Social Media Bonanza! Five Ways I Use Facebook in Support Raising

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By on January 4, 2017   /   12 Comments

The phrase “social media” was virtually unknown just ten years ago, and yet today, it seems our lives revolve around it. I admit we are a society of “technology addicts”, barely able to go five minutes without checking our phone—and all the many-faceted functions it now serves. There are definitely some drawbacks to staying glued to that little screen day and night, but there a few pluses—especially in the realm of ministry and support raising. Facebook, for instance, has ended up being an incredible blessing as I seek to minister to people who are near and far. On top of that, it can be an amazing tool to raising up new supporters by keeping them informed and appreciated. Here are five ways I am trying to make Facebook contribute to my life—not control it.

1. Find old friends

When Facebook first came out my college age kids were so embarrassed that I was considering opening an account. “Okay dad”, my daughter blurted out, “you can get a Facebook page as long as you promise you’ll never invite anyone to be your friend!” I reluctantly agreed and stuck to it for over 10 years. But I woke up one day and declared my independence from my daughter’s shackles and determined to go back and find (and “friend”) as many of my buddies as I could from my growing up and college years.

It was a blast re-connecting with all kinds of people whom I had shared memories with. It opened up a whole new world, full of surprises, but soberness too. Seeing what my long lost friends had given themselves to over the last 10, 20, 30, 40+ years produced a strong reminder in me to stay the course in my walk with God. Most of my old friends were married, some divorced, a few passed away. Some had been successful in their families and careers, other seem to still be wandering and searching and full of pain. Some had come to Christ and others still trying to relive the “good old days” of their youth. I have to admit, even though I hadn’t seen most of them in person for decades, exchanging posts and “likes” with them has given me a feeling of closeness I never would have guessed.

2. Affirm/pray for/inform friends from a distance

Periodically checking Facebook, I come across all kinds of postings from old and new friends. Just “liking” one of their pictures lets them know I’m thinking about them. Posting a “praying for you” note when they share about their mother’s cancer, or ribbing them about an ancient picture of them with shaggy hair are all ways to, not only stay in touch, but to let them know I still care.

God has given us a miraculous way to help fulfill Jesus’ final command on this earth: “to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts.” Maybe I can’t jump on a plane and see my old camp friend in Denver or the pastor I met in Nepal, but I can connect with them technologically, personally, even spiritually via the modern-day avenues the Lord has allowed us to have.

Lastly, when someone does come on your team, make sure you “friend” them. Whether you set up a separate Facebook account just for your supporters or not, be sure to use the medium to post pictures and videos of your ministry and family. As they see the people on your page you have led to Christ, discipled, or ministered to in some way, it lets them know they are getting a good return on their investment!

3. Set up personal appointments

Let’s say you’ve done a good job of tracking with your friends on Facebook as well as remembering their birthdays and anniversaries. If so, when it comes time to contact them about possible financial support for your ministry, it doesn’t feel like a cold call to them—or you. Why? Because the two of you have been exchanging “likes” and posts for a while! Reaching out for a personal visit can be just a natural outgrowth of the renewed friendship you’ve established over the previous months or years.

If the main way the two of you are communicating is via Facebook , then you sending a Facebook message may be appropriate. “Hey StrayDog*, I’m coming 2 Houston next week. Cud u squeeze me into your schedule on Wed or Thurs someplace? If you’ll allow me, I want 2 lay this ministry in front of u I’ve been posting bout/raising support for. Plus, it will be a great time 2 catch up. Can u do it? 🙂 I’ve set up a lot of appointments through Facebook messages. How about you? Try it! There is a whole generation out there that is checking it multiple times a day, and would love to get a message from you!

*Term of affection from our growing up days. You may not want to try this yourself!

4. Network connections

Maybe I am a creeper, I don’t know, but I enjoy seeing who knows who. I call it “networking”, of course, and we truly are just a few degrees away from almost anyone on the planet! Facebook lets me know who our mutual friends are, but will usually lists all of their other friends too. I have discovered and reconnected with some of my old buddies by perusing the friends list of current Facebook connections!

Hope you don’t think it’s weird, but seeing who the friends are of my Facebook friends allows me to know what circles they run in, and if I choose to ask my Facebook friend for a referral, I can mention a name or two I saw on their Facebook friends list. What’s the worst they could say to my request for an introduction to one or more of their friends? “No.” That’s right. So, don’t make it a big deal to ask them, and don’t make it a big deal if they decline. “We have not because we ask not” is what James 4:2 says.

5. Help set up appointments for others

I have a burden to help our new (and veteran) staff get to full funding. I will sometimes ask one of them to give me the schedule of what cities they are raising support in. I look up all the people I am Facebook friends with in those areas, and individually/personally message each: “Curt, hey bro, hope you and the fam are doing okay. I’m wondering if you would you and/or Sara would do me a personal favor. Would you be willing to find a few minutes in your schedule next week to meet with Katie, one of our new staff girls? She is an awesome young woman, and I want her to meet you, and get a chance to share her ministry vision with you. Whether you are able to come on her support team or not is purely between you and the Lord. I just wanted to connect you. Are you open to getting a phone call from Katie, and maybe meeting with her? I would be so grateful!

There are hundreds (yea, thousands!) of Facebook “friends” I have that I’ve never approached for personal support. Why not at least explore the possibility of them meeting with one of our new or veteran staff who are raising support? Again, what’s the worst they could say?! I get about half of them saying they would be open to getting a call and setting up an appointment. It is about the easiest way I’ve ever seen to connect people I care about for a support appointment. I love it!

How about you?

What ways have you used Facebook to enrich your support team or of those staff around you? Share it in the comment section for all to see!

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