7 Questions You Should Be Asking

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7 Questions You Should Be Asking

Leading your church or organization into adopting a new technology, no matter how awesome it is, can be daunting.  If you are like many, you are probably concerned about making a wise choice that will reflect well on you, your leadership, and your church/organization.

We understand and want to guide you to the best solution, even if it is not ServiceReef (seriously!).  Our heart has always been to help guide organizations to increased Kingdom impact.  There are a few tools out there created by folks with good hearts and intentions.  Deciphering which is best for you can be a challenge.  Here are a few key questions to be asking as you evaluate any new technology.  Please note: Since this is a pretty intensive topic, you can also check out our guide for Choosing a Technology (coming in Fall 2019) which will help walk you through how to evaluate options in more detail.


Who are my key stakeholders?

Before you get too far in the decision process, make sure you have a good understanding of your internal teams and who might be impacted by new software.Based on their role, their questions will differ, but understanding their perspective on the process now will help streamline adoption later.Make sure you present the current problem you are looking to solve along with any benefits of a “change” with each stakeholder.That allows them to understand the gains you are looking to accomplish and help them feel a part of the solution that you choose.

Here are a couple of quick examples…

  • Who will make the actual purchase decision?  If this is you or your boss, just make sure they are looped in early so you have a good understanding of what goals they are attempting to achieve and are aware of the “why” behind your proposed solution.If you need some assistance, check out this quick overview of Getting Your Boss on Board
  • Are there any financial flow decisions?  We are all pressed for time and that is especially true of your financial folks.Their primary concerns are typically around Security and Time Management.Managing “another flow” of donations creates a fear that it will add a lot of time to their schedules.Likely, this is not going to change anything they are doing currently and might even make their lives easier (especially if they are managing their current donations manually for missions).However, to ease this conversation, sit down with your Controller/Accounting staff and ask about their current process.ServiceReef strives to make this as easy as possible in a variety of ways, including CRM integrations, automated flows into a designated account, manual transaction entry, and ways to designate donations to a specific accounting code.
  • Are there any IT-related concerns?  If you have folks on staff that manage technology, it’s usually a good idea to include them so they can help answer any integration or technical questions that come up.Typical questions you might get are around security and support in case anything goes wrong.Assure them that the ServiceReef team is continually updating their platform to stay on top of key security and support issues. Again, we are committed to your success… but if they have questions, please reach out and we can provide them with additional information.


What is the true cost?

You might be familiar with the phrase “Penny wise, Pound foolish.”  This English expression first appeared in a 1621 book by Robert Burton.  It still rings true nearly 200 years later.  When considering the cost of a missions platform, the key indicators often come down to the actual dollars that will be spent.  While a part of the decision process, caution your key stakeholders that this isn’t the only cost to consider.  Here are some questions to guide you to a fuller evaluation…

  • What is the cost of doing nothing?  Yes, you can actually manage missions relatively “free” with spreadsheet programs or online volunteer sign-up forms. However, these don’t expand very well and typically need weekly (if not daily) management to maintain accuracy.This costs you (or others) precious time each week.A quick example… we had a trip admin who used to spend her entire Friday each week sorting through excel spreadsheets and emailing participants their current fundraising status.When she joined ServiceReef, our automated emails kept everything up to date and she got an entire day back in her schedule to use for more strategic purposes.Your time, or even “volunteer’s time”, actually has a cost… don’t overlook this when making a decision.
  • Does the cost structure allow us to scale?  Some platforms charge on a per trip cost.Others on a monthly subscription.There are a couple of questions to evaluate as the initial cost may not reflect what your cost will be in 12-18 months as you grow.For example, if there is a platform that charges on a per-trip basis, consider how many months you would need to keep that trip active (for both recruiting and post-trip activities).Also, consider the mental energy to consider in remembering when to open/close each trip to try and manage costs.ServiceReef considered several billing options and made “ease of use” a primary reason for our pricing structure.You can scale up/down within the plans through your organization settings as you grow, but you also just have a single cost per month and room to grow your impact.If you suddenly need to put a couple new trips out there to meet a need, you won’t need to worry about additional costs as there is room within each tier to meet your needs.If nothing else, this also makes the conversation easy with your stakeholders when they ask “what is the cost?”… as you won’t have to do any mental calculations.  Find out more about our pricing.


Is this platform expanding?

One key consideration is the investment each company is making yearly to improve the process for participants and stay on top of key developments within the Missions industry.ServiceReef is committed to driving the industry forward and is continually adapting the platform to ensure success for its partner organizations (i.e. YOU!).Each year, we create 1 or 2 key modules as well has hundreds of small tweaks to help provide a stable and secure platform.As long as you have ideas (and we haven’t run into too many admins without ideas ), we will continue to provide as many efficiencies and tools to make you successful.


Is this trusted by others?

Since each organization is unique, it might be difficult at first to figure out which platform is best for your situation.In guiding hundreds of organizations, we have found that there are some key shared principles to consider… whether you are a mega-church, a small organization running one trip a year, or anything in between.Here are some stories around various functions within ServiceReef… take a look at how some of your colleagues have become heroes by using this platform.


