Contributed by Laura Walls in Meet Other CAs and Ideas for your Ministry
I heard Vicki speak at my first Child Ambassador conference nearly six years ago. In my mind, she was legendary for getting at least 100 children sponsored each year. At the conference, Vicki shared her "30 second spiel" - a quick overview she gives to potential sponsors about World Vision's work. Hearing her, my jaw dropped. In a friendly, engaging, and unbelievably fast way, she summarized the key points of World Vision's work in under a minute. She went on to explain that she looks for sponsors wherever she goes - even the grocery store!
Today, Vicki continues to inspire me and I'm so grateful I've had the chance to know her as a both a co-laboring child ambassador and as a dear friend! This "Ask August," as we take intentional steps of faith to be bold in sharing sponsorship, I believe her journey as a child ambassador will be an inspiration to many!
Eleven years ago, Vicki Casper knew she wanted to do something more for others. "I believe everyone needs love and care and I really love children. God has always provided for me so how could I not help others to have what they need, too?" Already a child sponsor, she was looking through her World Vision magazine when she saw it - the very first advertisement for the new volunteer Child Ambassador program. Immediately, she knew this was what she was looking for and was filled with joy!
But her first couple of years as a child ambassador were more challenging then Vicki expected. "I remember going to my first conference and we were all talking and just surprised at how hard it was to find sponsors. We thought it would be easier." But early on, she realized something. "I realized that it even though it was hard, if you just keep asking, you will find sponsors."
And with every sponsorship, came encouragement. Her first sponsors were her new neighbors. "A young couple moved in across the street. They didn’t have much money but they were my first sponsors and seeing how willing they were to help, even though they didn't have a lot... I was so encouraged."
Vicki wants all child ambassadors to experience the joy of finding a sponsor for a child. "You don't have to find sponsors for that many kids each year... I'm really encouraged by just finding sponsors, one by one. The sponsors are so happy about it and God gives you this joy, too, because you’re doing something he wants you to do."
Pivotal to her success in finding sponsors is discipline. "I’m really disciplined. I don’t always have a lot of time but when I go home, I make a list of people I can connect with and places to share. I think of these connections in my regular life. I've left picture folders on the kitchen counter and sometimes my kids’ friends have brought one home and sponsored. I’ve left picture folders on the table beside me at a restaurant and a waitress once sponsored three, right there.'
Look for the smaller ways to share. The big things – big churches, big events don’t happen very often, at least for me. But the small things, everyday things that happen in communities, like restaurants, your hairdresser, places you walk by every day - whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, talk about it.
"I make sure that I'm always thinking of someone to approach for sponsorship or that I have an event I'm planning for. And I write my list. It might take a while but I work through that list. I don’t let up on it. We need to be disciplined in doing this work. This is for Jesus. And this is such an important work! I look for sponsors every day. All the time. I may not ask someone every day but I think about it every day. And I walk and pray about it every day. We really need to pray about this ministry and keep it in the forefront of our minds. It is a ministry. We need God to help us and we need to be in prayer in it."
Being brave is also key. "Sometimes, God just tells me, go up and ask that person to sponsor a child. It’s about losing the fear. I think that’s the main problem with all of us – we’re afraid. But we need to ask and ask and ask because you just never know. I've seen moms who are on the street. They aren't afraid to ask for something for their children and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask, either, because these kids need us.
Vicki has so much practical experience to offer child ambassadors and has put together a great resource! In it, you'll find wonderful tips for making this ministry a doable part of your daily routine! Click below to download, "Everyday Sponsorship."
By Laura Walls in You're New. What's Next
Most of these tips come from Steve Quant's presentation at the Child Ambassador conference in January, 2013. To see his presentation and hear even more of his tips, check out the YouTube video: Storytelling. I highly recommend it!
Some people are natural storytellers. They seem to intuitively know how to captivate the hearts and minds of their listeners. We experience their moment vicariously because, through their vivid words, we're there, too.
