As a church communicator, you know that there is no down season. In fact, before you even start promoting your next upcoming event, chances are you’re already well into planning the one after that, especially when it comes to the holiday season and upcoming year. However, before you jump into 2020 church communication planning without even taking a breath, it’s important to think through your strategy, reflect on past successes (and failures), and set goals for what is to come.
Organization is key to managing all of the moving pieces in church communications, so we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for you to follow as you plan for 2020.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning for 2020
Step One: Evaluate 2019
Before you look forward, it’s critical that you look back. Gather your communications team and/or key leaders to look over the past year. As you meet, work to answer the following questions:
- What was our biggest success in 2019?
- What was our greatest failure?
- Did we accomplish all of our goals? If not, why not?
- Are there certain avenues of communication that proved more effective than others? Which ones and why?
- How did we do as a team? Do changes need to be made?
Step Two: Set Goals for 2020
Next, use the answers from above to set goals for 2020. These goals should be specific to your ministry, not the church as a whole (pro tip: make sure these goals are SMART goals). While every church is different, here are a few key areas to zoom in on when it comes to goal setting:
- Planning: create timelines and maps that will help you set goals when it comes to planning out your day, week, month, and year.
- Organization: set goals to stay on task and work effectively and efficiently.
- Promotion: these goals should center around every avenue of communication. Don’t forget your church website, social media, print publications, and digital communication.
- Growth: growth goals can range from personal growth to growth as a department to growth as a church.
- Execution: Finally, set goals around actually making things happen.
Step Three: Look Ahead to Major Events
Once your goals are set, it’s time to look ahead. Pull out your church calendar and look ahead to any major event that is coming up in 2020. These typically fall into 2 categories: annual events and one-time events.
Annual events at your church include anything that you know happens every year such as holidays, anniversaries, etc. Be thorough so you will know what’s coming even months in advance.
These events are things that may not be the norm. Reach out to every ministry area to see if they have anything unique planned. Also, be aware of any upcoming capital campaigns, staff changes, communication needs (i.e. an updated church website) and/or ministry shifts.
Step Four: Get Organized
This is the fun part (at least for all you Type A’ers)! Now that you have set goals and know what’s coming, you can take time to get organized.
Create Your Timelines
Work to establish a timeline for every event from design to execution and mark it on your calendar. For example:
- 2 Months Out: Meet with event leaders to brainstorm branding and get started on the design
- 1 Month Out: Finalize promotion pieces
- 3-4 Weeks Out: Begin promotion on social media, your church website, and in print pieces
- 2 Weeks Out: Promote from the pulpit
- 1 Week Out: Send out email reminders
- 1-2 Days Out: Send out push notifications
- Day Of: Document via photos and videos to be shared on social media and your church website following the event.
Ensure You Have the Right Tools
This is also the time to make sure you have all of the tools from software to team members that you need. These tools (think church management software, project management software, social media scheduling, and communication request forms) can help to simplify your job and streamline your tasks.
Step Five: Rest and Recharge
Finally, take some time before 2020 gets here to recharge. While you do need a plan, there’s no way you can be prepared for everything. So, be strategic, execute church communication best practices, and then allow yourself to rest. This will help you to be ready to tackle anything that comes your way. Also, check out this article for a laugh!
Church communicator, you are not alone in this job. We are a group of people who have been down in the trenches and desire to partner with you in ministry. If a new church website might be a part of your 2020 plan, we’d love to help. Check out these Real Success Stories from Church Communicators.