22 Feb 2018
Find Common Ground
The more your communications with your donors reflect the various components of a friendship, the better able you will be to relate to your donor — the better able your donor will be to relate to you — and the greater the level of your donor’s response to your appeals for support.
One of these components is commonality. Certain things are true of everyone. All human beings — certainly most adults in our Western culture — share certain experiences.
Donor communications should refer to common, everyday occurrences. It’s only logical: the fewer everyday experiences two people share in common, the less likely they are to form a deep and abiding friendship.
The ministry principal signing the letter needs to become, in the donor’s mind, a regular, everyday person. “I was stuck in traffic the other day, and….” You share certain human interests and concerns with your donors, simply because you’re both people. Talk to your donor about your family, or your car breaking down, or your dog dying, and you’ll have the donor’s interest — because you’re on common ground with her.
15 Feb 2018
Relationship Leads to Response
Avoid isolating your donors. You must establish and cultivate a relationship with them if you want them to stick with you for the long haul. Relationship is an essential component of response. How, after all, does response occur? Let’s observe the process backwards, to see where the donor’s response came from:
The buyer buys. That’s RESPONSE.
What did it take for the buyer to buy? It took CONVICTION.
By what process did the buyer come to such a conviction? It was the process of PERSUASION.
By what means did that process of persuasion take place? It took place by way of COMMUNICATION.
How did it happen that the buyer allowed the communication to continue? Answer: There was RELATIONSHIP.
Again, relationship is an essential component of response.
08 Feb 2018
Think like a Donor
Why do so many donors decline to give to your ministry in any given month? Perhaps your requests for help seem compelling to you — but are uninteresting to the donor. The deadliest words ever spoken in a ministry marketing meeting are: “Here’s something really interesting!”
Those of us who live in the rarefied atmosphere of ministry marketing, locked in a world of ministry employees, with nary a “civilian” to be found, come to be fascinated by our own ministry programs — but wrongly think of them as fascinating to donors.
We are fascinated, not fascinating. Our donors have different needs, motives, and priorities than we do.
When you take a long, hard look at how many donors don’t respond to your requests for financial support, you may be forced to come to terms with the fact that you haven’t made the difficult leap to thinking like a donor as you construct your appeals for support. Perhaps you don’t have a handle on your donors’ real needs, motives, and priorities.
01 Feb 2018
Don’t “Divide and Conquer”
Does your ministry suffer from the Divided and Conquered Syndrome?
When a Christian organization sees its ministry and its marketing as separate things, that schizophrenia often grows into (or out of) an even more fractured environment.
A ministry can become a virtual war zone, with board members maneuvering for position and power … or the leader and executive staff regarding each other as adversaries … or the staff holding the leadership up to secret scorn … or the development agency and employees viewing each other as morons.
Fractious staffs are tragically commonplace in Christian organizations. In these ministries, not only have marketing and ministry come to be regarded as separate things, but each function of the ministry — each department, each office — has evolved into a miniature “state” all its own.
In such Balkanized organizations, frustration runs high, efficiency runs low, and both the quantity and the quality of the ministry itself suffer grievously.
25 Jan 2018
The Community-of-Specialists Model
As important as the ideas of “community” and “unity” are to a ministry, equally important is the fact that each member of the ‘body’ or ministry, has a specialty.
Everyone is united, but each devotes himself to his own calling — for maximum efficiency and ministry productivity.
The truth is this: When one member of the body tries to do another’s job, disaster’s ahead. When a ministry worker at any level gets into an operation where he has no business, feelings can easily get hurt — and the ministry itself gets hurt.
Failure to work by the community-of-specialists model dooms your organization to inefficiency. Employees duplicate each other’s efforts. Some do what could be done — should be done — faster or better by others. Overworked workers don’t get the essentials accomplished, or miss deadlines. Costs go up. Net return goes down. And the pressure inevitably goes up on your marketing effort.
Don’t allow ‘masochism’ to destroy your ministry from the inside out!
18 Jan 2018
When it comes to asking your donors for help, you must “stay on message.” If you’re not getting enough response from your target audience, it may be because your messages to them are all over the map.
In today’s frenzied marketplace, with a zillion messages zinging through every donor’s life every day, you need a message that communicates the unique mission of your ministry. Here are four critical guidelines to follow:
- Your message needs to be a single, simple thought.
- Your message will need to be something you can live with for a long time, because you will need to communicate it to your donor frequently.
- Your message must be expressed in terms the donor understands.
- Your message must count to the donor