How to Make a Cultivation / Correspondence Plan in TntMPD


writing-letter 750x380Do you use TntMPD for recording regular tasks and history? Have you considered using it to make a cultivation plan? You probably use TntMPD for planning fund appeals and trips, but what about using TntMPD for your correspondence plan with your ministry partners?

Make Your Correspondence Plan

If you followed my suggestion for categorizing your names, all your ministry partners are divided into 50% Top, 80% High, Faithful, and Other in the User Status field (also see NOTES about this field).

Despite your wishes, it’s likely you can’t give equal attention to every person on your mailing list. My levels and frequency of communication increase as I work regularly with our four levels of ministry partners. Again, you might have other groups that work better for you, such as New, Lapsed, Churches, et cetera.

Here’s a suggested annual plan to help you think what you might want to do:

Thank Yous Greeting Card Holiday Card Christmas Card Phone Call
50% Top yes yes yes yes every year
80% High yes yes yes yes when was the last call?
Faithful yes        one or the other yes
Other yes no no yes

For example, if a once-per-year ministry partner donates $200, they will get a thank you and a Christmas card. The 31 partners (in our case) in the 50% Top group, who provide half of our income, receive a greeting card (birthday or anniversary) and a holiday card (Easter, Thanksgiving, or Valentine’s for our widows) in addition to an annual thank you and a Christmas card. This year, I added the “every year” phone call for these folks as a new goal for us.

This reminds me, I don’t recommend doing everything in this sample correspondence planning all at once. Pick one or two new habits for this year and add another one next year. I’ve been doing greeting and holiday cards for decades and don’t even think about it because it’s a habit. To show you how much can be done with a little bit at a time, I hand-addressed and wrote 168 thank you notes and 239 greeting cards (excluding Christmas) last year.

Working with Your Correspondence Plan

Divide your ministry partners into categories using your MPGA report, and let’s get started!

You may need to collect birthday and anniversary information about your ministry partners (see Getting Personal for the form I use).  You’ll save these dates in the birthday and anniversary fields and send cards out every month using TntMPD’s Birthday and Anniversary Report (see tips in Keep Those Cards Coming). When the 25th of the month rolls around, I know it’s time to get greeting and holiday cards ready for next month.

Move ahead with a correspondence plan now, if you don’t have personal dates, by sending holiday cards.  I’ll assume for the rest of this post that you don’t have anniversary and birthday dates yet.

First, make sure your thank you reminders in TntMPD are set the way you’d like them.

  1. Go to Tools / Options / Automatic Actions.TntMPD auto actions
  2. My settings are to check all the boxes.
  3. I chose “semi-annual” for the LARGE TIME FRAME option.
  4. For the remaining options I have 12 to make sure consistent donors receive an annual thank you. The next option is for phone calls. I then chose 2 for the RECONTINUING option, although, I’ve considered using 1.

Setting up Groups for Your Correspondence Plan

If you’re planning to phone all your top donors and / or send an appreciation gift to your faithful people and /or want to start setting up an MPD trip, I’d recommend creating Tasks for these activities.

Why I’m suggesting Saved Groups is for activities you’ll do consistently year after year. Your thank you note settings will make sure you thank everyone annually, so you’ve got that covered.

Let’s look, then, at using groups for your correspondence plan; feel free to adapt this idea in other ways that fit you better. TntMPD’s site tells you how to create Saved Groups and also Lookups if you need more help with the following steps.

  1. Create a group called “Cards.”
  2. Make sub-groups for Greeting, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s.
  3. Go to Contacts. Look up 50% Top.
  4. Go back to Groups. Add all these names to Easter and Thanksgiving.
  5. Do Steps 3 and 4 with your 80% High.
  6. Repeat Step 3 for Faithful donors, but choose Easter only.  I recommend sending an Easter and a Christmas card for this group so they get two cards “evenly spaced” per year. Alternatively, you could do Valentine’s for some of your Faithful donors.
  7. Look up the Other category of donors to see if you might want to do any cards for these folks.
  8. To add widows to the Valentine’s sub-group, you’ll need to decide individually. For our 50% Top widows we send a Valentine’s and Thanksgiving card.

If you’ll start sending birthday and anniversary cards, I do a Lookup based on anniversary and birthdates. Donors with spring dates get a greeting card and a Thanksgiving card. Those with fall dates get a greeting card and an Easter card.

As the holidays approach, put a movie in your DVD player and address several dozen cards. Because you’ve divided these cards throughout the year, you should be able to easily keep up.

I hope this is helpful to assist you in showing consistent appreciation and thoughtfulness toward your ministry partners. We have an elderly couple who love getting our anniversary card every year. No one in their large family sends them one, making our card even more special to them.

NOTES:

  • You could use the User Status field for these ministry partner categories or choose a different user field for these ministry partner categories. You could also choose to use Saved Groups if you prefer, but a user field is better to guarantee that each person is in only one of your ministry partner categories. I personally do have a group for New partners because these folks will also fit one of our four ministry partner groups.  See this post for how to choose between using a user field or a Saved Group.
  • Visit the Correspondence Series for help on organizing your  greeting cards and more.
  • For more information on TntMPD’s website go to:
  • Any comments on how this would work with MPDx are welcome.

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