Others, though, are more like me. I want to be a natural storyteller. I love a good story but, sometimes, when I start talking, the story seems to slip away. And as a child ambassador, I need to be able to tell a story that will capture my listener's heart. Fortunately for me, though, good storytelling can be learned.
Here are 10 tips for telling a story:
1. Start at the beginning end and work backwards.
What does that mean? Try starting out your story with a little taste of the end -- just enough to capture your listener's interest but not enough to give anything away. For example -- "Did you know that a little boy in Mozambique changed my life?" or "Anjona from Bangladesh is just 10 years old and dreams of being a doctor."
Why is this a good idea? Well, if you don't know where you're going with your story, how are you going to get there? Starting with a glimpse of the end gives your story a framework to build on. It also creates interest and curiosity on the part of your listener.
In other words, don't start out with World Vision's mission statement. This can come later, after you've grabbed their attention with your story.
2. Put yourself last.
Don't use "I" at the start of your presentation/story. Try "Would you like to hear an amazing story?" or "Do you know that a bicycle saved a life in Sri Lanka?"
3. Never be typical.
Talk naturally in a way that works for you. Use your own spin or style. The Lord has created each of us as unique individuals. Be okay with who you are and don't compare your style to someone else's style.
4. Use your own language.
Be conversational, not presentational. Try not to use terms that your audience isn't familiar with and talk to them like they're your best friend. Relax. :)
5. Don't read to me.
If you're using a Powerpoint, don't read from it. If everything you're saying is already written down in the Powerpoint, then why are you there? Use a Powerpoint as a visual tool to build on the stories you are telling.
6. Find another angle.
Try looking at your story from a new lens. Put yourself in someone else's shoes.
Imagine a picture of a float at the Rose Bowl. A typical story or caption would read, "This float is comprised of ____ flowers and took ____ hours to complete..." A new angle could be from the perspective of someone sitting on it. "My cheeks hurt from smiling so long and I still have two more hours to go!"
If you are showing a picture, don't just describe the facts. "This is a slum in New Delhi where over ____ children are living on the streets." What about a new angle, instead? "These children don't have a place to sleep tonight. They forage in waste cans or beg from people passing by in order to survive. They don't have anyone read them a story or tuck them in at night..." By switching the angle from which you tell your story, it may become more compelling.
7. Speak visually.
Use imagery in your story and set the scene. Was it raining? What season was it? Describe your setting using visual terms that evoke a sense of place -- describe the colors, sights, sounds, feelings... The longer the story, the more visual cues you may need. Keep it interesting.
8. What's the point?
Each story should include an element of "why." Why do you care? Why will they care? Make an emotional connection with your story yourself and, odds are, you'll make an emotional connection with your audience, as well.
9. Make a call to action.
Ask. Don't just assume that people will sponsor a child if you tell them about it. Invite them to be part of this work.
10. Be sure of your facts.
As child ambassadors with World Vision, we need to be certain our information is accurate. A good rule of thumb is, "If Rich Stearns (CEO of World Vision) was in my audience, would I be comfortable saying this?"
If you get a chance, try watching the complete version of Steve Quant's storytelling presentation from the Child Ambassador conference. I personally found it really helpful and think my presentations have become more compelling as a result. I hope it can be of service to you, as well!
May the Lord continue to bless each of you in your ministries and lives!
By Laura Walls in You're New. What Next?
You've taken a leap of faith and signed up to become a Child Ambassador with World Vision. We are so happy to have you as part of this ministry! You have joined a group of people who, like you, are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families. It's an exciting journey to take part in and an amazing group to travel with on the ride!
Following are five steps to getting off to a great start!
Step 1: The Training Videos*
This three part video series will equip you with the knowledge you need to feel confident about sharing sponsorship. Each video is 15-20 minutes long and includes interviews with other child ambassadors so you have an opportunity to hear how they do it! These videos are a great way to get familiar with World Vision's work on a deeper level and feel more comfortable sharing as a child ambassador.
* Note: In the training videos, the cost for sponsoring a child was $35. That price has now increased to $39.
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.