Can't Send Short Term Trips: Tip 5: Share Stories

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Can't Send Short Term Trips?

Tip #5 - Share Stories

Big Picture: Stories are powerful and they are what people remember... share them well and often! Sharing a story well brings glory to God.

Stories are powerful things... many refer to stories as the language of the heart. I think we can all relate to hearing someone share some life experiences and all we walk away with are the stories they shared. Stories just work like that. They become anchors for us to recall purpose and meaning.

Well, this is one prime season for you to be capturing and sharing stories! As you work on how you engage your audience during this season, focus your messages around certain stories. We recommend you consider making 80% or more of your messaging focused around your stories. Let’s unpack a few ideas for how to do this well.

  • Ask for Stories - this is a great season to reach out to past participants AND your partners to ask for stories about what’s happened in the past so you can intentionally share about the shared impact you are having.
  • Then & Now - capture stories from the past but also from what’s happening around
  • us right now. Remember you want to keep the fire alive for your global work but also you’re shifting to engaging local as well. Balance these two perspectives.
  • Participants & Partners - it’s great to share stories from both the perspective of your trip participants but also your partners. Both can share impact, lessons learned, and invite others into similar experiences.
  • Give Direction - it’s not just asking people to share stories, it’s also giving them direction on how. Consider giving them some examples, ideal length, and key questions to cover in their story.
  • Pictures - it’s always better to tie a story with a picture so people can feel even more like they are there with the person in that story and experiencing things with them. Pictures also help bring greater visual appeal to the reader.
  • Create a Story Blog - use tools like ServiceReef to build a combined story blog from all of your stories so these populate in one place for people to read. A story blog can be a powerful way for people to explore on their own.
  • Drip Stories - incorporate these into your communication strategy and create some drip schedule (ex: every other week’s stories) to your members. Of course, it’s more information to receive but it’s also encouraging news


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Mission Trip Software: 5 Tips to Select the Right One for You
So what in the world is mission trip software?!  Great question.  Essentially mission trip software are tools that help you run the logistics of your short term missions trips.  But all things are not created equal.  It all starts with understanding your overall goals and then evaluating the tools that make the most sense for you.  Let’s navigate a few key tips to set you up for success on selecting the mission trip software that’s best for you.     Tip #1 - Know Your Goals Everyone has a different set of goals but we believe there are a few that we all agree on and ones that we see quite often.  Most everyone is looking for ways to do the following: Reduce Stress - there are so many logistical items for managing a short term trip - the software should help relieve some of that stress. Save Time - the average short term trip takes around 150 hours to manage - the software should greatly reduce that amount of time. Expandabilty to Grow - the reduction in both stress and time should allow for the expansion of your missions program. Keeping People Engaged - short term trips should always have a way to keep people engaged with your organization and in a life of missional living.     Tip #2 - Determine the Features that Matter You have an idea in your head about what features matter most to you.  Take a moment to write those down and talk those over with your team.  And if you need some ideas for features that you should be considering, take a look at our free Guide to Choosing the Best Technology to Grow Your Missions Program.  The best thing you can do is map out your desired features and then start evaluating which tool works best for you.    Tip #3 - Ask the Right Questions There may be a ton of questions you want to ask about any technology, as you should.  Many of these questions you can answer on your own as you look through their sales site and explore features.  But there are other questions you’ll have that might be specific to your needs or processes.  Be sure to contact the tools you’re exploring to help answer those questions.  Here are a few questions we recommend considering when looking at any new software: Does it manage online fundraising? Is it simple for our staff to use? Is it simple for our participants to use? Can it scale to our ultimate vision in missions engagement? Does it help mature our participants toward greater life engagement? Do applicants need to fill out application data from scratch each time? Can you control what each trip admin can and cannot do? Do trip members have dedicated fundraising pages? Are your trip participants notified of financial progress? Does it help you tell your organization’s missional story?   Tip #4 - Engage Others on Your Team Don’t make this decision on your own… certainly don’t feel the weight of the decision needs to be completely on your shoulders.  Consider engaging your boss, your finance department, your IT department, your communications department, your team leaders, and whoever else helps make the whole world of short term missions a reality at your organization. You will be thankful for their wisdom and insights.     Tip #5 - Build a Comparison Chart You know what you’re looking for in a mission trip software solution.  As you look through various options and solutions, create a simple comparison chart of your own that helps you see things side by side.  You know what’s important to you so, in some ways, you’re the only one who can build that chart.  Feel free to take a look at our comparison page to get an idea of how to start building your comparison chart.     Most of all… have fun!  I know, how is selecting a technology fun?  But it can be… this season of exploring is short-lived and it really is one that can help you dream of what you could be doing.  Enjoy this exploration as you investigate all the possibilities and narrow in your selection.