How do you gather and communicate with supporters for fundraising experiences? What
Work for navigators
Been with as part time staff since 1994, full time since 1998 (fully funded, on support)
Navigators don’t pay - lament over that - Navigators have such a godo platform, well-known name, could generate income for support staff
Feels like navigators use field staff as way to generate income for business — feel like it’s unfortunate
Challenges for field staff - is fundraising
Necessary component in terns of livelihood, also spiritual aspect of having that community be behind your work
Don’t like how much is placed on the staff to do that -
living in southern California, having a 100k salary is nothing - need to raise 150k if not more — $1 million in 6 years — have 5000 staff members
One donor at a time, build up base, eventually you get there
Feel for new staff coming in, structural thing out of control
What’s your experience with ministry and missions?
Didn’t grow up going to church, became christian in high school, went to navigator bible studies in high school
Navigators took over Spiritual journey in college
What does a typical day look like for you?
Already had 2 kids by the time they went — balance between family and school
First went as language students, learned mandarin, wife didn’t speak mandarin — gave them identity to be there in China
Evangelism was natural as a family, had people over all the time from university they studying at, would go to class, take care of kids, play sports, have games, get to know others
Had a team — spiritual community that they were accountable to. Day to day = a lot of relaitonships
After language school, moved into vocation — joined a computer company - wasn’t profitable but allowed time to do miinistry, became English teacher - thinks its a good platform for China — house church started to form over the years
A lot of spiritual interest in early 2000s - 2010s, from 2015 on there were a lot less — China has gotten so rich and technologically advanced, reliance on foreign expertise has decreased, so attraction of English learning, foreign investments etc wasn’t very valuable
How did you communicate with your supporters while in China?
Email — made sure it was secure
Navigators - signed up for a secure platform that everyone had to be on — eventually landed on using gmail
How would you evaluate security concern for platforms you use between 1 - not concerned, 10 - very concerned: 2 not very concerned — communicate well to donors about the concerns so they’re aware when they communicate to be careful
Lorden does a training with everyone he communicates with
The amount of communications is not that much
Want there to be more communications — everytime he sense out a newsletter, such a endeavor
Wish there would be easier way - text message or social media platform t
Right now rely on emails — a lot of times people move and change emails and he doesn’t know and lose contact with them, even donors, have lost touch and don’t know how to get back in touch with them
Have 50-75 donors, 300+ prayer list
Not much converted from prayer to financial support — 10%
How to convert prayer support to financial support?
Make intentional fundraising calls or meetings to let them know needs and invite them to be a partner financially
What was it like to try to schedule those meetings? Why did he want to avoid that?
Felt like he had an ulterior motive for the relationship - not the same level of intentionality
Hard to keep in close relationship with 300 contacts
What would it look like to be keeping in touch
Get feedback from donors and prayer support — is this helpful? Do you like getting my updates? How can I improve on them? Do you even want to be on this? Would be nice to get feedback and feel like the relationship is two ways. Often unsure how much they want to be
Maybe people are on the list but not so interested anymore.
set out for ideally monthly, later became every 2 months
4x a year “when it got bad”
initially used to print and mail out everything; became all electronic
physical letters were still helpful
Lorden is 51 years old. Deals with older generations that appreciate a physical letter
Emails get lost more easily than physical mail
Make sure they can be remembered better — here’s a card, picture of us — visual element that makes Lorden comes to life
Delivery assurance — not everyone opens email
considering every other month electronic, physical letter once a year; want a quick and easy platform to communicate regularly
Returned April 2019
Not married anymore, failure of marriage and fmaily system — ordered to come home, his wife stayed in china, Lorden took 5 kids home. Been a full time single dad for 4.5 years. She just moved back
Navigators kept him on staff, gave her every chance to come back and
used to be a lot of driving the kids, now it’s making sure kids are fed etc.
job entails a lot of staff, student meetings, 1-1 discipleship relationships
4 out of 7 nights are at a function for ministry
kids a lot more independent — turning 15
Communicate more frequently with supporters now. Walked with him through what happened with family — couldn’t keep it under wraps any longer
Gave supporters a platform
You don’t have to keep donating to this if you don’t believe in what I’m doing
Haven’t lost anyone because of it
Lost people because he returned from China
Supporters romanticize give to people who goes oversees
Some donors just drop,
Have had 2 donors who communicated specifically if you go out to mission field again let me know.
The nations are coming to college campuses in the US — I don’t have to go to go, couldn’t convince them to stay
What apps or websites do you use on a daily basis? Why?
