Seven Ideas for Planning Your Best Year Yet in MPD Communication
The last several years I’ve written an annual post about things I do at the start of the year to get ready for purposeful communication during the upcoming year. I’ll try not to repeat ideas from the past. I will use links to the other ideas I’ve written about in previous years if you want to check out all of my suggestions.
Please don’t be overwhelmed by all the ideas. I’ve been building them into my life gradually over time. Just find one or two new habits that would be really helpful for you or appeals to you.
1: Make Sure Your Give.Cru.org Site Is Current
I was surprised that our give.cru.org site needed updating recently even though I check it yearly. Make sure you look at yours and make any needed changes. This post will help you with updating your site.
2: Try the Standard Thank You Note Plan
Can you relate to this? I would run dry trying to come up with wording for thank you notes. I finally decided to use the same wording for all thank yous in a year. I have a Word document to keep these so I know the wording. In January I start using the thank you note words for the year. After five years, I recycle. That is, my document has five varieties of thank yous with headings like these:
2010 and 2015
2011 and 2016
2012 and 2017
2013 and 2018
2014 and 2019
Under each heading is the thank you for that year. All you need to do is come up with five unique ways to say thank you. (I have other headings for specific situations, too, like “last gift,” “in memorium” and very large gifts.)
If you need an extra thank you for someone during the year or need to write a thank you for fund appeals, you’ll want different wording for these, of course.
Bonus: Thank You Note Insert
For more than two years now, every thank you also has a ministry story that I enclose. Since we work at headquarters, I find a nice “field story” and write it up on a half-sheet of paper with a photo. In this way, every donor receives at least one human-interest ministry story in a hand-addressed envelope with a thank you. I change to a new story every January.
3: Make It Easy to Send Facebook Birthday Greetings
I check Facebook for birthdays every morning. I have two bookmarks for Dayspring e-card birthday greetings. I have bookmarks for a “his” and for a “her” card, changing the bookmark every January. That is, I send women the same greeting all year and men their greeting. Of course, I’ll make the occasional exception. Here’s the e-card I sent to women last year.
4: Divide Your Partners by Priority
Basically, you can’t possibly keep up with more than a hundred people equally.
Much of this idea comes from my post, Setting Communication Goals for the Year Ahead (January 2014). I describe what I do to make our communication personal and consistent. Check out this post now if you like, but I’ll update it soon. The Ministry Partner Giving Analysis Report (MPGA) has changed since I first wrote about it. (UPDATE: 01/25/18 – I rewrote the older post. Check out How to Divide Your Partners by Priority.)
5: Don’t Forget the Reminders Report
Check the Ministry Partners Reminders report to make sure your partners are receiving a reminder. I was surprised how many I needed to update. You might also use the report to plan to contact some of them to consider giving through recurring eGifts.
6: Consider Using a Standard Prayer Letter Plan
I created a spreadsheet calendar with planned intervals for prayer letters and include two fund appeals and a homemade Christmas card. I start with these same standard dates yearly because basically, they don’t change, but of course, every year we have a two-week MPD trip or a family wedding or staff training or IBS… These events may fall right in the time when we’re trying to get a letter out. So, I spend 15 minutes or so in January adjusting the dates until I’ve worked out the approximate dates we’ll send all our prayer letters for the coming year. I also have reminders in my calendar two weeks ahead when to start work on writing each letter. Because I determine the “publishing schedule” in January I know when each letter needs to be sent and stick to these deadlines throughout the year. We’ve only been maybe a week late once or twice sending out a prayer letter.
7: Print Some MPD Reports
Read about more uses for the MPGA report and the 13-Month report in this post: Your January MPD Tasks. In this article, I recommend you print a copy of the 13-Month Report for January. Print your MPGA and 13 Month reports at any time, but it’s advantageous to print them now. The MPGA is a “moving window” report. It will be different next month. Right now, you have a good snapshot of last year.
Another great report to look at is the 12-Month Donation Summary which includes the first gift dates and the lifetime totals for your partners. This report can be saved or printed as a PDF.
The MPDX report, Contributions by Partner Currency, allows you to download a CSV file. Consider printing a copy of this report in January. It’s got a little more information than the 13-Month Report, like average monthly giving and year totals.
How do you use these reports and tools?
- Also, in Setting Communication Goals for the Year Ahead, I recommend looking at the Annual Donation Summary Report on the StaffWeb in the MPD & Donations section. Read the post for ideas how to send gifts to financial partners who’ve reached milestones, like donating for 5, 10, 20 years or reaching totals of $5000, $15,000, etc.
- The links in this post will work if you are signed in to the Staff Web. Go to MPD & Donations if my links aren’t working for you.
- Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash