Every organization is at a crossroads coming into 2022.
One pathway leads to decline, and the other leads toward an opportunity for growth like we’ve never experienced.
Advancements in technology from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Metaverse are causing shifts to happen at lightning speed. These advancements are transforming our world as they did in the early 2000s when the Internet stormed the world.
When we look back a decade from now, we will see a vastly different world than it is today.
These radical shifts in culture are creating a unique moment in our history. The decisions you make for your organization could create life-giving growth or send you on a spiral towards decline.
By nature, I’m more of a glass-half-full individual and very optimistic. I’m excited about the future and believe you have an opportunity to impact the world like never before!
At the same time, I think it would be unwise for us not to look at the risks of decline you’ll be facing over the next year.
Let’s take a moment to explore these risks and bring a solution for each area with the end goal of growth.
Risk 1: Saving Money On Outreach
One of the biggest mistakes that churches, nonprofits, and businesses make during a financially challenging time (or when the world is fear-stricken) is to make budget cuts on outreach efforts. It may seem counterintuitive, but moments of fear and uncertainty are actually the best time to reach out!
If there’s a significant correction in the stock market next year or a slowdown in the economy, you may be tempted to save money and cut back on your expenditures. In these cases, one of the first areas often chosen to save money on is outreach. But in fact, the best thing you could do is spend money on marketing and targeting people at the time of the greatest need!
Last year amid the pandemic, the digital advertising costs were the lowest they’ve been in a decade because people pulled back their marketing efforts.
But the businesses and ministries that grew were the ones who invested in digital and continued to spend money to reach people in all kinds of creative ways.
In the coming days, there’ll be a moment where you will be faced with the exact same decision to cut back on your outreach efforts. Just as marketing is the driver for every business, evangelism and outreach drive every church and ministry.
If you have to save money in 2022, select areas of your organization that are not growth drivers. If you’re a business, continue to spend on marketing and sales. And if you’re a ministry, continue to spend on evangelism and all outreach efforts. Remind yourself that it is the greatest opportunity to impact and change lives when things are most challenging in the world. Plain and simple: It’s the greatest opportunity for growth.
Risk 2: Moving Too Slow
We’re entering a season where the speed you move will directly affect your growth or decline as an organization.
When opportunity comes, we must be alert to recognize and be ready to seize it. Being late at taking the opportunity over the next few years will have a heavy price, and the risk is decline for your organization.
The fast changes in technology and our culture require you to move quickly.
We’ve seen it first-hand on multiple occasions this year.
Our company was in a large marketing campaign this fall while spending thousands every day and was suddenly faced with an unexpected change by Facebook. It affected all of our conversions in a big way, and our costs skyrocketed.
We didn’t have months to make a change; we needed to find a solution within hours. So, we quickly implemented a new plan and shifted over the following days by testing a new strategy.
About 90% of our tests failed. But within two days, we found the solution and fixed the issue to reach our goal.
Over the next year, you’ll be faced with challenges and radical changes that you have never expected. What was working a day, a week, or a month ago is no longer working. If you move too slow and don’t solve the issue quickly, the result will be a decline which will only increase over time.
When you run into issues, you must pivot faster than you ever have before. Don’t wait! Move forward to find the solution. Don’t slow down or take your time to solve problems that will begin to create decline. At the same time, require your team to be early adopters with technological advancements to further your mission.
Risk 3: No Innovation – Playing It Safe
One of the major risks that have faced every generation is the failure to innovate. This is also a big risk facing your organization in the days ahead.
Kodak invented the digital camera and yet didn’t see its opportunity until it was too late. Blockbuster had a chance to buy Netflix and didn’t. History has a long list of once-thriving organizations that died because they failed to innovate.
One of our core values is innovation in our company, and we actually have a dedicated “Innovation Hour” each week for our team. The team comes up with amazing ideas as we intentionally take time to innovate and foster creativity.
Amid the pandemic, our team had a fantastic idea to serve faith-based organizations and businesses with a stellar digital toolkit to help these organizations crush it online.
We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to solve a problem for organizations to save time with social media and reach more people through creativity. We invested money in innovation and didn’t play it safe. The product is called Creativo with beta desktop and mobile app versions.
Over a month ago, we brought people into the Creativo app after taking such a significant risk. We didn’t know if it would ultimately fail or if people would love it. We are grateful that it did solve their problems by saving time and reaching more people on social media, and it was exactly what they were looking for!
The amazing part is we are still innovating with all of the early adopters. You can check it out here.
You need to be willing to innovate and not play it safe to grow. The risk of avoiding innovation is becoming just another Kodak or Blockbuster.
