“The greatest hindrance to good communication is the assumption that there has been some.”
If you have been in regular communication with your congregation and partners—way to go! If you have not been in communication with them—now is the time. Either way, consider the following four things that your partners want to hear from you today.
1. We care about you—how are you doing?
Make no mistake that the disruption (for some at catastrophic levels) of lives is real—and increasing day by day. The first thing your partners need to hear is that you care.
Let them know:
- We love you, are grateful for you, and appreciate your partnership.
- We trust you—that you have God’s wisdom and are salt and light right now.
- How can we help you? (physically, spiritually, financially)
2. The mission is on track, on point, and we have confidence.
The needs we were meeting and opportunities we were seizing prior to COVID-19 remain. New needs (within the scope of our mission/vision) and opportunities have arisen during COVID-19, and we are seeking to address them. We anticipate that after this crisis is past, the work will be as vital as ever—perhaps even more so.
Let them know you have confidence:
- In their love for and partnership with your church/ministry—and you are grateful!
- In the future—the church/ministry was relevant pre-COVID-19, remains relevant during COVID-19, and will be relevant after COVID-19.
- In the Lord—this illness did not surprise God, and it does not intimidate Him.
3. The way we are doing the mission has changed, and that will likely continue.
We can’t do what we do the same way we did it one month ago, nor for the foreseeable future.
But we are doing what we can do (virtually and physically)
- Give examples of real people who are experiencing real life-change because of your church/ministry.
- Give examples of those serving with your church/ministry who are being impacted by the work as it is now being done.
We are, and will continue to be, finding all possible places to help bring help and hope to those who have none.
4. The financial situation has also changed, so we are determined to proactively control what we can and deal with the rest as it comes.
We’ve frozen expenses (if so, explain how) and implemented contingency plans.
- Give an example of an area experiencing a “freeze” and the impact to the church/ministry.
We’re contacting church members/ministry partners, with an honest update—knowing that you are also doing what you must do at this time.
Make it clear that there are always three ways that partners invest in the work of the church/ministry:
- Promotion (volunteering, sharing information, lending credibility)
- Provision (financial gifts of cash, non-cash assets, gifts-in-kind, etc.)
We’re anticipating that for some regular financial partners, their investments will (of necessity) go down. For others, they will remain at pre-COVID-19 levels. And for others, this crisis may be an opportunity for them to invest as they never have before. Regardless of your situation, know that we are grateful for you and for your investment in the church/ministry.
As you read (or listen to) your communication, ask yourself:
- Does this seem contrived, hokey, or disingenuous? If so, don’t push send.
- Does this seem like a true friend communicating a family update to another friend? If so, send it.