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.
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.