In Communications, One Size Does Not Fit AllWritten by Todd Eckhardt
Have you ever seen a piece of clothing that proclaims: "One Size Fits All."
We know that can't be true.
And the same is true of our missionary communication and partner ministry strategy. One size does not fit all.
Let's see why not, and what we can do about it.
Our ministry partners / donors /champions are at different places in their participation in the ministry.
Some are just observers of what we do. They have heard of us, perhaps may know a bit about what we do, and have some interest (we hope).
Others have participated with us on some level. Perhaps they are donors (either with occasional special gifts or on a regular basis). But their participation is with us or our ministry rather than with the cause that we are involved in.
Others will have moved to engagement with us. They are getting more and more involved and are learning about the cause and the ministry.
Others have made the cause their own. They are "owners" ... not of our ministry, but our mutual cause. And they are also actively recruiting and developing others toward ownership of the cause as well.
So, with an understanding of these levels we can disciple donors/champions in the cause. We have future champions who are at the Participation level, growing champions at the Engagement level and other champions at the Owner level. Now as we think of the champions in these levels of their journey, we begin to see that our communication cannot afford to be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Think about the champion who is an owner of the cause.
They assist in funding, they rally people for prayer and even get others to go on a team or volunteer.
Now think of the newest members of your support team. They are just learning the ropes of what is means to be mission active. The idea of being involved on a regular basis is still churning in their mind.
Should these two types of champions receive the same communication? Not if the communication is speaking into their need not your need.
Transformational Giving is about the need of the team member and equipping them for the journey.
Most champions are in one of these three levels of activity. The time has come to write communication in at least two, if not three different ways. One letter needs to target the “P” level champion with challenges for them. The second letter could be a letter combined to target the “E” and “O” level champions. This letter is more involved and shares deeper aspects of the ministry and how the champion can continue to be an impact.
Each communication needs to incorporate a challenge. Certainly the challenge to the “E’s” and “O’s” would be different from the challenge to the “P’s”.
A good starting point to move your fund-raising into a transformational giving focus is to divide your champions according to their level of activity and then target your communication accordingly. This then reflects the champions need and where they may be in their journey. Now you become a part of their growth in the team and thus we see the discipleship of giving impacted.
The days of one mass newsletter to all level champions, i.e., one size fits all, needs to be a strategy of the past.
Rev. Todd Eckhardt is the Vice-President of Homeland Ministries for World Gospel Mission. He has served in ministry for more than 20 years. During this time he has pastored, taught and headed up mobilization and funding for WGM. In the past several years Todd has been trained in the principles of Transformational Giving and now trains missionaries and church leaders in these principles.
Todd blogs in the application of Transformational Giving Principles at the "Lessons from Zarapheth" blog.
He is also a regular contributer to articles on this website.