Had Enough? Get Your Ministry in Shape with These Tools


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July is eMinistry month in the You-Can-Too series. In addition to focusing on ministry and eMinistry, this particular post fits in with all of the four different emphases in the series: setting up your database and website, and communicating through social media and MailChimp. I’ve already presented this same concept for connecting well with financial partners. This post is for communicating well in other ministry contexts.

Have you had enough trying to manage a large list of names and tracking your connections with these important people? Do you have a blogging ministry and need to keep track of hundreds of people? Do you coordinate a very large group of volunteers for your local church? If you have an Internet-based ministry or would like to manage a large number of ministry names, I hope these ideas will help. I realize a lot depends on what you’re actually doing with your ministry, so please comment below if you would like to think through your specifics with me. I’d like to help, so let’s get started!

Basic Tools for Ministry

You’ll need four tools shown in this diagram. We’ll be connecting these together. They’re more effective as you sync them.

  1. My tool of choice for keeping contact information is TntMPD.
  2. MailChimp is a great tool for sending eNewsletters and blog posts.
  3. Facebook is probably where a lot of the people are that you want to minister to, but again, your type of ministry may do better with some other social media site.
  4. I recommend a WordPress blog for visibility, especially if you want to grow your “following.”

Get Your Ministry in Shape with TntMPD

I recommend you use TntMPD as your central database. If you also maintain a database for your financial partners and/or for a region’s donors, then it makes sense to only learn this one tool to use in multiple settings.  If you prefer using different software for your database, think through if and how it might work as you read the rest of this article.

I have 1500 names in a TntMPD database for eQuipping for eMinistry (e4e). I have Cru staff, other missionaries, social media experts, and others in the database. It’s useful to track people in groups, too. Who are bloggers, authors, HR or finance people? What country do they live in? What language do they speak? Who is subscribed to e4e’s MailChimp account? And more. I keep much of my email history in it  with drag-and-drop from Outlook. It’s really quite an effective tool that you should be using.

Regularly synchronize your master database on TntMPD with your other tools that contain contact information. For instance, if you have phone numbers on your phone and email addresses in MailChimp, TntMPD will be the main hub for that information. Bring the information from your phone or MailChimp and then sync or update in only one place, TntMPD.

Read more on Have (Only One) Database and Syncing Google Apps and Outlook.

Get Your Ministry in Shape with MailChimp

It’s likely you’ll want to publish a regular email newsletter. You could just send these through email, but I recommend using MailChimp, which tracks who is reading your letters and which newsletters have more engagement. It’s free for a list under 2,000 and under 12,000 emails per month.

In addition to the “Regular Ol’ Campaign” (“campaign” is a mailing), MailChimp offers “RSS-Driven Campaigns.” These are mailings generated when you write a blog post. You can have these sent right after publication or sent weekly, or monthly, or on specific days.

[ASIDE: When I mention “RSS” and “feed” that means technology can identify a new blog post and send that content to the reader, who no longer has to go visit a site for the latest news. Your Facebook “Home” page is set up as a feed.]

Get Your Ministry in Shape with a WordPress Site

Depending on the nature of your ministry, you also may have a website. Don’t just make it a resource site; this no longer works on the Internet. Your site needs to have a feed and be interactive. By having a blog feature, you can invite the people involved in your ministry to respond to the content on your site. Use attractive illustrations and have conversations with your readers.

Learn the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

Get Your Ministry in Shape with Social Media

Social Media is a fantastic way for your followers to get to know you and for you to get to know them. My friend, Doug, just wrote a post for e4e, Social Media Posting Is Not Enough, which will give you a lot of tips to get started in having a social media ministry.

You don’t have to be on multiple social platforms, but find out where your followers are and be willing to make that your main social connection with them. Think about who your audience is to choose the right social media platform for your ministry. Business professionals? LinkedIn. Twenty Somethings? Instagram.   Is your ministry very visual? Consider Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest. What about Twitter? Read 8 Types of People Who Belong on Twitter (inc.com).

See also Choosing Social Media Platforms and How to Use Social Media for eMinistry.

Get Your Ministry in Shape by Syncing

Sync Tools for Ministry

Now you’ve got all your pieces, let’s put them together. This next diagram shows a little bit of what you can do with syncing. One of the reasons you do this is to connect with the people you’re ministering to in the places and in the ways that best reach them.

With the blog and MailChimp option, as soon as you post in your blog (because you’ve set up these features) the post link appears in Facebook and Twitter and your donors read it in an email through MailChimp.  You’ve done one thing and yet you’ve published in four locations. Some of your followers will comment on the blog, some will reply to the MailChimp email and some will “like” or “share” your social media content.

Here’s your checklist for what to sync:

  • TntMPD with Outlook, your phone, and MailChimp.
  • MailChimp with your blog and social media sites.
  • Your blog with social media sites.

Remember your readers are using mobile devices

At least half of your followers are reading your email and blog posts on a mobile device. You’ll definitely need to keep in mind how your eNewsletters, website, and blog posts look on a mobile device.

I know this is a lot of material, but I thought it would be most helpful to have one overview post instead of a series of posts, especially if they’re scattered.

What will be your next step?

<< First  post for the You-Can-Too series  (If you’re following along, see notes to continue with the series.)

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Visit the Table of Contents for the You-Can-Too series posts (see notes).

NOTES:

  • If you’ve been reading eQuipping for eMinistry, you recognized what I was saying in this post. We’re working through various aspects of this total concept twice per month throughout 2014 in the You-Can-Too series. See The Big Picture for the You-Can-Too Series for the same concept in this post, but with financial partners in mind.
  • It’s not too late to join in!  Just pick one aspect of the You-Can-Too series to focus on for the rest of the year. This post is included in all four emphases: database, communication, website, and social media portions of the series:
    • Introduction ~ first of three posts
    • Databases ~ first post and next post after this one
    • Communication ~ first post and next post after this one
    • Websites ~ first post and next post after this one
    • Social Media ~ first  post and next post after this one

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