When Sally Kutney, the accountant from Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lenexa, Kansas first heard of the WeShare Engagement Campaign (WEC), she admits to being intrigued, but cautious because of the “free” aspect of it. Because really, why would a church communication company offer such an elaborate service for free? The answer to that is pretty simple actually: it’s the right thing to do.
Whether you have been actively encouraging financial stewardship for years in your parish, or it’s a passive annual task, encouraging your parishioners to become regular donors is essential to the health and wellbeing of your church. An easy way to get started on creating a giving program for your parish is to automate it with an email program to increase your online giving presence.
From audience considerations, targeted messaging, and email platforms that might work for you, check out some easy-to-implement ways to work an essential email campaign into your list of tasks.
Are you aware that you have two sets of audiences to consider when starting an online giving email program? Donors and non-donors. So, you’ll want to keep these two “personas” in mind when creating content for them. An example to consider:
Regular Donor Rachel: Gives regularly to your church at least a few times a month using a parish envelope or online. You have all her donor information kept on file, meaning that you can provide her with an end-of-year giving statement for tax time.
Non-Donor Nick: A consistent Mass attendee who either doesn’t give at all or gives sometimes during the offertory with cash when he has some. You don’t have a way to track his giving pattern because of his sporadic generosity. Although he’s attended your parish for years, he has yet to become an official member.
Now that you know who your audience is, you’ll want to curate your messaging towards them in a way that will compel them to give.
Obviously, the end goal for your giving campaign should be that parishioners become consistent givers to your parish using your online giving platform. However, with two different audiences, this end goal will need to change slightly for each group. While it may appear unnecessary, you definitely don’t want to exclude regular donors from your campaign!
It’s no secret that members need to be reminded multiple times about the importance of continuing their contributions, also tell them how their giving makes a difference in the parish. In addition to an update of what your parish is doing (both inside the building and outside in the community), you’ll also want to include a call to action for them to look at their current giving, and whether that should be adjusted. Can they afford to give 10% more? Or sign up for recurring online giving to automate the process? It’s well-known that for the most part, our members are not hesitant to give — they just need to be reminded as to how and why.
You have your audience and you have your messaging. The only thing left to do (right now!) is to put it all into action. Check out two types of messaging that can be used for email, or as a bulletin or pulpit announcement if an email address is not available. If your parish has yet to implement a broadcast email platform, check out our blog: “Why Your Parish Needs an Email Marketing Platform.”
Thank you so much for attending Mass at St. Andrew Parish. Your presence each weekend is an incredible testimony to the strong faith of our community and how much we can accomplish in the name of Jesus Christ.
We’d love to have you join our faith community as a member. When you become an official parishioner, it not only allows us to mutually turn to each other for support and guidance — it also makes the process so much easier when the time comes for infant baptism, religious education, weddings or funerals.
Simply visit our website to sign up in less than five minutes or connect with an usher after Mass for a printed form. You will also have the opportunity to sign up for online giving, which gives you the ability to give to our parish whether you’re in the pews or not. It’s fast, easy, and convenient, and makes a world of difference to all that we are able to accomplish in the community we serve. Thank you for considering!
In His Name,
I would like to take a minute to personally thank you for your consistent commitment to our parish. Your presence here is a testimony to the strong faith of our community and how much we can accomplish in the name of Jesus Christ. We are strong because of you!
This year, we have made the decision to make giving automatic by offering our parishioners a recurring online giving option. This not only helps us project what to expect for our budget for the year — it also allows you to give whether you are in the pews or not. Please consider making your next donation (and beyond!) through our online giving platform. Click here to sign up in minutes!
No matter where you are with your giving initiatives, there are always ways to keep the momentum going. When you devote creativity, resources, and time to stabilizing your financial bottom line, so many people receive the fruits of your labor.
Finding ways for parishioners to give is a huge yet important task. If your staff is already stretched thin, know that LPi is here to help with the WeShare Engagement Campaign, FREE for WeShare customers. Sign up today!
“Why was this collection moved to next month?”
“I didn’t realize that Sally had vacation this week. Why didn’t someone let me know?”
“Why was my article for next Sunday’s bulletin replaced?”
Miscommunication and last-minute determinations made without all decision-makers present are nothing new when it comes to parish life. No matter the size of your staff, sometimes it just happens that “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” However, technology these days is helping close the gap when it comes to silos in the workplace. Here are some ideas to consider as you strive to put an end to miscommunication in the office.
Silo mentality is becoming more prominent these days, especially with so many of us working from home. Simply put, it’s an isolated mindset in which people or groups of teams within a workplace see others as “outsiders.” And naturally, outsiders don’t need to be privy to certain information. However, working in the church means that for it to truly work, you need to collaborate.
For most parishes, we see silo mentality most often when it comes to the bulletin. Father will ask why an event or collection wasn’t added to the bulletin. Most often, it’s because someone failed to let the bulletin editor know about it. This becomes a missed opportunity to let the congregation know just how the church is contributing to the community.
One way to get people involved with what one another is doing is to take advantage of some group messaging platforms that allow for everyone to be involved, without sending an email each time.
