Help! I Don’t Speak Mailchimp!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 4: Create Your Campaign! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to DYI Your Appointment Kit

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.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetHave 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 CARDProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetCreating 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 INSTRUCTIONSProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetCreating 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 CARDProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetPrayer 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.

MAGNETSProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetMagnets 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:

  1. 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.)
  2. Brochures or other printed materials specific to your ministry assignment from your sending organization.
  3. Pre-addressed stamped envelopes for anyone who wants to send a check in immediately.
  4. Your organization’s commitment or pledge forms. (don’t leave home without it!)
  5. 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.
  6. Small gift or token for those who commit to support and/or pray.

Things to keep in mind when making your kit:

  1. 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.
  2.  If you haven’t already, create a tagline and use that tagline throughout each of your appointment kit items (where appropriate).
  3. Use professionally taken photos. No selfies!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

10 Blog Posts I Love for Successful Support Raising

I have a gift for you.

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 10 inspiring blogs and websites that cover a wide variety of subject matter on ministry partnership development as you close out your year! Your Welcome! Merry almost Christmas friends!

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  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. 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.
  3. Video from Global Frontier Missions on Unreached People Groups. This video is so helpful if you are raising your finances to reach a tough population. Check it out!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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

 

Develop Your End of The Year Strategy

December is the best month of the year for giving! Do you know your strategy?

Did you know that last year 31% of ALL GIVING occurred in the month of December? Or that 12% of giving occurred in the last three days of the year?
That’s right. 12% all in 3 days.full

Thus begs the question: Do you have a end of the year strategy for financial partnership development? If the answer is no, or you were even tempted to coast in December and only eat Christmas cookies, Christmas shop, and watch Elf and/or the new Star Wars movie 6 times in one week… I plead with you to keep those percentages in mind and reach higher.

12-adorable-funny-christmas-2013-gifs-to-share-enjoyHere is a couple of quick ideas for your year end strategy:

  1. CREATE A CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER TO YOUR EXISTING PARTNERSHIP BASE. Sometime before December 31st (probably not on Christmas or Christmas Eve), send out a Christmas newsletter to your existing financial and prayer partner list. These should be people you have already communicated your ministry vision and details with. Make it short and sweet and include the following components:
    1. Merry Christmas greeting and express your authentic thankfulness for your support team.
    2. 3-5 bullet points of prayer requests.
    3. A percentage update of where you are at raising your finances.
    4. A gift-wrappy-Christmasy-wonderful-snowy graphic that is a clickable link to your organization’s giving website. (Make it pretty – I made this one in 5 minutes using Canva.comFrom the Montgomery family
  2. HAVE AS MANY FACE-TO-FACE APPOINTMENTS AS POSSIBLE and DON’T STOP SCHEDULING THEM NOW BECAUSE YOU THINK EVERYONE IS TOO BUSY. Are you are tempted to put the breaks on contacting individuals for face-to-face appointments in the month of December? Let me tell you, experience has taught me that it is a GREAT time for face-to-face appointments. Don’t stop reaching out to connect with people over coffee and making the ask. Some tips:
    1. Pay for their coffee.
    2. Get a small gift for your potential financial partner and bring it to your appointment.
    3. Try and set up the appointment sooner than later. If they cant meet before the end of the year, put something in the calendar for January. Allow a couple of extra weeks to put something on the calendar.
    4. Make it about them when you meet as much as it is about you. Ask questions and get excited about who they are.
    5. Send a thank you card after you meet with everyone!
    6. If you cannot reach someone now, don’t sweat it. Try reaching out to them again in January.
  3.  SEND YOUR FINANCIAL PARTNERS CHRISTMAS CARDS / SMALL GIFTS. Now is a great time of year to express your thankfulness to your support team. Send a Christmas card with a handwritten note and include a small gift of thanks. It can go a long way in letting your financial partners know you care about them.
  4. CREATE A FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN IN DECEMBER. A well crafted, intentional, relational Facebook campaign can be helpful during this month of giving. Click here to find out more how to craft your own successful Facebook campaign.
  5. DUST OFF YOUR CONTACT LIST AND TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT IT. Now is a good time to go back to the beginning of your season of itineration. Dust off that old initial contact list and go through it with a fine comb. As you comb through it create a new list of those you were not able to get ahold of, those who have committed to give but haven’t started yet, and those you never asked because you got too scared (whhaaatt you say?! How did she know that?!), and those that you just simply have yet to ask. Take that list and get back to contacting them about joining your team. BONUS POINTS: As you go through your list text / email / Facebook message those that are highlighted to you and just say hi.

I hope you find these helpful. Whatever you end up doing for your end of the year strategy, make it as relational as possible.

Also, MERRY CHRISTMASTIME! I pray it is an amazing time of fellowship and family for you.

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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!

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Do Something Different, Use Sway

Have you ever heard of Sway? Sway is an App / web application that is about a year old and is a part of the Microsoft Office family of awesomeness.

It’s also free to use + simple, and I am in love with it. 

