Pack The Place FULL!
Making sure people show up to your church outreach event.
“How will they know about it?” The question came from a timid voice in the back of the group.
It was the night before the church’s annual summer Vacation Bible School. The fifty or so volunteers stood in a big circle around the children’s minister as she went over the week’s schedule and appointed various last minute tasks.
The volunteers had worked countless hours building stage sets, creating games, memorizing verses, practicing songs, preparing crafts, making snacks, etc. They were exhausted but excited for what they were sure would be a “ton” of kids coming this week to the amazing VBS they had assembled with their bare hands.
“The best way to get people to your outreach event is to let them know about it!”
The children’s minister cleared her throat and then cheerfully pointed to the ‘Realtor-style’ yard sign in the front lawn of the church that read, in small black all capital letters, “VBS THIS WEEK. (at the church)”.
“Why they’ll see the sign of course!” she said confidently.
The volunteers looked at each other. Inwardly most of them were promising themselves that there was no way they would get roped into giving up a week’s vacation to work so hard on something that no-one would bother to spend any time or effort promoting.
DON’T MAKE YOUR EVENT A SECRET
So many times ministry leaders find themselves in the same situation as this children’s minister. They have all the volunteers and resources to pull off a great event but then do almost nothing to promote it.
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth telling people about it.
Reasons for lack of promotion vary. Sometimes people just don’t know how or where to begin. Other times it is because words like “marketing” or “advertising” have become dirty words when it comes to ministry; when in reality, these are basic parts of the planning and execution process for anything we try to accomplish in life that involves other people, whether it’s a children’s birthday party or launching a new corporate brand.
“Marketing”, at its core, is simply letting people know about, and see the value of something. The reality is you already ARE doing some marketing. You just need to figure out if you are doing poor marketing or good marketing. So don’t be afraid to do some really great “marketing” for your ministry.
Be an Honest Marketer
If you are okay with marketing your ministry event, you need to figure out what your marketing message will be. The best marketers are those who are transparent while best conveying value. Trying to “trick” people into coming to a Bible study by calling it a barbeque will not go over well. Also, avoid the “bait and switch”. Having a Roller Skating party with a 40 minute devotional in the middle of it will cause people to doubt any future efforts on your part.
You know you need a targeted church outreach list…
Check out our cheap lists and take advantage of our Free Online Search. (With List Preview!)
Establish a very clear WHO, WHAT, WHY.
As an example, let’s say you decide you are going to have a movie night with childcare and food (in another article I will share how you can get food donated). You decide you want any families in your community to come. Your agreed upon goal is simply to give something to the families in your community, and through that to start to build relationships with people you don’t know. You know this is a valuable gift because many families work hard, can’t afford babysitters, have little family time, and date nights are expensive.
As a result of your decisions, here is your WHO, WHAT, WHY:
WHO: All Mayberry Families
WHAT: Free Movie Night Showing “The Sound of Music”
WHY: Because Everyone Needs a Night Off
Now give this to your most creative volunteer, or hire a printer to make flyers for you and to write some attention grabbing copy. You can get pretty awesome template designs for postcards and flyers at Powered Templates http://www.poweredtemplates.com/pid/1617/index.html
Get the Word Out
Now you need to get the flyers you created out to everyone in your community. This is so easy. In fact, it’s so easy that it is a crying shame that not every single ministry is doing this.
- Get a list of everyone in your community from www.skneighborhood.com . You can get just people with kids, or just those who are married, or new movers, just those who live within a mile of your church or whatever type of list you want with all kinds of filters. You decide!
- Import the list you just got into Servant Keeper (www.servantpc.com) and in a less than five minutes you’ll be printing out labels and have the flyers in the mail.
Just to give you an idea of how powerful this is, here is Jeff’s testimony, from Detroit.
“We were doing free movie nights at our church without great results. We decided to try sending out a flyer to everyone who lived within one mile of our church, so we downloaded a list from SK Neighborhood and imported it into Servant Keeper, printed out the labels and sent out the post cards. As a result, two hundred people from that mailing came out to our next movie night. We were blown away, especially considering at the time we were only a church of a little over one hundred people! Thank you for introducing us to these great tools that let us reach more people for Christ.”
So don’t be afraid to tell people about your ministry, whether it’s just reminding people about your service times, or letting people know about the upcoming Christmas Eve Service. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth telling people about it.
If you’re interested check this out for another great article on ministry and marketing. Great food for thought.