They’re highjacking our best words. And it’s sacrilegious!

In the “good old days,” some words were sacred. And only believers used them. Take the word “evangelism,” for example. It belonged to the evangelicals and fundamentalists. They knew what it meant and appreciated its eternal significance. 

Today, sacred words are being “highjacked” and used for some of the most secular purposes. A recent article in Direct Marketing News encouraged marketers to “Learn to wield the power of evangelism.”   Talk about cheapening the word! Instead of saving a soul for eternity, the article was encouraging marketers to recognize that their best customers may not be those spending the most money on their products. Instead, those “primo” customers could actually be those “evangelists” who enthusiastically and genuinely promote what you sell on product review sites, message boards and social networks. 

Aside from being shocked by the audacity of the linguistic thievery, the points made in the article for product marketers apply to faith-based nonprofits with donors. 

Keep it simple. Content that is easy to cut and paste will be forwarded and inserted into blogs, Facebook pages and other social media. Feature “share” buttons prominently. 

Create emotional messaging. When a donor connects with a cause emotionally, they want to talk about it and become an advocate. Give your “evangelists” the stories they need to win hearts and minds. 

Provide something fresh. Evangelists may be sharing the “old, old story,” but they need a new slant to get people out of the pews and walking the aisle. A regular flow of fresh, up-to-date information inspires proclamation. 

Marry the mediums. Email and social media are powerful partners when you have a well-conceived strategy. “Evangelists” want to read your email and act on it. Make it easy. 

Love on them. “Evangelists” for your ministry deserve both recognition and reward. Determine who your “evangelists” are and create appropriate ways to honor and encourage them. Their worth is much more than the total of their financial contributions. 

Keep the faith. Share the Good News. Support your evangelists with more than a “freewill offering.”  Let your light shine over the secular copycats! 

Robert Zawoysky

Founding Creative Director