As the earth turns toward the new school year, new parishioners are headed your way like clockwork. New students at your school mean new parents who are looking for a church home and a way to be involved in community—which means it’s a vital time to make sure your communication channels are clear, informative, and easy to find.
Update that website
Set aside some time in August to make sure that a) you have a website, and b) your website is easy to find. This could mean tweaking the SEO so that it comes up in Google when parishioners search your church’s name. This could mean adding some text to the home page that makes it very clear who you are and what you do. And this definitely means putting a clear “contact us here!” button somewhere on your web page.
Send an intro email
You don’t have to wait for new families to find you—reach out to them first! Introduce yourself, say that you’re thrilled to have them as part of your community, and gently suggest ways they can get involved: whether that’s signing up for an email list, going to an event for other new parents, or just dropping by your office whenever they need help.
Host an open house
Throwing a casual open house for new families is a gracious and effective way to invite newcomers into your community. Ask a few of your more established parishioners to attend and/or host, so that new families aren’t just meeting one another, but making connections with people who have been there longer and can provide advice and guidance. Remember to make the parents feel just as welcomed as the kids—you want them to know that they are part of an entire community, not just a new school system.
If a new family comes by your open house but you never get their email address, how will you ever be in touch with them again? Avoid this by printing out a visitor pamphlet that’s full of information about how to stay in touch, sign up for newsletters, donate online, subscribe to social media, etc. Ask your staff and volunteers to pass the pamphlet out when appropriate. You can also work with your school to get new families’ information, so that you can integrate it into your database for future fundraising communications.
We know you have a lot on your plate this upcoming school year, just like your students. If the thought of forging new communications overwhelms you, let us help! At GiveCentral, we can customize your donation pages, offer email templates for outreach, integrate your donation software into your database, and provide even more guidance on how best to reach future donors. If this sounds like something you might need, contact us today.