WHY WON’T THEY JUST ANSWER THE PHONE?!

A note before we get started, this post will be a great companion to Ghosting! When It’s Time to Make the Final Contact, so make sure you read that post as well if you have’t already! – JF

Do you wonder what to do when a potential supporter doesn’t answer the phone? I’m sure you’ve run into a scenario like this one:

It’s Tuesday evening at 5:30pm and you call Stephanie hoping to connect and ask her for a face to face appointment, but she didn’t answer. Sadly Stephanie didn’t answer your text after you called either. Whomp. Okay, you tell yourself, par for the course. No biggie. Try again later. So you try Stephanie again on Thursday (early afternoon this time) but it’s still crickets so you leave her a voicemail and say a prayer. Nope. Nothing. Now it’s Saturday and you decide to send another text message and ask if Stephanie has time to connect soon. Nada. Now it’s the following week on Wednesday, you try Stephanie’s phone again and she doesn’t answer so you send her a quick email and wait.

And after all of this you are wondering; WHAT HAPPENED? Did I cross the line? When do I stop trying to reach someone who doesn’t answer the phone?

And here we are folks. Have you been there? Are you wondering how do you proceed when someone doesn’t answer phone calls or texts? When is it time to switch means of communication and try to reach them another way? When is it time to stop trying to connect all together? Should you send another text? One more email?

I’ve been there. Below is some advice I hope you find helpful!

VOICEMAILS AND INITAL CALLS

If you are reaching out to a prospective partner for the first time via phone and you reach them: HUZZAH! CONGRATS! If you don’t reach them on that first try, try to remember it’s okay and NORMAL. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to talk to you. Breathe deep. And here’s a little hack: if that first attempt goes to voicemail, consider hanging up without leaving a voice mail. This gives you the ability to call back again a day or two without need for explanation.

Another consideration for the first phone call without an answer (and no voicemail) is sending them a brief text message directly after the failed attempt that says something like the following:

“”Hi Stephanie! it’s Jenn Fortner. Could you let me know if there’s a good time to chat for a couple of minutes this evening (or another time soon that works better)? Or I’ll just try you back in a bit. Thanks!” (wording taken directly from a worker who used this and said it was gold!)

They may or may not answer the text. If they don’t answer, don’t give up! Call again, and this time leave a voicemail and communicate the following:

  • If you sent an invitation letter first, tell them that you were calling in reference to the invitation letter you sent them a week ago and would love to connect with them further. You don’t want to give them too many details as to why you are calling, so keep the information short and to the point.
  • If you are calling without prior context (no invitation letter), communicate that you are wanting to talk briefly and mention that you will be calling them back.
    • It should go something like this:
      • “Hi Stephanie! Hope you are doing great. I would love to catch you sometime soon – if you grab a minute give me a call but I’ll try to see if I can catch you at another time. Have a great day and hope to talk to you soon!”

TEXTING

If you feel more comfortable texting rather than calling, consider sending someone a text before you call them (or after you call them – as explained above). In a text prior to calling – ask if it would be a good time to call and that you’d like to speak with them briefly. A brief warning here: Don’t skip ahead and ask for an appointment on a text… I know, texts seem SO MUCH easier than phone calls. Truly, texting is a whole other subject so head here if you want more details as to (1) why a combination of a text message and phone call is better than just a text message for scheduling appointments (2) how do text without giving too much information or (3) why is no one answering my texts.

HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD I CALL BEFORE I QUIT? 

