Pareto is widely recognized as the first person to articulate what is commonly known as the 80/20 principle.
He noticed that inputs often do not equal outputs. Or, about 80% of results came from about 20% of activity.
(The numbers don’t have to add up to 100. In some cases, only 5% of the work gets 80% of the results.)
Entrepreneurs who are successful often talk about doing an “80/20 analysis”. That is, they take stock of what is getting them results in their business venture. They typically discover that a relatively small percentage of their work is truly leading to customers, revenue, profit – or any other metric they are after.
You need to know how this business concept (thought it applies to many – if not all – of God’s wonderful creation) applies to you, the missionary who is raising support.
Here’s what the 80/20 principle means for you.
[This is Part Two of a series on what missionaries raising support can learn from business. Check out Part One.]
80/20 Principle for Missionaries Raising Support.
Most of what you do to raise your missionary support, will actually result in very little support.
Positioning the logo just right on your support raising letter: hardly makes a difference.
Sending Facebook updates: might even make a negative difference (!).
Proofreading that letter for the 20th time: proofreading is good, but you can’t avoid sending it forever.
Online Research for information you could use in support raising: might devolve into just checking Facebook (see above).
Sprucing up the animations and transitions in your Power Point presentation: you must be avoiding more important work.
Now, some of these things should be done to some degree, but they are not going to be the most effective thing to be doing.
So, positively, let me tell you some of the most effective ways to raise missionary support.
Effective Actions to Raise Missionary Support.
- Make a video of yourself giving your presentation. Watch it. Fix the worst thing you dislike about it the most.
- Contact people via phone if possible.
- Ask people to refer you to other potential supporters. Then mention them when you contact that person.
- Include a hand written element in each letter you send.
- Send a monthly prayer update.
- Consistently follow up with your contacts.
The Most Effective Goal to Raise Missionary Support.
Here you go. Here’s the big secret. Let me save you lots of time and effort up front so you don’t have to find out what things truly lead to the most missionary support. The single most effective goal to work towards when raising missionary support is this:
Face to Face appointments Scheduled on the Calendar.
If getting such appointments is where you devote most of your efforts, you will get the best results.
Here’s the beauty of the Pareto Principle. Once you know this, you can then work towards the few things that get you the most face to face appointments.
Let me tell you what those things are:
Get the person on the phone.
Since I was focusing on raising support from churches, my goal was to talk on the phone with the missions chairperson. Often, I had previously communicated with them via email and asked how they prefer to communicate and whether or not I could talk to them on the phone. With a little practice, I knew that I could get a face to face appointment over the phone.
If a phone call is not possible, then specifically request an appointment by email and include a date by when you will get back in touch with them.
Get them to tell you “No.” (What?)
There are a few key objections you need to have good responses for, but after that, you want them to tell you “No.” Once they’ve explicitly declined to meet with you face to face, you can stop following up with them and move on to others. (If necessary, you can re-contact them after about six months, or some time later in your missionary career.) Of course, some people will agree, which is great. That’s the goal. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you only want to hear “Yes,” and, “Maybe.”
Any form of “Maybe” is the last thing you want to hear. After you address and remove the common objections, get to “No” as quickly as possible. You won’t be wasting your time with “Maybe,” and you can get to more who will say “Yes.”
The 80/20 Principle in Summary for Missionaries.
So there you have it. Here’s a summary of how the 80/20 principle applies to missionaries who raise support.
- At least 80% of your financial support will come from face to face meetings – just one of the few support raising activities.
- The most effective way to get those face to face meetings is through speaking on the phone. (Of course, you will also get many appointments via email with practice before you get to the point of talking on the phone.)
- To get those appointments for face to face meetings, push towards “No” right after you have addressed some common objections.
Since you don’t often see immediate results while raising support, it is vital to know the most effective steps to reach your goals. Consequently, a great month of support raising has lots of appointments on the calendar, even if none of those appointments decide to partner with you financially right away.
Of course, another key application of the 80/20 principle is that you need to minimize or eliminate those activities which are mostly ineffective. That frees up more time and resources for the things that matter most.
What do you need to minimize or eliminate from your support raising activities?
How are you going to apply the Pareto Principle?