03 Sep Need to Share Basis
“Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here” (Colossians 4:7-9).
Effective donor communication reaches all your audiences with specific messages through multiple communication channels. You communicate your heart through newsletters, emails, prayer requests, social media posts, direct mail appeals, text messages, and word of mouth from your board and staff. Living in the communication age has its advantages, but we still struggle to tell our stories well. Can you imagine the challenges Paul faced in updating his supporters? His method can inform our strategies today.
The messenger is just as important as the message. Paul chose two trusted colleagues to personally deliver the news. He describes Tychicus as a dear brother, a faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord. Onesimus was a faithful dear brother from Colossae which gave him instant credibility. When you have important news to share with your constituency, find spokespersons who lend their credibility to your message. People more readily accept news from those they trust.
Paul had two key instructions: (a) to inform the church of everything that was happening, and (b) to encourage the Colossian believers. Your communication goals are the same. Tychicus was to tell “all the news about me” (v. 7), “about our circumstances” (v. 8), and “everything that is happening here” (v. 9). You get the impression Paul wanted to overcommunicate about his life and ministry.
Tychicus and Onesimus did more than just deliver a letter. Paul wanted them to build up the Colossian believers and help them grow in their faith. All your communication must have an emotional appeal. Why should your donor respond to your message? What eternal results will or will not happen because of your donor’s response? Are you merely communicating facts or speaking to your listeners’ hearts? Emphasize the important role your ministry partners play by framing your appeals with the phrase, “because of you…”
Intentionality is key. Paul’s “express purpose” was to share current news. Some function under the false narrative that communication automatically flows from the top-down, but communication rarely flows freely. There are too many barriers between your voice and your donors’ ears. One of the key recommendations from the 9/11 Commission1 was to restructure the Executive Branch from a system of “need to know” to a culture of “need to share.” Make an express purpose to proactively share your clear, concise, and compelling message with your donors.
Think About This: When people don’t know the facts, they make up their own narrative for why you did or did not do something important. Stay ahead of the rumour mill by sharing your news before anyone else can.
Response: Father, give us wisdom to communicate clear messages which will reach our donors’ hearts.
19/11 Commission’s Recommendations: Hearing Before the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Eighth Congress, Second Session, August 3, 2004
Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored three books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving, and Keep on Asking – Bold, Spirit-Led Fundraising. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.