My church just came through a pretty significant Generosity Initiative. The big question that many of our staff asked was “Will people actually give what they committed this time?” Because last time we did this, we had a low percentage of people actually follow through. But was it entirely their fault?I don’t think it was. I talked with one guy who said “I committed a large amount, but the economy tanked and so did my commissions, so I held off on fulfilling my pledge. Then, I get a strongly worded letter chastising me for not giving what I promised. It was cold and sterile and it felt wrong. This was literally the first piece of communication I received on this commitment.” I was not on staff during that initiative, but I was determined to make sure we did it differently this time around.
When people filled out a form, either electronically, they got an immediate response saying essentially, “We got your commitment and we really appreciate it, we promise to communicate with you every four months for the next two years to keep you updated.” If someone filled out a paper form, our admins entered it in electronically to generate the email.
And this week, we will send out the first of 6 or 7 letters and statements to every single person that committed to our Get Loud Initiative. We chose the frequency of every 4 months because truthfully, 4 times a year felt too much and every four months allowed us to follow the natural flow of the year. January, May, September, repeat. Late January catches people just after the holidays when they have attention to spare finally. May touches base with people before they check out for the summer and September is when parents have settled back into the school year which starts mid-august in Florida.
I wanted to accomplish two things with these letters.
1. Communicate Vision
I want people to be inspired by what their generosity is accomplishing. I want them to feel like “Wow, I get to be apart of this”. So we tell stories about aspects of the vision that are being implemented. We use pictures of people or projects. We give important information like updates on building programs or campuses and we give key prayer needs. All of this is done in an engaging manner on side of the page.
2. Communicate Personalized Data
Flip the page over and you’ve got the boring pledge report that CCB generates. It’s impossible to dress that up because it’s just black and white Times New Roman Font. Or is it? We figured out where the info would land on the page and created a letterhead of sorts that would dress up the page with arrows and friendly explanations and used our branding for Get Loud.
Ok, enough explanation, here is the first example below. We stripped the name off of the data page but usually it would be there for a window envelope.