Don’t give up too early, but don’t move into stalking mode either! Neither are good! How often do you call? And when do you throw in the towel? Here’s some advice:

  • Go 2-3 times beyond what you are comfortable with in trying to reach someone on the phone. From what I’ve seen, we are likely to stop ourselves short in attempted communication way too early. It’s likely our fear of rejection or insecurities in asking will get the better of our reaching out way before we become too pushy and cross a line.
  • Switch up your mode of communication after several attempts via phone (my advice is 3 attempts at the very least) to a text message or a Facebook message. However, prior to this try hard to avoid written messages in asking for appointments whenever you can (lots of reasons for why can be found here).
  • Stagger your attempts at calling. Consider waiting a couple of days before trying again if you’ve gotten radio silence thus far. It may look something like this:
    • July 1st – Attempt 1 to call Stephanie Jones (no voicemail). (brief text message afterward Hey Stephanie it’s Jenn Fortner. Could you let me know if there’s a good time for you to chat this evening (If not another time that works?) Or I’ll just try you again in a bit! Thanks” )
    • July 2nd – Attempt two to call Stephanie Jones (brief voicemail Hey Stephanie it’s Jenn Fortner. Hope you are doing great. Just trying to reach you and don’t want to take too much of your time, about a ministry thing. Give me a call if you grab a moment or I’ll try and call you soon. I hope your at the beach or something! I know you were talking about going. Have a great day!”
    • July 7th – Attempt 3 to call Stephanie Jones (brief voicemail: “Hey Stephanie it’s Jenn again. Just trying to reach you, If you get a chance give me a call, but I’ll probably try you again. Hope to chat you soon.”)
    • July 21st – Attempt 4 to call Stephanie Jones (Text before: “Hey Stephanie, just trying to reach you one more time. There is something important I would love to discuss with you – and briefly Can we use the phone for a minute?”)
    • August 7th – Attempt 5 to call Stephanie Jones (maybe voicemail or no voicemail with a text after, but something like this: “Hey Stephanie. I’ll go ahead and email you on the thing I’m trying to connect about to see if that works better for you. I’m sure your busy and hope you guys are having a great summer. If you get a chance to check your email that would be great. Thanks Stephanie!”)
    • August 20th – No answer from email. You text The Final Contact (see post for wording).
  • If still you get nothing from emailing or texting it’s likely time for The Final Contact. Make sure you read this important post if you haven’t already to word that crucial text the best way possible.

SWITCHING COMMUNICATION METHOD

If it’s evident after several failed phone call attempts that the phone is not for them, try switching to text, email, Facebook Messenger, or a combination of some of these things. How you choose to switch it up should largely be placed on past communication you’ve had with that potential partner.

If you don’t hear back from that potential partner after switching modes of communication, try sending the Final Contact. After that Final Contact, you may consider putting that person in some type of organization system you have kept with other potential partners, noting the times you tried communication. And lastly, consider reaching out again after several months of waiting. You never know after several months or when you’re closer to the finish line if that person may get inspired to give. It’s possible that they just needed some time to think about it.

IN SUMMARY

There’s a lot of contingencies in the world financial partnership development and phone calls, but I hope this post helps a bit as you think about your strategy in reaching people who don’t like to pick up the phone.

What are your thoughts? What works best for you? Post it in the comments!

THE CLOSE: How to Close Appointments Like a Pro

Having a great Close to your Face to Face Appointments is almost as important as having a great Ask. What do I mean by the “Close”? Essentially, closing your appointment comes right after The Ask and includes elements like next steps, setting expectations, and getting the financial partner on-boarded to start their giving.

Do you know if your closing your appointments well? Let me ask you a few questions so we can gauge it together:

  • Are you having trouble getting verbal commitments turned in to actual gifts? Do you feel like your chasing your tail?
  • Are you having issues with new partners giving to your organization correctly? Are they seamlessly giving without any hiccups, misdirection of funds, or accidentally just giving one time instead of monthly?
  • Do you think your new monthly partners have clear next steps and expectations of how you will communicate with them?
  • Do you feel like after you’ve done your appointment the real challenge comes in getting ahold of them to turn it in? (why yes! I am aware this question is a bit redundant to the first question!)

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions – your Close may need a little work and tweaking. Or a lot… It could need a lot of tweaking. I find in the workers that I coach if the Close is not in ship-shape, the process of follow up can become extra cumbersome and challenging. Here are some quick tips to help you tighten up your Close and get those new partners on-boarded to your team.

