How Vision Changes a City: Part 2Posted on: February 26, 2020
We are so excited to share with you Part Two of our interview series “How Vision Changes a City” with Vicky Botsford Mathews! Last year I had the opportunity to talk with Vicky Botsford Mathews, Executive Director of Choices Women’s Clinic of Orlando, Florida, President of LifeSteward Ministries, and long-time partner and customer of Ministry Sync.
We recently shared How Vision Changes a City: Part 1, all about the backstory and the amazing growth Choices Women’s Clinic has experienced! Their Walk event grew exponentially in the last few years and they’ve experienced remarkable growth and fundraising success. This week we’re diving into the second part of our interview, where Vicky shares three practical, actionable tips to establish and grow your walk event!
1. Engage with Church Relationships.
Vicky’s first tip? Engage with your local churches! The support and involvement of the local churches is VITAL.
“The success of the walk is so dependent on the church.” – Vicky Botsford Mathews
“You have to engage church relationships,” Vicky continued. “It [the Walk] is the most effective church relationship event that any pregnancy center could ever do!”
Vicky and her team grew church involvement by developing and cultivating relationships with local churches through scheduling visits and speaking engagements prior to the Walk. They started with a small list of just 20 churches, and grew from there!
“We should never give up on the churches!” Vicky declared.
After the walk, they incorporate what they call “Church Champion Awards” where Vicky visits the involved churches, shares the Walk results, and present award(s) to the highest-earning churches! Vicky was quick to point out that church partnerships and development is not a one-size fits all approach. Your approach must be consistent with the relationship you have with each church.
Walk events are an awesome opportunity to develop and engage true partnerships and recruit sponsored walkers! According to Vicky, walks are the “best event to engage the church and raise money.”
So Tip #1? Make sure you are actively working to get your churches involved! And Tip #2?
2. Develop Communication Tools & Resources.
Vicky’s next tip is to find the right tools to get your walk champions engaged. “The bulk of your time is FAR before the walk,” she shared. Not the week or even the month of the walk. But months prior you need to be setting the stage for your event!
“One of the tools we can’t live without is FundEasy” – Vicky Botsford Mathews
Create your marketing materials, develop a thorough communication plan that includes social media, and utilize event planning tools like FundEasy, Vicky encourages. Vicky emphasizes that in order to communicate vision, PASSION is imperative. Your vision and passion will inspire your supporters! Encourage your team to be active on social media and share, share, share! As Vicky mentioned previously, the growth of your Walk is wrapped around vision. So, Tip #2 – have a plan to communicate and execute your vision! And for the third and final tip?
3. Create Competition!
Vicky found that adding a competitive element was vital in the growth of their Walk. Competition is a fun way to get people excited and create fundraising momentum. One way Vicki and her staff encourages competition is they make their churches a “team” in FundEasy, and every walker from that church signs up as a member of that team! This encourages friendly competition with each other. Encourage churches to compete one against the other!
Vicky shared how this strategy alone has been crucial in creating momentum and growing excitement and involvement around the Walk! Their first year they had 195 sponsored walkers raise 150k, to 305 sponsored walkers raising $280k in 2019! WOW.
With the added fun and motivation of a friendly competition, this year their highest earning walker earned around $30,000! As you can see, friendly competition with a purpose can be hugely successful! Vicky noted that they were careful to not launch the competition and giveaway free prizes (like airline tickets, etc) until they had pre-existing “over-achieving” walkers in place for this event.
From developing church relationships, to having the right communication plan and tools in place, to creating friendly competition, remember that your events are ultimately to develop partnerships.
“People walk because we lead by our testimonies, our changed hearts, changed lives and our vision.” – Vicky Botsford Mathews
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We hope that Part One of Vicky’s story alongside these strategic tips from Vicky in Part Two have been a helpful encouragement to you. Additionally, if you have any thoughts or questions, comment below or feel free to contact us @MinistrySync on Instagram or Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events.