Using Your church app to connect with parishioners
We’ve all been there; You walk away from your phone or computer for a little while, and when you come back, your screen is lit up like a Christmas tree.
Texts, missed calls, social media, and news alerts…
Notifications are in ample supply. You receive dozens a day or more — but how can you make sure that you’re seeing the important ones? More importantly, how can you know whether or not the vital messages you’re sending out to your parishioners are actually being read?
A Powerful Push
Unlike ordinary notifications which hover over their respective app icons on your home screen, making them easy to miss, push notifications hover in front of your home screen until you open or dismiss them. Your church’s app icon will still show up as well, so there is no chance of mistaking where this message or reminder is coming from. Messages sent out via push notification consistently show higher read-through and retention rates when compared to regular notifications. This means that your recipients aren’t just skimming the content you send to them; rather, they are engaging with it and coming back for more.
In short, push notifications are a win-win. Your parishioners won’t miss out on the important updates they care about, like ministry event notifications, weekly readings they’ve subscribed to, or parish staff communications. And as the sender, you’ll be able to confirm that your messages are being received and find out which types of content work best with your diverse audiences.
Taking Back Control
In a world where non-stop communication is the reality, so, too, is the risk of information fatigue. With push notifications, messages can be sent to specific groups within your parish app, and members of these groups have total control over what kind of updates they see.
Your recipients can opt in or out of these alerts at any time, making their experience with your church’s communications personal and much more enjoyable. This added control decreases the risk of notification overload while still keeping your parishioners in the know. They aren’t receiving another random piece of content from the media … they’re opening a message from a source they know and trust.
Another useful feature when it comes to push notifications is having the option to schedule them ahead of time. If your ministry meets every Wednesday night at 7 and you want to send reminders to your members each Wednesday afternoon, you can set up those reminders all at once rather than posting each and every week. When someone new joins in, they’ll have reminders waiting for them. When regular attendees no longer need the reminders, they can turn them off.
The flexibility this tool offers makes for effective and versatile group communication. Scheduling updates like these ahead of time can also come in handy if your parish app or full-fledged church management system also offers email and text notifications. If you’re wondering what a system like this looks like when it’s in action, check out LPi’s go-to for on-the-go parish communication, WeConnect.
Find Your Hidden Audience
The benefits of using push notifications for ministry and parish communication are abundant, but what can they offer for those who aren’t as plugged in yet? Even if the people you’re trying to reach don’t belong to a specific team or group, you can still send them interest-specific content via push notifications.
Do you have a general welcome message for visitors and new members? How about invitations for your parish’s upcoming bake sale or volunteer event? Your church is active and thriving with diverse ministries. You’ve likely already earned the attention of those outside of your regular parishioners, but now you need to foster those relationships by continuing the conversation and encouraging further engagement.
The bottom line: If people are in your parish network, then chances are there is something they are looking for. Even if they don’t quite know what it is yet, push notifications could be the tool that helps them find it.