Help! I Don’t Speak Mailchimp!

If you find yourself daunted by beginning a email newsletter to your partnership team, you are not alone. I get numerous questions from workers wondering how to best set up snail mail and email newsletters.

One of the most popular services for electronic newsletters is Mailchimp. Mailchimp is a free online e-newsletter creator. Though Mailchimp is relatively easy to use, it does come with a learning curve even for more the more computer experienced of us out there. It uses language like “Campaigns” “Segments” and “Subscribers” that isn’t cut and dry for everyone. Thus, this post is a I-don’t-speak-Mailchimp step by step guide to sending your first e-newsletter. Keep in mind this post is for the beginners out there – I see you! Here we go friends.

Step 1: Get onto Mailchimp. If you haven’t already, create a username and password and login into Mailchimp.

Step 2: When you set up your account – click “Subscribe to Getting Started.” If you click this handy feature, Mailchimp will send you emails that will be helpful in creating future newsletters (in Mailchimp lingo these are called “Campaigns”).

Step 3: Build your List of people to send e-newsletters to.

A. Click “Lists”Mailchimp ListsB. After clicking on Lists, click “Create List”.mailchimp lists 2C. Fill in the List’s name, what email address you’ll be sending this from, your name, and other information needed.

D. Next, Mailchimp will pop up a screen that says “You have no contacts” and give you a choice to either “Import your subscribers” or “Create a signup form” to get started. Unless you have a blog you want to create a sign up form to get subscribers from – you will either want to import your contacts or click “Add contacts” (see screen shot below) and add them one by one manually.

Some people (like myself!) like to add them manually so there aren’t any glitches in the process of getting them from one program to another – but it does take time. So choose what works best for you. Mailchimp Lists 3** If you do choose to import your contact list typically you’d either do so by .csv files (this is good if you keep your contacts organized on your computer using a program such as “Contacts” for Macs or “Address Book” for PCs) or by copy and pasting from a file (for instance from Excel). Either way you may have some cleaning up of your files to do, so be patient! mailchimp lists 4E. When you are done importing or manually adding the subscribers to your List, you are ready to move onto Creating Your Campaign!

Step 4: Create Your Campaign! 

A. Start creating your campaign by clicking in the upper left hand corner “Campaign”.

B. If you have a new account, Mailchimp will take you to the screen below that says “What do you want to create?”. Choose “Create an Email”. (If you have an existing account click “Create Campaign” on the upper right corner of Mailchimp’s screen first, then the screen will ask “What do you want to create?” choose “Create an Email”.)

create campaign mailchimpcreate an email mailchimpC. Choose “Regular” for your email type. Choose a campaign name, then click “Next” at the bottom right of your screen.

D. Choose the List you are sending your Campaign to. This should be the List you just made in Step 3. Then, click “Next” on the bottom right of your screen.

E. Fill in your Campaign Info. Make sure when filling this out to chick “Personalize the To Field” so your subscribers get emails addressed to them personally. When you are finished click “Next” on the bottom right of your screen.click personalize field boxF. Now it’s time to select a Template. There are a lot of pre-made templates out there that are great! If you’d like to go the easy route click “Themes” and explore until you find one that works for you. If you want to choose a Layout and build the template yourself go for it! Simply click “Layout” and choose the one that works best for you. You’ll spend some time custom making your Template by choosing design and content elements. (Mailchimp also has a couple of helpful links in the Layout feature that will help you get started). choose theme mailchimpG. Now that you’ve chosen and designed your Template, it’s time to actually put together your newsletter. When you create your newsletter, you can choose to add some of the elements on the left side as you wish (such as additional text, images, graphs, etc.). To do so simply drag and drop where you want the element to the right side of your screen onto your existing Template.Start creating mailchimpH. When you are done creating your newsletter and carefully writing your text, I recommend previewing your Campaign and sending a test email to yourself first – so you can make 100% sure your e-newsletter is awesome!send a test email mailchimpStep 5: Send Your Campaign and Your DONE! 

Now that your done – click “Send”. You have successfully sent your first e-newsletter using Mailchimp. Congrats!

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I hope this tutorial is a help to those who don’t speak Mailchimp. Godspeed and good luck my friends, and may your future e-newsletters be awesome.

If you want more information on how what content to include in your newsletter, go to this previous post I did on the subject.