3 FOLD COMMITMENT:

First things first! While closing your face to face appointment set clear expectations to your new financial partner with a commitment to your team. My commitment suggestion comes in 3 parts: (1) work hard on assignment, (2) communicate regularly, (3) pray for your team.

Imagine you just started giving 100$ a month to a new missionary. As a giver, you would probably like to know what to expect after you start your giving. Right? Right. Therefore, let your shiny new partners know how you will be communicating with them – is it through newsletters and a Facebook Secret Group? Is it via email? WhatsApp or iMessages or Direct Messages? Do you have a TikTok or Instagram account dedicated to your ministry? Do you have a Secret Facebook Group? How often are you doing your newsletters? This is all helpful information to include during the Close of your appointment. I like to do this in my 3 fold commitment to them. It goes a little sum’ like this:

“As a team member I would like to make a 3 fold commitment to you. First, I promise to work hard while I’m on the field, reaching the X people for Christ and working diligently to make relationships with the X people through X Y and Z. Secondly, I promise to keep you updated regularly. Though I won’t be able to connect as consistently via phone because of the connection in X country, I will be keeping my team updated regularily through bi-monthly newsletters and my Secret Facebook Group. The Facebook Group is titled X and I will send you an invitation to it tonight, so be on the lookout. My hope is to shoot out updates there every week. Please feel free to comment or like things there, but keep in mind even though it’s “secret” I still need to be sensitive to not giving too much information due to X country. I also intend to email you from time to time, which leads me to number 3! Thirdly, I would love to pray for you on a continual basis and will be reaching out via email from time to time asking for prayer requests. Please keep me updated as well with any prayer requests as time goes on. My desire is for this to really be a team, as I simply cannot do what I am doing without you. Any questions about that?”

SET GIVING EXPECTATIONS:

“Yes” comes with a wide variety of nuances. It’s like a buffet out there guys. Some will say they need to pray about an amount prior to committing, others will say they will commit 75$ and turn it in tomorrow morning, still others will just say they will turn it in “soon”. No matter their response – make sure to ask two things: (1) If they know the amount and (2) when they would like to turn it in by.

This is important for two reasons:

  1. Because it gives you a frame of reference as to when to expect their commitment turned in by.
  2. Because it helps you know how to respond and set up your follow up accordingly, which can be varied. For instance, if they say they will turn it in this week then your response could be “Great Shelly, that’s going to be so helpful to get to my goal of 50% by the end of the month. If I don’t see it come in by the end of the week I’ll shoot you out a text (you may ask if they prefer text or phone call) to see if you need a reminder or have any questions about how to set it up – does that work okay?” Or, say for instance they indicate they need to pray about the amount. You can then respond with “Great Shelly, do you think a couple of days would be sufficient for that or would you need more time?” (Shelly says a couple of days is sufficient) Then, “Okay, I will text you for follow up Wednesday to see where you’re at after a couple of days to pray If I don’t reach you, I may try and call to reach you. Does that work for you?

SHORT PERCENTAGE GOAL:

Setting a short percentage goal is a little trick I’ve been proselytizing lately. So what does setting a percentage goal mean? Let me explain by setting the stage for this one:

Sally has just said yes to joining your monthly partnership team and has told you she will get it turned in this week. A month has gone by and unfortunately you didn’t do a good job on your close with creating follow up expectations or creating percentage goals. Whomp. To combat situations like this in the future, when Sally tells you she is going to join your partnership team at 100$ a month and will get signed up this week, the next thing you say to Sally is “Oh my Sally! This is so great as it helps me get to my goal of 75% by the end of May! If you can get that turned in this week that would get me closer to that goal and of course closer to 100% by August. I really appreciate it.” See what I did there? I created a short percentage goal to let Sally know it matters when she gets her monthly commitment turned in. A lot of new financial partners don’t know that you will never be able to get to 100% unless they turn in their commitment (though this can vary based on your organization), and the reason is because you haven’t told them! Thus, make sure to communicate clearly (and gently…and nicely, you know what I mean) what your needs are. Creating a short goal that is less than a month away is perfect for getting a little urgency in and communicating that you are working toward getting to 100% in a timely manner. Doing so will help you get commitments turned in efficently.

