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Mediums & Tools for Missionary Storytelling

by | Feb 28, 2022

 

As crucial as it is to include the core elements in your story, the way you convey it is just as important. All Modern Day missionaries have access to many different mediums for storytelling, each with its own benefits, limitations and best practices. To make the most of your communication channels, learn how to draw your audience in through multiple tools.

Website

To those of our missionaries who own & operate their own website, I wanted to give you some useful dialogue as well as GAME CHANGING tips on how to maximize your websites potential.

Your personal / ministry website is the medium over which you have the most control. Each page is a chance to tell a story and help users connect with your mission. You can offer different stories on different parts of your site, or even carry one main story across several pages. Most missionaries often use their website to give supporters the big picture of their mission, but your appeals can be strengthened by using the space to highlight detailed, individual stories as well.

There are two types of scripts that most missionaries will utilize for their website: Donor Based & Mission Based Scripts.

Your Website Header

You only get one chance to make a first impression. The header is the top section of your website and the first impression your audience has about you and your ministry.

  • Choose your Image Carefully – your audience needs to be able to gain a clear understanding of your ministry or by the image in your header.

An important thought to remember for your header is this: cute and clever statements don’t often lead to donors… Clarity does.

Let’s enter the world of imagination for a moment. Let’s enter a imaginary universe where a caveman could look at your website. But for only ten seconds.

In that time, could the caveman answer these questions:

  1. What is the need or problem your addressing? (The people or cause your aiding)
  2. What remedy are you providing to meet this need/problem?
  3. What do they need to do to partner with you? (CLEAR Call to Action)
  • If you are asking for donations be clear & specific on your ask instead of a vague, “Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us?”
  • – If you are raising $30,000, for example, break your asks into categories and ask accordingly. “I’m looking for X number of people to partner with me in giving $100/month. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with $200/month.”
    •  “Provide a warm, healthy meal to 50 orphan children – with an online donation of just $75/month.

Blog

Your blog is another great place to highlight individual stories. Blog posts usually include more detail and can be instrumental in diving deeper into your ministries work. Link shorter-form content pieces to your blog posts to give your audience the chance to learn more.

Stories Through Email (Newsletters)

Email is another important storytelling medium. It should be more condensed than your blog or website, but you can also use it to give a taste of what’s to come and link out to a full story. You can even create a series, and tell a story through a sequence of emails.

How many emails should you send?

As many as you can while always adding value and staying interesting.

People often want to know the “magic number” of emails they should send out to their donors. But don’t get so focused on the number of emails that you forget the purpose of the email is to keep them engaged. I recommend sending at least 1-2 emails per month.

TIPS ON GOOD WRITING

The biggest mistakes people make are:

  1. Focusing on too many topics at once. Sure, your audience enjoy hearing all your updates but if you throw to much content at them at once, they may experience a little fatigue reading your newsletter. Try focusing on one item at a time.
  2. Using too much text. Make sure to have your email laid out so the text flows and is easy to read. Think about the images, graphics etc that will move the reader through the document with ease. Less text is better.
  3. Being too vague.
  4. Not using a catchy title. Make sure your title is interesting. Ask yourself, would this title make me want to open it up and read it?

Video to Convey Your Cause

With the growing accessibility of smartphones, cameras and platforms like YouTube, more and more ministries including independent missionaries are using video to tell their story. Video can be an especially powerful tool because it allows stories to unfold right before your audience’s eyes. It can also be adapted to a number of different platforms. You can feature a video on your website, share it on social media and even send it directly to donors via email.

Social Media

One relatively new component of story-based marketing is social media. While we sometimes think of social media platforms as somewhere to throw a quick picture or appeal, they can also be used to tell stories to encourage and bless your supporters.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, in part because of the storytelling power of pictures. Along with a caption that gives a little context, an image can show tell a powerful story of an amazing work that God did.

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