Well, it finally came. This past Sunday [May 30, 2010], we [the Magnolia Park church of Christ] officially rolled out the One capital fundraising campaign for the congregation. After months of first planning, then sitting on our thumbs, then really picking up the ball and running with the fundraising idea, we finally got to present the message to the congregation. I had been developing a giving campaign outline for some time and it was great to see it finally get to play out as I had initially thought it up.
I’m beginning to work on the Reach Analysis for the 2010 Christian Acappella Music Awards, and, while doing so I’ve found some very interesting statistics concerning the congregations that are predominately black in the Southern and Northeastern regions of the United States of America.
- Of the 13,700 total congregations of the Church of Christ located stateside, there are only 91 predominately black congregations with 300 members or more.
- There are 103,358 members attending 998 congregations in the southern and northeastern regions of the United States.
- In the southern and Northeastern regions of the US, there are four states which have no predominately black congregations of the Church of Christ (Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont).
- There are 3 states with at least 100 congregations in the 2 regions studied – Alabama (118), Tennessee (141), & Texas (231).
- There are 7 states which have fewer than 10 congregations statewide – Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (3), New Jersey (9), Pennsylvania (6), Delaware (2), Virginia (7), and West Virginia (1).
If you have a music ministry, then it’s time for you and your group to get out there and start making things happen. With all of the resources out there, there is no excuse for your group to lag in these particular areas.
This particular list is simple a starting point, as I intend to continue to push forward with ways in which every ministry can thrive and become what they envision themselves being.
This list can be found as a part of the ministry marketing resource guide that I introduced in the Week 2 CAMA Planning summary. You can download it there and read up on other ideas for your music ministry.
On to the List…
1. Start tracking your sales
This is probably going to be the easiest of all the things to do this year, but it is also the most essential to your particular ministry. Sales tracking is important to ministry management because, when done correctly, it can provide a snapshot of the ministry at any given point. Tracking can be as simple as writing on a sheet of the paper the following:
- Name of Product (in the case of multiple products)
- Number of Products sold.
- Price of Products
- Net Profit
Now, the key to keeping good records is to take the data as it is collected and input it into a spreadsheet that can keep track of various sets of information. The Type of information collected will determine the scope of the research you can do in the future.
2. Build an Identification System
One of the great things about your music ministry is individuality. I’ve personally gone to concerts where two groups can sing the same song but sound totally different. Individuality is what makes your ministry what it is, and there is nothing more impor-tant to the cause of being seen as an individual than to have an identity system.
For the local group, an identity system is essential as its components are basically the first things that people will see when looking at your brand. A standard identity system consists of a coordinated letterhead, envelope and business card. In expanding upon this idea, you could go ahead and develop a logo to really bring home the nature of your brand.
3. Develop an Internet Presence
Now, there was a time not too long ago when having a web presence meant just having a website. These days, with the emergence of social networking sites, it is not that necessary to have a top-level domain site of your own [i.e. nacama.com], in-stead, there are a number of options available so that you can have a genuine presence on the internet. Sites like myspace© and facebook™ are perfectly alright when used properly, but, with a little more research, you can find plenty of niche sites that offer ample space to host photos and other things. The Key is to put together an internet strategy for your group beforehand and don’t be quick to just post a profile on every site you see. A simple plan to follow to get started is this:
- E-Mail Address – This can be as simple as email@example.com, or for a little money, firstname.lastname@example.org. The second can be achieved by purchasing a domain name and utilizing free services like google apps to host your dedicated mail. The Best thing about having your own domain name is that every member of the group can have their own personal email address pointing to your-groupname.com. Gmail.com is probably the best for groups to use. They’re free and offer basically limitless space to save your email.
- Personal Website – Blogs are really big these days, and actually, for groups, this is probably the best way to go. You can keep fans informed by posting photos from concerts as well as info on future concert dates, and ticket information. With a little help, you can also setup a shop to sell your products online directly from your site.
Perhaps the best thing about a blog is that most are free to host and simple to maintain. Sites like wordpress.com and blogspot.com offer free websites and for a little extra, you can have the blog point to yourgroupname.com. For those who are a little more advanced, there’s wordpress.org and joomla that offer DIY solutions for groups that want to produce their own site. Whatever you choose, look at what best fits in to your overall strategy.
- Photo Sharing – These days, it’s not good enough to just be heard, people want to see the action also. You can host all of your photos online for fans too see and comment on at various site. Flickr is a site that offers the ability to group photos and connect with other users. They offer a free service that allows you to post up to 200 photos, or a premium service for $24.99 annually that allows for unlimited uploads and also the posting of short videos. Other sites for sharing photos include:
SmugMug – fee-based photo sharing site [smugmug.com]
Flickr – Offers free and Premium photo sharing solutions [flickr.com]
Snapfish – offers free image hosting and sharing [snapfish.com]
- Video Hosting – Pretty much everyone knows of Youtube™, the site that allows for posting and sharing videos, but there are many others out there that are infinitely better.