*Mailchimp will NOT create a PDF version of any Campaigns you create, so you CANNOT send snail mail newsletters using Mailchimp. My suggestion is to use a service like Mailchimp for e-newsletters and create a snail mail newsletter in another program – and make them similarly branded and cohesive. 

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Re-Post: Dealing With The Monster Of Rejection

I previously posted this blog post back in November of 2015. So just as a disclaimer, I am re-posting this blog. I am doing so though because I think the subject of facing rejection is really important to talk about. For many of you that fear is all too real! So for those of you who have been a reader for as long as November of 2015, sorry for being redundant! Maybe you should read it any way though? It’s been awhile right?! For those of you who haven’t read it – I think you’ll find this post very helpful. Enjoy! – JF

A subject that comes up regularly in the hearts and minds of ministry workers raising their finances is that of rejection. Eeew. I know, I’m going there. We are talking about it…

To explain a little further what I mean when I say “rejection”, I define “rejection” as facing the fear of rejection and/or what happens when we are given a “no” when asking for financial support.

I’ve gathered some insights from various ministry workers that I coach to speak on the subject of rejection. Before sharing those, I would like to share 5 thoughts that may turn the lights on the monster lurking in the corner.

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Re·jec·tion
rəˈjekSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc.
    “the union decided last night to recommend rejection of the offer”

Facing rejection can be daunting to even think about in the context of raising funds. Will I damage the relationship? Will they say no? Will I be awkward? Will they be awkward? Will they answer the phone? Are they screening my phone calls? Do they not like me now that I’ve asked them for an appointment? Am I annoying? Did I ask for too much? If I call them and ask to get their commitment in what will they think? It goes on and on. All of these thoughts I’ve absolutely had myself and have talked with other workers about on a regular basis.

As far as actual rejection goes, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, it’s a sure fire thing while raising your funds (and let me point out, while in ministry in your field) you will deal with some form of rejection. I know – shocker. It just happens.

Whether it is the fear of rejection or actual rejection that is hanging you up from accomplishing your goals (or is just getting in the way of this being a great season of life in ministry) here are a couple of thoughts on combating the fear of rejection, or the “no” itself:

1.People have different giving goals, sometimes it just isn’t about you, it’s about them and the Lord. Not everyone is meant to join your financial partnership team, and that is okay. Tithes and offerings are a very personal thing between a person and God. For a lot of people giving directly links them to the cause they are passionate about, and giving may be their only outlet of involvement with that cause or ministry.

For example, let me give you a story: Say “Joe” is very passionate about disaster relief aid, but Joe works a full time job in food service and never gets to volunteer due to a busy and irregular schedule. Thus Joe is very passionate about providing finances to several disaster relief organizations and does not have much room in his budget to give to something that doesn’t fit within that context. Then you ask Joe to financially partner with you for reaching college campuses and Joe tells you no, because he just started supporting a new relief effort.

Now you have two choices here: (1) You could walk away from Joe feeling defeated because he didn’t partner with you monthly, and maybe even feel like somehow the relationship is damaged or awkward because he said no. Or (2) you could walk away celebrating that Joe is able to directly influence the thing he is passionate about, just like you are by starting your journey with ministry to college campuses. So which would you choose? Which do you normally choose? What do you automatically think when someone doesn’t give to you?

(Keep in mind, you could easily insert a pastor of a church into this story as easily as “Joe”. Churches have numerous projects, causes, and workers vying for their financial attention. Celebrate with churches who give in general, even if it isn’t to you!)

2. You don’t have to apologize I think this is one of the most important things to remember in the midst of asking for finances. Asking someone for financial support is okay and it’s even biblical. (If you doubt that to be true, here are some verses to check out) Also, what you are doing is downright cool and inspiring. Seriously. You don’t have to be ashamed about telling people about Jesus and you certainly aren’t the only one since the days of Moses who raised finances to do it.  If it means anything, I give you permission: You can be bold. You can be confident (and it actually helps). You don’t have to apologize for following God’s path, and you actually get to be an inspiration for those you connect with to follow their own paths with God!

3. Remember this is God’s thing, not yours. If He has called you surely He will provide for you. Also, He’s actually the one that set it up for the christian worker to live off of support. He can sympathize, Jesus empathizes (Luke 8:1-3), and has a plan for you and for your financial team. If someone doesn’t join maybe someone else is supposed to. I can be as simple as that, if you let it be.

