Every person is different. Some respond to audio cues. Others to visual cues. Certain age groups prefer writtenmaterials they can hold. Others prefer electronic media they can keep and re-read and share. Others prefer personal contact, such as suggestions from friends.
What is Our Goal?What will the fruit of good communications at ourparish be? e.g. Fully engaged Catholics through:Liturgy, Prayer, Sacrament, Education,Opportunities to MinisterWe will achieve our goals through evangelizationand invitation to get involved through Events,Programs, Education
What Are Our Tools?Priest’s homilies/Adult Witness TalksSlideshows/VideosSigns/FlyersBulletinsWebsiteFacebook/TwitterE-NewslettersMailingsBrochures
Effect of Tools Everything we do should encouragepeople to attend, come back, tell their friends and get involved Good communication: Invites Informs Includes Instructs Inspires
Communications GoalsThere are three primary goals forcommunication in a parish.One is to successfully communicate internallywith staff, key ministry heads, etc. all whoshape the mission, experience, goals, calendars,events that define a parish community.
The second is communicatinginternally with those in ministrywho perform the tasks that define our parish community.
The third is communicating externally with peopleoutside the parish – those who maybe interested in finding a church or who may be searching for an encounter with Jesus.
Communications PlanOnce you have goals, make a plan:1. Communicate in a spirit of openness, mutualrespect and collaboration in the Franciscan spirit2. Encourage active engagement, greaterparticipation and enthusiasm among the communityby promotion and awareness of parish activities andfaith opportunities3. Utilize various communication vehicles to create a“surround” of information that reaches out todiffering audiences; accounting for theircommunication preferences
Communications Plan5. Identify key messages the pastoral team wishes tocommunicate. Identify the key audiences in our parishdemographics for this communication and tailor thecommunication accordingly.6. Provide a central source for communications topresent a unified message that reflects who we are atMSLRP: Catholic, Franciscan and Multicultural. Ensure thatcommunications are properly managed to avoid overcommunication.7. Communicate with clear calls to action and compellingmessages such as WIIFM (what’s in it for me?)
Focus on specificchallenges such as:How do people find ourparish?How do people find ourschool or RE program?
What does our website, facebook page,newsletter or bulletin say to the folks who are attending but haven’t joined yet? How well do we evangelize those who aren’t Catholics yet?
Surprisingly many websites andbulletins lack an interest in externalcommunication -- helping people findand understand what a parish is about.This tendency is what marketing peopleoften call “in-grown eyeballs” – aninsularity of thought that seems tosubliminally keep people out.
Do our communications show allparts of our parish and all cultures as active? Vibrant? Vital? Needed? Engaged?What tools do we use that show an engaged parish?
Today’s communication is fast. Short. Think Twitter and Facebook and Youtube.Big pictures and short emotional quotes and personal stories they can relate to. How effective is our parish in telling the personal story? The “aha” moments?
Like Jesus, stick to the basics. Start with less information, not more. Use pictures and bullet points or personal quotes to tell the story.
Watch the Fonts and Clip Art.No, clip art.Pictures are Best.
Be careful howyou use multiplefonts, underline,bold, italics, ALL CAPS, text size and color.PARTICULARL Y avoiD USINGTHEM together!
Taking Great Parish PhotosTell the story of the event that is being captured. Use natural light and the “Rule of Thirds” Interesting angles make for interesting photos Show people being active in the parish (Remember, children are always photogenic) It’s all in the details: candles, prayer books, flowers, everything helps to tell the story
Avoid using clip art whenever possible if a picture is available.Pictures say a thousand words.
Keep it upto date. Ifit’s March, don’t be wishing your webguests a MerryChristmas.
Use quotes to bring your community alive.“I think everyone should learn about God before we actually meet him.”
The education webpage or education articles in your bulletin may be the most important.
Invite pastors, teachers,department heads and staffers to blog. Even thePope supports it!It will be the most popular area on your website.
Tell your Parish story withenthusiasm. Help people who are seeking God to understand how your parish can help them to encounter the living God.
Parishioners shouldn’t have tosearch to figure out who is in charge and how to get involved.
LANGUAGEMost of your readersaverage a sixth grade education.Don’t talk down, but watch the $15.00 words on a page.
LANGUAGEAvoid: Jargon, use of &’s and !!!!Staff: Create a parish stylebook. Choose rules of grammar and punctuation and use them throughout your publications.
You’re invited to our studentScience Fair and Art Show Next Wednesday Serra Center, from 6pm See Betty for details. Or call the parish office.
Say Thank You Great event? Good fundraiser? Beautifulliturgy? A well placed thank you highlights extra effort, encourages others to offer their gifts -- and conveys zeal and commitment to regulars and visitors.
ReflectionsInclude at least onearticle that teaches or likely, re-teaches an important aspect of Catholic doctrine or brings to life someaspect of the Liturgyor provides a pastor’s reflection.
Name the Staff! Feature a different staff member, with their picture and contact information, in every bulletin or newsletter. (Yes this takes begging, time, planning, and work. But the payoff is worth it!)
Track “Real Estate” Same month after month? In some newsletters a significant amount of “real estate” is taken up by ongoing program information that never changes (Bible Study at 8am and 4pm) jokes, clip art etc. Move sections around. Develop 6 layouts and rotate them each week. Force folks to read and look.