Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Archive for October, 2012

Mobile-friendly Design to Increase Inquiries

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Excitement is building at M-DAT about a new design for ShortTermMissions.com. The improved site will do a better job than ever of helping people make it to the mission field. It will help people like Carly.

After a couple of months of unsuccessful inquiries into various missions opportunities, Carly landed at ShortTermMissions.com and found a mission trip that piqued her interest. She submitted her inquiry and the next day received a call from the organization coordinating the trip. Seven weeks later Carly was on a four-week mission trip, serving in Uganda! She wrote, “This site has been extremely helpful! Praise God for his faithfulness, and blessings to you all that connect us to our destined trips.”

We want more stories like Carly’s—more people taking the love and hope of Christ to every corner of the world. The new design will accomplish this goal by addressing two important issues: mobile browsing and site usability.

First, the redesign makes ShortTermMissions.com more accessible to the rapidly increasing number of people who use mobile phones to browse the Internet. Currently 20% of visitors to the site come using mobile devices. The new design responds to screen size to ensure that no matter how a person arrives at the site, he can easily find a mission trip.

Second, the redesign communicates more clearly what a user will find and where to find it. This is called website usability.  We ran A/B tests to determine how two of the design changes would affect user behavior and use of the site. The rate at which a user inquired about a mission trip increased by 7% in one case and by 65% in another!

How a website looks and works matters. Pray that the implementation phase of the new design will go smoothly.  Pray that this service will be increasingly useful. And most importantly, join us in asking the Lord to send out more workers into the harvest.

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Do you have web design and programming skills? Help people make it to the mission field.

Personal Missions Coaching

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

by David Armstrong

Whether an inquirer asks, “How do I become a missionary?” or “How can I raise the funds to serve overseas?” we are passionate about helping them find the answers. We love to come alongside them as they discover their next steps and the skills critical to their success. We help them recognize the experiences that will best prepare them, the resources that will extend their reach, and the relationships that will encourage and move them forward.

What do you call that kind of ministry? Mission coaching, says Matthew Ellison, Executive Director of Sixteen:Fifteen. Matt spends all his time coaching church mission committees around the country. I hadn’t thought of M-DAT’s work as so similar, yet Matt is right, we provide personal mission coaching.

A coach helps another person develop the understanding, skill, and experience they need to accomplish their goals. That is how we serve every day, by phone, email, or in person, and especially through our web services.

ShortTermMissions.com connects people to many great options for short-term exposure to cross-cultural ministry and tries to match them up with options that fit their experience, skills, and passion, and the vision that God is growing in them.

AskaMissionary.com offers potential missionaries advice from dozens of experienced missionaries serving in a variety of ministries all around the world.

PreparingToGo.com provides those considering overseas service with video clips of experienced missionaries sharing how it felt for them to walk through the various stages of becoming a missionary.

Coaching can mean suggesting the right word or perspective each person may need.  It considers each one’s skills, experience, and potential, along with what God is doing in his or her life and in our world. It is highly personal. We are honored to be part of that process in thousands of lives.

Prayer and Gratitude

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Current M-DAT news and prayer requests:

  • Two surveys of ShortTermMissions.com users this year found 45% of those who search for a trip also agree, “I feel God may be leading me toward long-term cross-cultural service.” Very exciting, cause for praise, but also challenging: how can we help them better?! Pray for our increased effectiveness in connecting with the 45% and coaching them on their journey.
  • Praise God for his provision of a content editor—important for our ongoing ability to provide quality advice and help for aspiring missionaries. In September we welcomed Marti Wade as a part-time member of our team. Marti works from her home in Oregon and has served in mission mobilization since the mid-1990s.
  • Pray for the completion and smooth release of an improved, mobile-friendly version of ShortTermMissions.com. Pray that the refinements will result in more people engaged in missions.
  • Pray for our staff as they attend Urbana. North America’s largest student missions conference will be held in St. Louis again this December 2012. Pray for great conversations as we interact with students, connect them with mission resources, and help them take their next steps.

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