These days it’s easy for us to get caught up in our ever-growing to-do lists, and we sometimes neglect the big picture: building relationships with our ministry partners. While tasks and to-do’s are an important part of what we do, more fundamentally we must work to build relationships. Behind every need is a real ministry and real people made in the image of God.
Are you easily distracted by lists of tasks or to-do’s? Your ministry exists because God has given you a vision to meet the real needs of real people in a specific way- how do you keep that big picture in focus?
Organizations should carry forward a relationship-centric view, as they consider their online strategies. It can be easy to focus too much on numbers, like hits and page views, while losing sight of the fact that each visitor to your website is an individual, made in the image of God. Anonymous traffic is somewhat valuable, but it is much more valuable if this anonymous traffic is converted into real relationships with real people. What is your ministry doing to build relationships with the people who are visiting your website?
Get creative! Consider integrating an online membership database, with an email list serve application and a flexible, feature-rich online donation engine. Here are some ideas:
Automatic Email sign-up and List Serve
The easiest way to begin a relationship with a new individual is to send them consistent, regular communication about the life of your ministry. Create email lists that give people the ability to subscribe and unsubscribe, either from the emails themselves, or directly from your website. In our experience, email lists can grow organically, as people forward these emails to their friends and family. For this to happen, your emails must be well-written, and they must be sent consistently. In short, they must be ministering to people. Focus on creating information-rich emails.
A popular way to introduce someone to your ministry content is to give away a free gift. These premiums provide people with a helpful resource and they allow you to begin regular communication with them, through your email newsletter.
Often, people are more inclined to donate towards a one-time need, or a particular cause or initiative that your ministry is leading. Set up giving campaigns, so that visitors to your website are able to give directly to particular causes or make a general donation to your ministry, which can be applied where it’s needed most.
Online giving is a rapidly growing method for people to make charitable contributions. We have discovered that people who give online are likely to give more per donation than those who give offline. Provide an easy and reliable way for people to give to your ministry online. Send quick thank you notes to your online donors. Give back books and other products to donations of various amounts, as an added thank-you for those who donate to your ministry.
Perhaps the hallmark of a long-term relationship with your ministry is someone who decides to make a monthly, recurring donation. Give people visiting your website the opportunity to set up monthly, recurring gifts, whereby they select an amount to donate each month. This amount can be automatically charged on a regular basis. Migrating visitors that change from one-time donors to regular monthly donors can drastically increase your online revenue and help in budget forecasts. These supporters are a sure sign that your Web Ministry is bearing fruit in people’s lives.
There are so many more ways to increase the effectiveness of your online ministry. We’d love to help you with your ideas- feel free to call either of us at 703.548.8900.