You have learned a lot about how parishioners engage with the parish over the last several months. Social distancing has allowed you to contact loyal parishioners in new ways. It has also (hopefully) provided you an opportunity to engage some people that are thinking of coming back to the Church during this unprecedented time. You’re now in expert in COVID-19 and parish communications!
As we get used to the “new normal,” it is critical to engage all parishioners. How they want to be communicated with will be an important piece of what every parish must now figure out. You have likely seen an increase in your Facebook following, perhaps you have acquired new emails, and maybe you’ve even discovered a cell phone number that you didn’t previously have in your parish database.
With all this in mind, there may not be a better time to do a short survey allowing parishioners to identify the ways in which they prefer to hear from you. Think of the postage you can save if someone asks to be notified via email only. Perhaps a parishioner has switched to giving online to support the parish and no longer wants envelopes mailed to their home. The past few months have forced us to be creative in many ways – now we need good recordkeeping and follow-up to continue moving forward.
Segmenting parishioners based on their communication preferences will allow you to personalize your messaging in a way you may have never done before. If you commit to it, you may find all of your communications perform better – leading to increased engagement, volunteerism, and financial support in the future. COVID-19 and parish communications: now is the time to take this to the next level! (And while you’re at it…spring clean those emails!)