Email 1 - Sent December 29th
Subject: How Will You Connect?
If you’re reading this note, you’re one of our Monastery of St. Gertrude partners in ministry who is striving for spiritual connection, creative growth, and richer prayer life. You recognize the need in today’s increasingly disconnected and chaotic world to pause and take a moment to deeply connect with God, others, yourself, and your surroundings. You recognize our commitment to meet those needs of our time and you have supported our monastery as a refuge for healing, beauty, and transformative power. For this, we are grateful.
As the year closes, we invite you to lend your voice to a collective prayer for peace in our world today. Think of those close to you who need to feel the warmth of peace and God’s love in their hearts, or focus on the needs of people in our world, who long for peace and healing.
As you know, we pray daily for our relatives, friends, and world community. In 2018, we also received many hundreds of specific prayer requests from many of you, which we take with us to the chapel and add our prayers to yours. If you have a prayer request you would like us to include in our prayers, let us help. Share your prayer requests with us here. [link]
We’re going to send you another email tomorrow, with a short recap of the work we have done this year with your support. But we wanted to start with a focus on prayer, and we hope you will join us.
If you’d like a place to start, we offer the prayer for peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
Email 2 - Sent December 30th
Subject: Please Do This Before You Go To Bed Tonight
Do you ever feel a call for more faith in your life?
We, the Benedictine Sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, share this sacred place of refuge, prayer, and learning, and we welcome you to visit us here. Each year we look forward to meeting new friends and especially value reconnecting with long-held kindred spirits. This past year was no different, and we were truly blessed as people like you have embraced our mission and helped us change lives.
Our greatest wish is that we are increasingly able to share our message and a space for quiet reflection, prayer, and deep connection. We also realize it is not always possible for you or others to join us here for daily prayer, or attend one of our many concerts, retreats or other offerings. This past year we made great strides to extend our reach and create opportunities for you and others to connect with us from anywhere around the world.
You may already have discovered our new minute-a-day prayer series and incorporated it into your daily life. If you have, we are delighted. It means you have taken steps to slow down and make space for quiet reflection and prayer in your life. It was meant as a gift for you, and we are grateful you have embraced it. If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy this gift, perhaps today can be the beginning of a beautiful ritual. You can request to receive them each morning for the next week here. [insert link]
If you’ve watched the series of short one-minute video scenes from around the Monastery, felt the spirit, and enjoyed your quiet moment of prayer each day, will you please share it with others? We seek to touch as many lives as we possibly can, and you can help by inviting others to sign up for the daily video series. We would be grateful if you’d share this link on Facebook or email the link to family and friends. Together, we can lift the spirit of others and share the healing power of prayer.
In addition to the prayer offering available to our friends around the world, we have done much in our local communities that we don’t often talk about. But we want you to know how your involvement with the Monastery has a ripple effect that impacts many others. For example, did you know that Sister Maria Elena still visits the state prison near the Monastery every Saturday? Sister Maria Elena is in her 90s now, with failing eyesight, but her mind is as sharp as it has ever been and she remains fluent in both English and Spanish. (If you ever get a chance, ask her to tell you a story about her many years working in Colombia.) Because of her language skills, she travels to the prison every Saturday to lead a prayer group in Spanish with those who might not otherwise have access to a prayer community.
We also funded a Social Justice Scholarship this year, as we do every year, for social work students attending the local Lewis and Clark State College. Sister Carol Ann continues to be active in the Idaho Round Table on Hunger and issues around poverty and justice. Sister Chanelle is retired after decades as a nurse and then as a hospital chaplain, and she now serves as a volunteer ombudsman for local assisted living residents, helping them resolve any issues they may have related to being in a care home.
These small things are easy to overlook, even for us. A couple hours spent visiting elders in a care home, a quick drive over to the prison to read Scripture — these things blend in to the everyday moments of our lives at the Monastery. We want to take this time of reflection at the end of the year to celebrate our small moments that add up to a comforting blanket of ministry, and we want to invite you to participate with us in this same small way.
