Raise Your Vision

January 20, 2015

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Tell Your Story in a Way that Engages Your Community By Mike Stickler

How are you tellingTell your story effectively the story of your ministry to your community, whether your community is a local or global one?

How well is that approach working for you?

All of us who lead churches or nonprofits have tried the usual approaches of marketing, press releases, public relations, evangelism, sandwich boards, and smoke signals. OK, maybe not those last two.

But we’ve all done the hard work of trying to get the word out about what our ministry is trying to accomplish.

Often we’re discouraged by having little to show for it.

Few of us like promoting our work. We’d rather just do the work we got into ministry to do. But if we don’t learn how to tell our story effectively, we might end up with no one to do the work for. No matter what your ministry offers, people need to hear about it before they can respond.

Now, most of those things we do to promote our ministries aren’t wrong, per se. They’re just not the most effective ways to do it.

What is the most effective strategy, then? Engagement. What is engagement? Engagement is reaching out to people in a way that gets them to take action.

So when they subscribe to your emails, click on your video, retweet your inspiring tweet, buy your book, make a donation, or visit your church, you are engaging with them. And that’s how genuine relationships are built. With today’s technology, we now have the ability to engage the communities we serve in a very focused way.

And if you’re not actively involved in engaging with your congregation or community or supporters, you’re really missing out on building genuine relationships. By focusing on engaging people, you can connect with them in a way you never really thought was possible.

Mike Stickler is Managing Partner of The Vision Group, Ltd. He is also one of the presenters at The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

 

Would You Like to Learn More? Join Mike For this free Webinar

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January 16, 2015

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Freebie Friday: Transformational Leadership

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January 13, 2015

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An Often-Overlooked Key to Capacity Building By Mike Stickler

One of the most fruitful areas your ministry can invest time and energy in is philanthropy 
Blog-Capacity-Building-3
development—building relationships with major donors in your community. They can bring a lot of resources to your organization, which can ultimately play a big role in building capacity for your enterprise.

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January 09, 2015

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What To Do When Giving Slows Down By Mike Stickler

A ministry leader’s life is full of blessings, but they can also be very stressful. Here are some to a slowdown in giving: Some of the most stressful times in a leader’s life are when the flow of funds into the ministry slows down.

Here are some tips on responding effectively to a slowdown in giving:

Find out why

What factors are causing the slowdown? Some possibilities are:

  • Normal giving cycles (e.g., churches often experience a drop in giving during the summer and a surge of giving in December)
  • A weak economy
  • Poor money management in your organization. People don’t want to put their water in a leaky bucket.
  • Bad publicity about your organization
  • Ineffective/outdated fundraising techniques
  • Lack of training in biblical stewardship (among leaders and donors)
  • Any combination of these factors

Of course, your response will be tailored to addressing the cause of the slowdown. Regardless of the cause, you’ll want to be careful to follow these tips:

Avoid desperate pleas

Don’t let a sense of panic cloud your judgment. If God is in it, He’ll provide for it.

While urgent pleas for donations can seem like your only option when giving falls off, it’s counterproductive. It conveys desperation on the part of the leadership, and people can feel manipulated. Givers might get the sense that the whole enterprise is sinking. If the passengers and crew hear desperation in the captain’s voice, they might just jump ship altogether. It’s better to approach the situation calmly and prayerfully.

Update your approach

I was consulting with a nonprofit Christian radio station recently. I said to them, “We’re all familiar with ‘friendraisers,’ where you go on the air and tell stories and get people to commit to give. You’ve been doing them for 30 years, and they are becoming less and less effective. The giving is falling off, but the answer is not to do more friendraisers. The answer is to begin to develop a generous culture.

Other positive steps to take

  1. Shift your focus from getting money to raising up generous disciples of Christ.
  2. Give donors value in return for their giving. The most effective? Stories of how their giving has touched and changed real people’s lives. It helps donors feel emotionally invested in the cause.
  3. Revisit your mission and vision. Are you still on course? Are you still pursuing God’s calling on your church or organization?

How would you encourage ministry leaders to respond to a drop in giving?