How does this help our participants?

Today’s mission participant expects technology to be easy and available whenever they have questions.By ensuring that they can apply, track forms, get meeting reminders, or immediately access their updated fundraising status, you reduce the questions participants have while empowering them to own their preparation process.ServiceReef originally built their platform with the participant in mind, ensuring a seamless experience regardless of the device being used.


Can this help me capture impact?

Although we all know that the true impact of Kingdom work may not be known in the days or weeks (or years) following a missions trip, the platform you select should have ways to gather a collection of data points that help you measure the impact on both the lives in the field and the impact on those that participated.ServiceReef captures this impact through two key areas:

  • Stories: We believe that story-telling is the primary way to demonstrate personal and field-impact.  By making it easy to share stories/pictures, supporters can follow along at home as participants grow through their experience.  By giving admins control to approve and edit stories, we also provide you ways to protect the safety of those involved.
  • Map Points: What if you could visually show all of your organization’s/church’s touch points around the world?  ServiceReef has a free (yes, FREE) tool to help you display your global touch points and better tell your story.  If you post a trip through ServiceReef, it’s automatically included on your map (assuming, of course, that it isn’t a “secure” trip… you can create those to not show on the map).  The ServiceReef mapping tool is designed to help you tell your vision story… where you’ve been and where you are going. 


Engaging people beyond a technology?

Although you are in the process of considering a technology platform, you should keep in mind that there are ways to engage outside of the platform itself. How else will this platform help guide people along their missional journey?  ServiceReef engages people in several ways both within and outside of the ServiceReef.com site.Here are a couple of examples:

  • Missional.Life: Every participant who goes on a trip has the option to create a free Missional.life profile.This allows that user to keep supporters updated of their journey into a life of missions (Domestic, International, Job-related, etc).By enabling them to engage supporters in a similar fashion to social media platforms, it’s easy for them to post stories, prayer requests, and more while keeping their message to only those that they can trust (their private supporters).Since the platforms integrate together, any trip they participate on will automatically flow from ServiceReef.com to show on their activity feed for supporters to be aware.Find out more here:
  • Donors: For those that give to your participants, the check is so much more than just money.It’s a way to support that individual… and for many, it’s a tangible encouragement of what God is doing in their life.When someone donates, they are alerted via email to stories that are shared on that trip.This enables them to continue to ask questions, engage, and PRAY during each stage of that trip… preparation, during the trip, and after that trip.



