I work at a church that is currently engaged in the Visioning process. The congregation is made up of three churches that chose to amalgamate in back in 2008. After 10 years together it was time to take a closer look at that the Vision and Mission. One of the goals of the visioning process is to try to create a personal brand and continue to create growth and create ways better ways to communicate and serve the community at large.
The two biggest challenges in communications have been first, finding effective ways to communicate with our ageing “Baby Boomer” members and secondly, how to effectively promote and communicate ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’ to the public.
Who we are
The congregation is made up primarily of individuals and families that live within a 1-20 km radius to where the church is located. The majority of the members are between 50 and 65 years old (60%) followed by a smaller group of young families under 49 years old with young children (20%) and the much older members over 66 years old (20%).
Current Communicating Challenges
1) Still using old style technologies to communicate to members– ie. Weekly Email newsletter blasts with pdf attachments.
2) Majority of the older members use email but don’t engage heavily in Social Media.
3) Inherited an old and outdated website.
Solutions and new Strategies to increase better existing and a wider audience
- We currently share information (upcoming services and events)with the majority of our members electronically via email blasts using Gmail with a pdf attachment. While there are no complaints about this way of communicating, we have no way of knowing of monitoring who is reading the information that is sent. Many people won’t make the effort to click on the attachment.
Solution: Move our e-communication from email blast with a pdf to Mail Chimp https://mailchimp.com/.
- While we heavily promote our Facebook site as a source of information very few people engage in the Facebook page and have expressed distrust in using Social media and site the reason being the problems “breach of personal information and the idea of people personally oversharing information’ is perceived to be not a good thing. Today’s news about Facebook’s involvement was not helpful in promoting Facebook as a viable communicating tool (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-remember-facebook-helped-elect-obama-first/).
Solution: Create a Google poll to reach out to all of our members to find out who uses social media and how they would prefer to receive information.
- Many non-profit organizations lack funds and expertise in marketing and promotion. A volunteer 8 years ago offers their services for free to set up a simple website in WordPress. While the events calendar is updated regularly the look and style of the site is now badly outdated, in limited and lacks important features.
Solution: Invest time and resources into recreating a new interactive website with a blog option for engaging the members and public ( if they are not on Facebook) and ensuring all members that are able to easily navigate it and use it as a tool to better promote the organisation to folks that might consider visiting.
Any other suggestions on how we can better engage the older generation would be helpful!