The Worst-Case Scenario

What a way to start the new year…

I wish I could say this had NEVER happened to me, or that maybe it had happened ONCE and I learned my lesson. But it happened to me in 1994, maybe a few times since then, and again last week.

What is this catastrophic occurrence?

A partner joined my team and I forgot to add them to my newsletter list.

At the end of each year, during the Christmas holiday, I like to go through my photos from the year, deleting bad ones and tagging the rest. In doing this, I stumbled upon a photo from a support party hosted for me last May while I was doing full-time support raising.

At that party, one of the guests indicated a desire to give an annual gift, and a few weeks later they sent in their gift. I dutifully sent them a thank you. And that was the last time they heard from me.

Ugh.

So what do I do now? Well, the FIRST thing I am going to do–this week–is write them a personal letter, again thanking them for their gift, giving them a quick update of what I’ve been up to, then letting them know that with my next letter, they will start hearing from me regularly.

What am I not going to do? I’m not going to apologize or grovel… because I do not want to draw attention to my negligence.

Fortunately (praise the Lord!) I caught this in a relatively short time frame (exactly five months), so I feel like it’s still fresh enough.

But what could I have done with TntConnect to help me be more effective with this? I create a lookup that shows me anyone who has given a gift this past year but does not get our newsletter:

  1. Lookup anyone who has given a gift in the last 12 months
    • Lookup | By Field
    • Twelve Month Total … is greater than … 0.
  2. Lookup up missing Newsletter Recipients from within this group.
    • Lookup | By Field
    • Send Newsletter … is … FALSE
    • “Lookup within the Current Group”
    • Press OK
  3. Save as a Lookup Favorite

Theoretically I could then schedule a task for me to do this lookup every month or two. But what I plan to do is put in my annual plan so that 3 or 4 times a year I just run it, looking for anyone who falls into this category. (This is helpful, too, because a couple of times I had a regular monthly partner who somehow became unchecked for Send Newsletter due to my accidentally unchecking the button.)

By the way, even though I send out a paper newsletter, it is easy for me to overlook someone who is not getting my newsletter. Why is that? Because we humans are trained to see errors better than omissions. It is a lot easier to notice something that should not be happening–such as my partner who recently went home to be with the Lord and was still on the list–as opposed to ‘not seeing’ something that should be happening, as was the case with this partner.

The first time this ever happened to me was when I joined our ministry, and the very last person who joined my team was a good friend and neighbor in my home city–and also served with our ministry. Nine months after I moved to my assignment, he called me and alerted me that he was not getting my newsletter. But back then I was just using Excel, and had not added him to the list, because he joined my team literally as I was driving across the country.

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