I was out running errands the other day and realized I needed to stop for gas. I reached for my wallet and discovered that I must of left it at home. I pushed my hands into my pockets hoping I’d find some stray dollar bills. Nothing. I had money, just not when and where I needed it.
Many churches are restricted when it comes to budgets. Just enough for what’s perceived as essentials. Sadly, the church communications department feels like I did in my car. No money.
Don’t fret! There are 4 things you can do right now; with no money, but all of them make a huge impact.
- Prioritize and strategize. Create or review your church communications’ calendar. Make sure all events that require communications are listed. Circle all that target 75% or more of your congregation. Spend more attention on these than any of the others. If you’re limited in budget (no money) and time, these take precedence. It’s better to get the message out about them than anything else on the calendar. Create a strategy that ensures most of your congregation hears about them. Use your print, web, social and email tools that are already in place. No money necessary!
- Enlist volunteers. Need help? No money budgeted to hire? There are people in your congregation that would love to help. Who? Look for those that love to: edit and proof, take pictures, dream big ideas, get things done in your church, or create marketing and advertising strategy. You may even have a graphic designer or programmer who’ll offer a few hours a week. People want to be part of team that impacts and influences.
- Improve your content. Social media posts need to be created and added to a posting calendar (like Hootsuite). Website page content needs to be edited to about 50 words/page with your church’s keywords used over and over. Consider ways to make your worship guides more readable (most people don’t like paragraph promotional text). Go take better pictures for your website; look for image subjects that tell a story. No money is required!
- Walk afresh through your buildings. Drive onto your campus as a totally new visitor. Park in various areas and walk to the closest entrances. As you enter consider what new people are looking for (bathrooms, children areas, worship center). Commit to solving any confusion they might have. Use all your senses: what do you smell, taste (water, coffee, etc.), see, hear? Do what it takes to fix issues or report your findings to another department. No money out of your communication’s budget is needed!
Sure, it’s easy to want bigger budgets. Be a good steward with what you have; prove that you’re doing much with little and the church will be more willing to give you more.
This post originally appeared for the digital Worship Facilities Magazine. Mark MacDonald is a regular writer for this and other national publications.