SET FOLLOW UP EXPECTATIONS:

As a support raising coach I have seen that setting clear follow up expectations can make or break your season of support raising. Essentially you want to do 3 things while setting follow up expectations during your appointment:

  1. GIVING EXPECTATIONS: As above, ask them when they would like to give and how much. (If they are praying / thinking it over this still applies just tweak it)
  2. SHORT PERCENTAGE GOAL: As above, give them a short percentage goal and communicate your needs for having them turn it in.
  3. COMMUNICATE AND CALENDARIZE FOLLOW UP: If they are praying about an amount or unsure of their giving, set a time frame and let them know you will follow up with them. An example could be this: “Great Sally! Thank you so much for praying about a commitment. How much time do you think you need to pray about it? A couple of days? (*Sally says yes) “Okay, how about I text you on Friday and find if you’ve come to any decisions? Would that be okay?” (*Sally says yes) “Great, and if I don’t get ahold of you Sally I may try to call. Thank you so much for praying!” The same process works if they say yes and they get it turned in in a couple of days, just change the wording a bit to something like this: “Okay, if I don’t happen to see it come in by Friday or Saturday I will shoot you a text and see if you need a reminder or any help getting it set up. I’m so thankful Sally and appreciate you being a part of this team. Your giving now will help me reach my short goal of getting to 50% by the end of the month, and 100% by August! Thank you!”

A text to Sally for follow up would look something like this: “Hey Sally! Thanks so much for praying about joining my partnership team. I really loved our time together and am so grateful. Have you come to any decisions? Let me know either way and I appreciate you!”

**Please note, it’s always best to get a new financial partner on-boarded during the appointment, so shoot for that when they choose that entree of the buffet table! It’s like getting the steak! Or maybe like getting the soft serve ice cream after dinner when you were a (big) kid. Remember buffets?!?!**

GIVING INSTRUCTIONS:

Have you ever tried to give a reoccurring gift to a worker/ministry and felt like you were doing rocket science? Unfortunately the process isn’t always easy, and yet again comes with another buffet of options for the giver. Online? On the phone? Via check? It’s likely there are multiple ways your new financial partner could give, and typically not everyone will want to set it up the same way. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for your new financial partner to give. To do this, provide a short sheet of giving instructions. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be helpful! If you don’t know various ways that someone can give to your organization, learn all of the processes and make sure you understand how each works.

So I hope these were helpful! Now you’ll be pro level closing your appointments and getting new financial partners on-boarded to give! Recap:

  • 3 Fold Commitment
  • Giving Expectations
  • Short Percentage Goals
  • Follow Up Expectations
  • Giving Instructions

Aaaaannnnd Closed.

Become a Better Public Speaker In 10 Easy Steps

I used to be terrified to speak in public. Knotty stomach, raised pulse, sweating, and no sleeping the night before. Growing up I avoided any classes that had me speaking in front of the class. I cannot count how many times I ran in the opposite direction if there was even a hint of me having to be in front of a group.

Now, surprisingly, I’m mostly over it. Why the dramatic change? Practice. A lot of practice. I have been blessed with leadership over the years that encouraged me as well as provided no-way-out situations speaking to groups. (I hated them for it then, love them for it now) As for my personal skill level, I cannot say I have arrived exactly where I want to be; but I have come a long way and am proud of where I am today.

A lot of missionaries and those in ministry are plagued by fear of public speaking. Many missionaries are not afraid of public speaking, but have a long way to go to refine the art of giving a impactful message or 5 Minute Window at a church service. Whether you are starting off with cold sweats just thinking about public speaking, a boarder-line professional, or somewhere in between – I hope this simple info-graphic helps. Here are a couple of additional notes for some of the steps above:

STEP 4 VISUALS: If you are having a hard time describing where you are you are going overseas, a job you are doing, etc. use something visual to illustrate it! Also, if you are a missionary or traveling minister speaking at a church, set up a table in the back but don’t let it be boring. Create ways for people to comfortably interact with you after the service.

