There are words that every ministry dreads to hear from a potential donor:
"Never heard of you."
Your breath catches in your throat, your eyelids blink rapidly. Confidence in a mission statement or clever tagline suddenly feels useless when meeting someone who has never...heard...of...you.
This happened to me as a volunteer with Compassion International recently at a Fishfest music festival for KFSH-Los Angeles.
I suppose I knew it was possible I'd meet folks who had never heard of Compassion, but I didn't expect it to be the first person I met at the sponsorship booth.
Thankfully, I had enough sense to find my breath, wipe the look of bewilderment off my face and voice my sincere response: "Well, I'd love to be the one to introduce you!"
I began with the basics. I was worried I would get the "Compassion facts" wrong (even though I've read them a hundred times). Do they work in 23 or 24 countries? (It's actually 26). What are the four areas of holistic child development? (Spiritual, economic, social and physical)
It didn't take me long to realize Compassion pretty much speaks for itself. I encouraged the people I met to ask hard questions. I told them I was a volunteer and could be doing something else on a Saturday night. They listened and I could see in their faces a new thought emerge, "What if it really works?" I shared my story of meeting my sponsored child in Bolivia. A few of them gave me a look that said, "I could be a part of something big. Even if for just one child."
I felt so privileged to be the one to tell people how they could speak up with Compassion on behalf of a child in poverty. A mom and her sixteen-year-old son selected a boy from the Philippines to sponsor. I told the teenager he could be this child's "American big brother" -- writing to him words of encouragement that could have a big impact on him as he grows up. He seemed to carefully consider my words and gave me a look that said, "I will -- I'll do it!"
Later that night Mercy Me's Bart Millard introduced a crowd of 15,000 to Compassion. That's a lot of people (way more than the dozen or so I had talked to that day!). And then I thought about how each day, hundreds of Christian radio stations across the country introduces their listeners to Compassion -- many through the 1:00 short feature "Speak Up With Compassion®." That's thousands of introductions each day!
If you're a radio station that partners with Compassion, would you let me know? I want to give you a heads up on something exciting that Compassion's working on. I also want to personally say "thank you" for being the reason so many say, "Compassion? I've heard of them!"
Ambassador Advertising Agency: We Connect. Ministry and Media.
P.S. Mercy Me talks about how they came to partner with Compassion in a short video that also features footage from visiting Compassion in the field. When you're done watching that, I encourage you to see this funny video of Mercy Me covering "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."
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