No doubt, your parish welcomes a variety of visitors each week. And while you can’t always spend a great amount of time introducing yourself and asking where they’re from, it’s essential to somehow capture their information so as to form a connection with them down the road. A great way to do that is with church connection cards.
Known better as “visitor cards,” they are designed for people to fill out for more information about ministries, Mass times, sacramental schedules, and more. These cards have seen an upgrade in the last few years to accommodate those who are less likely to want to share their information. That’s why it’s important to carefully choose what you absolutely need on the cards, and what can wait.
Drill Down to the Basics
Knowing what your parish is capable of doing to connect with people will help direct you on what to put on the card. Do you have welcome ministry leader who can make personal phone calls? If so, request a phone number on the card, along with visitor name and email. This way, someone can call them the following week to introduce themselves, share a little about the parish community, and ask if there is anything in particular they’re searching for. This doesn’t have to be an intensive 30 minute conversation. In fact, the shorter the conversation, the better!
Do you absolutely need to know someone’s address, material status, number of kids, or what they’re hobbies are in order to reach out later? More likely, that answer is no. If that’s the case, don’t ask them for it! Three or four simple fields are all you need. The rest — if you get them to come back! — can be captured later.
Pro-tip: Encourage people to fill out the cards by offering them a gift card to a local coffee shop or grocery store as a thank you. Think, “Fill out this card so we can buy you a cup of coffee!”
Let Your Creative Juices Flow!
The cards you distribute should be clean, creative, and really hone in on what your faith community is all about. Does your parish have a logo and branding? If so, make sure that your card reflects that. Pro Church Tools has some awesome examples of Church Connection Cards that’ll inspire you.
Some unusual ways for these cards is using different sizes, instead of the usual postcard or business card size. As long as you’re not mailing them out (the cost of postage for unusual-sized postcards can be steep), these cards should be relatively within budget when purchased online. Some places to check out are Vistaprint.com and Gotprint.com. (Be sure to Google for promo codes before you place your order for substantial savings!)
Capture Them with a Just a Few Words
Finally, it can be possible to find just a few words to capture the attention of visitors and encourage them to fill out the card. A few header examples include: Welcome Home; Sign Me Up!; Let’s Keep in Touch; Looking for a Place to Belong?; and I’m Seeking Out More.
Additionally, if your parish is well-known for social justice programs or family ministries, consider adding it to the card as optional fields to check off if they’d like to learn more. This is helpful for follow-up when trying to find the perfect person from your parish to connect with them. If you know, for example, that they are interested in young adult ministry, the head of that committee would be a great person to reach out. You can also consider adding check boxes for Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Adult seeking to become Catholic, and Grief Counseling.
Does your parish have a connection card? What are some things you add to it?