Six weeks from tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Planning for Lent, Holy Week and Easter are well underway in most parishes.
Many have observed and commented that blessed ashes are like a magnet which draws many Catholics, active and inactive, to Church. Ash Wednesday is a day that tugs at their deepest identity. For some it will mean a deepening of their spiritual lives as they begin their Lenten journey and for others it will be a touchstone that may or may not ripple any further in their lives this year. But for all it is a moment of grace.
Posting the times for the distribution of ashes on websites, have dramatically reduced phone calls to parish offices. The people who call or search for the times know that they want to “get ashes” and just need to know when they are being distributed. Why don’t they read it in the bulletin? Usually the people who call or visit the website don’t get or read the bulletin.
Go the Extra Mile
Either your website or the office staff respond to those seeking times, but what about those who aren’t interested enough to call or search or who just don’t have the time? Go the extra mile and reach out to them in their homes, at work, while traveling or wherever they log into their Facebook and Twitter pages. Give them a warm welcome and the information they need to come to your church on Ash Wednesday.
My parish clients use Facebook Ads (Click on Boost Post which appears under the post and follow the prompts.) to get their message out to everyone in their zip codes or city. You can spend as little or as much as you want per day or per dates selected. You will be surprised to see how many people your Ash Wednesday post will reach for $3.00 to $5.00 a day for 4-5 days. It is a small price to pay for reaching into the community and letting them know when Ash Wednesday Services are and that they are welcome.
Prepare Your Post Carefully
Select an image that goes with your message and write a description that is welcoming and gives people the information that they need i.e times of distribution of ashes. End the post with one or more hashtags such as #yourcity #AshWednesday. These hashtags are live hyperlinks and anyone who searches for your city or Ash Wednesday will see your post.
If you are able to create a short video invitation, do that. Video gets more attention on Facebook than the image posts and much more than a text only post. Be sure to put the same details in the description. While the video attracts attention, having the info both on the video and in the description is a best practice.
If want to use video, but don’t have the resources to create one, I am once again offering to create an Ash Wednesday video for you. Here is a sample of my 2017 Ash Wednesday video.
I will create this video with your information for $19.95. Here is the Order Form and all the details.
If you have multiple sites and/or also have Prayer Services with Distribution of Ashes, just put that on the form and I will include that information as well.