(the idea for this post submitted via the submissions page. Don’t be scared, submit your story, too!)
We in the support raising business like to stick our foot in our mouth from time to time, just to remember what it tastes like. Like the time I sent a letter to a dead guy for a couple of months.
I’ll go ahead and be honest, I’m not real big on keeping up with people anyways. If it wasn’t for facebook, I’d have absolutely no idea when my relatives birthdays are. Heck, I’m not even all that stellar at remembering things that are going on in close friend’s lives. So keeping up with ministry partners was something I had to really work at. And at times, details just slipped right through the crack. Missed birthday here, missed annual gift reminder there.
But the one detail you’ve got to be sure you don’t miss? When somebody dies. Because there’s a special brand of awkward that happens when trying to contact people who have shaken off this mortal coil. Here are a few tips to help you not do what I did.
If you haven’t heard from a ministry partner in a while:
Do take into account age. When they came on your team in 2002, were they 70 years old or older? If so, go gentle on the passive aggressive answering machine messages. You saying “I don’t know why you aren’t returning my call” might rub a loved one of the dearly departed the wrong way.
Don’t Guess. This cannot be more clearly stated. If you think they might be bench pressing a colorful bouquet of silk flowers or two, don’t tell their mobile phone’s voicemail that fact. It’ll be at least 300% more awkward when they do call back to let you know that they have not put a foot to the bucket, just yet. “Oh, thank goodness! I thought you were getting pretty old, and I got scared.” Don’t be that guy.
Do utilize the resources at hand. After about 3 messages, it’s standard operating procedure for me to google and facebook stalk, I mean check up on, any person I am trying to get in touch with. When you get connected up to a obituary page with the face of Joe McSupporter on it, that’s a pretty good indication that they are not going to be able to join your team, financially or prayerfully. Might want to file them under “Do Not Contact.”
Utilizing these simple tips, you are well on your way to avoiding the bitter taste of the bottom of your Nikes.
How about you? What’s the most awkward thing you’ve done in the name of support raising?