Does your church find it hard to know how to reach out to more members of the community?
Both online and offline marketing strategies can help your church to raise its profile in the community, increase your congregation, and ultimately raise more funds.
Not sure how to go about this? We’ve got you covered with these tips on being smart with your church outreach and getting the most from your efforts.
Having an attractive, functional website that provides information about your church to the community is an important part of outreach.
With the growth of the Internet, almost everyone will look to research your church before they visit. If first-time visitors can’t easily find details about your church online, they can discourage them from attending.
Your church website will likely be your big opportunity to impress first-time visitors and turn them into members of your church. It can have a significant effect on whether people decide to visit your church.
It helps with converting more people into members and building your relationships with existing members of the congregation.
From a user perspective, your website should be easy to navigate — potential members shouldn’t have to look too hard to find key details about your church and what to expect if they visit.
Make your church’s address and worship times highly visible so it’s easy for people to find you. Don’t bury this information in your website footer, for example.
You can also have a calendar that offers details of key events and when they’re happening. Keeping this up-to-date is vital since many churches have outdated information on their calendar (and websites in general).
Include details about children’s ministry work to appeal to young families in the community.
When using church images, use photos of your church — stock images of churches may look good but they don’t paint a true picture of what makes yours unique. This avoids any potential for new members feeling disappointed or misled if they visit your church.
Pro tip: If you have the budget, hiring a professional photographer to capture images of your church — especially on key worship days.
Uploading videos of your services can help bring new members on board and deepen your connections to current members. For example, if people miss a service, they can hop on your church’s website and catch up.
The Apostolic Church of God is an example of a church that does this. Here’s how they promote live streaming on their website and YouTube channel:
The Abundant Life Church uses video on the homepage, along with the opportunity to watch sermons online:
Here are a few other ways you can use video to engage current and future members:
Pro tip: You don’t need a big budget to use video outreach. Focusing on being genuine and engaging, rather than slick and fancy, can engage your congregation and encourage new members to join. The words you use in your church videos can have more impact than the production/editing.
At the very least, your church will benefit from ranking well for local searches — when people search for churches in your area, for example.
Regularly uploading engaging and high-quality content to your church website is another smart SEO move. You can do this through a blog, for example.
Creating a listing on Google Maps can help more people find out about your church. From a local SEO perspective, your church can be more prominent in search results and this can attract more people to your location.
Postcards and flyers can be an effective way to gain attention and welcome non-members to your church.
Have a goal in mind for what you want to achieve through your outreach efforts. This may involve increasing the attendance at specific services or reaching out to people who have recently moved to the community.
Finding out as much as you can about the people in your community helps segment and personalize your postcard outreach. This allows your church to invite people to the events that will be most relevant to them.
Pro tip: Donation software such as Donorbox helps gather donor data that can be used to inform future outreach efforts. You can also ask specific questions on your donation forms to learn more about your donors.
Use an eye-catching design for your postcards and flyers. You can use Canva to design them with a professional look — even if staff or volunteers don’t have design skills. If your budget allows, you can also hire a freelancer on Fiverr (or similar) to design a cost-effective postcard or flyer for your church.
Be concise with the details you include on the card — you only have seconds to grab attention. Include a catchy headline and try to get the main details of your message across as briefly as you can.
Include a call-to-action to make it obvious what you want people to do after reading your postcard.
Here are some examples of church outreach flyers.
Email is a cost-effective way to reach out to members of your church.
Decide what you want to achieve through the emails you send to members. Do you want to prioritize bringing new members on board or encourage members to be more actively engaged with your church? Or maybe you’re looking to build stronger links to the community.
Whatever your main aim(s), you can focus the content of your emails around them.
Pro tip: You can have more than one goal for your church’s email strategy — especially if you’ll be segmenting your list and targeting different sections of your membership with your emails.
Segmenting your email list helps to target your outreach efforts. You can segment according to the interests or life stage of your members, for example.
You can also segment according to whether members attend regular services or are new members.
Pro tip: Your church can export CSV to help with segmenting donors. If you have different campaigns, exporting CSV of donors and their donation details are possible through Donorbox and Excel.
Collect email addresses from your congregation and people who express an interest in your church. This can include first-time visitors to your church, people who visit your website or blog, and attendees at events.
Be clear about what people will get from signing up to receive emails from your church. This can include news relating to your church, for example.
With Donorbox, your church can collect donor details during the donation process. Through your donation forms, you can choose which additional questions to ask donors, which you can then use to target them more effectively in your emails and other church communications.
Pro tip: Email existing members to recommend your church to a friend, family member, or acquaintance who may benefit from connecting with you.
Social media is another low-cost outreach activity for your church. It can help you reach a wider range of potential members.
Ideally, your church’s social media efforts will feed into your wider promotion strategy. For example, your blogs and emails can influence your social media posts.
If your church isn’t on social media yet or you’re not getting much traction from your social media efforts, double-check where your members are hanging out online. You may find that the best channel(s) aren’t always the most obvious ones.
Not sure what your church can post about on social media as part of your outreach activities?
You can share your church’s story and mission through photos, posts, and videos. This can include photos from services and ministries, details of events, photos from events, and stories from members, for example.
Here’s how The Courageous Church is using Facebook:
Here’s how the Community Bible Church is using Instagram to drive engagement:
And here’s how the Waters Edge Church is also using Instagram:
A few more tips for engaging through social media include:
Does your church have a Facebook page? A lot of churches are on Facebook but struggle to get the most from it.
You can post motivational and inspirational quotes and content from your services and the Bible in general.
Pro tip: Set up Facebook events for your church outreach events. Members of your church can invite their Facebook friends to attend, which helps spread your reach. Ask your regular attendees to confirm their attendance on Facebook. Their friends will be notified of this and it can serve as organic promotion for your church events.
If you’re using Facebook to encourage conversations with your members, spend some time checking for responses and replying to comments. You may decide to have a volunteer or staff member who has responsibility for doing this — that way, you know someone will be taking care of the social side of your Facebook outreach.
Facebook advertising can be an affordable way to reach out to people in the community. You can target specific locations and demographics, for example.
Some members of the congregation will know at least one person who may be interested in becoming a member. You can send an email to members to encourage them to ask their network.
Pro tip: Ask members of the congregation to share with 1-2 other people or “their besties”. This can be much more powerful than a generic “refer your friends” approach and people are more likely to oblige.
Having a committed congregation who turn up regularly is the holy grail for your church. Focusing your outreach efforts on turning first-time visitors into regular attendees should be a big priority
Pro tip: Regular devotees can be effective from a donation perspective too. You can ask these donors for smaller monthly contributions rather than a larger amount upfront and most of the time, they’ll be happy to give regularly.
With the right outreach strategies, your church can grow its congregation and raise its profile in the community.
Your church website is an easy way to make a strong first impression and encourage people to visit your church. Using email, social media, and postcards and flyers can help your church reach out to more people and engage them in your work.
As your membership grows, Donorbox is the ideal platform to streamline your fundraising and donor communications. We’ll help you secure more donations and keep track of donor details.