Becoming Faithful Communicators
- Hard copy newsletter -- at least once a year with pictures if you're updating in-between via a website, blog or email. If not, at least 3 to 4 times a year.
- If you can't afford Microsoft Office programs you can use the free program called Open Office. This is available to download on the internet: www.openoffice.org. It's available in different languages.
- Email updates/newsletters: Once a month, 6 weeks or every 2 months to supporters and prayer partners.
- Keep them short, to the point
- Add pictures: embedded is better than attached (copy the photo and paste it into your email message -- not possible with Hotmail but is with Gmail).
- A good, free email program to download and use on your computer is IncrediMail, www.IncrediMail.com. It makes it easy to embed pictures in your email. You compose offline, and you can organize all your emails in folders, keep your mailing list, like MS Outlook.
- Learn how to resize photos. It's not nice to send emails that take a lot of memory to open. A good, free photo editing program is Picasa, http://picasa.google.com/. You will need Windows 2000 or higher to use it. Search for Windows 98 compatible programs on Google. Picasa gives you access to an online web photo album where you can store pictures and videos and invite people to view them. You can put a hotlink to these photos in your email or blog.
- Learn how to use an "email newsletter template". You can download some for free from Microsoft Office Online if you have MS Office installed on your computer: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/default.aspx. This website is very helpful in learning how to use your Office programs with online tutorials. They provide free templates for newsletters, stationery, calendars, business cards, etc.
- Use PDF file format: you can convert any document into a PDF file. The advantages: anyone can open it no matter what programs they have because the Reader is free; it keeps the format you created in Word or Open Office; it reduces the size (kb) to make it reader-friendly for all. There are many free programs to download online to convert to PDF if your word processor doesn't convert it. A good one is www.PrimoPDF.com.
- Use an Email Marketing Program: this is where you can choose a template, create email address lists, and each person gets a personalized, lovely email. A great program is one called MailChimp, http://www.mailchimp.com/. Check it out! It's free for up to 500 email addresses. You can even track who is opening your emails and what links they click on.
- Website or blog: Again, many free possibilities, and blogging is very easy.
- Visit www.blogger.com to learn all about it and to create one. It's available in many languages! You can upload pictures, etc.
- Another one is WordPress: http://wordpress.com/, also available in many languages. Countless more can be found on Google by typing in "free website hosting".
- For YWAMers: Make a website on www.ywamconnect.com for $9.95 (approx. 6.50 euros) per month; includes a web-based email account. Advantages: ties you and others more into the big picture of YWAM as it provides a daily devotional from the YWAM Study Bible and an article about a YWAM ministry somewhere in the world. A credit card is necessary. Ask someone to pay for it as a means of supporting you!
- YOU WILL NEED TO UPDATE IT FREQUENTLY FOR IT TO BE USEFUL, AND THEN TRAIN YOUR SUPPORTERS TO USE IT!
- Make a phone call:
- A cheap way to make an overseas phone call from Holland or Germany is via TeleDump, www.teledump.nl. The English version: www.teledump.nl/english.php. Check the list of all countries and access numbers to call and you'll see the rate per minute.
- Download Skype and encourage supporters/friends/family to do the same.
- This is computer to computer and free of charge. You can chat, talk using a headset with mike, and also use a webcam to see each other. You can call any land line for a cheap rate, but you need a credit card to create an account in order to do that: www.skype.com.
- Power Point presentation:
- These are very effective for sharing with your church, youth group, etc. If you don't have the MS Office version, you can go to www.openoffice.com and download their similar program called Impress for free. Make time to learn how to use this and you will be more effective in communicating your passion and calling with others.
- Use e-cards to remember birthdays/anniversaries/say thank you.
- If you use Outlook, record their birthday on their contact card and you will get a reminder one week beforehand. Use Plaxo e-cards, or some e-card website to send a greeting. Plaxo also reminds you of birthdays. Or send a REAL card if you prefer.
- Use TnTMPD to organize your support raising communication and your monthly income.
- This is a very handy program created by a Campus Crusade staff person. It works with Word and Outlook to create a database. You can send out "mail merge" (or personalized) emails and newsletters. You can keep track of your monthly support and analyze it statistically. A wonderful tool that is free -- download it at www.tntmpd.com. You will need to create a GCX account (no cost).
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Becoming Faithful Communicators