Youtube – Offers video hosting and broadcasting. Strong emphasis on video channels. [youtube.com]
Vimeo – Offers hosting of HD quality videos. [vimeo.com]
4. Start A Fan Club
This Is the Year to start a fan club for all your fans. Now, it’s fairly easy to dismiss the idea of having a fan club if you only think in terms of young pop star fan societies. But, the reality is that a ‘fan’ club is an intriguing marketing opportunity that will allow you to engage fans on a more intimate basis. Another thing to consider is that this doesn’t have to be a paid fan club, no, you’re simply trying to stay connected and relevant in the mind of those who follow you.
One good place to get started is at the community portal site, ning.com. At ning.com, you can start your very own social network, allowing members of your particular network to have their very own profile page that ties directly into your network. The good thing is that this will allow you to disseminate information across a more broad cross-section of followers.
Now, you’re probably asking how this is different from just having a website. Well, while a website is a great promotional tool, they tend to be static in nature, that is to say, they don’t tend to be updated as often as maybe even a conventional blog would. This creates a problem in that sites that don’t generate content as often are generally unable to continue to draw fans back in after the initial visit. A social net-working site, on the other hand, has the built-in feature of allowing interactivity through the creation of fans individual profiles. So, while your content may not change for a few days or weeks, or even months, the fans investment into the network will continue to bring them back to the site. Add to this the ability to host the network at a top-level domain, say, club-mygroup.com, or some other neat name, and you have the continuous stream of people who, every time they visit your site, pay to you the name recognition that you’ve built. That’s equity!
5. Start Planning A Tour
Note: Since the publication of the Music Ministry Guide back in March, I’ve decided to rename this “Start Planning a Tour”, instead of Plan a Tour. The Start planning change is reflective upon the fact that it is tough work attempting to travel the road, much more difficult than I gave credit to initially. As Such, I plan to devote an entire article to tour planning as well as introduce some tools that will hopefully assist in the execution of the tour. Ok, as you were…
The Last thing you should be doing this year is planning to go on tour. Touring is a time honored tradition that dates back to, well… I have no idea, and yet still, touring is something that every group should aspire to do at some point.
Now, planning a tour involves a number of factors, not the least of which is building a budget for your excursion. A lot of your planning will deal with the aspects that you can control;
- Housing Expense
- Food Expense
- Travel Expenses – Including Gas and vehicle rental if necessary.
- Outlay for Promotional Materials – Written in the previous section was the idea of producing your own promotional materials.
Well then, I hope this was informative and that someone was enlightened by these simple nuggets of info. I am currently planning to expand on each one of these areas in a future post, providing links to even more resources and ideas for your ministry.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know; leave a comment.
There’s a trend spreading nationwide that involves the marketing of congregations. Now, the idea of “Marketing” a congregation is one that many people object to on the basis of misinformation. They look at the word marketing and automatically think in terms of people who are trying to pilfer and sell bills of goods to members. The exact opposite is the case here. In marketing, the local congregation has an opportunity to have their message at the forefront of their audiences mind. With the plurality of congregations who basically look the same on the outside, the proper exposure is important for congregations who want to present the truth.
Now, the concept of congregational strategic marketing involves defining the resources that are available to you and building a strong set of practices around those resources that will greatly enhance the percieved profile of your congregation.
There are a few necessities that every congregation should have in building this strategy;
- Identity system – For the local congregation, an identity system is essential as its components are basically the first things that people will see when looking at your brand. A standard identity system consists of a coordinated letterhead, envelope and business card. In expanding upon this idea, a visitors card, usher name tags, and weekly bulletin shell can all fall in the category of identity system.
- Brand Logo – In addition to the identity system, the congregation may decide to build for themselves a logo – nothing elaborate, simply a stylized spelling of the congregations name or otherwise.
- Website – A web address is essential to todays congregation as many people look for congregations on the web. Consider looking into building a web presence, and notice the word presence, for the congregation. There are many open-source website platforms that are free to use and hosting is very reasonable for congregations.
- Dedicated E-Mail system – There was once a time when getting your own hosted e-mail was cost prohibitive for most people. The same can not be said in 2008. With services like dreamhost for hosting, and Google Apps, every congregation can have their own top level domain e-mail address. Which means… No more congregation email going through a Yahoo address. The systems that are in place now are so advanced that they allow you to set up many users instantly. Simply put, all of the leaders at your congregation can have their own e-mail address at your congregations domain.
- Use the Bulletin as a source of ministering – There is no reason that a bulletin can’t be used as a tool for ministering to lost souls. If designed right, a Sunday morning bulletin can house all of the announcements, as well as a message from the minister and even steps to becoming a member. If there is a monthy bulletin it’s even better.
In Part 2, I’ll provide actual examples of how to implement a marketing strategy at your local congregation