How to Write an Awful Newsletter

  Not again, I thought. I felt like banging my head against the wall. As Assistant Director of MPD, my job includes skimming staff prayer letters to hunt for good stories. Some staff write exceptionally powerful newsletters. But at that moment, I had stumbled onto the “What Not to Do Newsletter.” The author, “Joe Staff,” wrote with good intentions but had effectively written a newsletter most partners wouldn’t want to read. Here’s where Joe went wrong: Too Long “This is the newsletter that never ends…” sounds like the childhood ditty, “This is the song that never ends.” Some staff write […]

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Using Texting as a Tool in the Support Raising Process

“Hey (potential ministry partner), I am excited about my new role with XYZ ministry! I’d love to get together with you soon to share my vision, budget goals, and how God is using this ministry to change lives. Could we maybe grab coffee next Thursday morning?” You hit send on your well-crafted text and wait for their reply. Crickets. Although texting seems to be a preferred method of communication these days, the majority of successful support raisers I have spoken with tend to avoid using texts to set appointments because of a high failure rate. There are a number of reasons […]

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Success is a Planned Event: 5 Crucial Steps in Preparation to be Fully Funded

Juma Ikangaa is a long distance runner from Tanzania who won the 1989 New York City Marathon in record time. After the victory, Juma shared, “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.” Planning and preparation are crucial to winning marathons—and getting fully funded! As a national trainer for Support Raising Solutions (SRS) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), I’ve seen firsthand the struggles that can take place when Christian workers fail to prepare properly. To help you be successful in the raising of your support, let me share my top five steps to effective preparation. […]

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First, securing personal time with each person or couple you want to invite onto your support team is critical. After securing the time and place, the priority becomes preparing for that appointment. Here are six pillars that will serve as the basis for making the most effective presentation possible. Read, enjoy, apply! Prayer Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” Prayer is a powerful weapon that we must use when entering support raising. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we are not […]

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No matter what the endeavor—whether it is a DIY project at home, planning an event at church, a new job responsibility at work, or something as fun and inviting as going on vacation—it always seems like getting started is the most difficult part of the equation. This idea holds true with beginning the process of developing your team of ministry partners who will stand with you and help support the ministry to which God has called you through their generosity.  To help make the process a little less overwhelming and a bit more manageable, here are some basic steps that […]

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A few weeks ago a ministry leader told me, “Raising personal support doesn’t work except in the upper-middle class among white evangelicals with disposable income.” More and more voices agree. The criticism is: You must have a large personal network. People in your network must have a heart for ministry, high disposable income, and understand monthly giving. It takes too much time. A nationally known pastor told me, “It is too bad you Navigators have to spend so much time in fundraising rather than ministry.” Personal support aligns donors to the missionary rather than the organization. I hear these criticisms. […]

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Bryan works for a large mission organization and spends some of his days in a small dark room making copies of DVD’s. Imagine Bryan on a support appointment: Prospective partner: Bryan, tell me what you do in your ministry. Bryan: I sit in a small dark room and make DVD’s for Jesus. Prospective partner: Hmm, I see. Bryan: Would you support my ministry? It is not hard to imagine the outcome of that conversation. The odds of this person joining Bryan’s ministry are pretty slim. However, imagine if Bryan’s conversation went something like this: Prospective partner: Bryan, tell me what […]

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1. I wish you were a better writer (i.e. I don’t read your letters much). When I see your newsletter in the pile on the kitchen counter I cringe. As your giving partner I should be thrilled to read your letter, but I know from experience it’s like wading through wintry slush. Often, I barely browse through them. Sorry. Why? Here’s a list of reasons I wouldn’t tell you either, but since you asked: You use names of people I don’t know or care about. You summarize your schedule rather than telling me about changed lives. Your letters are more […]

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Writing Prayer Letters That People Want to Read

On a visit with Herb and Sandy, one of my first ministry partners, Herb pulled out a neat stack of prayer letters and thank-you notes from the last ten years. Sandy said, “He has all of them.” Today that comes to over 38 years of letters and notes we wrote them! Herb stumped me when he referred to something I specifically wrote some time ago. After he prompted me, I finally remembered! Is the hard copy prayer letter dead? Brian Barela, Campus Crusade’s Director of Digital Media, is an advocate for the right use of social media when communicating with […]

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Five Essential Tools to Overcome a Disaster

Recently, I was reading an article that asked, “What are the top 5 tools that will help you survive a natural or man-made disaster?” Realizing that many in Christian ministry who are raising support seem to be teetering on the brink of disaster, I found myself taking the principles of that article and applying it to Ministry Partner Development (MPD). Here are the tools: 1. Your Brain – This is the single most important tool in any survival situation. Reading 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, I’m quick to recognize that our natural thinking does not provide the solution, but the key is […]

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