For those of you not accustomed to building materials, 2x4s (or two-by-fours) are the basic building component of walls in a home – a 2″ by 4″ by 8-feet-long piece of wood. If you were attacked by someone using a length of a 2×4, you could certainly bring a lawsuit against them.  However, two-by-twos are different…and if you haven’t guessed by now, we’re not talking about wood here.

Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. But who do we hear about most often in scripture?  Those lone souls, like Paul, who went to different parts of the world to spread the good news. Indeed, they were extraordinary. They could carry the message alone and defend it…even to their death.  Interestingly, there is also a team of investigators who are wondering if the groups of two that Jesus sent forth were husbands and wives.  This is based on the fact that the Book of Genesis refers to “two by two” as a male and female grouping regarding Noah and the Ark, and is then reiterated in the Book of Ecclesiastes where it states, “Two are better than one” (Ecc. 4:9).

Similarly, in advancement, some of us strike out on our own and come back with a sizable gift. But the majority of us are more likely to simply strike out if we do that. Jesus knew that too – which is why he commissioned his followers to accompany one another. Not only did it give them someone to talk with and share the journey, but when they were evangelizing, one could support the other if one found himself at a loss for words or unable to rebut an accusation.

Think about the last presentation you made to a prospective donor. Did you go it alone? Was there someone with you? Consider this scenario: A parent from your school tells you that a friend of his is interested in providing resources to fund a school’s project, and the person’s business number is passed on to you. You call and set up an appointment, but arrive to find out that your meeting has been rescheduled. You spend the next few days trying to reschedule, and risk the same outcome.

What do you think would be the response if the parent agreed to go with you to the appointment? The parent is already involved in the school, and the prospect would be less likely to cancel since it would be an opportunity to see his friend. If a program is important to a friend, your credibility is enhanced. Choose a neutral setting – like a lunch appointment – to dramatically decrease cancellation potential.

Speaking of controlled settings, when the time comes this spring, consider distributing a family’s initial tuition invoice (which may have financial aid amounts included) personally, rather than mailing them to their home or delivering it via email (either way could be done, however, after the initial personal conversation takes place).  This way, parents are exposed to the tuition in a controlled setting instead of opening the envelope at home or at the computer with all the other bills that arrive that day.  If the parent receives that invoice in the comfort of their home, it is every easy for them to also be comfortable with the decision to withdraw their child from the school if the financial aid award is less than what they think they should receive.

Applying the 2×2 approach, if it’s more advantageous to meet in person, how much better would the possibility be for a positive outcome be if there were two people from school administration meeting with the parents.  And, if there are two parents that come to the meeting, you won’t be outnumbered.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2006-2021 (Original Publication Date: 20061113)