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Last night I had a blast moderating the church and social media #ChSocM twitter chat! The chat was focused on measuring and evaluating the success of church websites and social media. If you missed it…
- Here’s a transcript
- Pre-reading: Do we “Measure what We Treasure” Online and at Church?
One of the recommendations I shared in the blog post and chat is to track how visitors to your church found out about your church using communication cards. Several chat participants asked if I could provide an example, so I’ve included the communications card from my church below.
Having a church communications card is only a small part of what goes into using them well, so I thought I’d share with you…
16 Best Practices for Using Church Communications Cards
1) Keep the cards short. The less info you ask for the more likely people are to complete it.
2) Ask people to indicate whether they are a first time visitor, 2-5 times or more than 5 times.
3) If they’re a first time attender ask how they heard about your church. Give common options they can check and an “other” option they can write in.
4) Include a place for prayer request.
5) Include a place for contact info
6) Include a place to indicate if they want more info about specific ministries at your church.
7) Include a place for comments, questions, and “Is there anything else we can do for you?” Remember, the purpose of communication cards is not to get as much data out of people as possible, but to find out how we can serve the people in our congregation better.
8) Hand them out in/with the bulletin/program you distribute in your weekend services. You don’t want to be passing them out separately or handing them out during services.
9) Create time in the service to fill out the cards. Someone will need to ask people to complete the cards, then people need to be given a minute or two (perhaps during other announcements) to fill them out. This means giving communications cards some thought during in the service planning phase.
10) Collect the cards in the offering basket. Far more will be returned if you collect them this way rather than have people drop them off somewhere on their way out.
11) Ask everyone to complete the communications cards every week, not just visitors. Visitors don’t want to stand out. In this way, they are doing what everyone else is doing. Ask your staff & leaders to lead by example. If people see none of the staff complete the cards, they won’t either. But if the staff do, a lot of other people will as well. I’ve even heard in some churches the senior pastor or person giving the announcements completes the card while they’re up in front of everyone.
This is where the rubber meets the road. You can do everything right with the design, distribution and collection, you can get everyone in every service to complete a card, but if you mishandle the cards after they are collected it’s a total waste.
12) Create a WRITTEN process for how communication cards are going to be handled. You want to be strategic about this. Think it through and make sure things are done in the same way every time.
13) Determine how cards are going to be stored securely until they are processed. There could be confidential information on the cards.
14) Determine how you’re going to handle every piece of information you receive.
- How are you going to respond to first time visitors?
- What’s the process for updating contact info?
- How do you handle prayer requests?
- How do you respond for requests for more info about specific ministries?
- How do you respond to misc comments and questions?
15) Collect & track data. Finally we get to the part of the process related to your website and social medial. Yea! If your card asks people how they first heard about the church or which of the following influenced your decision to visit today, determine the process for collecting and tracking this information every week.
How will this data get reported?
My recommendation is to compile the data into a monthly report that shows the number of 1st time visitors and how many found your church from each source. Keep a spreadsheet, so its easy to show month to month comparisons and see trends over time. This data will be a huge asset to the senior pastor and everyone involved in outreach/marketing, the website and social media.
16) Determine what you’re going to do with the cards after they’re processed. Probably best to destroy them.
Sample Chruch Communications Card
Thanks to Tim Walters, the executive pastor at my church, Cypress Meadows Community Church in Safety Harbor, FL for sending me an electronic copy of our communications card!
I would guestimate the card is about 7″ tall x 3″ wide. What you see below is the front and back of the card side by side. I would probably shorten it, eliminate a few things and make a few other tweaks, but I hope it serves as a good starting point for your church.
- What are your thoughts on the sample card? What do you like about it? What would you change for your church?
- What are your thoughts on the best practices? Anything you would add, remove or change?