As much as you try to engage with your entire parish, you’ll probably notice some not-so-familiar faces at your Easter services. It’s one of those times when many of your non-regular attenders show up for Mass. Now is the time to seize that Easter momentum and engage your infrequent parishioners with your thoughtful, targeted communications plans. It’s the best way to get them more active and involved in your parish.
At ParishSOFT we have more than 20 years of experience helping parishes perfect their communications. Based on this know-how, we can recommend four steps that you can take to connect with parishioners you’d like to see more often. (Plus, there’s a bonus tip that ties it all together, so make sure you read to the end!)
- Plan, plan—then plan some more.
It’s important to map out your communications strategies for your infrequent parishioners. That way you’ll be more effective at getting the right messages to the right audiences.
Have a plan in place for connecting with the infrequent attenders your ministry teams meet on Easter Sunday. If possible, confirm their email addresses and other up-to-date contact information. Take notes about their families. Note their interests. Remember any unique needs they mention that your parish can address.
And then, follow-up! Get a system in place where your staff connects with Easter guests as quickly as possible. Thank them for attending, let them know you hope to see them again soon, and share a special way that their family can take part in your parish.
- Make the Most of Your Parish Data.
Once you get to know your parishioners, you need to be able to analyze and understand your church data—including parishioner interests, attendance, giving, and other factors. That’s how you can better target key messages to specific audiences. This will give your members information they find relevant, useful, and inspiring. This is especially true for your non-regular attendees!
Ideally, your system already allows you to create profiles of your infrequent visitors, and you have some information to start with. If not, now is the time to better document who your parish families are, when they attend, and how you can engage them. (ParishSOFT is perfect for this!)
With a strong Church Management Software program like ParishSOFT, you can create targeted audiences, groups, email and postal mailing lists, and additional segmentations. All of this will help make your communications more relevant and insightful after your Easter services and throughout the year. This way you can give your infrequent parishioners helpful, inspiring information about why they should attend more often.
- Work on Your Website.
Many of your ever-so-often attendees probably looked up your website for Easter service times, locations, and childcare info. When you follow up with them and address their specific interests, your website is where you will want to send these families for more information and for event registration forms. So, make sure it’s welcoming and filled with information!
Think of your parish website as the “front door” to the world. You want to make sure you are greeting visitors with the most up-to-date information possible. You don’t want folks to visit in May and still see details about your Easter service schedule, because Easter will already be over. Keep it current, and people will stay interested.
It’s also important for your site to be mobile-friendly because so many people browse the web from their phones. And make your website truly yours! Your parish is one-of-a-kind, and your website should reflect that uniqueness. ParishSOFT lets parishes choose from an array of templates that can reflect your ministry’s identity. We also help our partner parishes customize their sites. This is the level of commitment you should expect from any ChMS provider.
- Put Your Parish App to Work.
You’ve probably noticed how your parish families are incorporating mobile apps for their day-to-day lives—from ordering dinner and shopping for groceries to making appointments and paying bills. Similarly, if you have an app you can recommend to infrequent guests, it can help them become more connected and involved.
After the excitement of Easter, your app can help you keep parishioners engaged by offering access to live streaming and sermon archives; event registration for Vacation Bible School and other beloved summer offerings; volunteer opportunities for those who want to become more involved; and online giving and payment features—all in one centralized platform they can access with a few taps on their phone.
(Don’t have an app? ParishSOFT can help get you started!)
BONUS TIP: Apply These Strategies Throughout the Year for ALL Your Parish Families.
These communications strategies can make a huge difference after Easter, but they can all apply to every Sunday, every weekday, and every event or program your parish has planned throughout the year. Each month, make sure to look at your data and engagement, seek out feedback from parishioners and staff, and determine how these communications strategies are making a difference and where they can be implemented and expanded for upcoming events. Every program your parish offers is a chance to bring your current members, infrequent attenders, and new guests closer to the gospel and into a deeper relationship with Christ—so you always want to get the word out.
Strategic, targeted communications—during the Easter season and all year long—will help you inspire your every-once-in-a-while attendees to become more actively involved in your parish, and this will strengthen the impact of your parish ministries. Let ParishSOFT help you develop the best strategies for your parish; you can request a free demo here!