Some examples: (1) Create a alphabet in the language of the country you are going to so those stopping by your table can spell their names (and children’s names) in your country’s alphabet. (2) Have a video about your ministry continuously playing on a laptop or tablet. (3) Have something small available that represents your ministry.

STEP 9 THE ATTENTION GRABBER: After providing a brief introduction of yourself (and your family if you have one), you need an attention grabber. Use one of the following to grab people’s attention from the very beginning:

  • Share a short personal story. “I’d like to begin by telling you a story about Anna, a 5 year old girl I befriended in Spain.” 
  • Ask a group question or do a quick group survey. “Raise your hand if you have any idea where Qatar is on a map?” (then show the map later on the slide). “What do you think of when you hear the word “poor”? You shouldn’t be receiving actual answers, only developing a story / idea and involving the congregation.
  • A thought-provoking statement. Impressive to everyone (not just you). “Did you know that in Africa 1 out of every 10 people are _______” This of course needs to relate to what you are doing and why you are speaking with the group.

STEP 10 ESTABLISH A NEED: After you have their undivided attention, you must establish need. You can do this in multiple ways. Here are two suggestions that you can effectively establish need:

1. Share statistics and data. Appeal to the congregations logic and reasoning. Don’t overdo the stats — it’s easy to do.

2. Share stories, pictures, or videos. Appeal to the listener’s emotions with these. (If you shared a story for your attention grabber; a good idea is to come back to some aspect of the story, develop it more, and thread it throughout your presentation.)

One last word on public speaking: you will get better at it! Practice makes perfect, and the more you speak in front of groups the better you will become.

Are there any tips you have? Add them in the comments!

Want more information on public speaking, including an effective outline?  Read the Financial Partnership Development Workbook.

How To Make Your Own Prayer Card on Vistaprint

I’m excited to share this wonderful tutorial on How to Make Prayer Cards on Vistaprint. I didn’t make it, a friend of mine in ministry at a sensitive location did. I’d tell you her name, but I can’t, so we will just call her “Designer Debbie”. What I can say is please use this link if you end up using Vistaprint to make your Prayer Card. By using it you will give Designer Debbie discounted materials for future use! WIN WIN http://reward.vistaprint.com/go.axd?ref=TBNJM5

My girl DD is also a really great designer and makes Prayer Cards along with other promotional materials (case documents, connect cards, etc.), so if you want to skip the DIY – contact me and I can get you in touch with her.

So what is a Prayer Card? Think of it as a business card for ministry. Typically they are small, display your tagline, picture, ministry, and contact information. They are helpful for giving out at events, face to face meetings, short conversations, etc. and provide the recipient a quick glance at your ministry and way to keep your contact information. Often these go on refrigerators as prayer reminders, go in invitation letters, thank you cards, pastor packets, and the like. Read along to find out more on how to make your own! Thanks Designer Debbie!

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?

Blog and Website Recommendations On Support Raising

I love picking up bits and pieces from other ministries on support raising. Over the years I’ve done my fair share of digging from various viewpoints – nonprofits, ministries, and other missions sending organizations.

Thus, here’s a list of 15 inspiring blogs and websites that cover a wide variety of subject matter on ministry partnership development.