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 Generous Life Conference.

 

Would you Like to Learn More? Join Mike and Tom in this free Webinar.

January 05, 2015

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Are You Defined by What You Do or By Who You Are? By Mike Stickler


I’m a type A personality, a “git ‘er done” kind of guy. I like accomplishing things and then moving on to the next project.

A lot of ministry leaders are the same way. We’re driven by the desire to accomplish as much as we can for the Kingdom of God. And all too often we let what we do define us.

But I’ve learned that there’s something that’s way more important than what we do for the Lord, and that’s who we are in Him.

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January 02, 2015

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Free Training: 12 Secrets to winning FREE grant Money

"Successful proposal writing is not what most people think." — Mike Stickler

 

All too often grant writing instruction is focused on just that: writing. The focus on writing is misplaced when it comes to winning. For nearly 20 years, we have developed thousands of organizations and individuals into WINNING grant writers. Some of them even have their own successful careers as professional grant writers. It's because I focus on what it takes to WIN a proposal, not just write one. In today's competitive environment, what is required to WIN is based on several factors with funders and then creatively presenting a proposal to a potential funder. In this session, you will be walked through the process of the Twelve Secrets I have learned to get my proposals to the funding round. You will learn to make the approach and identify the goals of the funders to best match your needs with their focuses. Plus, you will learn how to build funders into life long partners to your organization. Try the first session FREE by registering today All too often grant writing instruction is focused on just that: writing. The focus on writing is misplaced when it comes to winning. For nearly 20 years, we have developed thousands of organizations and individuals into WINNING grant writers. Some of them even have their own successful careers as professional grant writers. It's because I focus on what it takes to WIN a proposal, not just write one. In today's competitive environment, what is required to WIN is based on several factors with funders and then creatively presenting a proposal to a potential funder. In this session, you will be walked through the process of the Twelve Secrets I have learned to get my proposals to the funding round. You will learn to make the approach and identify the goals of the funders to best match your needs with their focuses. Plus, you will learn how to build funders into life long partners to your organization. Try the first session FREE by registering today

December 30, 2014

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How to Start Engaging Your Community By Mike Stickler

I heard about a church that sent its members out to survey the surrounding community. They wanted to find out what kind of reputation the church had in the area. They were shocked at how many people said, “I’ve never heard of it.” Turns out the church had no reputation at all in their community!

Before your community can be involved in your ministry, they need to know it exists. Ministry leaders don’t have the luxury of “just doing the ministry” while overlooking public relations.

Here are some tips for getting started with getting the word out about your ministry.

  • Clarify your vision. Why does your organization exist? What is it trying to accomplish? Make sure your vision is clear so your community understands what you’re doing.
  • List your options for getting the word out.
    • Press releases
    • radio resized
    • Website
    • A radio program (broadcast or online)
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Graffiti (kidding—just seeing if you’re paying attention)
    • Email marketing
    • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
    • Blogs
    • Streaming worship services
  • Set engagement goals. If you organization is just getting started with intentionally engaging your community, set a few goals and start slowly.

To be effective, a goal:

Must have a clearly defined objective.
Must have action steps.
Must have a timeline.
Must be written.
Must be able to be easily presented to someone (like a funder or a reporter).

Say you want to increase your ministry’s Facebook followers to 10,000 within the next year. Or you want to see four positive stories written about your ministry in your community paper within the next year. Take those objectives and work through the rest of the goal-setting steps. Then you’ll have an actual, workable strategy for getting the word out.

  • Be consistent. Once you start, keep at it. Sporadic engagement with your community isn’t very effective.
There’s much more to genuinely and deeply engaging your community than these few tips, but you have to get started.

Do it well and you’ll be less and less likely to hear your community say, “I’ve never heard of it” and more likely to hear, “I’ve heard great things!”

 Mike Stickler is one of the presenters at The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

Would you like to learn more about Community Engagement? Join Mike at this free training:
All information and images property of The Vision Group, Ltd. © 2014
Use, unless expressly given by the Company in writing, is unlawful by U.S. Copyright Law.

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