No one wants you to tell them their baby is ugly. Even you.
It’s easy to be a critic of everyone else’s work, but what about your own? How can you be sure the efforts and resources you are investing for some expected outcome are actually going to deliver that outcome? And how many times do you invest months of time, effort, energy, and budget dollars only to come out on the other end completed dumbfounded it didn’t work out as intended?
In today’s business climate, you can’t afford to be wrong for very long.
Being data-driven is all the rage. Some would consider it a fad or trend that will pass soon enough. The only problem with that is data is a natural byproduct of how you and I engage with the world. Whether it's as a consumer or business leader, data informs our decisions and captures what we—as well as our constituents—want, desire, or need.
Dashboards and data aren't futuristic aspirations anymore. They are now and have already become part of the normal mode of operations for many in society.
Data visualization empowers every leader to take raw data and use it to inform thinking, strategy, and action. Technology typically takes complex and expensive things and makes them simple and affordable. Moreover, that is exactly the current state of data visualization tools today.
You have no excuse not to be on your journey to proficiency with a data visualization tool. It is really up to you and your willingness to push through the discomfort of learning something new and acquire an essential skill set for successfully leading to a dynamic and iterative business climate.
It was not until I found myself as a member of the management group of a national comprehensive consultancy when I was faced with one of the biggest challenges of my career. I needed to figure out how an underperforming line of business that had been previously acquired could be turned into a growing, healthy revenue-producing unit.
I knew the answer had to be buried in the data. However, how was I supposed to access it? I am not a quantitive analyst or a coder. Even if I could get my hands on the data, how would I process it?
I know what you’re probably thinking: Offering envelopes aren’t exciting. And you might be wondering if anyone still uses them.
The truth is, offering envelopes are an incredibly effective tool to prompt a response from your donors. Don’t believe me? Then why do the largest nonprofits and even direct marketers use envelopes and response cards in their mailbox communications with donors, supporters, clients, and customers? Because they work. It’s the closest tool you can leverage to re-create an in-person ask.
It’s probably been a while since you revisited your offering envelope strategy.
The number of church leaders I engage with who have no process for saying “thank you” to those who contribute to and support local church ministry is shocking to me. I’ve heard just about every reason you can imagine.
But deep within those justifications is the real heart of the matter: Free-will tithes and offerings are quite simply expected of the people in the pew by many of those who stand in the pulpit. Why should you thank someone if you expect them to do it? That assumption is a fundamental obstacle to leaders who wish to create a culture of stewardship and generosity in their congregation.
The New Year is here. Whatever challenges you lamented or victories you celebrated in 2016, you’re beginning again. And that’s exciting!
A new year also ushers in a new ministry budget that must be funded. Depending on where you landed in 2016, you may already feel exhausted from having to start all over again. The good news is, more than $100 billion flows through religious organizations every year. That means there is plenty of money available to fund your ministry vision. The opportunity then is to harness those available dollars for Kingdom things, particularly local church ministry.
If there is one thing this election cycle revealed, it’s that politics will never be the same again. The traditional paths of communication, what it means to be a presidential candidate, and how to win an election have all been redefined. We’ll spend the rest of our lives trying to unpack and understand what just happened.
But pollsters and politicians aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of a shifting climate. Church leaders are feeling it, too, both in the offering plate and the pew. And those changes have tremendous implications on what ministry will look like in the future.
When it comes to giving, generosity, and stewardship, a wide gap remains between the view from the pew and the view from the pulpit. That disconnect has not yet fully translated into a paralyzing funding crisis for most local churches, but given current course and speed, it will if nothing substantive changes.
As I talk to pastors and executive staff members across the country, I hear similar things ...
I had the privilege of meeting Kevin Lee almost one year ago. Vanco Payments had just launched a blog and had reached out for me to provide a few guest posts. That was the first time I had ever heard of Vanco. After a little research, it became clear that Kevin and Vanco were already helping more than 20,000 churches be more generous by providing exceptional digital giving tools.