I wanted to dedicate a post to Sway because I think it can be a very effective (and outside-of-the-box) tool for anyone support raising. Below is a link of how I used it to present some basics on financial partnership development for an online class I taught:

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https://sway.com/xf67TFXn6wlrdDEX

Perhaps this makes you think, gee Jenn, that’s nice, but what are some practical ways I could use it in my support raising? Well, practical is practically my middle name – so I’ve thought about it and here is my list of ways to use Sway:

  1. Personal Stories. Connecting online with individual and church potential partners is a huge part of building your team. Use Sway to create something visually stimulating that immediately grabs people’s attention. I can see Sway helping you share your personal story and vision for ministry in some of the following ways (***always keep in mind – with all of these suggestions – to follow any security measures your sending organization  deems needed in developing content and sending out content):
    1. Put your Sway as a link in the signature of your emails.
    2. Email or Facebook pastors and potential support team members your Sway so they can read up a little of your passion and vision for ministry.
    3. Share your Sway on your Facebook group.
    4. Use Sway as a platform for a video. Instead of just watching your video – you could have it nicely displayed on your Sway with some text and background to enhance it even more.
    5. Put up your Sway on a tablet or computer for your display table for services, meetings, small groups, fundraising events, etc.
  2. Newsletters. Mailchimp is probably still the winner for electronic newsletters, but I wouldn’t hesitate to play around with Sway to see if one could create something of an archive of newsletters or something different from the norm.
  3. Reports. Infographics and interactive graphs are available on Sway and very simple to use. Here are some ways I can think of to use Sway for reports:
    1. Create a budget report with infographics and interactive graphs/charts to share with your support team or those on your potential support team who are asking for financial specifics.
    2. Create a landing page for your core prayer team. Include a video or other interactive material to get them excited about praying for your ministry (this could be prior to going to your field or while on your field).
  4. Presentations. If you have pictures or videos to share during your face-to-face appointments with potential financial partners, create a Sway to put them into one place. All you need is wifi or your phone to show the content.

Some advantages to using Sway:

  1. Downloading is not necessary. Sway is web and app based so no one will need  a certain software program to view your content.
  2. Sway comes with the ability to password protect the content and has various sharing preferences. For those of you going to sensitive areas, Sway comes with a little security. (however, as we all know nothing on the internet is wholly “secure”)
  3. Sway is great if you have a report, presentation, or personal story that needs to be updated on a regular basis. As it is web based, the person looking at your Sway won’t need to have the latest version sent to them, changes are automatically displayed for them.
  4. If creating a website seems daunting to you, you can create a simple one by using Sway. Fun!

If you have used Sway, please share with me how you used it for your work life or personal life! I would love to hear more examples of this tool.

 

How Postcards Are The New Postcards: Testimony from a Ministry Worker

Recently I received a letter from a ministry worker that I thought would be helpful to share with you. Essentially the letter is on the importance of keeping up with your financial partnership base, particularly through the form of postcards.

Thus this post is dedicated to all of you out there who have been in ministry partnership development for awhile. This post is also for those traveling overseas for ministry. Keep in mind however, postcards can work no matter if you find yourself domestically or internationally called / serving. Without further ado:

Dear Jenn,

I have a story to tell you.

The postcards…

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Over a year ago you challenged people to write postcards to their support teams. I went out and bought some to start, but in busyness I never got started. Finally, I got around to them at the beginning of this year. I was doing great writing the postcards, and then I counted how many I still had left. I still had way over 100, more like 150, to go. I wasn’t even half way through and felt like I had written a million postcards. I felt discouraged and stopped for about a month.

Then, I got with it and finished. I wrote somewhere around 250 postcards total, to every single person or church that has regularly supported us–whether they started 2 months ago or have been giving since we first went out. Honestly, I was bored to death with what I said.

“Assembly So-In-So, When we see your faithful gift come in each month, we are so grateful. Your partnership enables us to build His church in Holland. Thank You.”

I wrote that or some variation of those same lines, postcard after postcard. Of course, I got especially good on the variations toward the last 50. I was so bored, yet, with every one I wrote, I WAS grateful. I looked at how many gave to us so faithfully over so many years. I saw the incredible faithfulness of our home church and the churches and individuals that sent us out. We have some that give just $5 a month, many at $50 or $100 and some with several hundred a month. I wrote to them all.

I was so bored, yet, with every one I wrote, I WAS grateful.

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Today I just looked at our monthly giving from July. We had a huge month with NOT ONE SINGLE SPECIAL GIFT. It was comprised solely of all the people who regularly give. Many of those on our support team will miss a month or so, but no one missed this month. There are many months we will have a special extra few thousand from someone and that brings our overall budget up.

This month none of that–just faithfulness. And a great month.

Not only that, what blew me away was the new and renewed commitments. Usually there are 2 or 3. Today there are 27 NEW COMMITMENTS.  A few of those 27 increased the commitment. Some have given to us regularly and never made the commitment, but they took the time and made the commitment. Others have given for years, but never renewed it. This month, they renewed it.

Moral of the story: Postcards work.

Thanks for the encouragement to do something that is boring, but so worth it.

– Sincerely, “Kathie”