  1. Cadre 31 Classes: Cadre31 is a company who specializes in telling your story via video. They have a tab on their website dedicated to education on creating your own videos, watch and learn!
  2. Anything from Support Raising Solutions, but I particularly love this one tackling the fear of being a beggar.
  3. This testimony from some workers that I coach remains one of my absolute favorites over the years. I love what God does to meet us when we move in faith, prayer, and fasting.
  4. TedTalk by Jia Jiang on facing rejection. The possibility of rejection and/or facing it is hard – this video on the subject is incredibly inspiring and entertaining.
  5. Video from Global Frontier Missions on Unreached People Groups. This video is so helpful if your assignment is to UPGS. Check the links out to other videos from the same organization that tackle other subjects as well. They are awesome!
  6. Seeing Your Donors As Partners by 101Fundraising maybe one of my favorite blog posts EVER on the subject of financial giving. Get inspired and get perspective.
  7. This guest post by Pastor Chris (on my blog) reminds us that a season of itineration looks a lot like a season on the ministry field. I highly recommend this to anyone struggling with obstacles and fears in raising their support.
  8. Thanking Donors on Social Media from The Balance is a great for those looking to make their social media interactions count. It has some fantastic ideas to get the gears going on your own social media strategy.
  9. This TedTalk from Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking may be the most helpful TedTalk I’ve ever watched. This is not Christian content by the way, but gives incredible insight.
  10. Loving all of Scott Morton’s blog, author of the essential book Funding Your Ministry.
  11. Do you want to become a better public speaker? Are you afraid of public speaking? Here’s a post from RealSimple on conquering your fear.
  12. Being negative hurts YOU. Are you negative and don’t even know it? Check out this blog post on positive thinking during your season of raising support by Michael Hyatt.
  13. Are you an introvert? Feeling warn down by all of the awesome but energy draining coffee dates? Check out Support Raising as an Introvert, by the Karani blog.
  14. Reaching out to millennials can confound as you support raise. Gosh, I’m a millennial and sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what to do. Here’s a great post on the subject.
  15. Stories are compelling. Here’s a reminder to share that story of a life changed or your own testimony in presentations.

I hope some of these posts help you like they have me. Do you have a favorite blog, post, or website on support raising? Share it in the comments! – JF

 

5 Rules of Thumb For Trickier Support Raising Circumstances

When it comes to raising support, relationships can have tricky nuances that come in wide variety. One potential partner you may see every day and have a strong relationship with, and another you may not have talked for years. In most every circumstance, the best practice of asking for financial support of an individual remains tried and true – face to face appointments. However, at times you may find yourself in a circumstance that is not so cut and dry on how to get the appointment.

Throughout your process there will most likely asks that take some additional thought to navigate correctly, and thus here are several helpful rules of thumb that could help navigate those more nuanced circumstances:

1. Always default to the most relational means possible when making the ask. 

At times you’ll question how to best approach a potential partner and ask for a face to face appointment. Say you see someone on your contact list at church on a regular basis and you are wondering if you should send them an invitation letter in the mail first, go up and talk to them to ask for an appointment, or phone call them? How do you know what is best? My general rule of thumb: go for what is most relational! The most relational may mean walking up to them after church and asking for a appointment.

When deciding how to approach it – it may help to see the roles as reversed – think about how you would want to be approached for an appointment if your potential partner was the one asking you. Keep in mind though, this does NOT mean I’m a fan of using texting as the best way to ask for an appointment, even if you text someone on a regular basis.

2. Check your motivation if you aren’t reaching for a face to face appointment following the basic process.

Are you veering away from calling an individual asking for a appointment because there is a more logical way (such as talking to them in person), or is your motivation to get out of making a phone call because it feels scary and awkward to you? If there’s a more logical and relational way in a special circumstance, that may be okay, however stick to the process for the bulk of your asks. If your motivation for doing something like Facebook Messaging instead of calling someone is off (ie. your trying to cut corners due to lack of time or because you just don’t want to make phone calls), please be honest with yourself about that and go back to the basic process (invitation letter or phone call + appointment).

3. If it feels awkward to send an invitation letter, call first. If it feels awkward to call first, send the invitation letter first. I believe at times sending a invitation letter before making a phone call can be an helpful way to start a conversation of potential support.

What is an invitation letter?

