Raise Your Vision

July 01, 2015

0 Comments




Email Marketing $19/Month!

Fastest and Easiest Press Release Distribution Service Online

5 Tips for Social Media Success By Mike Stickler

Since I coach a lot of ministry and nonprofit leaders, I’m always interested in best practices. So I was glad to have the opportunity to ask Mari Smith, one of the thought leaders in the area of social media, what tips she would offer to leaders who want to take advantage of social media to get their message out.

Mari offered five basic tips for social media success:


  • Be clear about your objective. What do you want to achieve with social media? Share helpful information? Built your e-mail list? Raise funds for your organization? Promote a project? Getting clarity about your objective will help you use social media effectively.
  • Use a consistent design. Your logo and look and feel should be the same across all of your social media channels. Your Facebook fan page cover image, Twitter background, blog design—all should match so you reinforce your “brand” each time someone looks at one of your updates.
  • Plan your content. “What do I post?” is a common struggle among social media users. Having a content strategy can go a long way toward easing that frustration while providing useful content to your followers. Looking at the calendar and mapping out a month’s or even a year’s worth of content can actually make it easier to come up with content. Plug in holidays, times of celebration and other special events. Have different themes for the week or the month or the quarter.

 A free tool that can help you with pre-scheduling posts is HootSuite.com. Facebook also has its own pre-scheduler.

  • Develop an engagement strategy. Social media’s strength is in its ability to get people interacting. So while excellent content is important, equally important is having a strategy for engaging with your readers—replying to comments, for example. It can make all the difference in whether people go back to your page.

Who in your organization will be responsible for engaging your readers? Some bloggers always answer readers’ comments themselves. Others have someone in the organization do it—someone who understands the values and standards of the ministry or nonprofit. Mari has a saying: “Content is king, but engagement is queen. And she rules the house.”

  • Track and measure. This is the best way to tell whether you’re accomplishing your objective (see #1). If your goal in using social media is to raise funds for your organization, how well is it working? Are you reaching the right market? Are you getting more fans or followers?

If you want to dig deeper and compare the features of different social media, you’ll find detailed comparison charts here and elsewhere on the Web.

Which of these practices would you work on first?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters for The Raise Your Vision Online Forum

 Would You Like To Learn More? Download the Podcast Here:

June 25, 2015

0 Comments




Email Marketing $19/Month!

Fastest and Easiest Press Release Distribution Service Online

Why Should Churches Use Social Media? By Mike Stickler

I suppose it’s no secret that churches, Christian ministries, and nonprofits have a hard time staying up with trends. They always have. Typically they are 20 years to even 40 years behind on trends. Now, the gap has been narrowing somewhat in the last decade or so, but there is still a lag. This is especially true when it comes to adopting trends in technology.

Social media is no different.

But I believe that ministry leaders as well as nonprofits should get up to speed in tapping the incredible opportunities offered by social media.

The main reason is what we might call “top-of-mind awareness.” Make your presence and your message known. As Mari Smith recently pointed out, “You have these people really all over the world, with their mobile devices, their smart phone, in their hand, and they have their entire community in their hand. And if they like something, if they love something they’re going to share it with all of their friends. The average number of friends people have on Facebook is about 130.”

Think of the ways you and your ministry could use social media to get your message to a wider audience. With just a website alone, you could have another platform to share or expand your message. You could stream your Sunday worship services online and reach people who perhaps couldn’t travel to church that week. You could offer different products—recordings of sermons or services, books, resources that families could download to study at home.

Twitter and Facebook are great vehicles for leaders to share their insights every day or several times a week.

Mari summed it up well when she said, “You’re in an institution where you want to connect with more people. You want to grow whatever it is that you have. You want to expand your message out there. And these online sites are just absolutely one of the most profound ways of doing that.”

What creative ways can you use social media to spread the word about your organization?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters at The Raise Your Vision Online Forum

 Would you like to learn more? Join Mike and Mari download this free Podcast

 

 

All information and images property of The Vision Group, Ltd. © 2015 Use, unless expressly given by the Company in writing, is unlawful by U.S. Copyright Law.

June 22, 2015

0 Comments




Email Marketing $19/Month!

Fastest and Easiest Press Release Distribution Service Online

Getting a response to your emails

Recently I was working with one of our clients and was asked – how do you get through the white noise of communication? Whether it's using email or social media what is the most effective way to reach those with your message. So here are some tips.

Be Authentic:
AVOID the marketing/sales feel. I have a good friend who told me that he almost never reads my emails.  "Why," I asked? 

"Well, I get so many emails that as soon as I see color in an email I delete it, I consider it junk. Like the junk mail I get at home, it never makes it past my front door because I swing by the trash can on the way up the driveway."

