Getting Personal: Support Raising is like a Marriage Proposal

By on May 1, 2006   /   Leave a comment

If you are engaged or married (or think you someday will be), this survey is for you.
Question: What was the method utilized in initiating the marriage commitment with your partner? Was the proposal made through:

  • A letter
  • A phone call
  • A fax
  • E mail
  • Face to face

I have given this “Marriage Proposal Method Survey” to hundreds of people and, almost without exception, option #5 was the resounding response. Amazing! Even in our age of technology the old fashion personal approach was deemed best. Apparently, even though we’ve become high tech, we still need to be high touch. In fact, some of the wives I surveyed said, “I wouldn’t have married him unless he looked right into my eyes and asked me! Occasionally, I then turned to the husband and asked him where he got the idea, the words, the courage to propose to his wife face to face.

This whole survey is a farce, isn’t it? Of course the proposal is made face to face because it is a very, very important ask. Now, “Will you support me?” is not quite as critical as “Will you marry me?”, but the principle is this:

“If it’s important, we will do it face to face.”

Whether it’s a marriage proposal, a late-night session with your teenager, or having to fire someone at work, if it’s important, it needs to be done face to face. So, why do we take shortcuts and substitute in a letter, a call, a banquet, or a pledge card to do the asking for us? Not sure, but it’s no wonder the potential supporter doesn’t feel honored and consequently doesn’t join our team. Not only do they think you don’t care about them, but what you’re doing and what you’re asking for must not be very important either–otherwise you would have done it face to face!

The apostle John felt strongly about this concept:
“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face…” (2 John 1:12)

How we go about asking a person to join our team will determine what kind of a supporter they’ll be. If we choose the quick and easy route of a letter or call they may come on our team, but many times it will be a shallow, short-term commitment for a smaller amount on an inconsistent basis. But, if you will commit to the personalized and customized approach (like a marriage proposal!), that person will always remember the dignity, sensitivity, care, and courage you showed him. Many will not be able to pull their checkbooks out fast enough, to commit larger amounts, over the long haul.

I have been on support now for 20 years. Almost everyone I met with face to face in 1986 is still on my monthly team, still giving like clockwork, and even increasing every few years. You see, I’m not just looking for supporters. I want supporters FOR LIFE! Like proposing, how you ask someone can make all the difference!


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