  • A simple one page letter with a brief (very brief!) summary of what you’ll be doing in ministry and that you need to raise 100% of your finances.
  • A good invitation letter mentions that YOU will be contacting them soon (within a week) to connect with them further about your assignment, it does NOT say that they should get in touch with you. Always seek to keep the ball in your court!
  • Should be followed up with a phone call (or the most relational means to approach – see number 1!) asking for an appointment, as invitation letters are a invitation (hence the name!) to further conversation.
  • Invitation letters DO NOT give a lengthy dissertation of your future assignment or calling, but briefly outline the basic details.
  • Invitation letters DO NOT ask for finances. Ever.
  • Includes a catchy (but brief) intro.
  • Always includes a handwritten ps. (that will be the first thing they see and read!).
  • Includes your basic contact information.
  • Invitation letters can be helpful when you want to break the ice before making a phone call and to give your potential partner time to pray and consider support before you call.

A great rule of thumb is if it feels awkward to make a phone call first, then send an invitation letter first. If it feels awkward to send an invitation letter first, you skip that step and go straight for the phone call.

4. If someone lives too far away for a face to face appointment, either set up a FaceTime / Skype Appointment or wait until you will see them. 

Sometimes setting up an appointment isn’t cut and dry due to the proximity of your potential partner. Say I live in Missouri and a friend I want to ask for financial support lives in Alaska, and I have no reason to travel to Alaska nor them come to Missouri. In that type of circumstance it is likely that I will be connecting with them in another way other than face to face.

A great rule of thumb here is to try first to seek out a virtual meeting using your their preferred method (FaceTime and Skype are some good examples). Simply call them up like you would if you were asking for a face to face appointment, but instead schedule a virtual meeting time. (It’s always going to be better to actually see someone when you make an ask, as the connection overall will be richer!) It may be that they have time right then and there for the appointment, switch over to FaceTime and voila!

Of course, there will be circumstances in which someone is not able to meet virtually. Say for instance my friend in Alaska has never used FaceTime or Skype and wouldn’t know the first thing about accepting that type of call. I would then divert to making the ask via phone with that individual. When doing this, check to make sure they have time for a lengthier phone call, if not, schedule the phone call for another time (but don’t just say I’ll give you a phone call another time – truly schedule it with a date and time). I would then proceed to do the shortened version of my appointment over the phone live or at the scheduled time.

In another variance, it may be that your potential partner in Alaska will be visiting Missouri at some point in the future while you are raising support. Simply wait until closer to the time they are coming in town to phone call for an appointment or send an invitation letter.

In yet another variance, it may be that you will be visiting Alaska but not for several months. In that circumstance it may be better to hold off on contacting that individual until about a month (you want to give plenty of time for a heads up that you are coming so that you can schedule an appointment) prior to your scheduled trip.

5. Remain confident in your calling. 

Whatever curve balls a potential partner is throwing at you during an appointment or prior to the appointment, try to focus on remaining confident in your calling! By following the call of God on your life, I promise you are super inspiring to those around you! Remind yourself on the daily why you are raising up a team and how God has called you. And of course praying and asking for God’s guidance will always help when those curve balls come.

Do you have a special circumstance you have questions on? Shoot me your questions in the comments!

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The Facebook Campaign

screen shot facebook campaign vid

I have been sharing for a couple of years now how effective a well-executed Facebook Campaign can be. The idea started from the Assemblies of God Mobilization department to utilize the power social media can have in expanding one’s network. And man we have seen the idea spread and grow over the years!

This could be the perfect time of year to launch your campaign if your trying to get to 100% before the end of the year. This is actually a post from last year, but thought it would be good to share again because tis’ the season!

For those of you who don’t know what what a Facebook Campaign is, let me explain. In one sentence – essentially it is a campaign for monthly or cash support on Facebook set to a specific amount of time and a specific goal. Of course, you’ll grab the big picture by watching the video above.

To be clear, I am against asking for funds on Facebook or any other type of social media in most any other context (besides maybe a short video on Giving Tuesday or for a End of Year Campaign). I believe the absolute best way to ask for monthly financial partnership is via personal face-to-face appointments. I also do not believe the Facebook Campaign to be the end-all-be-all in support raising. However, I have seen it be very useful. Those whom I have coached who launch well executed Facebook Campaigns (after they have reached at least 75% of their support goal and built up healthy teams) have seen some pretty awesome success. Some workers I’ve coached have raised as much as $1,000 in monthly support. Others have raised $10,000 in cash from doing a Campaign. For most campaigns I see, a typical amount to raise is around $300-400 in monthly support or around $700-$1,000 in one time cash gifts.