Foster innovation and creativity with your team in 2022. Create an environment where ideas can be shared and risks are taken to test them out. Maybe it’s a new method, system, creative vision, product, or something that any other church, nonprofit, or business has never been done before. If you’re intentional, innovation will drive your growth.
Risk 4: Passing Expiration Dates
When you take out a gallon of milk from the fridge and open it up to discover a horrible smell, you know exactly what happened:
The expiration date has passed.
For the most part, we try to drink our milk and eat our food before time has its way and expiration sets in. Yet how many times do we allow the expiration date to pass on the layout of the auditorium, our current logo, or our website?
We would never allow this for the goods in our refrigerator, but we have permitted it on the front door to our organization — the website.
We deal with this every day with clients that come and don’t even realize that their website is outdated and is unsuitable to reach who they want to reach. Some have not updated their website in years, while others have launched a brand new site that is expired in design.
It’s never a fun moment to inform an organization (that just launched their website) that it is just plain bad. It’s just like buying a new gallon of milk from the store but not checking the expiration date. We think what we’re getting is brand new milk, but it just ends up being sour.
Our company Pro MediaFire is a digital creative agency, and even we had to check ourselves this year by realizing our site was good but had reached its creative expiration date! We let the creative juices flow, made sure we designed a new site fresh for today and launched it in the summer of 2021.
Crossing expiration dates with your physical location and digital footprint is like taking a risk on sour milk. In the end, our lack of updates and revamping will ultimately create a decline.
Take inventory and do an audit of your current state. Gain an understanding of what types of designs and layouts are best suited for your particular audience. Update and make the changes necessary both physically and digitally to keep reaching and impacting who you are called to serve in 2022.
Risk 5: Culture Without Passion
A risk facing your organization is the Great Resignation. People are quitting jobs at a record rate and creating a major talent drain for organizations.
A culture void of passion produces this massive problem. When there is no vision, it creates a community with no fire to fulfill the mission.
People will often work for less money if they love the job and the mission. If you think people may leave your organization only because of money, that is undoubtedly not the case unless the pay is not allowing them to take care of their family and necessities.
While money is a minor factor, what your team really wants is a mission. They want to be in a passionate community about this mission and will do anything to meet it.
Organizations without passion for the mission will experience the total weight of the Great Resignation and the downward momentum of a declining team.
Cast vision and lead your team with a passion for the mission. Find your heart, your purpose, and invite your team to take ownership of it. The teams that passionately work together towards the mission will grow in the days ahead. These passionate organizations will also be the places that those leaving other organizations will want to come and work at.
Risk 6: Not Going All-In On Hybrid
The future does not belong to digital alone. If it did, then Amazon would have never bought Whole Foods in the physical world. The future of our organizations is Hybrid: a combination of both physical and digital.
If you only go one direction or the other, you will risk decline in the days ahead.
When it comes to technology, we need to automate what we can and personalize what requires people. The more you carefully make these decisions, the more you will grow in the future.
We often see clients with a budget for marketing that combines both physical and digital strategies; this increases their marketing efforts. Yet, most organizations focus on just one method of outreach.
If you’re a church, make sure to dial in your experiences accordingly.
My wife and I take our four kids to church and love that we can listen to the service uninterrupted while the service is going on with the kids in the children’s department. This is a huge selling point for a physical service, and no matter how you try and package it, the home experience is not the same and never will be. It’s a great secondary option if one of the kids is sick, but it will never replace the physical church experience. The point is both are effective in reaching my family, but they are not the same.
In the same way, we run a digital company and do most of our meetings remotely with our clients. We use software to organize our teams and the projects for our clients, but we personally take time to speak with our Pro MediaFire clients. The benefit of face-to-face time is that it is an experience we cannot replace with technology. It is a much-needed human connection that helps us accomplish their goals through personal relationships.
We need to have a proper balance in our organizations of digital and physical. If you do not have a healthy consideration of the hybrid world we live in, you are well on your way to decline.
Look at the outcomes of each physical and digital action before making decisions. Automate what you can automate and personalize what you can personalize. Technology will bring you speed, and the personal touch will bring you community.
Are You Ready For 2022?
The Pro MediaFire team is providing free 30-minute strategy assessments to help churches, nonprofits organizations, and businesses grow in 2022.
Your strategy assessment video call from the Pro MediaFire team includes:
- Digital Growth Potential
- Website & Brand Expiration Evaluation
- Outreach Opportunities
- Risk of Decline Solutions
- Hybrid Impact Evaluation
Clint and the Pro MediaFire team will meet with as many organizations as their schedule permits to help you accelerate your mission.
Limited space available, book your call today:
Which one of six risks do you predict will be your organization’s biggest hurdle in 2022? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Clint Rogers