You’ve probably heard the expression, “if you build it, they will come,” coined from the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams,” starring Kevin Costner. These days, however, that’s not always the way it works, especially when it comes to our churches. Whether they’re aware of it or not, our parishioners are constantly bombarded with requests to purchase this, try that, give to this fund, or click on this communication. So, in order to reach our members through the static of everyday demands, we need to consider doing the work for them.
Yes, your parishioners do have the ability to sign up for parish communications, online giving, and church social media — unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they always will. In order to actively connect with your parishioners, sometimes you need to make the first move — here’s how.
Invite Them to Give Online
Just because the online giving link is prominently displayed on the homepage of your website, doesn’t mean your parishioners feel compelled to click on it. For most people, they need to feel an urgency to give. Sometimes that urgency can be created with regular homily requests, explaining why their gifts are needed to sustain the parish, or an ad in the bulletin explaining how to give online. But if we want their gifts to be given regularly, we need to communicate that request regularly.
While parishes with large staffs have the bandwidth to send out consistent email and postal communications, there are countless other churches operating on a much smaller scale. That is why LPi created the WeShare Engagement Campaign, to help make giving steadier for the parishes that need it the most. A seasonal email and print postcard campaign is designed, and all parishes need to do is provide parishioner email and postal contact lists. LPi takes care of the rest, setting parishes and their collections up for success.
Send the Bulletin Straight to their Inbox
As an LPi bulletin customer, you can send a link to your latest bulletin to anyone who signs up to receive it. However, some parishes are going the extra mile and actively signing up their members to receive the bulletin as soon as it’s been uploaded to ParishesOnline.com, LPi’s online parish database.
There are a few reasons why signing up your parishioners to receive your bulletin online is a good idea. First, this ensures that they are always in the loop of parish happenings; secondly, it helps the businesses that advertise in your communication stay front and center of those who could benefit from their services; and thirdly, it allows for instant communication from the pastor.
If your parish is interested in signing up all parishioners to receive your weekly bulletin, reach out to your contact at LPi for a way to upload all emails at one time.
Ask Them for Assistance, Instead of Waiting for Them to Volunteer
We all know the story. An upcoming festival is being planned, or the parish is looking for people to sit with Christ during Eucharistic adoration. These days, people are so bogged down with tasks that waiting for people to volunteer just doesn’t work anymore. The sign up sheet in the back of church is either constantly empty, or you see the same names listed (and those people are understandably tired of always volunteering for the job). It’s time to invite people to help in your mission.
If you don’t keep track already, now is the time to start listing what your parishioners do for a living. Do you have someone in the parish who is an expert in web design? Ask them to look at your SEO to see if you’re set up correctly. Maybe you have a list of people who are “extreme couponers” — can you get them together to work on your “Couponing for Christ” ministry, that is then used to fill your parish food pantry?
This request doesn’t have to be sent in a formatted or designed email. It can be as simple as an announcement after Mass, or a tap on the shoulder at the next Donut Sunday gathering. All that matters is that you ask, and then follow up with those who express interest in helping out.
There are lots of ways that parishes reach out to members to streamline what they have to offer — what tips would you suggest for us to try? Comment below!