Quick post here of resources I find helpful in the support raising process. Merry Christmas everyone! – JF
- A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen
- Dunham & Company
- iMissionsPro, TNTMPD, MPDX, DonorElf, SupportGoal
- Funding Your Ministry by Scott Morton
- The Phone Call Mind Map
- Commission Creative
- Support Raising Solutions, The God Ask
- 101 Fundraising
- Portent’s Content Generator
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”B. After clicking on Lists, click “Create List”.C. 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. ** 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! E. 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”.)
C. 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.F. 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). G. 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.H. 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!Step 5: Send Your Campaign and Your DONE!
Now that your done – click “Send”. You have successfully sent your first e-newsletter using Mailchimp. Congrats!
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.
Below is an example of one worker’s appointment kit that includes homemade connect cards, magnets, giving instructions, and professionally made prayer cards. Having an appointment kit can serve you and your financial and prayer partnership team in multiple ways such as helping those interested in giving remember you in prayer, set up giving, and remember their commitment to financially support you. They can help keep you organized, make you look professional, give you needed contact information, and so much more.Have you made an appointment kit? Does making one seem daunting? With a little know how, making one doesn’t have to be complicated or overly pricey. Melody’s appointment kit was done using www.avery.com/print (free templates!) with the exception of her professionally made prayer card. When I asked Melody how long it took her to make this kit her reply was “not long! I spent maybe 30 minutes on the connect cards and 30 minutes on the giving instructions.” If you aren’t design coordinated or maybe are a little computer illiterate, don’t sweat it. Consider asking someone close to you or someone already on your prayer or financial partnership team to consider helping you create your kit!
Let’s drill down on each of the items in the kit and explain the uses:
THE CONNECT CARDCreating a connect card can be helpful when sharing your ministry with a small or large group, or at a fundraising event. Put these cards on a back table, hand them out during the event, or place on chairs prior to the event where you are sharing. Inform the group to fill one out based on their level of interest. Connect cards help minimize the bottleneck effect that can occur when just having a newsletter sign up sheet, as multiple people can fill out a card at one time. Also, connect cards help put the ball in your court instead of your potential partner’s. That can be a big help! Instead of just giving a prayer card to a interested individual and hoping something comes of it, now you have their contact information and the means to follow up with them after the event is over! Essentially connect cards allow you to relationally seek out face-to-face appointments. More information on connect cards can be found here.
GIVING INSTRUCTIONSCreating simple giving instructions can help a potential partner know how to give easily. Simply state several ways they can set up their giving based on their preference. Give these as needed to someone whom you’ve just had a face-to-face meeting with or someone interested in giving for the first time that you happen to connect with in passing, etc. Keep in mind though, if you don’t see that commitment go through don’t hesitate to walk them through the necessary steps to make it happen. The responsibility to get their commitment in is typically YOURS.
PRAYER CARDPrayer cards are fantastic for giving out to anyone and everyone! Keep prayer cards on you at all times and hand them out regularly. They should have giving information, information about where you are going, your contact information, a professional picture of you, your sending organization info and branding, and if you have created one – your tagline. I suggest spending a bit more money here and get your prayer cards done professionally (just like Melody did). There are some great places out there that make great looking prayer cards such as Commission Creative.
MAGNETSMagnets are a nice way to get your team praying for you regularly. Ask anyone who takes one to put it on their refrigerator and remember to pray for you when they see it. The magnets Melody made are nothing overly fancy, but they are a great way to reinforce the concept of “team” and put something additional in the hands of those who lift her up in prayer and financial support.
Here are some other suggested items to include in appointment kits:
- Some type of visual/infographic on how much support you need to get to 100% – I call these log charts. (ie. 50 people at 50$, 15 people at 100$, 10 people at $150, 5 people at $200, etc.)
- Brochures or other printed materials specific to your ministry assignment from your sending organization.
- Pre-addressed stamped envelopes for anyone who wants to send a check in immediately.
- Your organization’s commitment or pledge forms. (don’t leave home without it!)
- A sheet with your budget spelled out. **I recommend giving this only as needed – to people who ask for more information on your budget. As in, don’t start off providing specifics on your budget unless your talking to someone like a pastor who may understand your budget needs a bit more – simply state that your need is to get to 100% raised, NOT that you need X amount of monthly support.
