Friday, October 20, 2017 17:44

Communicate the Right Things to the Right People–Idea #8

iStock_000007088099X Giving Bible & Wallet

While you cannot over-communicate, you can give information to the wrong people!  You must consciously decide what information should be given to whom and choose the right channel for that communication.

Make a list of all your church information channels.  Here’s a sampling to start your thinking:

  • Website
  • Bulletin
  • Worship Service Verbal Announcements
  • Pre-Worship Service Slides
  • Newsletter
  • Pastor’s Blog
  • Letters with Giving Statements
  • Cards in Pews
  • Budget
  • Annual Report

Next, decide who the primary audience is for each channel.  The website is probably the most open and accessible to everyone.  (A notable exception is if you have a password-protected area for “members only.”)  What is your most exclusive communication channel?  You may be hard-pressed to figure it out.  In many churches everything is public, and that means nearly every communication piece is targeted to almost exactly the same audience.

I would suggest that every church needs a “members only” communication channel.  Using this channel, you can communicate sensitive information that only members care about and only members need to know.  This is the channel you should use to talk about budget shortfalls and other such sensitive “family” information.

The church budget is like a butterfly.  You chase it all year long, never knowing if you will catch it. Not until December 31 do you know for sure if you’ve been successful.  So why do churches put that information in the Sunday bulletin which is the first piece of printed information about your church that is handed to a first-time guest?  In many cases, the giving stats will show that the church is “behind budget” 52 weeks of the year.  Even if all bills are currently paid, and “those in the know” understand that “we always run behind budget until we receive December’s offerings,” it’s a dismal portrait to paint for a first-time guest. 

But please note: I am not saying that you don’t communicate relevant budget information.  I’m just saying that budget information, in my opinion, is not relevant for church guests.  It is extremely relevant (if reported well) for members, regular attenders, and givers.  And probably even for those in the “New Members” class. I don’t discuss my family budget (be it shortfalls or surpluses) except with family, and the church should treat its financial information with the same discretion.

Correctly targeted financial communication affects giving positively.  Good information dispersed to the right people helps them to give intelligently.  The same numbers given without explanation through a public communication channel can discourage giving.

Why not make this a topic of discussion among your leaders who have the authority to make communication decisions?  Decide how to target your church communications so that you are always communicating the right things to the right people.

© Linden D. Kirby. Excel Ministries, Inc.  2012. All rights reserved. 

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