Monday Minute www.monday-minute.com P.O.Box 462192 Garland, TX 75046-2192 Sharpen Your Axe Phone: 214-703-0505 Cell: 903 926-2607 Email: email@example.com Here’s what I have for you: Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." Very often, I'm asked whether it really matters if a ministry goes through the time and e ffort to cultivate donors - on the donor's timetable - rather than just asking for the gift because you need it. The fundamental question seems to be; "Shouldn't we just ask them to give and if they do, that would indicate they were interested?" In Lincoln's quote, he's saying that to do a really efficient job of cutting down the tree, he wants his axe to be as sharp as it can be, thereby minimizing the effort to cut the tree down. Implied here is the thought that without sharpening the axe, he will still get the tree down, but with more work. We can continue to send newsletters and special appeals to our largest direct mail donors, highlighting the virtues of our work, but for really "major" gifts to be made, someone has to shepherd that donor through the ministry and look for places and points where they light up. Without those "interest points" no major gifts will come. Here’s what it will do for you: What you should be focusing on are donors who enthusiastically make gifts that are transformational. This transformation happens in the life of the donor and in your ministry and comes when individuals commit resources at a level that goes beyond impersonal direct mail capabilities. It requires a personal touch. Fundamentally, it's a question of which work should be done in order to get the best result. In Lincoln's case, the effort to sharpen the axe is less than the unnecessary effort of chopping with a dull axe. In our case, getting to know your donors as people plays the part of sharpening the relationship axe and makes asking for the major gift more efficient. Let me show you what I mean. Most of us have been responsible for gathering financial resources so that Gods work can go forward. History and fundraising studies continue to indicate that ministry changing gifts come from donors who have been cultivated over a period of time. These people have been allowed to peek behind the curtain of the ministry and see what is really going on. When they "get it" and want more of it to happen they invest in the planned outcome your strategic plan and case for support present. Unfortunately this process takes time. It takes time for the donor to learn about the ministry and the people you serve, and time to determine whether this is a cause that connects with their mission in life. At its core, that is what your role is as professional development staff and ministry leaders. But unlike Lincoln's tree which will eventually come down, you probably won't get these types of gifts very often without sharpening your axe. People who make these types of gifts don't do it because you have a need. They do it because they believe you are really good at meeting needs. That's a huge difference. You will have to take the time to develop clear processes for telling the story of God at work through your ministry, and then work a systematic process for cultivating these potential donors to determine whether God is asking them to participate with you in new ways. So, ask yourself whether your message is focused on your needs or is it focused on impacting more lives for Christ? Hopefully it is the latter so that more donor- investors join the work. Taking the time to craft that message and let the relationship building process work itself out is the "sharpening your axe" bit. Here’s what I want you to do: Learn More About Strategic Planning . . . What is Strategic Planning? strategic plan: decisions and actions that shape and guide an organization while emphasizing the future implications of present decisions. This plan usually employs the S.W.O.T. analysis. ............. The NSFRE Fund-raising Dictionary The Strategic Plan is the foundation that you build your entire ministry on. Simply stated, Strategic Planning is a management tool to help your ministry do a better job of serving the people God calls you to serve. Strategic Planning can help a ministry focus its vision and priorities, and ensure that the Board, Executive Team and Staff are all working toward a common goal. Several key concepts related to Strategic Planning include: • Mission, Vision & Values - Why on earth are you on earth? • What you do -What exactly do you do, why and for whom? • What’s the difference you make - What difference do you make and how do you know? • Where are you going? - Where are you going with this ministry? • What Resources? - What resources do you have and how do you plan to use them? • Our Trust in God - How much do we trust God to lead and provide? • How well we communicate - How will we communicate these ideas to our constituents? You can see from this list that it is the same as a business plan, only with more meaning. You have eternal value and reward at stake. How you run this ministry reflects on your understanding of Scripture and your Organizational "spiritual maturity." Source: Sharpen Your Axe Dan Mirgon CFRE, CLU, ChFC 3 KEY STATEMENTS TO USE TO START CUTTING WITH YOUR AXE Let’s reduce Strategic planning now into an action script you can you when speaking, writing or communicating with your clients, donors or staff. These three simplistic sentences will change your world! These are the same three sentences John Carlton has used to sell millions of dollars. Many of today’s major internet marketers have learned the lesson of these three sentences. They are profoundly simply yet extremely effective. They are the very things I have used in this message. 1. Here’s what I have for you. 2. Here’s what it will do for you. 3. Here’s what I want you to do. Follow this three step plan in any form of communication and watch the results. Look how I used it to bring you to the point of downloading this page: Here’s what I have for you: How to sharpen you axe so that you can better communicate, achieve higher results with less work Here’s what it will do for you: It will give you the keys to effective strategic planning and effective communication that will transform your center’s communication results. Here’s is what I want you to do: Get the free pdf transcript of this program right now. So you can share it with others. download it here: http://monday-minute.com/downloads/mm85.pdf You see, the three steps make communications easy and direct. No fluff. No padding with extra words. Straight and extremely simple but profoundly effective. It worked to bring you to this presentation and it will work for you too. Be sure to tell your friends and fellow directors about the Monday Minute. And be sure your center is listed on the all new cpclink.com ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dan Mirgon, CFRE, CLU, ChFC, President Dan is a specialist at discovering the heart of the donor and linking their interests with your ministry. He has been instrumental in helping ministries raise over $100,000,000 since 1991. In addition, DMA has built relationships with experienced ministry experts who bring a wealth of knowledge and passion to serving our clients. Visit his website: This FREE REPORT has been provided to you by THE MONDAY MINUTE! A free coaching support service of CoachMeKen.com Visit www.cpclink.com to access the new resources, files, tools, applications and services that await you. Visit www.coachmeken.com to learn about our professional center director coaching programs Ken Freeman The MONDAY MINUTE An outreach of Coach Me Ken An ministry of Last Harvest Ministries Inc. P.O. BOX 462192 Garland TX 75046-2192 Telephone: 214-703-0505 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question about this report . Ask about how our coaching support can enhance your center management.