If you are interested in launching your own Facebook campaign, follow the information on the video. To go along with the video, here are a few things I find important to emphasize:

1. It is VERY IMPORTANT while doing your FB campaign to stay abreast on all likes and comments that come to you campaigners pages. Check them every day and more than once a day. Return comments with direct messages (DM) and likes with DM when it feels appropriate. It is your job to connect further with the people responding, and if they have commented or liked but haven’t given, chances are with a personal message from you they may.
2. Create great graphics and videos. No half-way doing this thing or results will be minimal. With a little work, the results will be fantastic.
3. Create a reasonable goal. (see video)
4. Follow up with your new financial partners after the Facebook campaign. Never let someone start giving to you without trying to get to know them. Attrition rates for someone giving to you on a monthly basis that you don’t know at all are statistically low – so beat that by building a relationship with your new financial partners. Do this by emailing them, calling them, Facebook messaging them. Whatever you do, ask them questions about themselves. Of course don’t overwhelm them – make them feel safe as they probably don’t know you well. Use common sense. Think about what would make you feel connected if you were in their shoes.
5. Think about creating a Facebook Secret group with your campaigners and some prayer partners in the group. In that group you can post your posts for the campaigners every day. There should be around 15-20 campaigners and perhaps somewhere around 10-15 prayer partners in this group. (Your prayer partners will probably catch a burden and start funding you monthly if they aren’t already on your team 🙂 Sometimes asking around on FB on your secret group or in your newsletter prior to see if anyone wants to be a part will help give you a few extra campaigners as well posting on your behalf. Make sure you make your campaigner team full of people with various levels and places of connection. See if you can get a few people of influence to be on your campaign team as well.
6. Go above and beyond in your communication with with your campaigners from the very beginning. Tell them your goal and how many days for the campaign, and communicate that you want them posting every day. ALSO VERY IMPORTANT to find out how they can best receive the post information from you. Some people post on Facebook from their phones – so a text may be better. Some people may do better with you giving them content in an email. Some may remember just fine by only getting it through your secret group. Find out what works best for them so they don’t miss a post. Make it easy for them!
7. Encourage your campaigners to change the wording of their posts if they want to to make it personal to them / their audience. Just give them guidelines and make sure they stick to security rules and use your graphic. You may want to feed them the wording for the first couple of days and then encourage them to create their own with the content you’d like posted.

I hope this video and post helps. As we come up into Year End Giving, it may be a perfect time to launch your campaign (if your around 80% raised of course!). Go for it – I think you’ll find some success in creating your own! – JF

15 Creative Support Raising Ideas

Let’s talk about creative support raising. I want to begin by saying the absolute best way to invite potential partners onto your team is the face-to-face appointment. Absolutely hands down! The ideas below aren’t fancy techniques or short cuts to bypass the face to face appointment, or replace the importance of an informed and relationally invested team. However, you may have the bandwidth, creativity, and even the need to use some creative support raising techniques in addition to classical methods. Sometimes a creative event or idea can help a worker go from stuck at 20% raised to 40% raised, or from 75% to 90%, thus creating needed momentum. Creative support raising can also raise awareness with people you may not know yet, produce excitement, and potentially raise a portion of a cash budget or ongoing monthly support. With a little effort and planning, creative ways of raising support can be helpful and can work! Though some of these ideas may not be new, I hope sharing them helps you to think of different ways to raise portions of your budget.

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Do you have any creative support raising ideas? Have you done something in the past that was successful? Post your ideas and experiences in the comments!

Links from infographic above:

Eurasia Coffee & Tea

Connect Cards

Non-Fundraising and Fundraising Events

Facebook Campaign