Archives For Tactics and Tools

modernized-tithing-texting-kiosksAs the Church has progressed into the 21 Century, many of its functions have been modernized.  We have guest services instead of ushers. Our fellowship halls in the back of the buildings have become Café’s and lounges in the front of the Church. Our music has moved from Hymnals to Projectors. Yet with all the modernization the Church is going through, one thing remains etched in the stones of the past – Our systems of tithes and offerings.

Fewer People are carrying Cash or Checks

Fewer and fewer people in today’s society pay with cash or checks. We even find that Millennials are using credit cards at an all-time low, as well. This leads to a dilemma for Churches. How do we get people to give tithes and offerings, when their only choices of giving are cash, checks and sometimes credit cards?

Here are some surprising trends in Consumer Spending:

  • 2 out of 5 people carry less than $20 on their person (Bankrate)
  • 38% of consumers NEVER write checks. Another 20% only write a few per year (The Financial Brand)
  • 6 in 10 Millennials do not have a credit card (Washington Post)

These trends will eventually become a tipping point to where the tithe and offerings payment options offered do not reflect the payment methods people have with them while at Church.

A New Approach to Giving

It is true that people carry less cash, write fewer checks and carry less credit card debt, but there is one interesting fact. They all have money in a bank. The issue is the way they spend money. Their payment methods now consist of paying bills and buying goods online with a bank card.

Knowing this, we can create a system that capitalizes on the congregations ability to pay electronically. Better yet, we can make giving even more easier, increasing the revenues that come into our churches. Even better, giving doesn’t have to be done in a 5 minute devotional time in between Worship and preaching. It can be done at any time in the lobby or on their cell phones.

Part 1: SMS Text Messaging

Everyone has their smartphone in your service. A lot of them are using You Version to follow the message. Knowing they do mobile banking, why not offer them an easy way to tithe?

Enter www.kindrid.com. This service, and others like it, allows Churches to setup giving via Text Message. You have seen these in various forms, most notably the Red Cross. You have seen their advertisements for, “Text #XXXX to donate $10.”

With this solution, your Church sets up a giving number. You then include this number in bulletins or during announcements. People text the amount they want to give to the number and they are done. It is fast and simple for both the Church and the congregation.

Part 2: Congregation Based Giving Apps

Tablets are taking the World by storm. Combining these with smartphones, we can account for nearly every person attending a Worship service. We can make it as easy to give as creating an app that allows them to give right from their smartphone or tablet.

How do you create a giving app without spending a fortune to develop it? Well, there is an app for that. It’s called www.givelify.com. Givelify offers Churches a branded app for tithing and offerings. Pricing varies, but it is priced the way a credit card transaction is priced: example – 2.9% + $0.30 per donation. Users are used to this, since this is how paypal charges its fees.

The trick is getting people to download the app. The trick is to use QR codes. In your Worship service handouts and in announcements, place a QR code that leads to the app install. A simple click of the camera and the app is installed. From there, the user can give anytime he or she feels led.

Part 3: Giving Kiosks

Giving Kiosks are beginning to gain traction with Pastors. Why limit giving to the actual Church service, when you can allow people to give before and after service, as well? A giving kiosk will stand in the foyer area of the Church and provide visitors the easiest way possible to give their tithes and offerings.

They consist of three parts, an ipad, giving app and a stylish modern kiosk. SecureGive offers this as an all in one package. It can be seen at http://www.lilitab.com/pages/solutions.

SecureGive did a survey of Churches that used its services and found that giving increased by 27%. The study also found that the offerings given on the kiosk were 20% higher than non-kiosk giving.

With these applications in place, Churches can encourage giving from the front of the Church to the back of the Church. Thanks to technology, not only can we make giving easier, we can do it in an affordable manner.  All of the solutions mentioned are cost effective and provide a very low barrier of entry so that every Church can get in and test these new ways of giving.

 

One of the most common questions that I get, is–“How do I get more traffic and followers of my blog and content?”

One of the first suggestions is: go guest-blog for others, like crazy! –AND make sure it is your best content.

That response is usually, immediately followed by puzzled looks and defensive arguments, with the inquisitors trying to guide my recommendations for things to do on THEIR sites, rather than on others’. …But they’ve got it all wrong.

I’ve always looked for other voices, to share on one of my blogs. It’s boring, if you keep hearing from the same voice, day-in and day-out. Variety is the spice of life! And you can really learn things from a diversity of perspectives.

But when the idea of guest-blog posting–for my blog, or another’s–comes up, sometimes people don’t “get it.” They think that there’s no “WIIFM (What’s In It For Me),” for them. Once you try to explain the benefits, 50% of them will “get it” (as you see the light bulb go on, above their heads).

For the other 50%–don’t take it just from me! Here’s a sample of posts that make the case for why you should be guest-blogging. And I’d invite you to do it here on this site, as the “first, next step!” 😉

More Reasons Why You Should Consider Guest Blogging For Me:

  1. Guest Posts Can Help Grow Your Blog
  2. 5 Benefits of Having Guest Writers on Your Blog
  3. Build Your Social Network
  4. Discover Business Opportunities
  5. The Indirect SEO Benefits of Guest Posting
  6. Get Quality Traffic
  7. Identifying Quality Content
  8. Develop Rapport and Credibility

The “New Year”is half over! — and it’s time to think ahead about what BHAG’s you can accomplish in 2014.

One of my goals is to publish a series of books (most on the Kindle platform) to help more individuals, non-profits and ministry leaders ramp up their communications efforts.

For one of them, I am inviting you to become a contributor in an effort to help empower more people to harness the power of social media for their own cause.

