As church communicator, you have an excellent grasp on things like how to best promote church events, the importance of a functional church website, and how to put church management software workflows to good use. Because of this, you have worked hard to put together a church communications budget for 2018.
Despite all your hard work, however, you didn't receive the marketing budget you had hoped for this year. Maybe you requested a full website redesign, but were only approved for a page or two. Or you didn't receive the new equipment you requested. So what are your next steps?
While you may not be entirely satisfied regarding what you did or didn't get, you know there is not much you can do about it. Except that is, to keep pushing forward. Here's how to make the most of your budget while doing just.
Prioritize Your Spending and Find Ways to Reallocate
When you spent time dreaming and planning about your communication efforts, it can be discouraging to experience budget cuts or disapproval. But instead of dwelling on what you don’t have, direct your efforts toward prioritizing and relocating.
Maybe you were hoping to be able to add a new member to the communications team. Now, instead of doing this, you can work to recruit specific volunteers who have experience in communications, or get a dedicated intern for the school year.
When it comes to reallocation, you could reallocate some tasks that don't require a lot of knowledge about church communications so that you can focus on the tasks that require your skillset.
Example of an online small group search:
Or, if you didn't get enough to cover your projected costs for print materials, you can opt to go digital for things like the church bulletin (if your congregation would receive this well). Even though you might love the feel of printed materials in your hands, there are some good reasons to go digital. Besides saving money, going digital can help your materials become more versatile, searchable, and shareable.
Other types of materials you can do digitally include:
- Volunteer signup forms
- Registration forms
- Small group resources
If a church member really wants a printed copy, just be sure that church members can download it from your website and print it out themselves. Another way to save money in this area is by cutting down on your church graphic design needs.
For example, instead of paying a graphic artist to come up with a new graphic for each project, simply reuse your graphics or repurpose your design elements.
Dive into ROI on Your Marketing Spends
You totally understand the role that marketing plays in the success of your church. Not only does getting the word out about your church help it to grow, it is also vital for helping the church to move forward with its mission.
One way the church can be successful in both of these areas is to host special events.
The success of these events is usually measured by how many people attend, and in order get optimal attendance, the event needs to get promoted.
One thing you'll want to do is to find out which advertisement methods are working for you. If you know you aren't getting any results with your radio ads, it might be time to ax them completely. Also, if your Facebook ads aren't performing like they once used to, you might want to stick to traditional marketing, such as putting ads in the local newspaper or weeklies.
You can also make the most out of free ways to advertise your events. Hopefully you are already taking advantage of free advertising opportunities, but if not, here are some good ideas:
- Submit press releases to area newspapers
- Contact the religion reporter and ask them to do a story on your next upcoming event
- Ask your local radio station if they will do a free community announcement for you
- Post flyers on bulletin boards at the library, grocery stores, coffee shops, and anywhere else they have them
When it comes to free advertising, you can also make the most of social media, which includes creating events on Facebook, tweeting about your upcoming events, designing shareable memes, and creating a YouTube video describing your upcoming event.
Get Creative on Ways to Raise Funds
Most people get that churches and fundraising go hand in hand, but if you really want to be successful in your fundraising efforts, you're going to have to get creative. Some ways to do this include:
- Host a Dodgeball Tournament - dodgeball is a sport that doesn't require a lot of equipment. In fact, all you'll need is an open space, a ball, and participants.
- Utilize Crowdfunding platforms - some of them, like Bonfire, are geared specifically toward Christian fundraising.
- Get a whole team of fundraisers together and host peer-to-peer fundraising events like making on-the-spot appeals and setting up coffee dates to share about the fundraiser w/ another person or a group of people.
- If there are members who have been positively impacted by your church, put up their testimonies on your church website's fundraising page and also include the testimonies in a fundraising email or a campaign letter.
While using social media is a great way to promote your upcoming events, it's also a great way to do some fundraising. For instance, a new feature on Facebook Live allows you to do fundraising.
Another way to raise funds using social media is to create a fundraising page on your church website and then post that link on all your social media accounts. When doing this, don't forget to use hashtags so that your fundraiser is easy to find by others who are searching for those specific words.