Note: this interview is with Crick Porier, missionary to Estonia, who shares his basic approach in effectively integrating social media into his fundraising. Crick has a degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing.
Brian: Crick, how do you integrate social media into your fundraising? What platforms do you use and why?
Crick: There are three parts to our basic framework: Facebook, Blogger and MailChimp. As this approach has developed, we feel we have come a long way in improving our communications.
Brian: Lots of people are starting to use Facebook in their ministries, but some feel it is too invasive into their personal lives. How do you use Facebook for your ministry communications?
Crick: My wife, Mindy, and I like to share interesting things that are going on with us in Estonia, even if they are little, like posting a few pictures. We mention both personal and ministry items as a gentle reminder that we exist and that we are in Estonia. We limit how much we post, feeling it will help people to stay interactive and not be overwhelmed with too much information. This approach has enabled much more interaction and engagement with our posts, which is what we want.
Brian: What I like about your approach, Crick, is that it is integrative. Tell us how you incorporate the use of a blog into your ministry.
Crick: We use Blogger for our Life in Estonia blog to expose people who have a little more time to experience our journey and to see what life is like in Estonia for an American family. Our most popular articles include Our First Night in Estonia Language Mistakes and Karlova: Our Neighborhood.
We’ve also found that putting our blog posts on Facebook has been effective in giving friends, family and partners a deeper experience with our lives and ministries.
Brian: We are caught in an inter-generational technological warp with some people who don’t own or use computers and others who don’t use paper or the mail system. How do you handle the distribution of your newsletters in this changing environment?
Crick: We have found that MailChimp enables us to sort out these complexities. It’s a free email resource that enables us to track what is working and not working well. We put links to our blog on the email as well as to our profile on the Converge website. We have received an overwhelming response to this approach. We strive to make connecting the dots as user-friendly and simple as possible.
We also make this available in a printer friendly version for churches to print and for our mail secretary to send out to our partners who need the newsletter in paper format.
All three tools intertwine with each other. We believe there is a variety of options for people to be engaged and to find an area that strikes their interest and to see how God may be calling them to prayer and to partner with us.
Brian: What else do you do with social media?
Crick: We are implementing a system that ensures we email each of our partners every six months. We’ll spread it out so that we can conver 10-15 partners per month so it isn’t a daunting task, but something we enjoy (Editor’s Note: I used to do this with postcards).
We use Skype mainly for family and friends, but we have used it on occasion to communicate with individual supporters and churches.
We also have accounts with Google+, LinkedIn and a few other platforms mainly as a way to look up contact information to communicate, but don’t use them regularly. If we have too many social media outlets, then it is too hard to track.
Brian: How do you and Mindy work together in your communication with partners?
Crick: Mindy and I discuss how we can communicate the best to the audience we are trying to reach. Obviously, face to face is the best, but it is not realistic now that we are on the field, so we came up with the basic framework of “The Big 3″.
The key for us is to hear the feedback and response from our audience, and continue to find new and little ways to increase how we communicate using the best use of our time.
Brian: Thanks for sharing your system and ideas, Crick. You guys are effective fundraisers and I see that your incorporation of social media makes a big impact on the churches and individuals who support you.