Now that we’ve entered the relaxing days of summer, it’s natural that some parishes begin to prepare for that dip in member engagement and, naturally following, generosity. School is over, vacations have been planned, and barbeques are in full swing. As Church, it’s our responsibility to remind our parishioners that just because their schedules are changing, doesn’t mean our ministries and the funds needed to keep them going, are, too.
Here are four easy ways your parish can avoid the “summer generosity dip.”
Help your parishioners relax this summer by reminding them about the ease of giving online. These days, families begin to worry about summer camp, swimsuits, sunblock, and snacks for those long car rides. Help take parish donations off their plates by making online giving easy and safe — an option that allows them to contribute whether they’re in the pews or not.
There are numerous reasons why parishioners might not be at their usual Mass these next couple of months. Maybe they chose to attend a parish with a Mass time that better meets their schedule, or perhaps they end up going to a parish that is in their vacation area. Whatever the reason, ensure that your members have zero reason to not give by encouraging them to sign up for online giving before they leave.
No matter where they go, or how often they attend Mass at your specific parish, make sure you keep them up to date on the latest happenings. If your faith community has a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, make sure everyone with a social media account is connected and following along.
LPi bulletin customers have a listing on ParishesOnline that includes easy sign up for bulletin notifications. Simply add member emails to the list (or encourage them to add themselves!), and they’ll be all set to receive a link to the latest bulletin as soon as it goes to print.
Oftentimes, parishioners don’t know what is needed in and for your church, until you make it known. That’s why summer is the perfect time to take inventory of what can be improved on at the parish level and to actively seek people out to help with the process — whether that be time, talent or treasure. No matter what the project, researching ways to be more efficient at stuffing the weekly bulletin, contacting companies for donations for the upcoming parish auction, or weeding the garden outside, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
Place a help wanted ad in the next bulletin, announce that a sign-up sheet will be in the back of church for the upcoming meal program, or talk about the many needs of the church during an upcoming homily. Put together some activities that can be done as a group, such as painting or cleaning, and invite members to stop by for an hour or two to lend a hand.
Keeping the faith at the forefront of your parishioners’ minds can be challenging, especially once summer rolls around. And with many still taking COVID precautions, there is no better time than now for a “staycation.” Simple fundraising opportunities are one way you can increase parish engagement and consistent giving.
Consider an outdoor movie night, where half the proceeds go to parish debt reduction. Or how about a “pay what you may” picnic to support next year’s faith formation? Also, with school being out, a lot of parents need childcare during the summer, and a way that parishes can help is by offering a week or two of Vacation Bible School. Not only does it allow formation for our youngest members, but also gives parents some much needed help with childcare. And teens going through the confirmation process can also get their volunteer hours taken care of by volunteering their time.
Looking for new ways to engage and inspire your parishioners? Check out our other blogs, “Vibrant Parish Toolkit.”
Often referred to as the “front porch” of your parish, your website is one of the first ways that people will come to know about your faith community. And if you can only make one first impression, never has it been truer than when it comes to what you use to greet people who happen upon your website.
First, a little insight. As of January 2021, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide — 59.5% of the global population. That means that there is a LOT of content out there that people are encountering. And with our attention spans getting smaller and smaller as digital communication grows, churches especially need to shorten their messages and get to the point of what their mission is, right from the start.
When people hop onto your website, there are three things they are usually seeking — for your contact information, to find out your Mass/Confession times, and to give online. Knowing this, be sure that these are easy to find. Some places we’ve seen contact information and Mass times placed is in the footer and right on the homepage. For online giving, this call to action should be placed as a static button on each page, usually in the right-hand side of the header.
Other information, such as ministry descriptions, sacramental information, annual reports, pastor reflections, and online formation programs, can be placed within the navigation and not necessarily the top-tier menu. The less clutter website visitors come across, the better your bounce rate will be.
