Crown Financial Ministries was forged for the new millennium -- the merging of Christian Financial Concepts and Crown Ministries in September 2000. The partnership that developed between Larry Burkett, of Christian Financial Concepts, and Howard Dayton, of Crown, formed a powerful voice for Christian stewardship that is impacting millions of lives across the globe.

McConkey-Johnston was involved in a number of aspects related to the merger, including developing and executing creative communications strategies to help launch the “new” organization. But one of the challenges facing Crown was to blend the two ministries’ donor files into a cohesive base of support for the new organization. Beyond the “normal” communications outlets of publications and direct mail, the ministry was blessed with two prolific authors and a high profile on Christian radio with daily programs that reached millions of listeners. A natural strategic outcome was the development of a “core donor” program designed to help unify the new donor base and to provide a growing source of sustainable monthly income for Crown.

Working with the team of Jim Olsen, Sharon Parker and Jack Gibbs at Crown, M/J developed a project design for a new program called “Crown Outreach Partners.” The design included detailed strategic objectives, systems design, workflow, audience segmentation strategies, benefits packages and creative applications for the new “membership-driven” partner program. Part of the program’s success hinged on creating a unique brand identity for Outreach Partners, plus finding ways to demonstrate appreciation for Partners’ financial commitment.

“We defined a compelling benefits package for Outreach Partners that included regular monthly ‘special’ communications from Larry Burkett and Howard Dayton,” says Sharon Parker. “Partners also had special discounts on merchandise, plus premiums of books and CDs. It was a nice way to acknowledge their commitment to Crown, and was quite successful.”

The anchor of the Outreach Partners program was the utilization of a system-driven gift reminder package that Crown mailed each month. Jim Olsen described the rationale for this approach. “Every Partner would receive the mailing, which was designed to place a response device in their hand, along with our monthly, “partners-only” newsletter. While most receipt systems offer a reply device, it only works if the donor has given a gift. Our gift reminders took the uncertainty out of the equation -- and fulfillment rates on partner commitments skyrocketed.”

McConkey-Johnston also provided creative for the program, including copy and design for invitation letters, brochures, “welcome aboard” packages, “lapsing” and renewal letters, plus prototypes of the newsletter and gift reminder packages. “We provided ‘full service’ on this program to free Crown’s creative staff for the regular routines associated with a national media ministry,” said Jeff McLinden, M/J vice president. “I’ve been involved in creating and implementing quite a few partner programs of this type, so it was a real pleasure to help Crown launch the Outreach Partner program.”

M/J continued to help Crown in several capacities, providing direct mail copy and design each month, as well as with special projects. “Jeff helped us design a lapsed donor reactivation program that has really helped us regain former donors who had slipped away,” notes Arnie Hulteen, VP for Advancement. “And his work on our direct mail communications program is really appreciated by Howard Dayton. We truly value the excellent relationship we have with McConkey-Johnston. You are a tremendous asset to Crown Financial Ministries.”