Thursday, May 24, 2012

How NOT to promote your ministry?

Over the past few months, have had a number of emails, letters,telephone calls and personal visit (all cold calls) promoting various ministries and organizations, Christian and non Christian alike ...

In my humble opinion, all FAILED big time.

And I am the type of person who will actually try my best to take time to be courteous and listen, and even respond .... so like I said FAILED big time.

Reasons ...

1. If you email me about your ministry and promote yourself, ask me to buy your merchandise, financially support your ministry, promote it etc., then for goodness sake, have the courtesy to respond to my email queries.

I won't name the ministries but it seems ridiculous to me that if I happen to read your email a couple of minutes after it arrives in my in-box (meaning even if if is spam as you got my email from my church website), and I respond with a couple of questions about your ministry, please answer!

And if you do answer, it ought to be within a few days.

Just one example ....I have had one guy send me a glowing CV about his ministry around 6 months ago. I checked out the links he embedded and found them outdated - not updated for 5 years! I responded to ask some questions related to his ministry and even offered to meet him to get a decent update ... but no reply to two emails. (I sent a follow up a couple of weeks later). And 2 days ago he sends me the same email?!!
Brother, sorry but your email address is now listed as spam.

2. If you sent me regular postal mail with brochures and I take the time to respond and do things like inform you that you need to correct the postal address and name of contact person .... but months later (some over a year) you still send me mail to the wrong person and wrong address - which ends up with me via other parties, I do lose confidence in your ministry.
And mind you, I have been kind enough to respond at least twice (and some three times) to correct these errors.
So brother, sister, sorry but your mail gets automatically tossed in the recycle bin as it is now listed as snail mail spam.

And if you send me mail via the post and I ask you to remove me and put me on your email list instead but you keep sending me snail mail (and most of it about money), rest assured that I WILL NOT waste my precious hard earned money on you so you can waste in on fancy printing and postage sent to me which I specifically asked you not to

3. If you call me on the phone and try to get me to support your ministry or cause and are unable to answer some basic questions, do not listen and just give me a standard spiel of how I can make monetary payments, rest assured that I will simply be brief (and will try not to sound rude) and tell you "I am not interested)

Also if you call me and tell me about the wonderful work your organization is doing and you cannot even provide me information through a website I could check out OR tell me that you do not have email facilities to send me an email with information on your organization ... so sorry, I am really not interested to spend time knowing more.

4.  And also IF you do actually answer (even if it is weeks later) and promise to send me the information I requested BUT do not ... rest assured I will not bother wasting time on you the next time.
Also if I communicate with you and months later you don't even realize this, I am not keen on wasting time on your organization.

5. If you stop me in the street or come to my door and I take the time to chat with you, and you share with me about how wonderful your ministry / organization is and expect me to give sacrificially to support your cause, and I through my wonderful way of asking questions (because I am really keen to know you as a person because you represent your organization) ... and I discover that you have a plan for me to stretch my dollar and cut back on my lifestyle needs for you BUT you are not following your own example ... don't be surprised that I won't give to your organization - not even a one off token amount.

6. And if you turn up at my doorstep to ask for money and have an easy plan so it costs me just 50 cents a day or whatever the figure may be ... and we chat and you realize that I am probably not going to subscribe ... and I invite you in for a drink or a bite to eat, and you decline (even though in the conversation said the food smelled nice and that you have not had the time to eat), I kind of tend to doubt your sincerity as to being concerned to work out something that will benefit your organization and yet not make my giving a burden to me.

*And just for the record, I am not alone at home, and my wife is there etc, so the issue is no fear for one's safety. If you did, then you really shouldn't be alone knocking on strangers' doors at night in the dark, right?

There are hundreds of organizations asking for money, competing for a shrinking limited market ... wise up....


  1. Great post, as part of a ministry here in Dothan, AL, I see what you mean. Although we do not ask for funds in these ways, I loved the post Amen

  2. Great points Paul. Generally these types of emails show up in my spam folder. I mostly only support ministries that I have a personal relationship to.