Clear, concise and regular communication is extremely important in any ministry or organization. One of the great things about communication in ministry, is your members are typically very interested and engaged in your message already. They are looking for ways to help and are often already telling their friends, families and co-workers about many of the events and activities that are available.
Knowing that members are interested in what you have to say, what can you do to make sure you are communicating messages and requests clearly? Here are a few things that can ensure your communication is breaking through the noise.
Ask Your Members How They Like to Communicate
It really can be that easy sometimes. Performing quick survey can greatly help to make sure that you are using the right tools to reach your congregation. Depending on the size of your church or organization, you may be able to simple ask in person. If your organization is larger and fairly connected, Survey Monkey and Google Forms are two easy to use and free survey tools. A survey card made available in a common area or sanctuary might be a better choice for older members or rural ministries and churches. This should be a simple survey asking only a few questions specifically about communication. A few examples:
What are your preferred methods of communication?
(Check all that apply)
[ ] Phone [ ] Email [ ] Social Media [ ] Text [ ] Face to Face [ ] Mail [ ] Service Announcements [ ] Bulletin/Flyer [ ] Video [ ] Website
How often would you like to hear from us?
[ ] Once per week [ ] Once per month [ ] Multiple Times per Week [ ] Multiple Times per Month [ ] Only for Important Events [ ] Never
What Information Would You Like to Receive from Us?
(Check all that apply)
[ ] Special Events [ ] Volunteer Opportunities [ ] General Church News [ ] Special Offerings [ ] Online Sermons [ ] Prayer Requests
Communicate with Your Members the Way They Want to Communicate
You would be surprised by the number of organizations that ignore the information collected from surveys. Depending on your results, you may want to begin looking into email platforms, Text Message Systems, Phone Trees, a Video Campaign, a New Website, or a Comprehensive System that rolls a lot of these together like Community Church Builder or The City. By pairing the right communications method to the right people, you will see a large increase in engagement and response. Often, people will request multiple communication methods. This is why we recommend thinking of communicating as a comprehensive campaign instead of just individual messages. Keep your messages specific and targeted to the right audience. A senior adult is less likely to be interested in the youth group white rafting trip than a middle aged parent. Not always the case however.
Analyze and Adjust Your Communication Strategies
After launching a campaign or communications method, make sure to check back and see how it is performing. Here are things to watch for:
Email: Opens, Clicks, and Responses
Phone: Answers and Responses
Text: Opens and Responses
Video: Views and Click Throughs
Direct Mail: Responses
Website: Visitors, Page Views, Clicks, Bounce Rates, Sign Ups and Downloads
Social Media: Likes, Shares, Views, Click Throughs and Follows
Take note of which posts, videos, emails, mail pieces, etc. perform better than others and adjust future pieces accordingly.
Implementing these practices will help you keep your members engaged and informed which will lead to increased giving, volunteering and visitors. Communications tools change constantly, but how to use them effectively does not.