4. Perceiving rejection is typically worse than actual rejection. What do I mean? If your anything like me, most of the time the real battle doesn’t even leave your own brain. Often times we become our own worst enemy when it comes to raising our finances. If you think about it, the real worst thing that can actually happen in raising your funds is asking and hearing a “no”.

However, I don’t think that we let that be the worst thing. I actually think the worst thing that happens to us is in the battle of our own minds – and as we focus on  perceived thoughts that may or may not be true we become jaded, upset, unfocused, unsure of our calling, etc etc etc. Practical combat here: avoid the troubles this creates by being clear in your asks and let the actual “rejection” be the worst thing that can happen (because really it’s not that bad!). Truly, sometimes the fear of rejection is more real than your actual being rejected is.

5. Just because a pastor or individual doesn’t immediately call you back doesn’t mean they are rejecting you (or mad at you). Try to keep in mind that it’s not always about you. People have busy lives and are not as keen on raising your support as you are. Pastors are busy and have a lot of various priorities. Individuals lives can get busy and inboxes can get full of emails and to-dos. Give those you try to contact a little grace and don’t give up too quickly. Don’t tell yourself they have said no before they have had the chance to.

If someone doesn’t connect with you after multiple attempts that’s okay. Give it a little time and try again. Maybe their season of life is a busy one. Here’s where it may get scary: sure, maybe they don’t want to join your ministry team. But you don’t know that until they say no. Whatever the case actually is, in your assessment try and assume the best before the worst and whatever you do, keep moving forward.

6. BONUS: Don’t give up! If you are reading this it is probably because you are doing something awesome God has called you to. If that is true then He has given you grace for it and He knows your obstacles and fears in the midst. I think the main thing I have learned in my personal experiences and from coaching is simple: keep your perspective biblical and your know that God has got this. Amen? Amen.

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To go along with these thoughts, here are a few more thoughts on rejection from workers who have recently gotten to 100% with a team of committed financial partners:

Worker 1: Someone once told me “God already knows your partners; you just have to find them.” That helped a lot in dealing with rejection. If someone says no, they’re just not one of the ones God had in mind for my team!

Worker 2: I would say that the hurt of rejection is a result of the expectation that said person is going to become a partner…so for us the biggest let downs are the ones that come from those people we though “for sure” would join our team. If we walk into support meet-ups having the understanding that it’s the Spirit doing the real convincing (even though it’s our jobs to communicate accurately and be straightforward), then we would walk out with the understanding that no matter how it ended, the Lord is in it and He’s the one forming our team.
From a practical stand-point, I would add that it’s better that you hear a “no” from a potential partner rather than a “yes” only to have that commitment fall through months down the line while serving on the field! (That helped me, anyway!)

Worker 3: Last week after reaching 99% fully funded, I lost a $200/mo supporter, and when I was praying about it I laughed! I thought “God is my supporter” (this sounds cheesier now that I’m writing it down.) I’m just saying – rejected? No. Trust God and keep going. One thing I’ve learned: It’s not about me.

Worker 4: God has hand-selected every church and individual financial partner that will get us on the field. Never let those pastors or financial partners that do not feel personally led by the Holy Spirit, or do not currently have the funds to support, feel like they have failed. Smile at them warmly and honestly and tell them the faith you have in God for getting you to the field. Typically they already feel both shame and regret for not being able to support you. Do not let them walk away feeling like they let you down. If we can’t handle this “rejection”, how will we handle the rejection when those we serve reject Christ when we share the gospel?

I hope you find some of this helpful. When dealing with the monster of rejection, remember to turn the lights on. It may not be as scary as you think!

Have thoughts? Post them in the comments!

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What If They Don’t Answer The Phone?

Here’s a common scenario I’m sure you’ve faced:

You call a potential partner multiple times hoping to get a face-to-face appointment, but you just cant seem to get them on the phone. You’ve called different times of the day but it’s just not working. Your frustrated and you’ve reached a level of voicemails that seems too close to stalker mode to try again.

How do you proceed? 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? Below is some advice I hope you find helpful!

