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!

download

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. 

Advertisements

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!

images

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

images-2

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!

 

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

expert-tips-2_22061282_3c9f47df4e12c79eb306ed1f0bebd71775e2819d

The Big Head & Long Tail of Fund-Raising

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

The Big Head (or sometimes “Tall Head”) and Long Tail is a popular concept in business and marketing that I first read about it in a Seth Godin book.  (I would recommend Seth’s blog and books as good resources for inspiration in creative fund-raising).

imgresThe idea behind Big Head and Long Tail is in most markets there is a “Big Head” and a “Long Tail”. The Big Head is one or a few companies that dominate a sector of the market. The Long Tail is everyone else.

Consider the soda industry.  Coca-Cola is by far the Big Head in the soda industry, making up more than 40% of the entire soft drink market.  If we want to make our soda-beast a two headed monster imgres-1we could add Pepsi, which controls another 30% of the soda market.  Together their soft drinks dominate the soda market, thus making Coca-Cola and Pepsi the Big Head(s). Yet, in the soda market there are hundreds of other companies producing a large variety of soft drinks in the world today.

imagesIn this graph Coke & Pepsi would be represented the red area, as they dominate the market.  The yellow line would then represent all the other companies in the world producing soft-drinks.

If you have read this far you may be asking, “What does this have to do with fund-raising?

The answer? Everything! 

The Big Head Long Tail is an exact mirror into what most of us raising support are trying to accomplish.  We are trying to raise a budget to get to the field and fulfill God’s call on our lives, and often as we do, we focus solely on the Big Head.

Look at the graph above again and think of your fund-raising.  For most reading this the Big Head (the red area) is probably the churches, pastors, and individuals already within your denomination / organization.  

So what is the Long Tail? The Long Tail represents everyone else in the world!

As we look at the graph and think on the Long Tail, I am not proposing an either / or approach but a both / and approach.  In other words, as you begin raising your support you most often focus on acquiring a Big Head. However, long-term success is going require you to also grow a long tail.

dino___thumbs_up_by_marketakindlova-d7km0k1

HOW TO ACQUIRE A BIG HEAD

The best way to acquire a Big Head is to follow the instructions of your organization for raising up your support team.  For my organization this means calling all the pastors of my denomination’s district and asking to meet with the pastor and/or missions board, and requesting of them a service to present my vision to the church body. Whatever your organization trains you to do, follow the system and do good follow-up (for tips on follow-up see a previous post I wrote).  If you work hard and remain diligent you will acquire a Big Head over time.  Once acquired, never quit and keep sharing. For me that means I share with pastors in my denomination’s district and I keep reaching out to them – inviting them to join in my mission.  Keep your Big Head BIG!

“as you begin raising your support you most often focus on acquiring a Big Head. However, long-term success is going require you to also grow a long tail.”

However, the Big Head may not be enough to get you to 100% funded and on the field. This is where the Long Tail comes into play.

giphyWHAT IS THE LONG TAIL?

As I mentioned above, the Long Tail is everyone else in the world!  It is every church not in your denomination, every business, every non-profit (they are givers too!), every individual, every family member, co-worker, friend, stranger.  EVERYONE!  This is what is so great about the Long Tail – there is no end to how long it can grow.

In the Big Head there are limits, constraints, and competition.  These are almost non-existent in the Long Tail. 

Let me tell you a Long Tail story of a friend named Steve.  Steve was raising his budget and was invited to a mission’s convention.  The church invited several missionaries and put them up in homes of various families within the church.  Steve was given a room in the pastor’s mother’s house.  Steve hit it off with the pastor’s mother so well that she went to her son at the end of the convention and said, “Are you picking Steve up for support?  The pastor replied, “No mom, we just do not have it in the budget.” (ahem, the constraint of the Big Head). However, the mom said, “but he is a good man and has a good vision… you have to pick him up!  The pastor replied, “The only way I can pick him up is if someone commits to pay that additional support.  Remarkably, the mom responded, “Yes, I will give the additional amount of his support each month.

This story illustrates the secret of the Long Tail. Anyone could approach this pastor or church and ask for support (Big Head), but none of us could ever connect with the pastor’s mother (Long Tail) like missionary Steve did.  By the way, this mom got an 8X10 photo of missionary Steve and hung it in her living room – right between her son the pastor and his brother.  So essentially Steve is now part of the family!  Who knows, he may even be in the family will! Talk about growing a Long Tail!

raw

HOW TO GROW A LONG TAIL

Growing a Long Tail takes time but is quite easy.  Here’s how to do it: always, everywhere, at all times, and in every circumstance – share your vision! 