Keep in mind that if someone is searching for a broader topic about the Catholic Church, they probably won’t find it through a search engine. And you know what? That’s OK! The less clutter you have on your website, the easier it will be for people to find the information that pertains to your church. They won’t need to sift through citations and blog posts and news from the Vatican in order to find out how far in advance they need to register for marriage or sign up for infant baptismal preparation.
If you’re looking for an engaging and effective way to welcome website visitors, consider these quick messages for your homepage.
Our Door is Open, Our Table is Set — There is a Place for You Here!
A Community of Generosity, a Family Rooted in Faith
We’ve Saved a Seat for You Here at (CHURCH NAME)
You Belong Here
There is a Place and a Purpose for You
Worship with Us
Encounter Jesus Like Never Before
Searching for Something More?
Fall in Love with Christ at (CHURCH NAME)
God is Good … All the Time!
Join Our Family in Christ!
A Loving Community Rooted in Christ
Hello There. Welcome to (CHURCH NAME)!
A Vibrant Faith Community Waits for You
Experience the Love of God Like Never Before
Life with Christ is a Wonderful Adventure
Become One in Christ at (CHURCH NAME)
Answering the Longing of our Hearts
Together, Let’s Grow as Disciples
Looking for more ways to create an engaging website?
Check out “Does your Website Accurately Portray your Parish?” for more tips.
This summer, we take a mini dive into the complicated world of social media, and how these popular platforms help parishes reach Catholics far and wide to spread the message of Jesus Christ.
What once was an unfamiliar word to the general population is now a verb used in our everyday conversations: tweeting. Twitter is among the top 3 social networking apps in the United States and boasts more than 350 million active users. From soccer moms to CEOs, Fortune 500s to local businesses, Pepsi to Pope Francis, millions worldwide have found a way to get their message across — 280 characters or l
You may not think that your parish would have a place on this trendy platform but think again. When it comes to social media, it isn’t about transforming who you are as a parish, but rather reworking how you communicate specifically for the platform. As Church, we’re tasked with meeting people where they are, in order to help them form an authentic relationship with Christ. For many of our communities, that includes reaching out to those on Twitter, too.
You may not think of it, but your weekly bulletin is the perfect place to find content for your social media channels. From weekly readings to upcoming events, Gospel reflections from the pastor’s desk to requested items for the food pantry, a lot of information can be found in this staple communication vehicle.
You can find other things to tweet as well by following some well-known figures. Pope Francis, for example, posts quotes on the regular, and is followed by more than 18.8 million people worldwide. Help his message travel further by retweeting him once or twice a week.
Your parish has good, solid content you can use to engage and grow your followers. You just need to revise what you have. Check out this sample content schedule, and feel free to edit/add for your own faith community!
You may notice the readings for this week have a common theme: Do not be afraid! Prepare for the week by looking at the readings and spending some time in #prayer. #JPII #Faith #Detroit
One of our parish family members is looking for help in shoveling their driveway while dealing with health issues. Can you help? Contact Dan at the parish office (555) 555-5555. Thanks for being generous with your time!
This week we celebrate St. Maria Faustina, a Polish Catholic nun & mystic. She was chosen by Jesus to proclaim his powerful message of Divine Mercy. Learn about her life & how she continues to help us here on earth today. St. Faustina, pray for us! tinyurl.com/2ekkdcev
Fr. Peter will be available for #Confession today from 3 to 5 p.m. If it’s been awhile, stop by and experience the healing power of this incredible sacrament! Friday
Today, let’s pray for all the names that have been added to our book of prayers this week. May God give us strength, guidance and preservice to continue in His name. Amen!
Our weekend bulletin has arrived! Our spotlight business of the week is Dan’s Auto Repair. Bring a copy of the bulletin to his garage for $10 off a standard oil change! #Church #Sunday #Coupons
Looking for a sign? This is it! Worship with us TODAY at Mass at 9, 11, and noon. Following each Mass, enjoy our outside #coffee social. Check in with your neighbors, grab a sweet treat, and have fun! #Milwaukee #MKE
Looking for more ways to engage your parishioners digitally? Check out our Catholic Tech Talk blog for tips and tricks to websites, social media, video, audio and more!
