As we embark on our next year together, it’s important to point out the value of the face-to-face meeting.
In our world, there are countless ways to communicate without actually connecting. At DLC, we’re focused on building and growing relationships.
Guess what? So are your donors!
Efficient communication has its time and place.
Effective communication is the heart of ministry.
With unlimited time and resources, we would work with our people through our ministry one to one, wouldn’t we? Development is no different because we are talking about stewardship. God is providing and aligning people to your ministry and is moving their hearts to give.
Research shows an increase in the amount of money Americans donate. However, this giving, as a percentage of our GDP, has remained virtually unchanged since the late 1940s.
We’re not getting better at seeing people giving. We’re actually getting better at raising smaller and smaller amounts of money.
If you can do face-to-face meetings well, all the other things will fall into place.
Getting the Meeting on the Calendar
Think back to when you were young.
You heard your name called, and you likely knew which parent was requesting your attention.
You heard your first and middle name called, and you knew something was up; chances were you were at fault.
Voice registers in the human brain. It sticks. It connects. It remains.
Many people will talk about sending emails, notes, and letters.
If you want to be effective, call donors on the phone. Let them hear your honest and authentic voice via the phone. If you have to, leave a brief but straightforward message and ask them to call you back. Remember, it is not a sales call.
In development, we are on a mission for our mission. We treat people well. Be straightforward and let the person on the other end know what you’re asking them to do.
For example, “I am Zach Clark. I’m providing leadership within our ministry. Are you willing to meet with me face-to-face? I’m not going to ask you for money, at least not yet, but I need your input and advice on the direction of our ministry. We’re working on many things, and I need your input and advice. Are you willing to invest some time in me?”
Then, be quiet.
Listen to what they say.
People are typically busy and worried you would ask them for money. Let them know from the start you’re not at this time.
Your ministry is essential. What God is doing is important, and you want people to hear about it. Part of your calling in this ministry is to be serious and diligent, but you are not going away.
You are not harassing people. You are being persistent.
I have reached out to some people for two years before hearing back from them. I didn’t call them every month. First, I called them; then I called them the next month. Then I waited a couple of months and then waited for six months. I have even had it on my calendar to contact them once a year, and extraordinary things have happened! I am being gracious and respectful that I’m letting them know this is important. It’s important enough for me to continue to reach out to you, trying to provide an update and get your input.
Arranging the Agenda
You will get the meeting. Let’s talk about your agenda.
This is where your life becomes relatively simple. You never have to think about your agenda again.
You have three things to cover:
You are meeting with this person and trying to connect with them and understand them.
The best way to do that is to share with them a little bit about your ministry and ask them, especially if they are connected – what is their vision for this ministry.
If they are not connected with this ministry, you can just talk to them about their vision for their giving commitments.
What are they working on?
What are they involved in?
What are they doing?
Where are they headed with all of this?
Stay focused on vision questions.
What is their vision for our ministry? Ask. Then, listen carefully to their response.
Next, ask what advice they have for you.
Don’t go into a full-blown presentation. Briefly, let them know what you are working on and your current focus. Keep it short.
Then ask, “What advice do you have for me?”
People love to give advice, and if you sit there quietly, they will start sharing their thoughts.
Their answers are important. Take some notes as they’re talking.
Who else should I be talking to?
Third, as you are conversing about what you are working on, their ideas, their advice, their vision, and your vision, ask them to guide you to your next conversation.
“I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me. Who else should I be talking to? Could you think of two or three people I should be talking to?”
Usually, the person on the other side will ask if you’re asking for someone else who is going to give you money.
A meaningful response sounds like, “Well, not necessarily, but I’m looking for people you know who love to see God at work in the lives of people who need to hear about what we are working on,” and then just sit quietly.
Have a pen and paper ready.
This agenda may seem simple, but that is the point. You have to be consistent. Treat people with respect and authenticity. Dare to listen first.
You can spend 30 minutes, an hour, or even longer. You can work through those three points; the key is to listen, listen, listen!
Let them see you taking notes.
That helps them know that you know this is very important, and take those notes so you can follow up.
I look forward to hearing how this helps you and your ministry to move forward. Keep pushing! Keep calling!
I would love to encourage you along the way as you start to implement some of these best practices. Let’s connect via text!