Thursday, October 25, 2012

Calling delinquent donors: Part 1 - Recognizing fears

Calling referrals is scary. Cold calling is worse. But nothing paralyzes more quickly than needing to call delinquent donors.

That's my experience, at least.

Why is it so paralyzing? Because all my worst (and completely rational, I assure you) fears come crashing in when it comes to calling delinquent donors. I've logically concluded that one or more of the following must be true:

They hate me.

And why shouldn't they? I'm sure all the other missionaries they support are much better at staying in touch, at remembering the details of their lives, at winning souls, and basically at all of life. Like Sam. Yeah, they're comparing me to Sam The Super-Missionary and have become so disappointed that they cut off my support. In fact, they're just waiting for me to call and ask about it so that they can show me the error of my ways. They've been keeping a list of them, you know. And with every day that passes without me calling, they add 3-5 more things to the list.

Something terrible has happened to them and I'll have no idea what to say.

What do you mean, this is a selfish perspective? Sure, there's a huge ministry opportunity there and so far most of their friends have avoided calling or just patly assured them that, "God is in control." Sure, they're hurting and could really use someone to talk to. And yeah, I even suppose that sharing some of what God is doing in my ministry could possibly encourage them and build their faith... but what if it's awkward? I should probably just hope that things get better and they'll start giving again on their own. After all, God is in control!

They're too busy

Their time is valuable, you see. Lots going on. All four kids are involved in six different activities, each of which is increasing in cost exponentially every year. The husband is changing jobs and likely making something like half of what he was before. Plus the wife is caring for her sick mother while maintaining a blog that daily encourages pastors' wives around the world. So, if I were to call, wouldn't that just be arrogance on my part? In the midst of all that's happening, why should I think my ministry is a priority? It'd be rude, really. I've got other things I have to focus on anyway. It's not that I don't want to call... it's just that my time is valuable, you see.

They don't care

They don't. And won't. Nothing I can do, so why bother? And come to think of it, most of the rest of my support team probably doesn't care either. I should probably just stop making calls tonight. Better luck tomorrow. Wait, what? I'm the one who doesn't care? Nonsense!!

Okay, so maybe that's not all completely rational.

A much more rational perspective is... coming tomorrow (including the Biblical encouragement part!)

In the meantime, consider these questions and leave a comment to share your thoughts:
  1. For what other reasons are you scared of calling delinquent donors?
  2. Have you ever tried writing out your thought process (as I did above)? What difference has it made in your thinking?