We all know it's about communicating more efficiently and more effectively—not about communicating MORE. But how in the world do you do that? After all, it already seems like church communication has taken over your life. So what's a church communicator to do? You know full well that there are only so many hours in the day, which means zero time for learning different ways to communicate.
Well don't despair, because if you are already using communication software, then you can easily automate your church communication. Here are 5 simple things you can automate.
1. Automate How You Organize Your Information
Has one of your goals always been to become more organized? Automating your church communication can help you organize all kinds of information and make it easier to keep track of. Here are a few types of information with which this can be done:
- Prayer request forms - you could set up a box that church members check saying they want a pastor to follow up with them. This would "trigger" an alert to the pastor assigned to pastoral care. They'd get an email so they can pray for the member and follow if appropriate.
- Youth winter camp registration - when someone registers, it can trigger an assigned staff member to send them the rest of the camp camp information—or any other event registration form you can set up.
The more you can automate these types of things, the less you have to keep track of. And that's more brain space for really important stuff.
2. Automate How You Organize Your Team
Besides organizing your information, automation makes it possible to organize your entire team. For example, if you have a visitor who is looking at your volunteer page and wants to become a kids' ministry volunteer, you can:
- Set up the tool so that when they fill out the form they can be put into a group or list.
- The volunteer coordinator can then send a mass text or email to that group and pull a list to do background checks for just that group.
So basically, here is what that would look like in three simple steps:
- Step 1: someone fills out a form/does something on your website.
- Step 2: they automatically get put into a list/group.
- Step 3: you can automate a wide variety of tasks within that list/group.
Keeping your team organized will help to ensure there is less miscommunication and team leaders won't be sending out unnecessary messages. When it comes to communication, we're all about less. Less confusion and less chaos.
3. Automate Content Publish Dates
Did you know that you can automate when something is published AND when something needs to automatically be taken down? This means no more out-of-date events pages! Another way to take advantage of content that you can automate includes planning your social media updates for the next week or month. In case you're wondering why in the world you would want to do this, here are some great reasons:
- It offers a way to post consistently.
- You can catch errors before your post goes public.
- You won't feel rushed or pressured to post something every single day—because you've already done it.
When you automate content publish dates and social media updates, you'll feel like you have more hours in the day, which can help to increase your productivity for other tasks.
4. Automate Birthday Messages
It's vitally important to make church members and staff feel like they matter. One effective way to do this is to recognize them on their birthday. Of course you can always list their name and birthday in the church bulletin or newsletter, but taking it one step further by e-mailing them a birthday greeting is a great way to show just how much you care. This is one area of communication that can be easily automated.
One of the best ways to do this is by setting up an e-mail trigger with a pre-written birthday greeting such as, "hope your day is blessed" or "we're praying for you on this special day." Setting this up is so much easier than trying to remember to do it on the actual day of their birthday, plus it will lower your chances of forgetting someone on their special day.
5. Automatic Donations Data
Last but certainly not least, it is possible to automate your donations data.
- Members can set up a recurring donation.
- Tax receipts and year-end statements can automatically get sent to donors.
- Automate a special thank you email to be sent to anyone who makes a large donation.
- As an admin, you could automatically get the batch deposit information emailed to you every day or week.
Another area automation can make things easier is members' pledge progress. When members pledge to give a certain amount through the year, their pledge progress can be easily followed when their contribution gets automatically matched with their pledge.