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VOICEMAILS AND INITAL CALLS

To begin, if you are reaching out to a prospective partner for the first time via phone and you reach their voicemail, my advice is to hang up without leaving a voice mail. This gives you the ability to call back again within a day or two without need for explanation.

If you call the 2nd time and don’t reach them, leave a voicemail and communicate the following:

  1. 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. If you are calling without prior context (no letter), communicate that you are wanting to talk briefly with no explanation.
  2. When communicating don’t give too much information on the phone or on voicemail – make it brief!
  3. Tell them that YOU will be calling them back at another time and hope to reach them. Also mention that they can call you back. This gives you the ability to call them again without feeling awkward or demanding and puts the ball in your court. (you always want the ball in your court!)

Here’s what my voicemail may say to someone I want to invite if I haven’t sent them a letter:

“Hi Julie, this is Jenn. Hope you are doing well. Hey I was wanting to talk briefly. I may call you back later, but if you have a second please call me back first.” 

Here’s a voicemail to someone I have sent a letter to first:

“Hi Julie, this is Jenn. Hope you are well. Hey wanting to talk briefly in reference to that letter I sent. I’ll give you a call back, but if you have a second please call me back first. Thanks!” 

636095868639176352-1100213583_GTY_texting_kab_150729_12x5_1600TEXTING

If you feel more comfortable texting rather than calling, consider sending someone a text before you call them. In the text ask if it would be a good time to call and that you’d like to speak with them briefly. Don’t skip ahead and ask for an appointment on a text

I know, texts seem so much easier than phone calls. So why do I (and other financial partnership coaches out there) advise not texting for appointments? One major reason is it’s harder to say no to someone when they are asking for something verbally. Reading a text or Facebook Message can be forgotten unintentionally, easily be ignored, or conveniently ignored (let the reader understand). Right? Right. Phone calls are also more relational than texts. They often come across as more genuine, confident, and professional. And lastly, phone calls give you more of an opportunity to explain why you are calling and share more smoothly why you want to meet. If you share in a text that you are wanting to talk about financial support, it will likely read like a billboard (as my friend at Support Raising Solutions Aaron Babyar says). If you say it in a conversation, it seems much more palatable. So call people. I know you don’t like it. But do it.

images-1HOW 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 my advice:

  1. Typically, 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.
  2. 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, avoid written messages in asking for appointments whenever you can.
  3. 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 Sally Jones (no voicemail).
  • July 2nd – Attempt two to call Sally Jones (brief voicemail: “Hey Sally it’s Jenn. Would love to connect with you on something – I may try to call you back, but if you get a chance give me a call.”)
  • July 7th – Attempt 3 to call Sally Jones (brief voicemail: “Hey Sally it’s Jenn again. Just trying to reach you on that thing I mentioned in the last voice mail. If you get a chance give me a call, but I’ll probably be trying you again. Hope to chat you soon.”)
  • July 21st – Attempt 4 to call Sally Jones (voicemail AND Text before“Hey Sally 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 Sally Jones (voicemail that tells her I will email her with information: “Hey Sally, it’s Jenn Fortner. I’ll go ahead and email you on the thing I’m trying to connect with you on to see if that works better for you. I’d love to connect soon if possible. I’m sure your busy but if you get a chance to check your email that would be great. Thanks Sally!”)

SWITCHING COMMUNICATION METHOD

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Essentially what I did with Sally is switch modes of communication. Instead of calling again I am now switching to text and email for the time being. It could be that I would decide to switch the communication method just to text, or to Facebook Messenger, or to just email. How I choose to switch it up is largely placed on past communication I’ve had with Sally, and what I’ve noticed her communicating with to me and others in the past.

With Sally if I don’t hear anything via email or text from her at that point, I may put her in some type of organization system I keep with others I was unable to reach, and I will most likely try to reach out again after several months of waiting.

IN SUMMARY

There’s a lot of contingencies in the wide wide world or 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! I’d love to start a discussion here!

 

Turning Verbal Commitments into Actual Gifts- It Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward!

Back in March I did a post on Follow Up here on the blog that I got a lot of great feedback on. I recently did an edit of the post and Support Raising Solutions just put it up on their blog. You can check it out here.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

How do I best follow-up with someone who has said  they will give… but hasn’t started giving yet?

