Coaching New Staff For The First 100 Days

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By on October 17, 2017   /   Leave a comment

It’s a wonderful day when someone new joins your staff. Perhaps they are a recent college graduate. Maybe it’s someone more seasoned in life, who recently left a successful marketplace job because of God’s clear calling to share in your vital vision as their full-time vocation. At some point there is a crystallized moment where the IRS W-4 has been completed, all other proper paperwork is in order, and they are officially part of ministry staff. It’s really happening! Enthusiasm is high while you praise the Lord for these exciting times!

However, as an executive and/or support raising coach in your ministry, you also have the sobering realization that the real work has only just begun. There may be some temptation to initially allow the new staff member to get busy with some good work that has little or nothing to do with support raising.

Perhaps a different staff member may even loudly suggest that it’s best for the new staff person to first get some easy “wins” for the ministry before actually embarking on building their team of prayer and financial partners. The well-intentioned (though half-baked?) thinking behind this strategy often has to do with giving the new staffer their own personal stories to eventually share with others, which may theoretically increase their credibility with those they plan to invite to partner.

Meanwhile, perhaps the new staff member’s winning personality and considerable skill set might also provide some immediate boost to the rest of the ministry tasks and the overall morale of the staff in general. Sounds like an easy win-win to let them go ahead and start some of what will be their normal work, right? Wrong.

In fact, perhaps the kindest thing to do is to NOT allow that sort of distraction to occur. For the most part, the slower someone initiates a healthy and focused support raising approach, the more likely it is that they will never reach full funding. Based on discussions with representatives from hundreds of ministries, I’ve learned those who have a near singular focus on developing their prayer and financial support team will not only greatly increase the probability of reaching full funding, but they will also accomplish it more quickly. There are different adjectives and phrases used for this: Gazelle-like intensity. Laser beam focus. And a favorite we use in SRS Bootcamps: The Big Mo’ (which is a mashup concept of combining the forces of momentum and motivation).

But what are the best practices in the first 100 days? The following isn’t an exhaustive list, but I submit that there are at least five essential building blocks that help a new staff member remain spiritually healthy and vision driven, while diligently working towards becoming fully-funded:

Prayer

Seeking the Lord and His will first is always a best practice (and having others join in this effort)!

Studying the Scriptures

Both generally, and also including some related to support raising and the value of partnership.

Unapologetic sidebar: I love Philippians 1:1-11. Paul truly cares for and sees the partnership going on in the work being done in the early church, and highlights that wonderfully in the first part of his letter. I pray for that sort of depth and connection to my own personal support team!

Specific support raising training

Obviously we recommend the SRS Bootcamp, reading The God Ask, etc. However, your ministry likely has and/or is developing additional training and coaching.

Organization/Administration

From contact information to scheduling appointments to proper followup, there are a host of details to keep track of and potentially lose! An mpd software can be a major blessing. Some examples are MPDx, Karani , TntConnect, DonorElf, TntMPD, and Simple Sam.

Weekly SMART goals with relational accountability

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound goals that are written into a simple, weekly report that along with you—their coach—are discussed, troubleshot, and prayed over. Note that each week it’s important to review the previous week’s progress, while preparing for the upcoming week.

What else can you do to help new staff avoid a slow start? Be sure to use your voice and influence to help new staff be focused on the things mentioned above until they reach full funding. But beyond just being a coach, use your voice and influence within your ministry organization, specifically among other staff members, executives, and superiors.

Consistently and respectfully encourage a policy and practice of not burdening new staff members with things that will keep them from diligently preparing for ministry. As their coach, this may help you to lovingly protect them from themselves and others that may unwittingly create “good” but ultimately undermining distractions.

If new and inexperienced staff are going to grow into healthy veteran staff, they need the permission and opportunity to mature beyond just finding the funding. A best practice is to continually allow for them to seek to be spiritually healthy and vision driven with their time, focus, and workflow. By God’s grace, this will lead to them successfully raising up a team of people who will genuinely pray with and for them, along with the financial support that allows full funding. Allow that to be their first and only focus in the first 100 days, or for however long it takes!

What else would you recommend in the first 100 days?

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