More than a way to showcase your work, Trello is a way that helps groups find ways to work together. Start your account using a Trello board, lists, and cards, and then customize and expand with more features as your teamwork grows. Manage projects, organize tasks, and build team spirit — all in one place.
Unlike email, conversations in Slack are easy to follow. You can make group channels to share information, or direct message one another. According to the website, there are more than conversations — you can make calls, share files, and even connect with other apps.
This platform allows employees to interact and collaborate easily. Stay organized by keeping notes, documents, and your calendar together, and instantly go from group chat to video call with the touch of a button. People from all walks of life use it to better organize themselves, whether that be for work, school, or family. Easily find, share, and edit files in real time using familiar apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel in Microsoft Teams.
Many people may see meetings as necessary, while others make the joke that it could have just been an email. But somehow, there must be middle ground … right? Very true. According to the Amazing Parish, however, having quick, “standing” team meetings is a great way to share essential information by eliminating the “chit-chat” that often comes along with it.
Amazing Parish co-founder Pat Lencioni has a great presentation of what a great team meeting looks like, and how to adapt it to make it work for your staff using some simple tips. NOTE: To view this module, you’ll need to register for a FREE account with Amazing Parish.
Finally, it’s also helpful to implement a formal process to ensure that all useful information is shared with the people who could benefit from knowing it. Come up with a checklist for your staff, and make sure all steps are consistently taken.
Collaborating with your staff is a trial-and-error process, so don’t give up if something doesn’t go right. Keep trying to find new ways and efficient processes to keep everyone in the loop. There’s always a solution!
Looking to find the best practice techniques and the latest in technology for data gathering and engagement, online giving, church management, social media, communication, strategy and more? Check out our Parish Technology resources!
Chances are your parish is doing its best to communicate the importance of stewardship to the adults in the pews. But what about the kids — the stewards of tomorrow?
The time is now for children to learn the importance of stewardship because they are hearing plenty of counterproductive messages. The average child watches 40,000 ads on television alone per year, according to widely cited data from the APA, a figure that doesn’t even include ads on mobile devices or online. All of those ads are prompting them to think about the material goods they want — clothes, video games, snacks. It’s training them to focus inward on their own desires. As Catholics, we need to help guide their focus outwards.
Here are some ways you can help families at your parish teach children to look outside of themselves, helping to cultivate a generation of stewards for tomorrow.
Find ways to introduce the word “stewardship” and its meaning to the kids of your parish. This could take the form of special family-oriented programming, it could be implemented in Sunday school teaching or your parish priest could address it at an all-school Mass. Why do we give back some of what God has blessed us with? Bible stories that could be shared include Jacob at Bethel (Genesis 28:20), Jeremiah’s call to active citizenship (Jeremiah 29:5-7) and the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
Have kids collect toiletries for the local homeless shelter and set up a time that families from your parish could stop by and deliver them personally, meeting some of the people their donations will help. Have a baby shower for a local crisis pregnancy center and encourage kids to include handwritten notes of encouragement and support for the moms in their gifts. Or consider something that benefits your parish — does the cry room need a coat of paint or the donation of a few new children’s books? Find ways for families to become actively involved in stewardship, so that kids can see with their own eyes what faith looks like in action.
Encourage parents to let their kids place their offering in the collection basket themselves. Especially for little kids, this simple action is an exciting and engaging ritual that they will remember as they grow up. Better yet, can your parish set up a special “Children’s Fund”? Hold a contest to design fun, eye-catching envelopes that children can take home with them and fill during the week.
This could be a very brief paragraph submitted by parish kids describing some act of stewardship they undertook that week — shoveling the neighbor’s sidewalk, giving their sibling the last cupcake or skipping a chocolate bar to donate the money to church instead. Consider keeping these testimonials anonymous to further instill a sense of altruism in the kids.
Give parents useful, concrete ideas for conversation starters or activities that can help them explore stewardship at home as a family. Here are some quick and simple ideas:
Create a “giving tree.” Pin stewardship ideas to the branches of the tree and have each child choose one periodically. These can range from acts of service (mow the lawn, help with the dishes) to small donations (give part of your allowance to a charity of your choice, go through clothes and toys to donate what you don’t use anymore).
Looking for more ways to streamline your parish and engage your parishioners? Check out our Vibrant Parish Toolkit blog!
Invite your parishioners to prepare for and consecrate themselves to the loving embrace and gentle guidance of St. Joseph. We invite you to give your parishioners a tangible keepsake to hold on to with this beautifully designed prayer card. Available in English and Spanish.
Interested in increasing your parishioner contributions, but don’t have the time needed to do it? With the WeShare Engagement Campaign, you have the potential to double donor donations with minimum effort on your part. Download and share your parishioner contact list with us, and we’ll reach out to them on your behalf. It’s that simple!
LPi is dedicated to helping churches, dioceses, non-profits, and their business advertisers succeed with cutting edge communication and engagement solutions. Besides providing a purpose and a paycheck, we offer a comprehensive benefit and compensation package designed to help you balance life and work.
From engaging your parish community through the use of new technology, best practices in parish communication, and discovering ways to ignite and renew the lives of your parishioners, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge to help you build your vibrant parish.