FOLLOW – UP CAMPAIGN
MAXIMIZE YOUR PREACHING IMPACT
Hundreds and thousands of books are distributed each year, all over the world. But we do not see hundreds and thousands becoming devotees right after that. One reason for that is, of course, not everyone is ready for it. Another reason is that no one contacted them after giving them the book. Hence often those who have developed some interest, can’t join.
In order to maximize our efforts, and make them fruitful. Instead of simply giving them a book or inviting them for a program and leaving it up to them to make contact, we need to always take their contact details and make a personal connection that can be followed up.
We at Congregational Development Ministry dedicating this month as a “Follow Up Marathon” month.
In this presentation developed by HH Jayapataka Swami (the CDM co-minister) you can learn about the step by step process of preaching a new person and cultivating him to becoming a devotee. The entire journey is described in simple steps with the acronym of 6 C’s.
FOLLOW – UP
The Christmas marathon was very successful, devotees went out, contacted online all over the world and distributed Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental books. Even during the pandemic so many people were made fortunate and were given these books. The distributors tried novel ways to sell books on the Internet.
During book distribution, we meet various types of people, favourable/unfavourable, enthusiast. But once they take the book, it is left to them to advance further on their own. However, if we take their contact details, and after the marathon month, we contact them again, cultivate them and develop a relationship with them. The preaching would have a better impact and the people can make progress faster.
On request of several devotees, to make a program and train the preachers on the importance and process of following-up with their preaching program, the Congregational Development Ministry is launching the Follow-Up Campaign. which will help maximizing the impact of our preaching, and make it more fruitful.
THE BROAD STRATEGY – FOLLOW UP
The main objective is bringing people to eventually join a Bhakti-Vriksa group. The idea is taking a person from the first contact with Krsna consciousness to the point he commits to devotional service. This broad strategy has three phases:
• cultivation, building the relationship
• commitment to Krsna consciousness
These three phases—the 3 c’s: contact, cultivation, and commitment—lead the person to the point where he or she is systematically engaged in practicing and preaching Krsna consciousness. The Bhakti- Vriksa group members are themselves active in all three phases. To successfully apply this strategy, though, takes good coordination and cooperation of all the devotees involved: temple 138 Bhakti- Vriksa Manual leaders, temple devotees, book distributors, full-time Bhakti- Vriksa preachers, and Bhakti- Vriksa group members.
Bhakti- Vriksa groups can only grow by cultivating people (by e-mail, phone, in-home visits, and participation) and gradually making them group members. At the beginning of the Bhakti- Vriksa Program the first groups are mainly made of existing congregational devotees, but to keep growing and multiplying the groups need to concentrate on building relationships and gradually introducing new people to Bhakti- Vriksa life. This preaching work has unlimited scope, as every contact has close relationships with other people, who in turn are in touch with others, and so on, forming a chain of connections spanning the whole of human society.
THE THREE PHASES IN BRIEF
Phase one: Contact
This phase includes:
• getting contacts (taking names and addresses of interested people)
• gathering the information (collect the contact cards)
• processing the contacts (entering the information in the computer)
• assigning the contacts for follow-up (according to areas and interests)
The first contact starts the relationship. It can be through book distribution, a festival, a harinama, a visit to the temple or to a Hare Krsna restaurant, through work connections, radio programs, the internet, and so on. The essential thing is to take the name, address, and all other essential information of whoever shows some interest in Krsna consciousness.
Phase Two: Cultivation, Building the Relationship
The second phases involve:
• keeping in touch though the mail (newsletters and both standard and personal letters)
• keeping in touch by telephone
• home visits
• engaging the person to participate as a guest in a Krsna conscious program (Bhakti-Vriksa group meetings, Sunday Feasts, festivals, etc.)
Building the relationship involves cultivation and introductory programs of service and association for establishing friendship with devotees, building the person’s interest and faith in Krsna consciousness, Srila Prabhupäda and ISKCON, until the person commits himself to regular devotional service. This phase includes staying in touch through mail, email, phone calls, home visits, visiting a Bhakti-Vriksa group meeting, visiting the temple, participating in Sunday Feasts and festivals, engaging in various services, organizing home programs, and so on.
Phase Three: Commitment to Krsna Consciousness
This can be affected achieved through:
• joining a Bhakti-vriksa group
• joining as a temple devotee
• becoming committed to some other factual, regular
Krsna conscious engagement.
For the success of the Bhakti-vriksa Program to expand smoothly, all group members must be systematically trained in all the aspects of these three stages of preaching.
– Excerpt from the Bhakti-vriksa Manual—
For more information on this book please visit our website:
“TRAINING IS THE ESSENTIAL TO MAKE PEOPLE KRSNA CONSCIOUS.”
