How do you know about the latest movie release? The sensational book about to hit the shelves? What about the trendiest new gadget?
All these things have one thing in common: amazing marketing. The latest movie might be a disappointment, the book less than stellar, and the fashionable gadget far from life-changing – but they interrupted our lives to engage us in conversation, propose new ways of thinking, or perhaps just hinted that we might be “missing out” if we didn’t partake in ‘x, y or z’.
The Church offers an encounter with the living Word of God. Religious education makes this good news known. Properly done, it can even make the Gospel come alive to the souls in our care. The entertainment industry feels confident vying loudly for our attention with even the most mediocre offerings; how much more confident should we be who offer an encounter with the Son of God!
What is marketing?
What is marketing? Don’t worry if an answer doesn’t spring to mind – but do embrace the opportunity for growth in this area! According to one marketing strategist, marketing is: “getting someone who has a NEED, to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST YOU [emphasis theirs]”.
Throughout the ages Christians have adapted, innovated, and conspired to use the latest tools available to evangelize. Saint Maximilian Kolbe used the printing press, Bishop Fulton Sheen used newspaper and television, Pope Francis has an Instagram account. All adopted tools to respond to a need: the desperate and very real need for Jesus.
Who’s on first? Dedicated marketing supports parish mission
If you haven’t already, consider appointing a marketing or communications leader for your religious education program (and other parish offerings).
Directors of Religious Education wear many hats. The creativity and vision necessary to sustain a vibrant religious education program, however, doesn’t always translate into, or leave time for, promoting those programs. Is it time to recruit someone new to help bolster your parish’s mission?
Opportunity for engagement
You may have just the person in mind. If not, think about turning to your web-based ParishSOFT tools to find the right fit. This could be a wonderful opportunity to engage parishioners who may or may not have volunteered before but would be eager to offer their gifts if asked!
Filtering & Data Mining
As discussed in Data Mining: Data that Leads to Encounter, filtering and data mining are powerful ways to leverage your ParishSOFT tools to better know and reach your parishioners.  The Career Type field, a searchable (and reportable) field in your parishioner’s Member Record, may be especially helpful in identifying potential marketing leads (See footnote below for more details!).
Now might also be the time to consider setting up a specific Member Workgroup for this task. This group of parishioners would be responsible for brainstorming and establishing a marketing plan for the parish as a whole, beginning with your Religious Education offerings. Ideally, they would be your go-to folks for ideas on engaging not only parishioners, but also the larger community, in the life of the parish.
It starts with a plan
Marketing your religious education programs and other parish offerings can be as simple or as involved as you would like it to be. Subscribe to ParishSOFT News to ensure you receive our next blog article: Publicize, Advertise, and Promote – Religious Education.
Have ideas to share about how ParishSOFT has made a difference for your religious education program? Leave us a comment below!
Curious to learn more about how ParishSOFT Family Suite can support your parish programs? Call ParishSOFT at 866.930.4774 x 7, or sign up for a free demo.
 Travis Allison, 11 Beginner Tips for Marketing Your Summer Camp [Slidedoc], 2013. www.slideshare.net.
 Learn more about ParishSOFT’s powerful filtering and reporting in this helpful online tutorial: Searching and Filtering for Reporting. Browse our help library for more tips by selecting your Family Directory’s Help link and typing the word “filter” into the search field.
 Potential Career Types to look for could be your marketers, graphic designers, writers, public relations personnel, etc. But it could also be your stay-at-home parents or retirees who have either left the field, or have a natural inclination for marketing and communications.
Remember a marketing leader should be someone who is comfortable and has related experience reaching out to those who are not connected to the parish, or any church, at this time. Be creative and don’t be afraid to dive into your data to find the right fit for your parish!
 Check out this brief video tutorial on setting up Family and Member Workgroups in ParishSOFT Family Directory. Our recorded training video on ParishSOFT Family Directory – Workgroups and Communication may also be helpful.
 Family and Member Workgroups are an excellent way to organize families or members who share common traits, interests, or responsibilities.