What is Your Outreach Plan for Easter?

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on March 3, 2015

in parish

©Dmitry Naumov/DPC

©Dmitry Naumov/DPC

Can you guess which times of the year, the word “church” is searched for most on the Internet? Pew Research (using Google Trends) reports that it is the time around Easter with Christmas a very close second. Ash Wednesday is third.

In a March 2013 poll conducted by LifeWay Research,  57% of self-identified Catholics reported that they would attend services on Easter; 21% of Catholics had not made up their minds two weeks before Easter. This suggests that an in-person or online invitation could make a difference with the undecided.

Easter is only a month away. What plans have you made to put the welcome mat out? What will you be posting on your website and social media sites?

 

When it comes to posting the Easter schedule online be creative, warm and welcoming in the presentation. Use a photo or graphic to call attention to your message. Put this on your website and your Facebook page. Share it on Twitter and any other social media platforms you use. The extra effort at this time of year can make a difference in someone’s decision to return to church for Easter. It also makes it easy for active members to share the invitation with people they know.

Also consider posting a short video invitation. We know that videos are shared on Facebook 12x more than links and text posts combined  (This stat comes from HubSpot, a leading internet marketing company.) Sharing is what we want.

If you can create your own video, keep it upbeat, short (less than one minute) and simple. Provide the information that someone who is not a regular at Church would need to attend and connect with your parish.

If you do not have the resources to create your own video, I can do it for you. Here is the template that I will use:

This is a $60 value, which I am offering to you at the special price of $24.95. Orders received by March 5 will receive an additional $5 discount and pay only $19.95.  This is a savings of 67%. All you need to do is send a photo of your Church (inside or out) and the information that is particular to your parish. I will create your customized video and send you an MP4 file which you can use in any way you like and on any platform.

Here is the Order Form. You will have to click “Enable Editing” to fill it out. I hope you will take advantage of the offer for the sake of those people you may reach through it.

If you want to read about the Pew Research report you can find it here.  Information about the LifeWay Research can be found here.

How are you planning to use your website and social media sites to welcome people to your Easter services? Please tell us below.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Kuhl March 10, 2015 at 9:12 am

Good morning Sister,

I couldn’t agree more with your recommendations on using video and visuals to extend the “welcome mat” on parish websites and social media.

Numerous studies demonstrate that visual content is much more engaging than just text. According to Hubspot, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text is. This means that whether on your website or on your social media platforms, images that communicate your announcement have a much greater impact on your audience than anything else.

I would also like to add that print is still a very effective means of communication that’s targeted and personal. While direct mail can be costly (think of it as an investment), taking an integrated approach (using various new media and traditional media) to parish communications will help your message reach it’s intended audience. A well designed postcard or letter can go a long way in extending an invitation and welcoming message to inactive members (assuming your parish has a member database that included both inactive and active members). If the parish is sending an Easter “financial appeal” mailing, this welcome / invitation should be a separate mailing.

Your question “what plans have you made to put the welcome mat out” was really on the mark. Parishes and ministries need to have a plan, not just for online postings, but for all their external communication of events and activities (liturgical, stewardship, formation and social) occurring in their faith community.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND March 10, 2015 at 9:44 am

Mark,

Thank you for your affirming and informative comment. We are a missionary Church and we need to invest time and effort into our outreach activities. By using a variety of ways to reach out and invite others (especially those who once celebrated Eucharist with us) to join us, we can demonstrate that we are the welcoming community–so many parishes claim to be.

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