Related Content

The Journey Continues: 4 Keys to Keeping the Flame Alive After a Mission Trip
We all know that the days and weeks following a trip are brimming with potential.  Everyone is excited about what just happened and how they are changed by their experience.  However, whenever I ask how that energy is getting captured, focused, or shared, I hear a lot of organizations and churches say things like “Yeah, we really should do this,” but if we are being honest, this is very rarely enacted or done consistently across all teams.  Even within your teams, you will find that some teams or team leaders might do this well, while others completely ignore this critical step.   Why are we so inconsistent with this area if we know it’s a valuable part of the Mission Journey? In my experience, this topic is often overshadowed by the excitement and anticipation of the mission trip itself.  Unfortunately, without this key step, we miss an opportunity to cement life change and, I would argue, this results in short-circuiting the potential for discipleship and future engagement with those participants. We believe what happens after the trip is over is just as integral to the mission journey and a golden opportunity to deepen your impact, both personally and within the community.  Here are four ways to better understand our tensions in this area and create a culture within our organizations that stewards well the entire process, including the time after the trip is over. 1. Rethinking the Post-Trip Engagement: A Shift in Perception In the wake of a mission trip, many of us heave a sigh of relief, tempted to say, "Whew… it’s over.” Unfortunately, this mindset can lead us to overlook a critical stage of the journey: post-trip engagement. It's essential to resist viewing these gatherings as simply "nice to have" or as an afterthought. Instead, we must recognize that each trip isn't a standalone event but rather a crucial milestone in a person’s broader missional journey. By placing the trip within this larger narrative, we begin to grasp the importance of the return home and the subsequent communication about what transpired during their mission. What God has done in their lives during this time is a powerful story that needs to be shared and honored. Once you capture this larger perspective, it impacts your communication with your team.  By providing a reason why and being aware of your own mindset, you can communicate the importance more clearly and help establish the mindset that you want. Here’s an example of how you may express this mindset via email to your participants. It might sound like this: “Phew, you're back from your mission trip. Your suitcase may be empty, but your heart's likely full. Now, it's tempting to breathe a sigh of relief and think, ‘All done. The trip's over.’ But wait! There's one crucial part of the journey we often overlook: the post-trip get-togethers. Let's break the mold and think of these meetings not as an ‘oh-by-the-way’ kind of thing or even just a reunion, but as a significant part of the overall mission. Why? Because a mission trip isn't a one-off. It's a stepping stone on a bigger, beautiful journey. It's a chapter in your unique story of how you're making a difference in the world… and how those moments made a difference in you that you hope to continue to cultivate. So, don't rush to close the book on this chapter. Savor it, share it, and let's talk about what God's been up to in your life.” 2. Setting Expectations Before the Trip: The Power of Preparation The groundwork for effective post-trip engagement begins even before departure. Ensure that your team understands the expectation for participation in the form of a debrief meeting upon their return. This sets the stage for open communication and active engagement. If anyone misses this meeting, a follow-up should be arranged to communicate the importance of this step, preparing them better for future missions. By setting these clear expectations and being proactive in your follow-through, you facilitate an environment where individuals feel more involved, heard, and integral to the mission's success.  Additionally, you set yourself up for success in the following years.  Think of this as a “line in the sand” moment and by establishing and enforcing expectations over the next couple of sending seasons, you will start to see incredible results. 3. In-Country Debrief: Harnessing Immediate Reflections Engaging your participants effectively in their experience of the trip shouldn’t begin once you're home. We believe it should begin while you're still in the field. Encourage your leaders to facilitate a debriefing session regularly, or at least soon before your return home. This simple yet impactful practice presses for the participation of everyone and primes the team for more in-depth conversations when they return home. Open-ended questions such as, "What was one highlight that encapsulates our time here?" and "What personal challenge, mindset shift, or behavior change did you face during this mission?" can stimulate thoughtful responses. As you wait for your return flight, encourage participants to summarize their experiences into a two-minute account and jot it down on a notecard. On the route home, they can expand this into a detailed journal entry, documenting three key take-aways that profoundly impacted their lives, perspectives, or missional journey. 4. Using Their Experience as a Call to Action: Spreading the Missional Flame Back home, the participants' experiences can be a powerful catalyst for drawing others into their journey or alongside your organizational mission.  Sharing your stories can inspire others to embark on their own journeys, and maybe even join you on your next adventure!  Therefore, encourage participants to share their stories and make it easy for them to do so. Pro Tip: Find a way to capture those stories, the lessons, and the examples of life change that occurred in your debrief.  These details will touch the hearts of your donor base, encourage future participants, and help others feel the impact that was made by the team.   Make it easy for your participants to share information about your organization, field partner, or church. As a small example, as your participants have conversations, you can encourage them to connect those people with your social media. This additional engagement not only grows your potential participant pool but also allows for continual dialogue about missions, further fostering a vibrant community that is engaged, inspired, and ready for more missional opportunities.   The mission trip might be over, but its ripple effects are just starting.  It’s an ongoing journey of growth, sharing, and inspiration.  So let’s keep the conversation going and continue making a difference together.     What have you found effective in post-trip debriefs?  How have you leveraged the stories and insights to improve in your next season? For 14 quick tips on running a successful post-trip debrief, check out our quick guide here.  
Mission Trip Leaders: 8 ideas for engaging your leaders
One big mistake we often make as leaders is putting all the focus on our staff and forgetting that we have an army of extremely “bought in” trip leaders. Shift gears and instead, think of your leaders as more than great people who lead your trips but people who can carry your vision forward. To participants and field partners, here are some suggestions on how to engage your trip leaders to a higher calling:  #1 Equip them. Remember, they might be your greatest tool for mobilizing your audience to mission. Help them become better recruiters, mobilizers, and senders.  #2 Encourage and gift books. There are so many great mission books (When Helping Hurts, The Great Omission, Shadow of the Almighty, and so on.). Consider having an annual book you purchase and send out to all of your trip leaders to continue building their own personal mission philosophy and worldview.  #3 Appreciation meals. Host appreciation meals for your trip leaders to pour into them, keep them connected, share what’s new and upcoming, and to allow them to build a tighter community with each other. Spread these out throughout the year to avoid the “see you next summer” mindset that some trip participants and leaders may accidentally fall into.  #4 Provide trainings. Host at least one annual trip leader training. Whether it's by video or something else, the most successful we’ve seen is for organization to have a time where you stop thinking about everything else and focus on your larger purpose for mission trips.  #5 Brainstorm sessions. Host brainstorms sessions throughout the year (especially out of peak trip season to keep leaders engaged) and collect feedback on ways to do things better: preparation, process, communications, resources, debriefs, and more.  #6 Give note & gifts. Sure, giving gifts for a volunteer role may not be the norm, but think creatively about this. Sending a note card and a $5 gift card to Starbucks to say thanks for all they are doing goes a long way.  #7 Recognize the work. While trip leaders may be working with you on the direct details of a specific trip, they are often mentoring and connecting with their participants long after the trip. Be sure to recognize and thank them for continually pouring into the people.  #8 Invite to team meetings. Invite trip leaders to key team or staff meetings when you are working through short-term logistics, strategic changes that impact them, and/or celebrating key things.  You have a unique opportunity to equip and send so many people. We often fixate on the trip participants and forget what amazing resources we have in our trip leaders. More so, these trip leaders really can essentially be your pro bono staff members giving you an army of equipped mobilizers.  Action: Select at least one item from above that you can implement this week. Maybe it's having a zoom call over coffee with a few team leaders and asking them what they need most to be equipped well.    This is just one strategy of five (5) we have for doubling your impact. Download all five (5) strategies you can implement immediately that will double your missions impact.   This post is written by Will Rogers. Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of ServiceReef.