Most of our everyday ministries are not directly funded. No one pays Sister Maria Elena for praying with incarcerated people (and she wouldn’t want anyone to do so). But running a Monastery takes money, nonetheless, and you can help support us in your own small ways. We invite you to donate a small amount to us every month in 2019. What level of monthly donation could you thread into your budget without really even noticing it? $15 per month? $50 per month?
Small monthly donations have a ripple effect far greater than you might think. For an organization that is largely funded by the increasingly small number of sisters who have salaried jobs and donations, having a predictable monthly amount that we can rely on for creating a budget is a huge benefit, even if the actual dollar amount is small. We hope to welcome you into this circle of community that actively supports our ministry and the ongoing presence of the Monastery out here overlooking the grand, wild, peaceful Camas Prairie.
If you would like to become a monthly donor, please visit this page. https://www.stgertrudes.org/donate/ and choose “ongoing payments”. Or if you feel more comfortable talking with someone, you can fill out this very simple contact form https://www.stgertrudes.org/monthly-giving-request/, and someone from the Development Office will call you back to get you set up.
We look forward to serving you and the rest of our community in 2019 and beyond!
Email 3 - Sent December 31st
Subject: Please Consider Doing This Before Midnight
With only hours left in 2018, we just wanted to send you a note to remind you that it’s not too late to make a year-end tax deductible gift to the Monastery of Saint Gertrude. [link here to donation page]
Each year we are blessed by generous donors like you, who make it possible for us to spread the power of prayer and perform our meaningful work. As a tranquil spiritual place for personal escape or a destination to learn more about Benedictine monastic life, Saint Gertrude’s has been a haven for many; perhaps even you.
In 2016, some incredibly generous donors funded a site-wide upgrade to our internet structure, which has improved our ability to connect with our widespread community and also to provide modern service to visitors to the Monastery. Our ability to minister to people in the modern world was given a great boost by this donation and is a great example of the kind of large changes that can result from a small group of individuals deciding to empower our ministries with a needed improvement.
This year we like to ask for your help so we can continue to extend our reach beyond our doors in Idaho. Your gift will also be used to maintain our programs support the sisters and keep the Monastery open to everyone, in all the ways it’s used.
If you feel called to support these ministries, don’t let 2018 end before making your tax-deductible gift to the Monastery of Saint Gertrude. You can help us bring healing and transformation to the world, as we share this message of hope, prayer, and connection with those who need it most. We are grateful for anything you can offer, if even a simple prayer.
Thank you for all your support. Thanks to you, our many ministries can continue to flourish and we can continue to light the way for pilgrims seeking God.
Asking for money often seems hard for non-profits, and it can be especially complicated to navigate in the context of a religious community where it is very important that it not ever feel like people are being asked to pay for prayers or ministry.
This client wanted to encourage people to donate to their Monastery as part of year-end giving, but they were very sensitive to not burdening or discouraging their subscribers.
We came up with this 3-part email series to be sent the final 3 days of the year. The first email contains no request at all. We wanted to use that email only to offer the readers something for free, and to ground the email sequence in a spirit of giving. The concept of reciprocity (people are more likely to give if you’ve given them something) comes in to play here, but we wanted it to be very clear that people are welcome to avail themselves of the services that the Monastery provides without any expectation of them giving money in return, so we kept the offer and the request completely separate.
In the second email, we include another free gift that’s available to readers and combine it with a very easy “ask” (for people to share it with their friends). Then we go on to discuss the many ministries that the Monastery provides which not everyone would have been aware of – prison ministries, social justice scholarships, and more.
The end of the second email includes a simple, clear call to donate along with a clear explanation of why donations matter to the Monastery.
The third email intends to capitalize on those last-minute people. It’s just a quick reminder sent in the afternoon of the last day of the year that this is their last chance to make a tax-deductible donation within the current year. It includes a reminder about the kind of work that is supported by donations, and is simple and direct.
This email sequence had an overall open rate of 44%, higher than the open rates on their regular newsletters, and a donation rate that was significant in comparison to End-of-Year donation requests in the past.