Communications Update Oct. 2016

Version 4

Sean Neil-Barron, Assistant Minister

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.-George Bernard Shaw

You may have noticed that we have been making some changes recently in the area of communication. The Extra has been shrunk down, we have revived our online events calendar, and we have increased our use of testimonials. These experiments all aim to help us communicate more effectively in the age of information overload and I hope we are able to learn about the type, style, frequency, and medium that will work best for different segments of the congregation.

Big Changes & Rationale

The ‘Extra’

The biggest change so far has been the pairing down of the Extra. In truth, only 34% -39% of our email list opens the Extra on a given week, and just because it is opening doesn’t mean it was read. Instead of being the catch-all email covering almost everything going on in the church, the Extra content’s content now is more curated and focused to information that at least 80% of the congregation would/should be interested in — as well as information targeting folks who are new to the community. We hope to deliver you a shorter but denser Extra, so you will actually read it all. Let us know how we are doing.

The Online Events Calendar

We have revived the church’s online events calendar (http://foothillsuu.org/events) to be the central hub where all information regarding church events is placed. Additionally, you can now sort the church’s calendar based on event categories such as Adult Religious Education or Seniors Programs to see all the events in a given month that might relate to you! To submit a church event to the calendar head over to http://foothillsuu.org/communication-at-foothills/ and click the Event Calendar Submission Form. Our aim is that this calendar will become your first stop when you want to learn about what is going on at Foothills.

Getting The Word Out

Foothills is a large and busy community and it can be hard to get the word out even when the event has been promoted through all the channels. There is also a bit of confusion about WHO to contact if you want to spread the word. No more! If you have an event or opportunity that you want to be shared with the congregation, head over to http://foothillsuu.org/communication-at-foothills/ and click on the communication request form. Once you have filled out the form, Church Staff will get in contact with you about what next steps and promotional avenues you could use. We are beginning to use a more targeted information delivery mechanism, so we may have an option that you didn’t even know existed. This page also contains the Calendar Event Submission form, so it is your go-to place when you are trying to mobilize the congregation.  We will reach out to you so no need to email church staff about the event!

What to Expect

In the coming months, we will be continuing our experimentation with a few new channels. Expect to be invited to join a few demographic or interest based email lists to receive targeted information related to your interests (one of the reasons we asked for your birthdates as part of our database refresh), and we hope to see how we can use text messages more effectively, so have your phones at the ready. In addition, we hope to hold a few focus groups with different segments of the congregation to assess our communication effectiveness and what can be done to improve or hone our practices. Stay tuned and let us know how we are doing as we go along; we are not going to get everything right but we are trying, so please let us know.

Our Biggest Hope

Our biggest hope is that you will receive pertinent information through a method that fits your lifestyle (text message, snail mail, email, etc) leaving you feeling informed, able to participate in the life of the church, and equipped to take your faith out into the world. We are still learning about how to accomplish this, but it our intent for that to be the case, and we welcome your feedback as we move forward.

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6 thoughts on “Communications Update Oct. 2016

  1. where is the calendar? I think it belongs in the extra–that is why I read it. Please send our notices to everyone because if you eliminate a number of people that will reduce the possible audience we will have. Thanks, Eleanor Dwight

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    • Hi Eleanor, The calendar is located at http://foothillsuu.org/events. At the bottom of the extra we do have a section for upcoming events with links to the calendar events, so the events are listed just not exactly like they were before. Because of the size of our church and the number of events going on, it becomes increasingly difficult to send all the events to every member of the church every week. It becomes overwhelming. If any group wants help thinking about how to communicate more effectively please don’t hesitate to drop me a line and we can set up a time to talk. – Sean

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  2. Thanks for all your effort to make communications more effective. It is a big challenge. :>)
    Can you tell me how to navigate to the communications page from the church homepage? I haven’t been able to find it. Thanks again.

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      • Got it. Thanks. This link is not available from all pages. For instance, if I go to the “About Us” page, then the link goes back to “Newsletters”.

        But I only asked you about the home page, didn’t I? 🙂

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  3. Under the Giving menu, More Ways to Give there are notes saying (need link) for Endowment, the Auction and the Rummage Sale. Those shouldn’t be seen on the public site, in my opinion, add the link or wait for the link but don’t have notes. Also, as a member of the Endowment Committee I’m wondering if we are suppose to create a page or send information to someone to set up our page??
    Thanks!
    Julie

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