Proofreed My News Letter.

“How can I get more people involved in our vital work?”  This was the question a colleague asked me.  “Our work around the world is so important and there are so few that are even aware of the issues, let alone involved.  What are some creative ways beyond newsletters and blog posts (ugh) to educate potential volunteers, donors and advocates?”

I worked up an answer and I thought I’d share it with you.  We all have causes for which we care and would like to see more people involved.  If you don’t have time to work on a causes, these ideas would work to educate possible customers, employees or even investors.


Great question, Julie.  Here are a few thoughts collected from years of failed experiences and training notes taken on hotel napkins.  None of these events are fundraisers.  These are all “friend-raisers.”

I’ve done umpteen events.  My favorite event is the house party.  This is where a key volunteer or Board member invites friends, neighbors and/or ncolleagues to their house for an evening.  They provide food and drink (although I always offer to pay).  I bring in a mission expert who speaks briefly about the work.  There is a time of questions and answers.  It’s a wonderful little night.

transformation-discSpitball.  Give a sharp crowd information about an issue you are dealing with in your field work.  Outline your current solutions, aka programs.  Ask them to brainstorm ideas for how it could be improved.  Ask them to critique.  What would they do?  What would they like to see us do?

Disappearing Task Force.  Rally a group of potential donors to meet together four times to answer a specific question.  You can start by doing it on the question you are asking me, “What can we do to educate possible volunteers, donors and advocates about our work?  Help me think about how to best do that work.”  Maybe it’s even a long working lunch but if you can get them over three or four sessions they are in.  Ask for their advice.  People love to give it.

Salon Event.  Variation of a house party.  Invite people over to a hosted event at a home or a luncheon.  Give them a provocative question to discuss.  “How does the Gospel invite our participation in the lives of the poor and oppressed of the world?”  You may even give them the question in advance.  Then let people talk.  This is not moderated.  There is no correct answer.  This is just pure joy.

Jeffersonian Dinner.  If the Salon Event is a variation of the House Party, the Jeffersonian Dinner is a variation of the Salon Event.  Again, invite people to a home or meal.  The people do not need to know each other.  Bring in an expert (could even be yourself) to moderate a discussion around a topic.  You can look these up Jeffersonian Dinners on the internet.

Book Group.  Read a book with a small group of donors like “How Helping Hurts” “Whole in our Gospel” or even “Memorize This” (that’s mine).  It’s a short-term commitment.  Just the book during weekly meetings for two months.  Simple.

Conference call with Leadership.  Put together and have the President, Vice President of Programs or even a Country Director share about their work.  Allow people to ask questions.  Make sure that the leader offers some juicy insider knowledge.  People love that almost as much as giving their opinion.

Authentic Experiences of Mission.  One Saturday morning do a simple walk where people carry water the average distance a momma in Kenya walks with water.  Do it as a group.  End at some hipster coffee shop where you can discuss…and drink some water.  ‘nother idea…have someone build a shelter to the size and specifications of an average shelter in South Sudan.  Do a dinner party in it.  Struggle.  Be uncomfortable, people.

Thank You Note Work Party.  Gather people at another hipster coffee shop, share some stories and have them write Thank You notes to your donors…or mine.  Have the hipster coffee shop provide the coffee.

Have peopole proof red your news letter or blog posts.  It’s not only work that needs to be done, but it informs them too.  It’s “workucation” – proven to get the job done and expand peoples’transformation hearts.


That was my email.  Hopefully it gives you some good ideas.  What are some things you have tried?  You can share below.


CRISTA: 4-Star Rating

Charity Navigator VerticalCRISTA Ministries, for the third year in a row, was just rated a Four-Star Charity by Charity Navigator.  Charity Navigator is an independent organization that serves as a  watchdog by evaluating charitable organizations.  Their website,, sees 10 million visits from potential donors per year.

CRISTA scored a 92.22 out of 100 on the Charity Navigator scale.  Scores of 90 or higher deem a Four-Star rating.  Only 10% of the organizations graded by Charity Navigator receive a Four-Star status.

As a part of their rating process, Charity Navigator gave CRISTA perfect scores in Accountability and Transparency, Program Expense ration, Administrate Expense ration and Fundraising Expense ration.  CRISTA’s Program Expense Ratio of 90% is 5% above the 85% threshold for a 10-point score.  The Administrative Expense ratio of 4.2% is well below the 15% threshold for a 10-point score.  The Fundraising Expense ratio of 5.6% is also well below the 10% threshold for a 10-point score.

With such a limited number of organizations receiving a Four-Star status by Charity Navigator, CRISTA is honored by the rating.  We are an organization that believes in the Biblical model that says if we are faithful with the small details, all those reviewed by Charity Navigator, God will entrust us with His significant work.

“Alert the Mainspring”

Over breakfast, I sat with a mentor and confessed.  He was ready to receive my penance and give me his avocational absolution.  It was a blessed time with this dear brother.

After my act of contrition, I said, “I don’t know.  Some of this just seems like my default…sarcasm, criticism, judgemen…” And he cut me off with a stern correction.

“No!” he said.  “Your default position, just like that if you hit restore on a computer, is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, self-control.  This is how God made you.  This is what the Creator put inside of you.  Anything else is programming.”

It rang as truth.  It has continued to be a reminder to me.  From my first of days, I have had programming that altered greatly from my created state.  While I had parents that loved me, I came home to a house with two alcoholic parents.  My college years, weren’t my brightest.  I’ve been hurt, pushed away, cutoff and it has caused pain.  I don’t think my journey is unique.  We’ve all picked up a few dings.

Just this weekend our family was talking about our personal Myers-Briggs and StrengthFinder results.  Our adult kids were discussing “who they were.”  As young people, this is a primary task of their stage in life.  I’d love to say I stopped them and reminded them of this time with my mentor and their “default position,” but I didn’t put it all together until now.

Who we are today, our “ENFP” or “Connectedness” or “Two winging Eight,” is a results of who we were created to be, our “default” position given to us by God, and years and years of living in this world.

Next door we have a two-day old (yes two days).  Yesterday his plum red face and head covered in hair was wailing.  He wanted something or was uncomfortable and he was letting the world know.  Just three days ago, he knew nothing of discomfort and wanting.  All he knew was that when the time came, he was to inhale and grasp.  Everything else he has learned and it is being programmed.  The default position is changing.

So how does this little one stay true to his God-created state?  How do myself or my kids regain the beauty of what God gave to us?  How do any of us live life with a connectedness to our Creator?

The classic Oswald Chambers daily devotional, “My Utmost for His Highest,” gives us thwellspringe start to the answer.  OC writes, “He (God) does not alter human nature; He alerts its mainspring.”

We can define who we are through assessments.  We can refresh and start a new through confession.  We can strive and work through our own might.  But the real work is done when the Creator “alerts the mainspring.”

This happens when we ask God to restore to us the fruits of the Spirit…peace, joy, goodness, patience.  Call upon His son and our earthly example, Jesus.  Live to love Him and our neighbors.  Spend each day looking to live as He created us to be.  It’s a day to day, step by step process that starts with an “alert.”

There has been years of programming.  This won’t be a quick switch, but if allow God to alert the mainspring in your “soul” – the center of your being – the fruits of the Spirit will become more real in your life.

Plus, it’s truly who you are.  Just wanted to remind you over breakfast today.