My guess is you’ve probably faced this question more than once, seeing this is the dilemma I’m asked about most often as a coach. The 2nd question I get the most? “How do I keep follow-up from being awkward?”

Follow-up can consist of reconnecting with those who are verbally committed, but who need time to pray/consider after an appointment, or for some reason haven’t started their giving yet. I agree, it can feel awkward to try to re-connect with them to get them to start their giving – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some practical tips for changing verbal commitments into actual gifts:

Good follow-up starts at the appointment.

Start setting yourself up for good follow-up during the appointment by following the two C’s:

To see the rest visit https://supportraisingsolutions.org/turning-verbal-commitments-actual-gifts-doesnt-awkward/.

OVERCOMING OBSCURITY

Below is another excellent guest post from Pastor Chris. If you haven’t read his previous posts you can find them herehere, and here. Thanks for contributing Pastor Chris and letting us glean from your insight! – 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.

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#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?

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#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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New Expert Tips on Support Raising From Workers at 100%

One of my favorite questions to ask workers who get to 100% is “If you could tell a new worker raising support one thing what would it be.” I’ve done some posts on this before, but thought I would gather some new answers for you. I hope you find these encouraging. I know I do! – JF

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How to Make an Effective Ask at an Event or Small Group: Combat the Bystander Effect

I was a psychology major in college. Loved it. I learned about the brain, personality, and counseling. It was all super intriguing stuff. In one of my classes I remember learning about the sociology principle of diffusion of responsibility. Maybe some of you know of it? It’s the principle that states that people are less likely to take action or responsibility in the presence of a large group of people. When referring specifically to responding to an individual in distress, it’s also known as the bystander effect.

Though it may not be helping an individual in distress, I think the principle of diffusion of responsibility comes into play in a huge way when asking for financial support. Think about it. Here’s a scenario:

You are sitting in a church service and a missionary comes to the platform to speak. You like what they have to say and are drawn by their level of passion and the tone of their voice. You pick up bits and pieces, but you are distracted by the need for more coffee or maybe your wiggly kid. At the end the missionary clearly shares that they are in need of monthly financial support and you look around the room at everyone else. You think simultaneously that you are looking forward to lunch and that you hope some of these good church folk give generously to the missionary speaking. You even consider giving yourself. Then, your wiggly kid spills your coffee on the floor and you don’t think about it again until your walking out the church door. You see the missionary is smiling at you as you walk past and you hurriedly tell the missionary “thanks for sharing, we enjoyed it!” and walk out the door. And scene.

Familiar? This is the principle of diffusion of responsibility. Totally. AKA this is why we ask for financial partnership one-on-one, face-to-face.

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Take that scene and think about it – if you’re sitting in a large group of people you will be less likely to give if the person asking is not directly asking YOU. You’ll be sitting in the congregation, just like everyone else, thinking that there are plenty of others in the room that will likely give. And the problem is everyone in the room is thinking THE SAME THING. Thus a real problem occurs when speaking to a group of people – large or small.

As I pointed out, the absolute best way to ask someone to join your monthly financial partnership team is in person, and best done one-on-one. Right? Right. However, there may be times you are asked to speak to a small group or at some type of an event. And keeping that personal interaction and the principle of diffusion of responsibility in mind – what do you do? What if a friend offers to throw you a dinner party to raise funds? What if your church wants to host a fundraiser specifically for your assignment? What if a small group at your church wants you to come and speak?

What do you do if you want the personal connection that a face-to-face appointment offers, but you want to jump on the chance to interact with a small group or say yes to that event?

First off, even with the bystander effect in mind, sharing at a small group or event is a great way to garner contact information and connect with people you otherwise may not have the opportunity to interact with. And it’s always a bonus to make new connections and widen your contact base! So say yes when new connections can be made from sharing at a small group or doing an event! Keeping that in mind, let’s talk about how to make that group ask in the best way possible.

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THE TWO MAIN OBJECTIVES WITH ANY SMALL GROUP / EVENT

With all small group / event opportunities you should have two main objectives:

  1. To make an clear, bold, ask – live at the event.
  2. To grab contact information from everyone at the event in order to follow up with face-to-face appointments where appropriate.

Let’s break both objectives down and talk about the how-to’s involved.