- Small gift or token for those who commit to support and/or pray.
Things to keep in mind when making your kit:
- Create some type of branding! Melody has made a stamp that creates something of her own logo. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a logo, but thread your branding and use the same fonts, colors, and concepts for each item. Create a cohesive look that makes everything sync together.
- If you haven’t already, create a tagline and use that tagline throughout each of your appointment kit items (where appropriate).
- Use professionally taken photos. No selfies!
- If your ministry organization has a logo, make sure to use it! Put your organization’s recognizable logo into what you create so that people can quickly see you are a part of a larger organization with experience.
- When creating your appointment kit, challenge yourself to always think through the lens of a potential partner. What questions would they have? What would be helpful information and/or wording for them?
Any other items you can think would be helpful in an appointment kit? Tell us in the comments!
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.
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.
THE TWO MAIN OBJECTIVES WITH ANY SMALL GROUP / EVENT
With all small group / event opportunities you should have two main objectives:
- To make an clear, bold, ask – live at the event.
- 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:
- How long will you be expected to speak?
- Dress code?
- What time does the event / small group start and end? Address / directions.
- What is the program for the event / small group?
- What do you need to bring?
- Is there any protocol the leader would like you to follow when asking?
- Any special instructions or things you need to know?
- 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.
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!
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.”
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
- Connect with the leader before hand and discuss some of the questions above – like how long you’ll be expected to share.
- Ask questions about the group to the group, people love talking about themselves – and groups like to share what makes them special.
- Bring donuts! Everyone loves donuts!
- Find out how you can stay connected with the group at large. Ask them to adopt you as a group in prayer.
- Revisit that same group (if it still exists) when you come back from the field or into the area to strength relationships.
- Have each member of the group fill out a connect card, and explain the connect card while you are there.
SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT EVENTS
- 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.
- Find ways to add value to those attending.
- Decorate! Make the event enjoyable and attractive.
- Have food, dessert, or coffee available.
- Time your event to insure that the most amount of people can make it as possible.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Did you know that 45% of the American population make New Years Resolutions? In general this is the month that the nation is thinking about health, wellness, and personal goals. Are you? Though I didn’t make New Years Resolutions per say, I know I am thinking about my personal goals for this year. As I have been developing my own for 2017, I found these Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions from 2017 interesting:
Top 10 New Years Resolutions for 2017:
#1 Lose Weight
#2 Get Organized
#3 Spend Less, Save More
#4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
#5 Stay Fit and Healthy
#6 Learn Something Exciting
#7 Quit Smoking
#8 Help Others In Their Dreams
#9 Fall In Love
#10 Spend More Time With Family
Can you relate to any of these? For those of you thinking about your 2017 goals along with me, I’d like to add the goals below for your consideration. Consider making 2017 your best year of living a healthy lifestyle of ministry partnership development. Without further ado, here are some goals to consider in making 2017 a fabulous ministry partnership development year:
GOAL #1: DO BETTER AT KEEPING UP WITH YOUR EXISTING FINANCIAL AND PRAYER PARTNERS. Where do you find yourself on this spectrum:
- “COMMUNICATION ROCK STAR”: You have always been good at regularly contacting your financial and prayer partners. You keep up with at least a few of them each month by email, text message, phone call, or skype. You continually write your newsletters and are very personal with those whom support you.
- “KINDA STRUGGLE BUT E FOR EFFORT”: You have had seasons at being good at communicating with your financial and prayer partners, perhaps here and there emailing the ones you felt comfortable with. However if are were honest you haven’t done much besides a few group Facebook posts and newsletters.
- “#EPICFAIL”: You have never been good at contacting your financial and prayer partners. You avoid contacting them, feel awkward when you do, and struggle to write newsletters.