It is that simple. 

Share your vision with passion.  Share it with conviction.  Tell everyone what you are going to do and why you are going to do it.  Then ANYTIME anyone shows interest or asks how they could help – tell them how to do so. You don’t have be a salesman, and you don’t pressure your friends or family to support you; but you should let it be known what you need and how they can join you in your mission.

“…always, everywhere, at all times, and in every circumstance share your vision!”

Not too long ago I was visiting my father who was in a nursing home.  The wife of the owner of that nursing home came out to the pavilion where we were sitting.  She casually asked what I did and I began to share about my ministry.  As I shared she was intrigued and asked many questions. So many that we spoke for about an hour.  When we finished she then said, “I know my husband will want to talk to you.  He will only have about five minutes because he is busy today but I want him to meet you. She left and returned in a few minutes with her husband, introduced me to him, and we began talking.  His five minutes turned into an hour. Before I left that day he went to his office and wrote me a check for my ministry and has given several times since to our work.

The work of acquiring a Big Head can be scheduled, but growing a Long Tail can happen anytime and anywhere.  Don’t let your passion for your mission become just a “job.”   Instead, let it be your lifestyle and your tail will grow extremely long!

giphy-1

Start 2017 Off Right!

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:

  1. “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.
  2. “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.
  3. “#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.

So where do you find yourself on the spectrum?

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 visionIf 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.

zachgalifianakisthumbsuThere you have it! May your 2017 be a year filled with happy and relational support raising! Consider making some of these goals your own in 2017.

Podcast on Financial Partnership Development

Recently I was honored to be on the family podcast of one of our areas in Eurasia talking about Financial Partnership Development. On the podcast we talk about partnership development topics such as how to build and maintain good relationships while busy in ministry, adding new financial partners, and much more.

Take a listen by following the links below:

 

Podcast 1: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ac8ug933tlca5yi/November-2016.mp3?dl=0

Podcast 2: https://www.dropbox.com/s/23uhw5e4fwnwxpo/December-2016.mp3?dl=0

Connect Cards are Awesome.

Have you ever spoken at your home church, small group, or fundraising event and gotten stuck at your back table talking to a particularly chatty individual? All the other people scurry to lunch before your conversation ends and you feel the wave missed opportunities that just passed?  Whomp.

Insert a wonderful tool to help combat: connect cards!

What’s a connect card you ask? It’s a stack of cards you put on your display table, chairs of an event, and/or attach to Sunday morning’s bulletin. Connect cards give you the ability to follow up with interested people after a service or event is over, and is an effective tool all about facilitating more face-to-face appointments and building relationships with the body of Christ. Below there are some examples of connect cards from various workers I coach. (thanks guys!)

Now, don’t go off quite yet and make your own. I want to explain something important first – here we go – pay attention: keep in mind that connect cards are only appropriate in certain circumstances.

“Connect cards are only meant for events, services, and small groups where you have gotten permission to connect personally with individuals about giving.”

Connect cards should only be used when they fall in accordance with a pastor / leader’s protocol in giving. So don’t assume that these cards can be placed on chairs of a congregation without communication or sneakily stuck into bulletins on a Sunday morning. Connect cards are only meant for events, services, and small groups where you have gotten permission to connect personally with individuals about giving.

Why is this so important? Well, a lot of churches do their missions / ministry giving by collecting offerings and disbursing where the church leadership collectively decides. That means if you were to come into that congregation and ask all the people inside to give to you personally, it may mess up what the pastor, board, and leadership of the congregation has decided to give to. You DO NOT want to be that person. #boo

Thus, connect cards are preferably only when you ask the pastor / leader “how does your congregation do missions / ministry giving?” If they say you may connect with individuals inside of the congregation on your own, ONLY THEN do connect cards come into play.

Connect cards are ideal when speaking to your home church (after you’ve figured out the protocol with your pastor on giving), small groups, fundraising events, and the like. If you do use connect cards, make sure to explain them from the platform in which you are speaking from – letting everyone know how to fill them out and what they are for.

I hope these help you as you seek to build out new relationships as you interact with the body of Christ! See the examples below and have fun building yours!

14316802_10157439182320503_316598276514332702_n.jpg2016092395081042-copy2016092295161241-copy

new-piktochart_172_497d8fa1e0a1f9e77cf1b2e183e99ade3f50b171