Stay Connected with Your Ministry Partners
Email and Social Media are great places to stay connected with your ministry partners. Everyone usually has a preference of how they communicate – Facebook, on the phone, texting, instant messaging, skype, in person, etc. Being active in these areas helps ensure that you connect with as many people as possible.
One common mistake people make is to send the same information over every communication channel, bombarding those that follow them in many different ways with the same thing over and over again. Here are some ideas to help you decide how and what communication mediums you want to use.
First and foremost, remember to keep it simple. Social media/digital media communication is a full time position in many companies. You have another full time job. Don’t try to copy what you see a company doing, etc. Instead, do it as you go in your normal life. Carve out some time for it, but don’t let it consume you. Because it can. And unless you are working in communications, that is not what you joined staff for.
DO send a hard copy of your MONTHLY prayer letter. After realizing that it had been months since I read one of the missionaries I was supporting email newsletters, I asked them to send me a hard copy. It kept getting buried in my read later folder. I read the hard copy right away and remember to pray because I put it on my fridge. I am a pretty high tech type of person and use paper very little. So I figure if that is true for me, it is true for most of my supporters.
If you also send your letter by email, DO NOT send it as an attachment. Use a service like Mail Chimp that will keep your email from being a huge file, will optimize it for opening in an email client and will allow you to mail merge and send to them as if they are the only recipient. In a perfect world, don’t resend the exact same letter. Send a quick summary of your letter with additional information – links to videos, blogs, websites, etc that supplement what your letter talked about.
I do send an email version of fund appeal asks a few days after the paper version. As many people give online, it serves as a reminder and has the link so they can do it then and there. I have more people that give from the link then send me a check.
Check out this post on how to send your prayer letter through mailchimp.
Use a service like Mail Chimp to set up an email that goes out to your ministry partners that asks them how they are and how you can pray. I get more interaction from this short email than from any other communication I send! You can also use it to send out other things that feel significant to communicate. But don’t put yourself on a publishing schedule. Communicate (in addition to your printed monthly newsletter) when you have something to say, not on a time frame.
Use social networking in the same way you use it in regular life: to stay caught up on your ministry partners lives, to have regular interaction with them and to share things like videos, pictures, and fun parts of your own life. If you are a Facebook user, use Facebook. If you tweet, tweet. Find your partners in these places. Many more will be there than you think. Make lists where you can easily check in on them. Comment on their posts, reply to their tweets. Interact with them. Share things about your ministry. Chat with them when you see them online.
Check out the post on How to make and use lists on Facebook).