Practical Tips for Communicating with your Partners

Apr 16, 2020

While we pray for safety, health and healing around the world, we want to share our thoughts on what fundraising might look like during this time.  We acknowledge that each of us is going to be affected in different ways, so this series is not intended to be a one-size-fits-all solution.  Instead, please ask for and seek wisdom and guidance as you consider how to apply this within your specific context.

By Debby Wisham, Corrie McKee and Haley Jones

With so many communication options available, it’s best to thoughtfully connect with each of your partners in the most personal way possible - while keeping social distance, of course! Each situation may be a little different; you know your partners best, and you know the ways each of them would like to receive communication. 

When you are considering your audience, don’t just focus on those who give monetarily. Remember those who volunteer their time to serve, and those who have provided housing, transportation or childcare for you in the past. Remember all who pray for you and all who have advocated for you or provided referrals. All of these partners deserve to receive an update from you. 

Here are some practical suggestions for communicating:

  1. Make sure you have multiple points of contact, both in general large platforms and in individual customized platforms. As partners have different availability in their schedules, they may be more apt to respond. Remember:
    • email open rates are likely to be higher
    • texts and phone calls are more likely to be answered
    • social media posts may be liked more
    • direct mail may be opened more
    • handwritten cards may be more cherished
    • Video-chat availability may increase
  2. Share stories of impact. Perhaps there are some stories from this past winter or fall which you never got to tell because you were so busy. Now is the time to think through those stories and tell them!
  3. Share photos and videos. This helps your partners feel a connection to those you are reaching, even though you may be miles away from your mission field. Include a personal video communicating appreciation for partner gifts, or perhaps a video of the people you serve. If you were teaching overseas, but now you’ve had to teach online from across the ocean, share screenshots of your video chats with students. 
  4. Share some details of the new reality you and the people you serve may be adjusting to. If you are a teacher, share insightful quotes and ideas students might write on your online teaching platforms. What are some new benefits of teaching online that you didn’t see before? What new opportunities are you having to minister to students? If you were raising up leaders to disciple others, and then you had to quickly evacuate your country of service, how are those national leaders now leading others in your absence? How is the local church in your country of service responding to the pandemic?

Remember, the goal is to connect - so don’t bite off more than you can chew!  Listening, ministering, and sharing well takes time. While it is tempting to simply send out a bulk update and then sit back and wait for responses, we encourage you to focus on fostering genuine connections.  For some, that may mean 3-4 conversations per week; others may have the capacity for 10-12. Set a realistic and sustainable goal - and then find ways to hold yourself accountable.

People are hungry for human connection, so let them feel connected to you! As you brainstorm ways to communicate with your partners, pray for divinely inspired ideas. God will guide you and give you the creativity you need to reach out.


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