I had the privilege of meeting Kevin Lee almost one year ago. Vanco Payments had just launched a blog and had reached out for me to provide a few guest posts. That was the first time I had ever heard of Vanco. After a little research, it became clear that Kevin and Vanco were already helping more than 20,000 churches be more generous by providing exceptional digital giving tools.
Vision-driven capital campaigns are all the rage, just like annual pledge drives and “Prove the Tithe” events were a generation ago. But my problem with hanging the success of your next financial campaign on vision alone is that it’s a big gamble. I’m not willing to take it—and neither should you.
I think I understand why the vision conversation feels so comfortable to religious professionals.
If you’ve been a pastor for any length of time, you’ve likely led your church through a capital campaign. It’s a special time filled with excitement, wonder and a world of possibilities. This can be one of the healthiest vehicles for spiritual growth any church can deploy.
When God inspires you to do a Kingdom project, it will always feel bigger and more complex than your current knowledge, resources and congregation’s experience. That’s why a capital project can be a time of tremendous growth.
But There Is Too Much At Stake To Leave It To A Game Of Chance.
Ministry is more than numbers, but numbers indicate the effectiveness of your effort and investments. Your time, energy, staff and money are limited. Therefore, you have to make sure the time, effort, and resources you are investing personally and through your staff are providing a worthy return. I’m not suggesting that “profit” is the goal. But if you can’t connect your effort to measurable impact, you’re risking a very expensive exercise with very little to show for it.
It is vitally important that you and your ministry leaders understand what it will take for you to realize the God-inspired vision you see so clearly now. You can’t just “say something” and expect it to magically come to pass. And don’t think your passion on the platform will instantly overcome the built-in skepticism of the person sitting in the pew.
There is too much at stake.
If you can't answer that question ... neither can the PERSON in the PEW.
That's a BIG problem. And a proven strategy to NOT FUND your organization.
This is your most important asset. Focus on it. Lose sleep over it. Write it over and over until you get it right.
THEN ... practice saying to yourself.
I love talking to church planters. Their dreams are big, their commitment is unwavering, and their courage is remarkable. I’m not sure there is anything harder to do than start a church. I admire church planters for so many reasons.
Any yet, I’m also consistently surprised that few have a comprehensive funding plan or even financial projections. You wouldn’t build a house without first talking to an architect, builder, and banker. You wouldn’t start a business without a clear path to break-even and eventually profitability. And you wouldn’t invest in a company that didn’t have a strategy, action plan, and financial models to ensure your capital is multiplied many times overs.
Endurance in ministry requires more than grit and personal resolve. It must be supported by a documented plan and strategy (which includes financial projections).
Easter is an important time in the Christian church. It is one of two of the most recognized holidays by believers and non-believers alike.
It is also a time when a tremendous amount of people who don’t attend church regularly (or even at all) will walk through the doors of churches all around the world. That means what you do related to giving is worthy of a little thought and planning to ensure you maximize the giving and engagement potential of this medium.
Here are 7 epic fails you should avoid this Easter ...
There are a lot of assumptions leveled from the pulpit to the pew about church giving. One very important one is the ongoing debate around electronic giving and whether or not it has a place in the life of the local church and the discipline of worship and generosity.
Seriously. It’s 2016. Can’t we just agree that e-giving is here to stay?
It is astonishing to me that we are still talking about why “we should” or “should not” offer e-giving options to church members and visitors who would like to financially contribute to the work and ministry of a particular local church. Yet that very conversation is still alive and well in many churches today.
Not that "F" word!
That's another post for another time. I'm talking about F-O-C-U-S in your content and messaging strategy. The ability to stay on target until you determine the campaign is a horrible failure or a raging success.
Too many give up before they give an idea the chance to succeed.
Every business, brand, or cause is interested in generating more leads. Whether it's building a donor list, attracting new leads from a targeted audience, moving people through a buying cycle, or increasing the service level of existing clients, organizations are only interested in content marketing (or any content marketing for that matter) if it ...
- Finds new prospects.
- Increases the number of qualified leads.
- And helps close more deals.
I experienced marketing first from the outside. As an account executive for a software company, I depended on marketing to help me generate leads, provide the materials I needed to move the prospect through the buying cycle, and to create a general awareness about the company and product before I ever engaged the lead.
I've also experienced marketing as the one responsible for doing the things that sales expects marketing to do.
Brand Journalism is a vehicle to let your biggest fans talk about the impact you've had on their business, brand, or cause. And it spreads that message through one of the oldest forms of communication ... storytelling. Too many times we undervalue what can be transferred between people when the message is couched inside a story.
Stories still matter. No matter what you're selling.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to write a book about incredible people doing amazing things.
(Ah-hem.) May I have your attention, please?
This is a professional service announcement.
Marketing has changed. You know that. I know that. Unfortunately, many who sit in executive level, decision-making positions still believe the marketing strategies they "cut their teeth" on 30 years ago still dominate the way consumers buy whatever it is you're selling.
Until a new generation of marketing professionals move into senior level roles, this tension will continue to exist.
The biggest mistake copywriters make is they assume the same copy can work in different channels. The default is to work toward efficiency. Write it once and then let design craft it for the desired distribution channel. Only it's not that simple.
Each channel has characteristics that make them distinct and different from the others.
I know a lot of writing hobbyists who are in love with the words and sentences they put on a page. You know who they are. They admire the work of people who have been dead of a few hundred years and lament the decline of true litrery genius in our culture. Personally, I don't think literary genius is extinct anymore than I believe the best writers are found in history books. Either way, that conversation misses the point completely.
The truth is professional writers make a living writing words for others—whether it is for an individual or business.
Marketing will never be the same.
There was a time when desktop computing skills (remember that phrase?) moved from optional to required. Then, employees had to understand the Web. Now, no organization can afford to hire people in their marketing department who don't understand social networking and mobile engagement. My prediction is that every new hire for any professional position will one day have to demonstrate a proficiency in social and digital media.
Somewhere along the way, the idea was introduced that true artists are willing to starve to make their craft. I've met too many writers, painters, photographers, etc. who are willing to sell their talent for the lowest dollar without ever considering the value they bring to the table. If I must starve to be a "real" writer, then I'm out. The good news is there is a way to create a financially sustainable path to being a professional writer.
People are willing to pay for services that relieve their "pain."
Content marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Those who win stay in the game long enough to outlast—or out-create—everyone else ultimately achieves their goals. Just like training for an athletic event, there are certain habits you can build into your workflow to help you improve your content marketing stamina.
Consider these 10 suggestions ...