? Could your vision statement or your print pieces use a little refinement? How’s your attitude as it concerns raising support? Do you love and nurture your support team or tend to neglect involving them in your ministry?

My intention is not to overwhelm you if you have slipped into a few bad habits, but maybe adopting a few of these small changes (or coming up with ideas of your own) could make 2020 and beyond easier and more enjoyable as it relates to ministry and your partnership development. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. In 2020, PERSONALLY connect with everyone on your partnership team on a quarterly basis. 

Consider bumping up your communications with your partnership team. Perhaps create a goal to reach out directly to every partner (churches and individuals) on a quarterly basis. Here are some ways to consider reaching out:

  • Direct message on Facebook
  • Emails
  • Short video from your phone
  • Text message or WhatsApp
  • postcard
  • Written letters

Reaching out to a supporter personally doesn’t have to be lengthy to be effective. Some ideas:

  • Just say hi
  • Ask how they are doing and how you can pray for them
  • Share a podcast or a sermon if they come to mind
  • Share a verse you love and are studying
  • Say happy birthday
  • text a picture of a ministry event with a quick thank you.

These little habits of regular communication make a big difference!

Here’s an idea, if you’ve never sent postcards from your city or country maybe 2020 is the time to do it! Chunk your list and make a goal of sending 10-20 postcards out a month.

2. In 2020, write thank you cards within 48 hours of a face to face meeting or as an acknowledgement of a new gift.

Scott Morton says it best in a short video here.

3. In 2020, refine your public speaking skills.

Are you going to be doing a lot of public speaking while on itineration? Mark it as a chance to develop or refine your skills by studying the subject and applying a few new tips. Here’s a short list of some quick reads on the subject:

4. In 2020, start a daily habit of using a to do list.

It is a nifty time to become more organized with apps such as Microsoft ToDo, Todoist, Any.do, and more. If you haven’t downloaded an app, give one a try, it may be just the thing that starts better organization patterns in your daily life.

A key to success with to do lists is to use what works for you! Some people prefer purchasing a big white board and using it for reminders, others love the apps like the ones above, still others prefer good ole sticky notes or a paper list. Consider utilizing a variety of these methods when creating a to do list habit, studies show that if you put them in multiple places more gets done! Whatever works for you, in 2020 try creating to do list habits that help you stay organized and on top of what needs to get done.

A couple more tips:

  • Here’s a great article on creating a more effective to do list.
  • If you already have a to do list and use it regularly, are there any other areas you could improve your organization in 2020? Maybe it’s creating a habit to check your calendar on a regular basis and if you’re married, sync it with your wife or husband.

5. In 2020, refine your vision statement.

Knowing who you are, how you were called, and what you want to do in ministry is important, right? Right.

“A mission statement is not something you write overnight… But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.”  Stephen Covey

We know mission statements are important, but it can be challenging to find the time and energy to sit down and refine one’s mission statement. I would argue though, taking that time to blow the dust off of your mission statement (whether that’s a personal or a team missions statement) is crucial to success.

“People are working harder than ever, but because they lack clarity and vision, they aren’t getting very far. They, in essence, are pushing a rope with all of their might.”  Stephen Covey

Even businesses struggle to maintain their vision statements, and recent research has showed that over half of employees (52%) cannot recite their business’s vision. All the while, a recent report shows that “sense of purpose” in work is the second most important criteria for millennials considering a job. Interesting.

If you want more information on vision statements and why they are so important to success, I’d recommend picking up a copy of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (Personally it is one of my favorite books EVER and goes in depth on the subject.)

6. In 2020, rebrand.

Have you been thinking for awhile it’s time to take your “brand” to the next level? Maybe it’s reordering new prayer cards that feature your newest child, or taking your Case Document and Connect Cards to the next level. Or maybe it’s thinking through a new newsletter template or features that align with your Facebook Group posts and website.

I’d say anything you can do to stand out, look professional, and raise the bar with quality communication and materials really does make a difference! Make 2020 the year to do it! The picture below is an example of a packet given to pastors that really stands out. Notice the fancy envelope and the beautiful graphics.

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7. In 2020, read Philippians. 

Did you know that the book of Philippians is an ancient thank you letter for support? You’ll find Philippians perhaps to be the warmest tone that Paul undertakes in all of his writing, and it’s all in the context of church and mission partnership. Therefore, there are some huge keys given throughout the book that I believe generate a thankful, grateful, and biblical perspective on partnership. I’d challenge you in 2020 to get into Philippians and read it through the lens of partnership, particularly if you are looking for biblical inspiration or a bit of an attitude / perspective kick in the right direction.

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In closing, making changes to your lifestyle habits can be SO CHALLENGING. Remember to give yourself a lot of grace. When creating new habits being positive really makes all the difference. Another game changer when creating goals is to make your goals specific and measurable to help attain success. For instance, if your overarching desire is to “do a better job communicating with my partnership team” you may create a goal that says “reach out to each financial partner at least once quarterly throughout all of 2020” or “write a newsletter once a quarter, Facebook group post once a week, and send a postcard to each financial and prayer partner in 2020.” instead of “do a better job communicating“.

I hope these help spark some ideas for you! Happy 2020! -JF

 

 

Year End Giving: Turn On The Jets and Drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes

PSA: We have about a month until turkeys get carved.

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You know what that means?

Well, let me tell you! In the support raising world it means NOW is the time to LASER FOCUS on face to face appointments with individuals. I mean, sure, technically in my book it’s always time to laser focus on face to face appointments. However now it’s particularly more important than any other time of year. If you need some reasoning as to why, let me indulge you with two thoughts:

1. In general, families are very into their routines in school and work this time of year. Think about it from your own experience – is this generally a locked down time of year for you? Are you in a good routine with work or schooling? If it isn’t right now, is it just a curve ball outlier? Was this time of year a routine heavy one for you growing up?

Routine is good news for scheduling an appointment or reaching someone on the phone. According to Gallup – 55% of Americans go on trips in the summer.

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According to one estimate by Travel Agent Central – 35% of American’s take a trip in the spring. Interesting. Those vacations taper off after September and typically the only traveling people are doing is during the holiday weeks.

2. As the Christmas season hits it can be more challenging to schedule appointments due to your personal schedule and the schedule of your potential partners. However, note that December is the best giving month of the year. Though people are feeling generous in December, time is more limited than usual. (Think Christmas shopping, special Christmas gatherings, school parties, lots of family. You get the idea. You know.) Thus, early to mid November is a great time for scheduling appointments before people’s calendars fill up.

Okay, pause for a MASSIVE CAVIAT HERE: Don’t hear me say you need to stop reaching for appointments in December! I think it’s actually VERY STRATEGIC to do so because people want to give in December. What I’m saying is it may be a teeny more challenging to lock something into the calendar immediately. If that happens, don’t be afraid to schedule something several weeks ahead for mid-January after schedules have cleared and the Christmas lights are off.

So everyone, my advice is to turn on the jets and drink a lot of pumpkin spice lattes in November over appointments. Okay? You’ll be glad you did.

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Do you want more information on Year End Giving? Check out some great ideas on the post directly below this one!