If you're wondering what happened to 2018, you're certainly not alone. It seems that every year, time speeds by more quickly than the previous one. You don't want to get caught off guard by going into the New Year being unprepared, unorganized, and without a clear vision. One way to prevent this from happening is to take time to wrap up the current year before diving headlong into the next.
Here are some great tips to help church communicators wrap up the year.
Report Your Successes and Pitfalls
Chances are that 2018 brought some great success stories, but it also may have brought some disappointing pitfalls. It's important to report both of these so that you can better recognize in what areas you succeeded and which areas require more planning or tweaking.
When reporting your successes and pitfalls, it can be helpful to track which goals you met, in what areas you could improve, and what stopped you from meeting those goals. Performance reporting is also important because it provides an opportunity to review your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Set New Goals
After you review your church’s metrics from the previous year, it's important to sit down with your team and identify what you want to focus on next year. You'll also need to know what kind of budget you'll have and whether or not you will need access to other resources.
Keep in mind that only about 8 percent of people actually meet their goals. Setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T goals) will give you the best possible chance to reach your goals in 2019.
Get Ahead on Content
The church website, newsletter, bulletin, and social media accounts all require one thing to keep them relevant and engaging—and that's content! Because so much content is necessary, you'll want to get ahead of the game and plan as much content in advance as possible.
This might mean getting your January content planned and written in the first few weeks of December. If this seems way too early, just remember: Christmas break will come faster than you think and the first weeks of the New Year are always super busy. By getting content together sooner, it will be one less thing for you to think about at the start of the year.
Consider Your Spending
It's a fact of church life that money is required in order to meet the needs of the ministry. When considering your spending, you'll need to ensure that you not only had a budget that was well-planned but that that the spending was adequately controlled.
If your budget will change from the previous year, you'll need to figure out what campaigns were successful and which ones weren't. This will enable you to improve your budget planning for the upcoming year and spend money more wisely.
Tell Your Staff Thank You
No matter how the year went, showing gratitude for hard work and encouraging staff goes a long way this time of year. Is there something small you can give them? Maybe it's just a handwritten letter that's specific for each person or treating them to their favorite coffee or sweet treat.
You could also give a shout out to them in the next newsletter, bulletin, or social media post. If you want to thank your entire staff all at once, you could host a thank you luncheon. Besides staff, be sure to thank your volunteers as well.
Follow Up with Christmas Guests
Nearly half of all Americans will go to church on Christmas. Besides Christians who might not have a church home, a small percentage of these holiday churchgoers include atheists, agnostics, and those of other religions.
Because so many unchurched people might be stepping through your doors during this time of the year, you'll need to develop a plan to follow up with Christmas guests—for instance, inviting them to your Easter service.
You got them in the door for Christmas, so what are the next steps? Having a plan is crucial to moving these guests from one-time attendees to engaged members.