Humm... That one conversation changed the way I thought about all my communication. I seldom use graphic emails or artwork. Try to make it as real and as authentic as possible. Be provocative or funny but always positive. Short and sweet, use as few words as possible, but make it as long as necessary, which can be a challenge. Use subject lines that are funny, inquisitive or off the wall to get your reader to read the message just as personal as you can make it. Use arrows >>> to get the action point across or maybe bullet points. Keep in mind that most people are going to skim your message so you want to draw their eye to the take action points. What do you want them to do? Click on a link, right? Prime the pump with something that gets the reader interested in looking for more. Have fun with it.

Think 4-7:
In order to find that sweet spot of reaching as many as possible, but not irritating them.  Here is what I find works, email them even four days (including weekends) seven times – that's 28 days of messages on this one subject. Here is what I suggest for communication progression:

  1. Tell them about your Vision – If they take action (buy, subscribe, donate, sign-up) remove them from further communication on this topic with a thank-you.
  2. Celebrate the first set of responses, tell them about the great response and the numbers. Or quote someone who was excited to participate. If they take action (buy, subscribe, donate, sign-up) remove them from further communication on this topic with a thank-you.
  3. Take another swipe at casting vision, but this time focus on lives changed - If they take action (buy, subscribe, donate, sign-up) remove them from further communication on this topic with a thank-you.
  4. Celebrate with a personal testimony from someone who made a sacrifice - If they take action (buy, subscribe, donate, sign-up) remove them from further communication on this topic with a thank-you.
  5. Take another swipe at your vision, but this time talk about how it will impact a community - If they take action (buy, subscribe, donate, sign-up) remove them from further communication on this topic with a thank-you. Starting to see why to remove them? Add an attachment, like an executive summary or invitation.
  6. Celebrate getting close to your goal and remind them of the urgency to get involved - If they take action (buy, subscribe, donate, sign-up) remove them from further communication on this topic with a thank-you.
  7. Use this email to ask if you can personally connect on the phone of Skype. If you done a good job at being personal, they'll want to connect. Wrap up your impact and celebrate how this will make a difference. Thank all those who participated, and reminder that the opportunity is coming to an end.

Do all of this while remaining authentic in your approach. You'll want to cut (and paste) corners here. Don't! Be genuine, creative and authentic. If you are, they'll enjoy your communications and maybe want to talk.

Follow Through.
It's amazing how many people who claim sales as a living don't actually do their job.  While this is not a sales process, do follow through by making a connection. Here is what I do: I use the same process above to see if I can get a call or Skype call with them.  But I break it up over a longer bit of time. This time think 3-2-1...

Three emails, every two days then take a week off to actually have the calls. So my schedule would look like this.

  • Week One:

Day One – Email #1
Day Three – Email #2
Day Five – Email #3

  • Week Two:

Conduct the calls, while doing all the other things in your life.

  • Week Three:

Circle Back around on those you missed or couldn't get scheduled. Use the same process as listed. You will be quit surprise how many will schedule a time.  Be formal and make it important. Don't do the "call anytime thing." Make an appointment and you call them. Even reconfirm the night before. Value their time and expect them to do the same.

Have an email draft of what you want them to take action on, BUT always customize it a little bit. Conclude the email with a request for a follow-up time to talk again, usually within a week. That keeps the conversation and relationship going. The goal here is to make every contact grow the relationship to your Vision. As they do, they'll contribute, buy, sign-up,  etc.

June 19, 2015

0 Comments




Email Marketing $19/Month!

Fastest and Easiest Press Release Distribution Service Online

Freebie Friday: Building Capacity Podcast

Get your free podcast Building Capacity for Ministry.
Click on the image to download:

June 19, 2015

0 Comments




Email Marketing $19/Month!

Fastest and Easiest Press Release Distribution Service Online

The Joy of Asking Someone to Give By Mike Stickler

One aspect of ministry that leaders often dread is asking people to give to the ministry. “I feel like I’m manipulating people when I go to them and ask for money,” leaders say. And the people often grumble, “They’re always asking for money.”

Not much joy on either side when giving is viewed that way, is there?

But sometimes a little change in perspective can make a big difference. As the saying goes, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

Have you thought about the joy involved in inviting people to give? My friend Art Ritter made this point recently. He said,

Giving things away can be as joyful as you can imagine. And it can be just as joyful to meet those who are going to help you in your ministry. After all, look what you are offering. You are offering an opportunity to work with God. Can you imagine that? What an invitation: “join us in doing God’s work here! Join us in working with God in making things different.” What a change. What a change in life!

That puts fundraising in a new light, doesn’t it?

