The Eyes Have It: Who's Reading?

The Eyes Have It: Who's Reading
    photo courtesy of photographerpandora at flickr.com
Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! It’s Holy Week. If you haven’t read about Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 recently, take a break and do so. Old Jeho may not have been jumping, but he was praying and plundering.
In any event, to all my clergy friends out there – God bless you in these next few days. May this be a time of blessing for you and the people to whom you are blessed to minister.
Speaking of ministering, THE big day – Easter (I hear the trumpets now!) – is coming up. And, just in time, there are a couple of new and/or re-circulating articles about those two major groups you are longing to pack into your church this Sunday: Millennials and Young Families. So take another moment (after you’ve immersed yourself in Jehoshaphat) and read: Top 10 Church Faux Pas that Turn Off Millennials and When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can “Bring in Young Families.”
But lest you forget that huge population who will be faithfully in the pews, let me remind you of…how do I say this tastefully – the codger, crone, elder, senior, not quite young, beyond youth, or, my favorite, the good old (and I mean that in the best way) geezer. Yep – because somehow, I have arrived in this demographic. Let’s just say, some things are deteriorating.

A recent article had me at How Nonprofits Can Make Their Reading Materials Senior Friendly: It’s All About the Eyes. God bless you if your eyes are still perky and focused. But you must remember those who aren’t so fortunate – and that includes our younger brothers and sisters who are visually impaired.
Here are the highlights: Your biggest donors/tithers are the “older generation.” They volunteer more. They have more wealth. They love to read. Here’s what Joanne Fritz says you should do to make reading easier for those wise eyes – and frankly for everyone else too:
Use larger type: 12 point at a minimum but don’t go overboard and make it too large, there’s a happy medium.
Use appropriate typeface: serif type is best. Avoid using italics, script, and ornate typefaces.
Use good contrast: black type on white paper is preferable. Use reverse type (black background on white type) only for headlines.
Break it up: short paragraphs – cut up long copy. Making it too dense without some space is hard on the eyes.
Make it easy to read: Don’t use glossy paper. Too shiny and it’s too hard to read.
As you pursue the other coveted demographics, don’t forget the group that has been with you for decades. Some of us have really had a hard time deciphering what’s on the page and we want to see what you have to say. Our eyes will thank you – and so will our hearts.

P.S. I am no big classical music fan but at Easter I am always drawn to listen to the complete work of Handel’s “Messiah.” Here’s my favorite pre-Easter piece from that glorious work: “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows! He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
 May you have a blessed Holy Week and Easter.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She swears she is able to read most things without her glasses. As long as it’s 14 point type. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.