Although of course acknowledging the power of his books and energetically encouraging devotees to distribute them, Srila Prabhupada was perfectly aware that the dissemination of literature was only part of the broad strategy for making people devotees of Krsna
Therefore, he said: “Immediately, a person cannot be renounced; therefore gradually, step by step. So, unless there is proper training… Now just like we are selling millions copies of these books, they are reading, and how many of them coming forward? So, it requires training. Training is the essential to make people Krsna conscious.” (Evening Darsana, Bombay, 14 Aug 1976)
It’s like a house: the foundation is essential and irreplaceable, but on that foundation, we need to build walls and rooms and equip them with electricity, water, furniture and everything else is necessary for comfortable, civilized living. “Yes, begin the bus program village to village, distributing kirtana, prasadam and books. That will make our foundation strong.” (Letter to Hamsadutta, 29 Jan 1976)
Following up includes building a relation with the people who buy the books; encouraging them to read the books they bought; helping them to understand them by remaining available for questions; explaining to them the fundamental aspects of bhakti-yoga and how to gradually implement them in their daily life; assisting them to remove the obstacles and overcoming challenges; providing them with avenues for association and engagement – and so on.
Imagine a town with no houses but only foundations of houses. Who would wish to live there? Imagine if we only distributed knowledge but not cultivated people who receive that knowledge. “Training is the essential to make people Krsna conscious.”
– By Kaunteya Das —
STEP 1 MINDSET
• Change your mindset
• Understand the purpose of the effort
• From just organizing a program, to thinking about connecting with people.
• Be mentally prepared to really connect.
When you approach life with a “Growth Mindset” you understand your abilities can be developed.
STEP 2 STRATEGY
• Discuss with your team ways to connect with people.
• Be open-minded to new ideas.
• Design contact collection forms.
• Train devotees on how to approach people effectively.
• Get all the team on board as regards the plan.
STEP 3 CONTACT
• The most important part of the process.
• Don’t be shy and talk to people.
• Remember as much information as possible from the conversation.
• Write down points of interest in the contact sheet.
STEP 4 -PROCESSING
• All contacts can be submitted to the central office.
• If no central office, download the Individual contact database from CDM website.
• Database should contain as much information as possible.
• Regularly update the contact database.
STEP 5 – FOLLOW-UP – BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
• Establish immediate contact with those interested
• Be an attention listener
• Appreciate their efforts
STEP 6 – INVITE – BEING PRESENT
• Be personal
• Introduce the local temple
• Host special programs, yoga sessions, cooking classes.
STEP 7 – CONNECTED
• Person is regularly attending temple/home/other programs.
• Inspired to chant
• Willing to share with others.
For further tips on CONNECT please visit our website:
IMPORTANT OF CONTACT MANAGEMENT
-HH Sridhara Maharaja —
“This idea of creating a database and collecting contacts at all our festivals and in
any situation where we come in contact with the public is very important. I tried
for a number of years to teach this to devotees and I fully agree with Jayapatäkä
Mahäräja as to its importance.
“We can follow up in so many creative ways when we have a list of people who
we know are relatively favorable. There is a whole science to database marketing
and every successful organization, including non-profit and religious organizations,
uses it successfully.…
“I would caution that you should be ready to follow up your collection of data
soon after it is collected. Names, addresses, and the impressions of people become
redundant quite quickly.
“If nothing is done to follow up and also report the successes of follow up, those
doing the collecting of names become despondent. Get some good software and start planning now.”
-By Navina Nirada das —
• Collect the names, addresses, email and phone of the interested people.
• Keep a clear, up to date record of: type of person ex: pious, philanthropist, jnani, religious, impersonalist, etc., books they have, their area of interest, hobby etc., important dates like birthday etc., financial possibilities, how much they usually give for the Mission, family members names and their attitude toward Krsna Consciousness, other…
• Follow up personally the people you met.
• Contact them regularly and/or in special occasions: Christmas, birthday etc.
• Visit them regularly, once a year. More often in special cases.
• Bring them presents.
• Bring them prasadam.
• Bring them Books they do not yet have.
• Encourage them to read Srila Prabhupada’s Books for solving their problems.
• Preach to them according to their advancement in Krsna Consciousness.
• Be patient.
• Listen to them, be sensitive and attentive.
• Give them all the time they need.
• Do programs at their home.
• Never ask for laxmi when you visit them also if you gave presents, books and prasadam.
• Accept whatever donation they give.
• Mention, especially the first time, how we use the laxmi for.
• Be sensitive if they do not want to be contacted any more.
• Always give a last try.
• In the Temple there should be a competent telephone answering.
• If you are for example a Congregational member and you prefer that the person you met is followed up by some preacher or trainer of the Temple, introduce.
TAKE PEOPLE’S CONTACTS AND FOLLOW UP ON THEM
IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOW UP
Navina Nirada Prabhu, a successful book distributor, and leadership trainer shares a success story that emphasizes the importance of following-up on those who are interested in Srila Prabhupada’s books. From inspiring someone to explore the realm of spirituality to facilitate a probable life-changing visit to Mayapur, India, there’s a good chance, that someone can benefit from. Simply because a Sankirtan devotee gave a little “extra-push” to the sincere seeker.
CULTIVATE WHO YOU PREACH TO
HG Pancharatna Prabhu, a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, speaks about important steps in order to effectively cultivate our contacts and those who we preach to. This seminar was given at ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS) in Sri Dham Mayapur.