Making the Shift from Cold Calls to Warm Invitations

In this month’s newsletter, U.S. Executive Director, Dave Reed and Director of Strategic Development, River Outlaw discuss how the transition from cold calls to warm invitations increases ROTOM’s ability to serve more seniors in Africa.

Find out how you can help ROTOM serve more seniors. Discover how a warm introduction can open doors to future friendships!

By Dave Reed & River Outlaw

In an era of continuous marketing, it is almost impossible to avoid answering the phone only to realize a stranger is asking about your car warranty. The industry has researched and instructed their sales people on every which way to try to keep you on the phone.  Which is creepy in and of itself, but often they come across as quite familiar, even though they don’t know you at all. That experience is the epitome of a “cold call.”

It feels so different than when you see something you admire being used, worn or engaged in by a friend, family member or neighbor and actually solicit information on where they found out about that item, service or activity. It feels like they are doing you a favor by sharing their insider secrets. Or if you tell a friend, “Hey, I’m looking to get involved in X”, and later they call and say, “I found just the thing, it’s called X”.  That is what we would call a “warm invitation.”

This makes me (River) think of pickle ball. A new hobby that seems to be taking the country by storm, but when I first heard it mentioned, it just sounded like an odd relish that might be served with a side of fries. Finally, after hearing over and over how much my friends just loved pickle ball, I had to ask. What is it? Why do you like it so much? How much does it cost? Where can I try it out? I solicited information about something that sounded intriguing and worth checking into. No one had to call my cell phone at a ridiculous hour and pitch the accolades of how amazing pickle ball is. I asked and they told me. That is a warm invitation.

As the country began to open up, we have been praying about ways for ROTOM to engage a broader audience. Individuals like yourself, who have a heart for serving those in less advantaged parts of the world. Prior to the pandemic, our strategy involved engaging local churches and faith communities by hosting “Friendship Sundays,” to promote our Senior Friendship Program. This of course was not a possibility during the pandemic.

When COVID swept the nation, churches shifted to meeting online or not at all, and our previous methods were suddenly irrelevant. Evidently God wanted us to figure out a different approach. We have struggled to keep up with the daily shift in national guidelines, while also continuing to bring awareness to the needs of our ROTOM seniors. Life on the other side of the word, in the field was also disrupted by this strange virus. How ROTOM staff engaged with our senior friends was adjusted to accommodate their own “localized”, national quarantine.

Reach One Touch One Ministries as an international organization adjusted, both individually and globally. One of our hurdles was to figure out how to continue services to our senior friends without increasing the cost of our programs. From a medical standpoint, there are medicine deliveries, at home medical screenings, personal visits versus the monthly fellowship – all requiring more one-on-one services than we had previously provided. We shifted and then; volunteers stepped in and God provided. Although, the need was far beyond those we are currently serving – we couldn’t meet the demands of more seniors without diminishing our care to those we were already serving.

But it is hard knowing that there are more seniors who need our help. We just don’t have the capacity to serve them. As we pray and wrestle with this challenge, we are continually led back to the church; reminded of our calling to offer believers the opportunity to get involved in what God is doing in the lives of seniors in Uganda and Ethiopia.

That it is our responsibility to make the invitation and the Holy Spirits’ job to put this ministry on the right person’s heart.

Yet, in a world where calls are screened and our inboxes are more swamped than the Florida everglades, it is hard to be heard above the din of commercialism. And although, we REALLY do want to get to know who you are, your story and how you learned about ROTOM; we understand that life is busy. Our U.S. staff still sets aside several times a year to call everyone who has said they want to stay in touch. Just to see how you are doing and how we can pray for you.

In early June, my wife and I (Dave), had the opportunity to visit my sister in Michigan. My sister has been captivated by the ministry of ROTOM, since she learned of its existence a few years ago. I’m not in that area often, so I asked if her church might be interested in learning more about ROTOM. My sister made the call and the church mission team extended a warm invitation for me to share more about ROTOM.

Luke Joyce, one of our youngest, and newest ROTOM board members lived only 30 miles away from where we were staying. So we thought why not stop in for a visit? Luke gave us a warm introduction to his church missions committee and quickly I was had the opportunity to share with his church elders about ROTOM. These warm invitations opened doors that I, (Dave) may have never even thought to knock on. Without any pressure I was given the chance to allow the Holy Spirit to lead the hearts of those chosen to engage in a warm invitation to love, serve and give to precious seniors on the other side of the world. It was as simple as that.

The Holy Spirit calls and the choice is yours.

This is how God is leading us to engage new hearts to empower vulnerable seniors and their dependents! This is the invitation that he invites our ROTOM staff to make to everyone brought across our path. But without the warm introductions of those who believe in and support the work of ROTOM, our opportunities are limited. We cannot be everywhere, nor do we know everyone who might be called to work with our ministry.

Each of these meetings would not have been possible without a “warm” introduction from a ROTOM friend. The connections are organic as we lean into letting the Holy Spirit lead the hearts of ministry leaders and lay leaders. 

And it is such a blessing to see how God is using churches of all different sizes and denominations to carry out His mission around the world.

Will you make the call, open the door, and make the “warm” invitation? It is a simple ask. Without the engagement of other believers in this great Mission, we cannot continue to expand our reach. Our efforts to engage new churches, new believers and new friends for seniors through cold calls and mass emails often falls into the black hole of tech trash.

You could be the catalyst for our ability to engage multiple new senior friends.

It’s as simple as introducing a friend.