How did you build relationships with donors?
High school and college friends
Church and navigator circles — people from natural relationships over the years
Could you refer me to people who would be interested? Those haven’t been successful — those are successful for endeavors, e.g. 1 time goal, 50k to move to China — people give and fade out in the background
Have 4 churches that donate to him regularly
Elders at church, missions board
Invite him to go in and share stories
Got 3 new
Met at a church that were interested in missions work
Go to was the people on his prayer list that hadn’t been asked to donate — which one wouldn’t he have a problem calling up — low hanging
How did people end up on prayer list? Friends from school
How do you summarize your purpose as missionary
College age students — see window with young people as they discover identity, calling in life, loss in that even among Christians — see work as mainly to help disciple young believers and outreach to those who don’t know Christ - American student ministry and international student ministry
How did you get into missions?
Went to UCSD
Stayed on ministry as associate
1999 went to China — was there for 20 years
2 short term missions trips, in 1992 and 1994 — 8 weeks in China with Navigators — opened his heart to possibility, first time to missions, orientation, training, write support letters
1992 - english teacher at high school, stayed with families
1994 - worked for tentmaking office bulding with other missionaries, helped with their office work
both gave him a lot of access to local Chinese,
1994 - worked full time in computer company, volunteered part time, went to Bangkok, connected with Navigators
What made you move from part time to full time — wanted more spiritual training, felt gifted in ministry
1998 - Preparation to go to China — new staff orientation
Fundraising, psychological testing, onboarding
Past 3.5 years back on US side, was in HQ in Colorado Springs - UC Irvine
Don’t always look at fundraising reports — sometimes just forget, think things are pretty good, funds are coming in
What’s in the way of you looking? Is it taking time, the steps to take? — just forget sometimes
I should be looking at them more, should be on me, be part of my job to do that
Right now shows red — donors who give regularly but missing — rule is to reach out and communicate — hey I noticed your regular giving isn’t coming in over the past few months, is everything okay? When was the last time I talked to this person?
It’s hard to ask because there hasn’t been intentional deep relationship prior to the ask. Had I felt there was intentional, relational development, it would be easier to ask.
I also need to have reasonal expectations — to maintain good relationships with 75 - 300+ people
The 35 that he would have no problem calling, text and call regularly as things come up — at least 10 that he texted this week
Correlation between frequency and depth of relationship
Depth of relationship → ease of asking for financial support
History of relationship —
What tools do you currently use to update your supporters? (e.g. mailchimp) Why? What have you tried?
What tools do you currently use to fundraise? Why? What have you tried?
Excel to manage financials
Have a facebook
WeChat is a security breach
What other tools or products do you use in missions? Why?
If you could summarize, this is really hard
It’s really hard to ask because there’s not enough frequency/relationship building
It’s easy to ask when there’s history and trust — not just
Limitation: that trusted group stays small
Is there a way with limited time to increase the number of people who trust him by virtue of some increase in frequency of communication
Lorden feels bad that he sees them transactionally
Lack of frequency in other times of relational transactions
If I heard back from them and I communicated more frequently in a way that wasn’t an endeavor —
Felt like needed something interesting to say, not always have creativity
This season is changing through advice of others and learning from past — making newsletter very short these days, include at most 2 pictures, a couple bullet prayer request, 1 paragraph
In the past, used to be 3-4 paragraphs
Increase frequency: monthly
Always include: ministry update and/or personal life (especially family — most of donors care of his family life)
Always feel pressure to include something about ministry
Have to prove that he’s working, that the worker is worth his wages
Put pressure on self — this is donor income, I am accountable to that
Would rather the donors initiate giving than Lorden ask
Debrief with Tim
Priorities in questions
potential richness for mining —
Start with “Tell me a story about …” — get deeper into context later
Discovery, Support, Ending support
Want discovery outside — hunch it’s not the top pain
It’s an intentional marketplace - someone’s going to approach me, or I know someone who’s going to go
Increase conviction on thesis:
it’s hard to ask because of lack of depth of relationships — frequency of communication, feedback from supporters, multi-media with pictures
not wanting transactional, not wanting to appear like you have ulterior motives — preference for donors to offer to give rather than to ask — north star - what if the product was so effective that you don’t need to ask
Tracking — make positive feedback loop where it’s not — perhaps app does it on his behalf — fall off
Wasn’t concerned about security
Training = a good proxy (passwords for prayer, substitute words etc)
Not a top level things
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