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.
Now, the reality is that the campaign, as it was presented today, was more in line with the way I had initially thought it up a few years ago; a folio, presentation graphics, and a giving pledge card. This had always been my plan in terms of the best way to present the campaign to a smaller congregation. We also have the component of the giving report which will be delivered once we’ve actually begun the full-fledged giving campaign. I’ve already built the system for tracking information and also reporting on the giving that i developed initially for general layby collecting.
We made the plans for this 5th Sunday to present the plan because this is traditionally our friends and family day where we generally see our largest crowds of the quarter. Everything went as planned with a short presentation complete with background information on the congregation, our short and long-term plans for growth and the final plea to the congregation as we look to begin the campaign in earnest in late summer.
I ended up developing a presentation based on the information found in the booklet which ended up serving as a rather simple solution to the problem of being unable to develop a serious video presentation at the last minute. I believe that, moving forward, I’ll be able to work on a more refined presentation or at the least be able to take a more formulaic approach to developing a more complete package. Until the next time I’m asked to work on anything of this type though, i’ll be looking develop new strategies for the system.
Back when I wrote my first post about Layby management, I was really just beginning to hit the surface on what I really thought could be done. I’ve since done more research on various implementations and variations on the set, both paper and digital forms. Which basically brings me back to the reason for this new post.
I’ve thought about how to make the system more user friendly. In looking at the current state, I’ve decided that the best way to make things as accessible as possible, I should build an application that will allow the process of filling out the form pretty much automated.
We’ll see how the whole system begins to come together once I have the prototype of the forms.
Okay, while the last article dealt with the overall need to put marketing principles in place at your congregation, this time we’ll delve a little into specifics.
In today’s environment, any great marketing system has to first address the overall identity of the congregation, and what better way than to have an identity system as the cornerstone. Now, an Identity system, at its core, is simply a stationary set that provides identification for your congregation. In most instances an identity system consists of a coordinated letterhead and envelope set and a business card. In more substantial cases, there are various labels and note cards and other collateral pieces that are used. The key, however, is the seemless transition from one piece of stationary to the next. This is achieved through 2 specific factors; The Logo and the color scheme.
The Logo – The logo, while important, is as simple to create as utilizing a stylized font in spelling out your congregations name. The key is consistency in usage, the fact that every time people see your name at your congregation it is always neatly displayed with the same characteristics, be it the same color and font, or any other way that generally sets your logo apart. At the Magnolia Park Church of Christ, there is both a primary logo and a secondary one. The Primary logo consists of a stylized spelling of “The Park”, the congregations name, with the title Magnolia Park Church of Christ directly underneath. This is done with the specific purpose of people associating the both the nickname and the congregation name. The nickname presents a friendly feel and is, in a sense, welcoming when seen and disarming, but at the heart is always the congregations name as to always remind people that The Park is a church. The Primary Logo is used mainly in-house for the members on all publications and there are plans to utilize it more on information that goes out to visitors and others.
The secondary logo is a much simpler logo that is just a styled capitalized M & P that appears on everything from the church bulletin to announcements and visitors cards.
The Color Scheme – It’s important to have a set of colors you work with when designing congregation materials. For one, with a defined color scheme, you’ll be able to always achieve a level of familiarity with those that receive your materials. Also, as an added bonus, you’ll not have to spend a lot of time with colors that may not work well. One of the prime points of creating a color scheme is great color usage. Think about it; on your bulletin board, which bulletins stand out? And which announcements wash out with their bland black and whites. Even if you’re pressed for money, a pre-designed letterhead with spot color will achieve both recognition and consistency in presentation.
Keep this in mind – The more time and effort that is spent on creating a smooth and consistent image for your congregation in print, the more likely it is that people will respond positively when your name is presented to them
In Part 3, we’ll look at utilizing the bulletin as a ministry tool
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
My yet unamed Layby Package for the Magnolia Park Church of Christ is currently being delivered to the members beginning Thursday.
The Layby Package [i'm just going to go with that name] is a really a set of database and merge document that allows a congregation to deliver to its members an overview of their giving, either quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.
The key to the whole package is the record keeping. At The Park [The Magnolia Park Church of Christ], the leadership was planning on implementing a giving campaign to coincide with the already existing building fund plan. The result was a system that was first implemented at the Hallandale Beach Church of Christ – the Victory Campaign. Their plan included a campaign brochure, a presentation, and a pledge card. For The Park, I designed a campaign folio, a presentation, a pledge card, a reminder card, as well as the quarterly statement which outlined each individuals giving for the quarter as well as where they stood in relation to their initial pledge.
Now, the Quarterly statement really began in December, 2007, as we were trying to roll out the official yearly statements for members. We decided that in addition to giving them the official statement with the church seal and everything, it would be nice to let each member see exactly what they gave each week. This, in turn, was well received, as many people were surprised to see the peaks and valleys in their giving throughout various times of the year. At the start of 2008 a decision was made that the initial statement would be developed further to include many elements that would be useful to the member. The Following were added for the first quarter statement:
- My Statement Summary – The statement summary includes an overall synopsis for the quarter, letting the member see their Total given, the congregations giving total, Their total given shown as a percentage of overall congregation total, their Weekly Average, their ranking amongst all givers, and finally, The Forecast of their giving for the remaining three quarters, based on current weekly average.
- My 13-Week Report – A charted representation of the quarter with the date and corresponding amount given.
- My Total Amount Given – Pretty much self explanatory.
- My Average Per Week Giving – The average given as a funtion of overall total divided by the 13 week quarter.
- My Personal Rank – We show a ranking that allows the member to see exactly where they stand numerically. We based the number on qualifying givers.
- My 52 Week Forecast – The 52 Week forecast is a total number for the year based on their current weekly average spun forward for the rest of the year.
- My 13-Week High – The 13-week High shows the Largest amount given in any one week. No provision is given for same high given in multiple weeks.
- My 13-Week Low – The 13-week Low shows the Lowest amount given in any one week. As with the 13-week high, no provision is given for same low given in multiple weeks.
- Congregation Total – The congregation total is a whole sum of givings for the quarter by all members for all collections.
- My Percentage – The percentage function is a showing of the members impact on the overall total given for the quarter.
- The Top 10 Givers – The Top 10 Givers for the quarter shows just that – The Top 10 Givers; No totals, just names.
- Graphical Overview – Lastly, we give a graphical overview of the quarter in terms of congregational giving, the overall average per Sunday, and the Per Sunday total. In the future we plan to make use of the Google Charts API to build individual graphical representations for each member, as well as an internet application for congregations.
In the Future, we look to build an internet application that shows the same information for each member.