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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Should I keep calling?

We have several new members (who haven't completed their new member lessons within their first year of membership) who hadn't been returning our calls for 2 or 3 months. I finally decided to stop calling these people for a while. This was partly because it wasn't getting anywhere, and partly because I suspected that if I kept calling them (when they clearly didn't want to talk to me) they would get increasing annoyed with me and/or the Church. I did continue to send them our monthly new member newsletter, I just stopped calling to try to set up appointments to visit them for a while.

Its now been several months since I stopped calling these particular people, so I felt like it was an appropriate time to take some sort of action. After prayerfully considering each person and their circumstances, I called some of the people. I had to leave voice messages, so I simply said that I wanted to speak with them about something and did not mention the new member lessons at all.

I was happy to get a return phone call today, and I sincerely apologized that I had not been in contact lately. I explained that there was a reason I had stopped calling (I explained that it was because I hadn't heard back from them in a long time, so I felt like maybe I was being a bother). I said that I didn't want them to think that I didn't care or that I'd forgotten them, because I care about them a lot. It was well received and went very well overall.

For those people who I didn't feel like I should call, I am going to send out a short letter. I got the idea from this from a sales article I happened to read recently. The article was about how to "make sales" even when people aren't returning your phone calls. The basic idea was to send a letter with a note that the person can return to you to let you know their intentions. Here is my version, which is specific to this circumstance:

Hello, just a quick note - If you're wondering why I haven't called you lately, to be honest, its because I'd been leaving voice messages for several weeks, but I wasn't getting any response. I started to worry that maybe I was being a pest. I didn't want to come across as pushy if you were too busy, or just not interested in meeting.

I didn't want you to think that I don't care or that I don't want to meet with you. Exactly the opposite, I care about you a lot and would be really happy to be able to teach you your remaining new member lessons.

I'm just not sure what the situation is if I don't hear from you, so I'm hesitant to keep calling. I've included a sheet that you can fill out and send back to me in a stamped envelope (also included). I know you're busy, so I was thinking that this might be an easy way for you to let me know whether or not you'd like to have the rest of your new member lessons at this time. If you'd rather just call or message me on facebook instead, thats fine, too. I hope you can get back to me- I just don't want to make you feel uncomfortable or annoyed if there is any reason you don't want me to call...


(and here is the note I will include)

To help me understand if you would like me to continue to try to contact you at this time or not, please check the box that best fits your situation:

o I'm swamped right now! Try to call me again after a couple of weeks.

o Don't quit trying. I do want to meet with you, I'm just hard to get a hold of.

o I'm have family/personal issues that are preventing me from meeting with you at my home, but I would like to meet with you at a different home or at another place like a restaurant.

o Don't call me, I've got personal reasons why I can't meet with you right now, but I'll call you soon when I am able to meet.

o I'm not interested in having the rest of my new member lessons at this time, please don't contact me for a while.

Return this sheet to me in the envelope provided (or, if you prefer, you can just call me at ___-___-____)

Thanks so much,

You may notice that I left out more negative choices (such as "I hate you, never call me again," or "Take my name off your Church records"). I tried to keep it positive and encourage the best possible response. Even if a person chooses the "I'm not interested in having the rest of my new member lessons at this time, please don't contact me for a while" option, I've still tried to word it in a positive way and I've left it open so that I can still contact them again "in a while." Of course, they might write in their own option, or just not respond at all, but at this point I would rather know something than just keep wondering where they stand.


  1. Hi, I just found your blog! Thanks for all your great ideas. I've been serving as a ward missionary for about a year and a half, but have been thinking lately about ways I can 'step up' my service. Definitely will bookmark your blog.