So when we put together a fundraising event or simply share a need, we’re giving others an opportunity to join in the work of the Lord. If that doesn’t bring joy, we might need to adjust our perspective. As Art said, “This is great stuff! And we should be very joyful at the opportunity to do it. What do you think about that!

What aspects of funding your ministry bring you joy?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters for The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

 

 Would You Like to Learn More? Join Mike and Art Download this free Podcast

All information and images property of The Vision Group, Ltd. © 2015 Use, unless expressly given by the Company in writing, is unlawful by U.S. Copyright Law.

June 10, 2015

0 Comments




Email Marketing $19/Month!

Fastest and Easiest Press Release Distribution Service Online

Discovering Your Church’s Vision By Mike Stickler

if you have attended any of our trainings you have probably been exposed to what we call the Vision/Development matrix by which you can nurture donors to deeper levels of engagement and more significant commitments of financial participation. If you are not yet familiar with this, I do delve into the matrix in the free webinar,

if you have attended any of our trainings you have probably been exposed to what we call the Vision/Development matrix by which you can nurture donors to deeper levels of engagement and more significant commitments of financial participation. If you are not yet familiar with this, I do delve into the matrix in the free webinar, The Most Common Reason You're NOT funded.

Today, I want to give you a proposed structure for discovering the vision of your church, ministry or organization. You’ll see that this is not only about vision, but it also about building a sense of community within your church.[break][break]

For a church to engage in this process requires that it be entered into prayerfully; what you are seeking is God’s vision for your church. All who participate should do so with the willingness to be used by God, not merely to throw in their “own two cents”.

  • Set aside a day or a weekend dedicated to seeking your common vision. In a small church you may wish to open this to all members; in a large church you may wish for your leadership board to pursue this for ratification by the members. Regardless, participants need to be encouraged not to allow distractions to interfere with the purpose of this day or weekend.
  • Have a small team plan the day well in advance (at least three months out) to ensure that the environment is comfortable for the numbers and that there are adequate meeting rooms, catering, facilities and presentation media e.g. flip charts, computers and projectors for Power Point presentations, Bibles, reference material, etc.
  • The process of discovery depends very much on the ability of every participant to actually participate. Groups larger than twelve members should be broken into smaller groups of not more than twelve.
  • Use the following to guide your exploration:

Developing Your Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals: A Worksheet

Vision: What’s the grandest accomplishment I can imagine for my church?[break]
Mission: What major method(s) will I use to achieve these lofty dreams?[break]
Values: What core principles / morals / ideals are uncompromisingly important to me?[break]
Goals: What specific objective(s) do I wish to achieve?

  • Provide a copy of the questions in an appropriate format and media and ask each participant to answer each question thoughtfully.
  • When all have completed the questions, allow each to share his or her answers with the group (see why more than 12 persons per group is not a good idea).
  • Identify common answers; prioritize answers that are not held in common.
  • If there are more than one group, each reports its results to the plenary group to seek what is held in common and to prioritize those items that are not.

What will begin to emerge is a common sense of direction toward a vision that is shared by all. Having been through this several times, I can assure you that God will move in your midst to bring clarity to your group, a deeper sense of community with one another, and it will resonate well with those who hear it.

Would You Like to Learn More? Join Mike in This Free Training

 

June 02, 2015

0 Comments




Email Marketing $19/Month!

Fastest and Easiest Press Release Distribution Service Online

Tips for Successful Grant Writing By Mike Stickler

Developing a well written grant proposal is not an easy task. Because the competition for each grant is usually high you will need a well prepared grant proposal. This is the key reason why grant writing is so important. Having a good knowledge of the grant process will help you tremendously and submitting a well prepared and concisely planned and packaged proposal may be key to actually getting approved for the grant or not.

Each and every grant proposal that you will write may be different. Knowing the exact details for the grant will help you in your grant writing. The deadline for proposals should be well noted and a late proposal will likely not be accepted. Other key points of the grant writing process will also need to be addressed and adjusted to tune the proposal so that the best possible outcome is possible. Details on the available grant will help you in determining how to word your proposal and also give you key points such as contact persons and other valuable information.

Grant writing is something that should not be taken lightly. For many groups, they need a grant just to continue with the work that they started or hope to start. For anyone who has not written a grant they would really need to attend a course such as 12 Secrets to Winning Free Money. This course is a must if you are planning on doing any kind of grant writing and/or have never attempted it before. You can watch the quick video that provides much more information on this course. Even a basic understanding of grant writing may not give you all the information you need to successfully get the grant. To give you all the advantages that you will need to get the grant take a look at the quick presentation video.

Would You Like to Learn More? Join Mike For This free Training

1 2 3 12 Next »