If you have ever tried to grow a plant, you know that it takes effort. It involves giving it the correct amount of sunlight and water. This step in the Major Partner Cycle is all about giving the relationship you have made with the potential partner the correct amount of sunlight and water, through passive engagements. You are trying to connect the partner to their own story, then connect the partner to your story through a shared experience.
Start With A Plan
Thinking strategically is always the first step you should make when cultivating a relationship. Your time and their time is one of the most valuable resources. You want to be sure that you are using time well when working with a partner. To do this, you have to consider everything you know about the person. Think about to what you learned during the discovery appointment. What are they passionate about? What gets them excited about what you are doing on campus? Figure out what those things are and then make a plan to get them to participate in them! On your Moves Management document, you can plan out months in advance what you would like to do to cultivate the relationship with your partner. Be sure to make a plan you are willing to stick to! A plan is worthless if you aren't willing to implement each step.
Generally, you want to begin by inviting the potential partner to participate in a passive engagement. This is an activity where the individual comes, learns more about your ministry, but isn't expected to do anything. This could something like attending a weekly meeting or Bible study, come to a vision dinner, or experience Winter Conference. The point of this interaction is to allow the partner to witness what is happening with your ministry. This will create a greater vision of you are doing on campus! After this engagement, you will ask the partner to participate in an activity that requires them to be more involved, known as an active engagement. This is now the Second Ask.
After the partner has learned more about the scope of what you are doing, it is time to move them in to participation. Invite them to be actively involved in what you are doing in ministry! Have them lead a Bible study or speak at a weekly meeting about something they are passionate about. Have them speak at an EII forum or help plan your vision dinner. Ask them to go on a vision trip with you overseas. These trips grow relationships like nothing else. They also get the opportunity to share with students just like you would! Ultimately, you want them to move from participation to ownership. Talk with your local development staff about your options. There are many Development events happening around the country that you could invite them to participate in, and they might even be able to help get an event going on your campus!
Now, the partner has maybe gone from knowing nothing about Cru whatsoever, to owning their own ministry alongside of you. Their emotional commitment has grown and they are investing their labor, influence, and expertise into your ministry. You have done your homework and you know what they are passionate about. You know they want to see freshman learn about Cru, or that they want to see the lukewarm sophomore and juniors finally go to Winter Conference or on Summer Mission to have their faith grow in ways they never would have expected. You are ready to make the Third Ask - to set up a time to discuss partnering with your ministry in a significant financial way.