When you think of Google, your parish listing might not be the first to come to mind. However, getting your church to show up when someone searches for a parish nearby is one of the most beneficial ways you can grow your faith community.
Keywords, meta descriptions, backlinks, rankings … there are so many things you can do to get higher up on the Google search page. If you’re frustrated on where your parish ranks, check out some things you can do to maximize your Google search results.
If you have yet to do so, the first thing you’ll want to do is claim your listing on Google. Officially called “Google My Business” page, this is a way for you to officially lay claim to and customize your search results.
If you search for a specific business or organization, you’ll notice on the right-hand side what Google calls a “knowledge panel.” If you don’t claim your listing, this will be created automatically by Google. Claiming your page will allow you to be in control of what’s there, such as adding an official description, address and contact information, photos, links to social media channels and more.
While it can be a process, it is very doable. You’ll need a Gmail account, and then just follow the steps for verification through automated phone call, or postal mail. Once you’ve claimed your listing, you can help speed things along by requesting that Google index your website (basically scan your website and stick it in search results faster). If you’re interested in moving forward, check out this deep dive from Google on exactly how to do it.
Like the foundation of your home, your website needs a strong footing in order to be taken seriously by Google. That is why it’s extremely important that you work on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Each page that makes up your website needs its own title and summary (called the meta description), as well as any keywords that you think people would use to find a parish like yours.
Now, descriptions are no longer counted in the algorithm that Google uses to rank your pages, but they are critical for how Google uses them in the display of your search results. The meta description (summery) should be less than 160 characters, so you’ll want to make sure that all your important information fits inside that number.
Here is an example of one parish that has created custom, targeted SEO. Remember, each page should have a different description.
Keywords: Church, Milwaukee, East Side, Catholic, Sacraments, Mass (for even better results, make sure the same words are found within the copy on the same page).
Meta Description 1: Website (under 160 including spaces): St. Peter Parish is a vibrant Catholic community nestled in the heart of Milwaukee. A place of worship, we serve spiritual and physical needs of our community.
Meta Description 2: About Us Page (under 160 including spaces): Whether you've been a parishioner with us for years, or are visiting our church for the first time, we hope that you feel welcome and at home.
Home | St. Peter Parish
Sacraments | St. Peter Parish
Online Giving | St. Peter Parish
Finally, you may not be aware, but Google is one of the best places to search for reviews of various businesses, organizations, and yes, churches! One way to look at this is to utilize it for member and staff testimonies. Does your parish have an amazing choir? Young adult ministry? Is your pastor inspiring and passionate in his homilies? Have you experienced an encounter with Christ thanks to this parish? Whatever you choose to highlight, Google is a great way to get the word out!
The more positive reviews, the higher you rank in search results. No matter what is posted, be sure to respond within three days. Not only is this best practice, but it also shows people who find your listing on Google that your parish is alive and thriving.
Want to learn more about SEO for your website? Check out “The Importance of SEO For Parishes” for some more insight.
From our Vibrant Parish Toolkit blog that helps parishes grow stewardship and their faith community through hospitality, engagement and evangelization, to the Catholic Tech Talk blog that gives readers practical advice to reach both digital learners and digital natives, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge to help grow your church.
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.
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 online giving with minimum effort on your part. Download and share your parishioner contact list with us, and we’ll reach out to them FREE on your behalf. It’s that simple!
With WeCreate, you’ll find the latest in stock photography, clip art, prayers, Gospel reflections, children’s art and activities, and more! And whether you’re looking to customize an attractive flyer for the upcoming bake sale, or seasonal clip art for the weekly bulletin, our templates make it easy for you to make it your own.