Raise Your Vision

April 17, 2015

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Freebie Friday: Generous Culture with Brian Kluth

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April 14, 2015

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Marketing & Stewardship: How Are They Different? by Mike Stickler

Leaders of businesses and nonprofits alike are familiar with concepts like advertising, marketing, fundraising, stewardship, and development.

Two of those concepts that sometimes exist in tension for nonprofits are marketing and stewardship. They’re not the same, and leaders need to know the difference.

What is marketing?not equal sign resized

Here’s a pretty hefty definition of marketing by my friend, business consultant Art Ritter:

“Marketing is that function of for-profit business and nonprofit business that first of all establishes the place of the organization in the minds of the larger market. It then goes on to make the larger market aware of its presence, aware of its products and services, and begins building the relationship between the organization and the potential consumers of their product or service.”

I’d sum it up by saying that marketing is what lets the public know that your organization exists, and it tells them what you have to offer.

Some church and parachurch leaders reject marketing, saying that it’s evil and worldly. But it’s just a tool that can be used for evil or for good. Marketing isn’t evil; it’s just not enough. Marketing has its place in getting the word out. But to really grow and strengthen your organization, you need to practice stewardship.

What is stewardship?

I define stewardship as a sustainable, intentional, relational process of serving those that God brings into your circle as a result of whatever marketing you’ve done. Stewardship dovetails with marketing, because it is effective marketing that brings the people to us. But it’s stewardship—the building of relationships with these people—that grows and sustains the organization.

The problem—and here’s where the tension lies— is that so often we start to fall back on what we see as an easier and more comfortable way to find sustainability: do more marketing.

To put it very simply, marketing lets folks know you’re there. Stewardship lets them know you care—and that’s what grows your organization.

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


April 07, 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 development—building relationships with major donors in your community. The effort that you put into these influential and affluent individuals will make a huge difference to your organization. Being intentional about developing those relationships is a key piece to your capacity building activities.

Blog-Capacity-Building-3Marketplace leaders and philanthropists are involved in giving significant funding to ministries and to nonprofits. Their lives are rooted in the business and professional realms, so they usually have broad reach into the community. They can bring a lot of resources to your organization, which can ultimately play a big role in building capacity for your enterprise.

Now, I’m not in any way suggesting that we go and develop major donors just for the sake of getting big checks. But the depth and breadth of those relationships that they bring to the table can help you, from fundraising events to developing your board to helping you get in contact with media outlets to tell your story.

 

You can hear more about leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike authored a great resource on this subject.
Would you Like to Learn MORE?  Join Mike for this free webinar

April 03, 2015

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Free Training: The Big Shift in Ministry

This video explains the Big Shift that needs to take place in your approach… and how they’re affecting you AND your ministry!

April 03, 2015

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The Most Important Measure of Ministry Success By Mike Stickler

Is ministry success something we can quantify? How do you measure your success as a ministry leader?

There are many yardsticks that ministry leaders use to gauge their level of success. Some of the most common are:

  • Attendance figures
  • Giving levels
  • Percentage of members engaged in ministry
  • Number of staff

Each of these is important and shouldn’t be ignored. They can provide a quick snapshot of the health of a church or parachurch ministry. And they are essential for understanding trends over the life of your ministry.

But according to transformational leadership expert Hugh Ballou, “The most important things in ministry are not immediately quantifiable.” That is, the most important things in ministry are only measurable . It’s for good reason that many churches choose Ephesians 4:11-13 as their guiding Scripture: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (ESV)over time.

The ultimate purpose of ministry is to see people’s lives transformed by Jesus Christ; that’s the measure of success. It’s for good reason that many churches choose Ephesians 4:11-13 as their guiding Scripture: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (ESV)

This is the measure of ministry success: lives changed by Christ.

But how do we measure that? Hugh Ballou recently shared an example from his own ministry as a church music director.

“How do we count people’s lives changing, the transformation we see in people’s faith journeys? I was in a church in Florida for 20 years, and I got to see people in my children’s choir grow up through the program, go to college, come back and be servants in ministry in the church. And I got to see the effects of the ministry seeds I helped plant when they were children.

“So that’s a quantifiable result. The seeds grow and they spread, and the church grows. We started a children’s ministry there when my three children were the only children in the church of a thousand people. And when I left 20 years later, the biggest demographic was zero to six years old, because we planted a seed and we could see it grow.

“So I think it’s the results we see in people’s lives: we see people telling faith stories; we see people bringing people to church; we see people active in ministering; having meaningful relationships with one another and with God. So [ministry success] is quantifiable in those ways when we pay attention. It’s quantifiable over time.”

What changes are evident in the lives of those whom your ministry touches? That’s a measure of your success as a ministry leader.

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

 

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March 27, 2015

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5 Don’ts for Creating a Generous Culture By Mike Stickler

Do you want to help your ministry become a culture of generosity? It’s important to know how to go about it, and The Vision Group has resources to help you. But it’s not enough to know what to do; you also need to know what not to do.

Recently I asked stewardship experts Brian Kluth and Michael Williams what don’ts they would share with leaders who want to help their ministries become more generous. Here are some of their insights:

  • Don’t talk about money all the time. People in your ministry community will respond more willingly to opportunities to give when it doesn’t come across as a demand.
  • Don’t ignore the subject of generosity. It can be an awkward topic. So leaders have to be intentional about teaching on this subject and providing opportunities for people to be generous.
  • Don’t create burdensome expectations. We want people to be generous, but we don’t want to set them up to fail.
  • Don’t fail to make a big deal out of the generosity your people express. If you are helping people to become generous, celebrate it when they are.
  • Don’t think there’s one silver bullet that will solve all giving issues. Rather than relying on, say, a one-time stewardship sermon or brochure, plan stewardship teaching and giving opportunities throughout the year.

What other advice would you give to ministry leaders who want to foster generosity in their ministries?

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.

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March 20, 2015

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Freebie Friday: Podcast with David Kinnaman - You Lost me

Get your free podcast with David Kinnaman - "You lost me, why young Christians are leaving the Church."
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