Simply submit your contribution below to get started!

 

Pinterest Pinboards of Churches

 

One of the last social media platforms for churches to consider is Pinterest.  Several months ago, when I took a look at compiling a complete list of churches using Pinterest as a part of their social media communications toolset, there weren’t that many to list.  My twitter buddy @djchuang also took a swipe at listing churches on Pinterest recently you should be aware of.

But there’s plenty of reasons why Pinterest is something all churches should take a look at.  Here are some of them:

  • The average Pinterest user says on the site for 98 minutes per month. That’s more than 1.5 hours to capture their attention.
  • 20% of all US women are on Pinterest.  And 80% of Pinterest users are women. Guess who also typically makes the decision for which church to attend in a given family?
  • Pinterest users SHARE content – 80% of pins are shared content.
  • Unbelievable growth – From 9/2012 to 9/2013, there was a 60% growth in web traffic referrals.
  • 4.8% of Americans are using Pinterest at work.

Today, there’s a bunch more that have jumped on the bandwagon.  Take a look below at the 150+ churches with Pinterest accounts and active on the platform:

Complete Updated List of Churches on Pinterest

Continue Reading…

National Back To Church Messaging

Continue Reading…

church technology blogs

Continue Reading…

5 Ideas for Using Google Plus Hangouts for Church Communities

Continue Reading…

Good Use of QR Codes in Church

Continue Reading…

Once in awhile you come upon communications execution that just hits the mark dead center.

Check out the fan celebration video published to this group’s YouTube channel:

So, who are these girls?

Sonia and Janice are Australian-born Korean twins who sing and post their cover performances on YouTube.   Their musical vids have gotten decent traction on YouTube.  Here’s an obligatory / I’m-lovin’-it example of their work:

And boy can they sing — over 1,000,000 people have subscribed to their channel that has only 38 videos so far.   Many of those videos have MILLIONS of views.  As much as over 20,000,000 views for a single video.

Wow.  So what’s the secret sauce to accruing so many subscribers?

See how the *directly* and *explicitly* engage with their fans on camera?  That’s a huge part of why they’ve gotten so much traction.

Take note: When they’re looking into the camera, they are talking to *you* — an individual — not the anonymous masses of fans that might be watching.  Even though this is a mass medium of communications, when you talk directly to the viewer (singular, not plural!), then you really have the chance to accomplish something — that’s make a connection.

Do you see the difference between broadcasting a generic message and delivering a personal message?  That’s how you do it.

Tell me what is keeping you from creating content like this where you are talking directly at the person watching?  I’d love to hear why your circumstances / brand / approach limits you from doing that.



It feels like we just celebrated the New Year, and Easter is here already.  Of course it is actually a bit early this year on March 31.  But that only means we have to be on our toes to be strategic for Easter to be a way to welcome newcomers, casual attendees and friends / family that might be visiting from our of town.

One of the easiest tactics almost any church can utilize to spread the word about Easter Sunday services is Facebook advertising.

Not only is it affordable since you actually set the bid and budget caps for your campaign — so your expenses won’t go wild and out of control.

But Facebook advertising is extremely effective in reaching friends of those that are attending your church already.  This is where leveraging social networks for church outreach messaging is perfect.

FACEBOOK ADVERTISING ALLOWS YOU TO TARGET VERY SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS

Here is an example of an ad I set-up today for Liquid Church’s Easter Services.  You’ll see that I’ve been able to set-up 3 demographic factors — People who live in the US, live in NJ in particular and who are 18 years or older.

Facebook Advertising for Easter Demographic Targeting

 

The interesting part is that you have even more control of who sees your ad — I added two additional parameters to this Facebook ad campaign:

  1. People who are NOT already connected to Liquid Church’s Facebook page.  I am setting up separate messaging (ad graphics, headline, ad copy and click through URL landing page) for people who are already fans of our Facebook page.  This ad is for people who have not LIKEd our Facebook page already.
  2. Only people who have friends that are connected to Liquid Church’s Facebook page.  So, here I’m not just targeting anyone in NJ over 18 that’s not part of our FB page community.  This parameter adds the social element.  Our ad will show up ONLY if they have a friend that has already LIKEd our church Facebook page.

By adding these two filters, I can leverage the fact that anyone seeing this ad has a chance of already hearing about Liquid Church from their friend (or their friend’s FB timeline feed) or at least has someone they know that knows about Liquid Church (because they’ve already liked our page).  

In a way, this ad is helping to seed the “invite a friend” behavior we hope our own community members are going to carry out over the next week or so.

FACEBOOK ADS ALLOW YOU TO TALK DIFFERENTLY TO YOUR OWN COMMUNITY MEMBERS

If you’re following along, you’ll now understand that your ads for your current attendees (we can assume these are basically the people who “LIKE” your Facebook page) can be a bit different.

In fact, here is an ad set-up that is intended for people who already know about Liquid Church and is a part of our Facebook community today:

Facebook ad for easter services

Instead of a generic “come to Easter services” type messaging, we have the ability to help equip our own people to invite their friends and family.  This can be done by sending click throughs to a page on your website that has downloadable content to share with their friends.  What would you put there?  Things like:

  • Video invitation from pastor with social sharing or forward to a friend email link
  • Facebook cover image people can use for the week
  • 1-step tweet links like this one: http://bit.ly/clicktotweetabouteaster2013 (TRY IT!)
  • Social sharing friendly videos about Easter like this one called social media Easter

 

Are you using Facebook Advertising for Easter promotion?  What questions do you have about using Facebook Ads for church?