By on December 1, 2013   /   9 Comments

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 than a page, and if you stick to one page it is crammed too full.
  • Your letter looks like a bulletin board flyer instead of a simple letter with ample margins and “Dear___.”
  • It looks like a graphic artist trainee laid it out while hyped up on energy drinks. Two or three fonts are plenty.
  • Meaningless words–there, that, very, really, virtually, at this point in time.
  • Too many dull verbs like is, am, was, were. Use action verbs.

Here’s what I want to know: Are people coming to Christ? Are lives being changed? If not, why not? Ask me to pray for breakthroughs! Tell me a story about one changed life.
I’ll probably keep giving, but may I ask you: Do you believe good writing makes a difference?

2. I Rarely Hear From You Unless You Need Money

Many missionaries “think” they send four to six mailings per year, but it is usually two or three–or one or two. If I rarely hear from you except when you need money, I feel taken for granted. I know you don’t mean to, but it feels that way.
I am not suggesting you communicate with me 18 times per year, but here is how I’ll feel like a valued partner:

  • On my first gift make a big deal. After I started supporting a missionary friend nothing happened except I got added to her “Dear Friends” mailing list.
    Instead, immediately after my first gift, send me a personal note, or call me. Better yet, send a small token to remind me to pray for you–help me feel affirmed for my small act of faith in supporting you.
  • Don’t put a pledge card in every mailing. What am I supposed to think? After a while, I ignore them.
  • Don’t include this P.S. prayer request: “Please pray about our finances.” This sounds like whining.
  • Send me a personal short note or an email just for me now and then.

I’m not against your inviting me to give again for year-end or for special projects in addition to my regular support. You’ll win more of my support if you inspire me about your ministry six times a year.

3. I delete your emails if they are longer than one screen or if your newsletter is in an attachment.

No explanation needed. Don’t you do the same?
But you’ve got so much to say! Say it shorter in more frequent emails.
BTW, email is nt a sub 4 snail mail–evn w/ yng gen.
It is easier to hit “delete” than to toss in the trash a personal newsletter compellingly written with photos of you in action.
Snail mail is the cake. Email is the frosting. Both have their place.
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