Maybe you find yourself somewhere in between “Communication Rock Star” or “Kinda Struggle but E for Effort”? Or maybe “#EpicFail” doesn’t even begin to describe your lack of efforts? Wherever you find yourself in that spectrum make 2017 the year you start with regular (and quality) communication with your financial and prayer partners. Make regular social media posts, newsletters, emails, skype conversations, and phone conversations a priority in your existing ministry schedule. Go beyond the newsletter. Get beyond the mass communication and become relationally driven. Don’t just get a team of people giving you checks every month and wondering what your up to – strive to keep your financial partners informed and make them actual friends. Contact them personally and ask how they are doing, and how you can pray. Give personal updates. I PROMISE this is a BIG DEAL. Remember, without your financial and prayer team you WOULD NOT be ministering to your particular population. Make them feel valued and it will make all of the difference to them, and ultimately to you.
GOAL #2: ENSURE YOUR FINANCIAL PARTNERS CAN EASILY GIVE ONLINE. A recent study done by Dunham&Company shows that 67% of donors ages 40-59 said they have given online. That percentage is up by 20% since 2010. If your organization provides a way to give online, make sure you readily offer that option to your potential financial partners and that you make it easy for your financial partners to give online. Create giving instructions that can be emailed or texted out for your financial partners or get into the habit of walking them through the steps of online giving yourself.
GOAL #3: BEEF UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE. The same study mentioned above by Dunham&Company shows that 26% of donors said they have given to a charity’s website as a result of being asked on social media. This is up by 20% from only A YEAR AGO. Wow. I love this quote on the findings:
“It’s important to not misinterpret the findings,” Dunham says. “Donors are not responding more to requests for support from organizations through social media. They are responding to friends or others they know who, through social media, ask them for support of a specific charity, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Social media for nonprofits is still primarily a means to build community and engagement rather than a fundraising tool.”
What we can say about social media at this point is this: it is a very effective tool to build community and engagement. I’m not saying to ask for blanket support on Facebook. Nope. Nope I’m not at all. But I am saying consider making your social media presence more intentional in 2017. Use exciting videos, informative posts with pictures, and infographics to grab people’s attention. Stay up to date on what is going on with your financial and prayer partnership team. If you do use Facebook for “the ask”, make sure you create a structured Facebook campaign.
GOAL #4: MAKE YOUR PRESENTATION GREAT. If you are regularly speaking inside church congregations or small groups, make sure what you are saying is as effective as it can be. Don’t have a mediocre presentation – make it great! Video yourself giving your next sermon or 5 minute window in front of a congregation. Spend some time going through that video and thinking of ways you could improve. Send it to a few trusted friends for a critique. Having their honest feedback could be what takes your presentation from “meh” to “YESSS!!” If you haven’t polished your presentation in awhile go through it with fresh eyes thinking of ways to improve. Maybe you could add a short video, or a visual of the population you serve? Maybe you could add a new effective story?
GOAL #5: STAY (OR GET) ORGANIZED. This goal is pretty self explanatory. If you are struggling in an area of staying organized, get back on the horse. Being organized with records of who you have asked, who has given, when they have given, how much, etc. is important to have in the genesis of a lifestyle of partnership development. If you are organized you will have more time for ministry and more time for staying connected with your financial and prayer partnership team – it’s that simple. Great programs for this are: TNTMPD, MPDX, or iMissionsPro.
GOAL #6: USE VIDEOS. According to statistics found on the www.Cadre31.com website videos on landing pages increase conversions by 87%. Not only that, 65% of audiences are visual learners and visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than by text. Let the reader understand: videos are a big help in effectively communicating your vision. If you have not created a high quality video that communicates your ministry vision I highly suggest you make it a priority to do so. Spend some time looking at the videos found on Cadre31’s site for some great examples.
If you are not in the habit of making videos (not necessarily high quality – just home videos used to communicate) on social media, get into it. Another statistic states that by 2017 90% of all web traffic will be video.
GOAL #7: PRAY FOR YOUR FINANCIAL AND PRAYER PARTNERSHIP TEAM. When was the last time you made prayer for your financial partnership team a regular part of your prayer life? Have you ever prayed for your team? If you haven’t taken the time to talk to God about your team, then start in 2017. There are multiple benefits of praying for your team that go beyond the obvious. For starters remembering your team in prayer will promote your desire to stay connected to them, naturally have you asking what is going on in their lives, and will remind you that they are a vital part of your ministry.