Those who see movement in their ministry have figured out follow-up.
The work in development is done in the Kingdom of God. People who see results that grow over time, see the fruit of their efforts, and see new resources being unlocked through people’s giving are active in advanced follow-up.
Follow-up is not harassing. Follow-up is making your cause important to others. It is your job to be faithful, to communicate what God is doing in a way others can hear and understand.
Your follow-up has its struggles.
- Are you doing it in the first place?
- Are you doing enough?
Your vision is only as important as you make it to others! Until that moment a giver sees the potential of your ministry for himself, until a volunteer makes your push her priority, until a donor steps into the territory of one who has given you must drive its momentum.
Take ownership of follow-up.
People are not sitting around waiting for you to reach out to them allowing them to decide to support your efforts. As the leader, are you reaching out? You may have an entire team at your disposal, those persons caring for development, but until you own the importance of follow-up you limit your advancement. Intend to follow-up in your own life, and challenge those around you to do the same. Initiate the conversation about accountability, self-leadership, and discipline.
Enough is enough.
Thank donors for their time. This is best done immediately following a face-to-face meeting. Take the time to recognize you value their time, and the fact that it took some to invest in you. In your ministry. A simple email. Click.
Communicate your understanding. Express what was talked about. Tell them how you recognize they have played a part by contributing. Verbalize how their suggestions are helping you form next steps.
Remind so they’ll revisit. Tell them again why your cause is so important. Provide simple material to consider as the’re giving. Let them know what is going on and what is planned for the future, hopefully thanks in part to the role they play in praying for and supporting the ministry. A helpful hint from effective leaders is to utilize the power of transitions. When moving from one obligation to the next, maximize your impact by reaching out via a quick call, even voicemail. Let them know your interactions with them have impacted you and that you have more to share!
Engage to encourage. Help them see what God is doing. Share stories to show God IS moving, God IS working and providing through His people. In today’s world, we need to hear more of this. People need this encouragement. Be the one to provide it in your follow-up.
Ponder in partnership. Call and ask for advice. Run ideas past others. Get their reactions to potential plans. This gets people thinking in a problem solving mode with you.
Move them through milestones. Let others know where you are hoping and praying you will be in the next few months and how you plan to do so. Give a current report and a future snapshot. Though you’ll likely receive a simple, “Thank you,” this will stick with them.
Systems create behaviors.
Systems make or break follow-up.
Initially, you alone can manage a handful of donors. But when your vision extends to 50, 100, 500, or 1000 donors a follow-up list must come into play.
Despite what some may think, fancy databases are not required. Discipline is.
Touch. To effectively manage people in the follow-up category, you need a name and a point of contact. When did you last meet with or speak to them? What was your last interaction? Note this.
Note. What did you discuss? What was covered? What were two or three takeaways from your communication? These notes need not be laborious, but rather points you felt at the time were important to remember for future interactions.
Know the amount or range given to the people on your follow-up list. Whether you have given an amount or simply thrown out a range for them to consider, you want to record it.
Propose. When you say, “We need to get together in two weeks, a month, two months, etc.” put it on your calendar. A real calendar. A calendar someone uses. A calendar someone must actively choose to ignore. Be intentional with your next steps to make future follow-up more impactful.
However you and your team execute follow-up, be intentional.
Develop others’ dedication, not their donation. If people do what you ask them to do – which is to truly pray for your ministry and their potential financial impact, you will move forward.
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