OBJECTIVE 1: THE LIVE ASK AT A SMALL GROUP OR EVENT

When sharing at a small group or event make a clear, bold ask. To make that ask the most effective possible, come super prepared. Chat with the leader of the group or pastor beforehand and make sure you know the details needed. This would be some of the following:

  1. How long will you be expected to speak?
  2. Dress code?
  3. What time does the event / small group start and end? Address / directions.
  4. What is the program for the event / small group?
  5. What do you need to bring?
  6. Is there any protocol the leader would like you to follow when asking?
  7. Any special instructions or things you need to know?
  8. Are you allowed to make a clear ask during the event?

When you arrive mingle with the group and introduce yourself to anyone you do not already know. This will help the bystander effect for many people. Have with you the needed pledge forms / giving information and any printed materials you typically take with you to an appointment.

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When you share, fill in the WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY of what you are doing. Make sure to talk about how you were called and take the opportunity to inspire those you are sharing with to follow their own callings. One of the most important questions you can answer to any group when sharing about your assignment is “why you”. Why you are going, why you are called, and why is this important to you.

When you make the ask – make it bold and clear and spell out what your needs are.  Do not assume they know. Don’t leave them to fill in the gaps.

OBJECTIVE 2: GRABBING CONTACT INFORMATION AND FACE-TO-FACE FOLLOW UPS

As I stated the downside to any small group or event is the diffusion of responsibility / bystander effect. What’s the best way to combat this problem when speaking to a group? Insert connect cards, the super hero of event asking! images

You can find out more about how to make your own connect cards in the link above. Essentially they are cards where individuals fill out their name, address, phone number, and check little boxes that apply to their level of interest – such as “interested in more information” “give me your newsletter!” “make me a prayer partner” and “I want to give!”

How do you use them? During your time speaking at a small group or event, hold up the connect cards while you are presenting and explain them. Something along the lines of “I would love if you took a moment right now – yes while I’m talking – and fill out this handy dandy card I’m holding up. It gives us a way to stay connected with you and share information on what is happening overseas. It also helps us if you’d like to join our prayer or financial partnership team. Please go ahead and fill it out and if you’d be so kind – find someone from your table to collect them and give them to me afterwards.”

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Boom. Now you have shared clearly from the platform what you will be doing, why you are going, that you need financial support, AANNNND you also have contact information to call people after the event (preferably as soon as possible after the event – like 24 to 48 hours). When calling, thank them for attending the event/small group and find out if you could meet with them face-to-face to answer any questions and find out more about them. Engage each person based off of what they checked in the check boxes. This removes the bystander effect as you invite them relationally on your team. When meeting with your new friends take time to find out who they are and build relationship, and ask if they’d like to join your team.

So now that we have the basics of our main two objectives in asking groups and small groups, here are some special notes to keep in mind:

SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT SMALL GROUPS

  1. Connect with the leader before hand and discuss some of the questions above – like how long you’ll be expected to share.
  2. Ask questions about the group to the group, people love talking about themselves – and groups like to share what makes them special.
  3. Bring donuts! Everyone loves donuts! imgres
  4. Find out how you can stay connected with the group at large. Ask them to adopt you as a group in prayer.
  5. Revisit that same group (if it still exists) when you come back from the field or into the area to strength relationships.
  6. Have each member of the group fill out a connect card, and explain the connect card while you are there.

SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT EVENTS

  1. Prepare the program you will be following prior to the event and add elements that make it extra interesting and informative. Come up with attention grabbers and interesting stories of lives changed.
  2. Find ways to add value to those attending.
  3. Decorate! Make the event enjoyable and attractive.
  4. Have food, dessert, or coffee available.imgres-1
  5. Time your event to insure that the most amount of people can make it as possible.
  6. Share a video. If a few of your ministry team members are already serving, ask if they would create a video for you explaining what they are doing and how much they want you funded and on the field with them. If your ministry has a video that already exists, share it (keep videos pretty short though).
  7. Have a ministry co-worker, friend, or pastor speak on your behalf during the event. Consider having a pastor or well known figure make the ask for you to the crowd.
  8. Have pledge forms and connect cards on each table before guests arrive. Explain about the connect cards and pledge forms from the platform when speaking.
  9. Make your presentation appropriately professional, clear, vulnerable, and real.

Do you have any tips for sharing in small groups or events? Share them in the comments! I would love to hear them!