How To Create a Comm Strategy for Your Church or Non-profit
A really simple guide for Comm Teams to support campaigns and move people from Point A to Point B
This past Christmas, my team and I at Mariners Church created a comm strategy to support a fundraising campaign, and it was incredibly successful.
First, what is a Comm Strategy?
A communication strategy details what you want to say to your audience and how you’re going to communicate it.
That sounds kind of nebulous, but I’m going to walk you through a case study of what Mariners Church did for their case study which will illustrate what I mean.
A comm strategy has a goal
You need to figure out what you want to say to people. Do you want to ask them for support? Participate in an event? Take an action?
For Mariners, our goal was to invite people to partner with us financially in the month of December.
A significant amount of funding for churches and non-profits is realized during the Christmas season. People are feeling more generous and want to give.
Mariners recognized this opportunity and set up a Year-End Giving Campaign to raise support during the month of December.
Mariners Year-End Giving Campaign
This campaign is the umbrella term we used to refer to our efforts to raise support.
- Eric inviting people to partner with us financially from stage
- Fundraising events
- Emails and letters providing an overview of the growth and numbers
- Because of Your Giving
Because of Your Giving (BOYG)
This just one component of the overall campaign. It’s an initiative through the month of December in which we share exciting stats of what Mariners accomplished in the year. It shows people where their money went, what it did and how they can continue joining alongside us on their journey of generosity.
This required a large effort on the part of the Comm Team because we had to figure out the who, what, when, where and how of each stat.
That’s where the comm plan comes in. Below I detail our process which you can adapt and tweak for your own.
Step 1: Gathering the stats in a Google Doc
Since the plan was to highlight stats from our numerous ministries, we needed to gather all the stats.
For me, these stats were (mercifully) already compiled for me so I didn’t have to track them down. If that’s not the case for your organization, either send out an email to key people who hold the stats or hold a meeting for people to just add them to the doc.
Step 2: Organizing the stats in a Google Sheet
Once all the stats are gathered, it’s time to put them in a Sheet. This is the most complex part but if you execute well on this, the rest of the initiative will be smooth sailing.
This looks really confusing but it’s not. Below, I break down each component for you.
Breaking the Sheet down
Section 1: Weekend Dates
Nov 30 & Dec 1, Dec 7 & 8 and so on refer to the dates of our weekend services. Listing out each weekend in the month of December served to give me a reference point for what stats should be shared.
Section 2: Events
I looked at the Roadmap/Calendar (more on creating a Roadmap for your church in another post) and saw what events we were promoting on or around Nov 30 and Dec 1.
Section 3: Stats
Once I saw which events we’d be promoting around that weekend, I looked for stats in the Google Doc that related to those events.
I wanted the events we promoted and the stats we shared to be related to each other so people would have a cohesive experience.
Section 4: Determine which channel to share the stat on
Once I pulled the stats that were related to the upcoming events, I then figured out where the stat belonged–on social media, The Weekly email newsletter or the bulletin we hand out at service.
Here’s how I put that process into practice
Now let me show you how I applied that process with the stats we shared around in the first section.
What events were we promoting around Nov 30 and Dec 1?
- 12/7–Foster Family Christmas Party
- 12/7–Single Moms Xmas tree
- 12/7–Tree Lighting
- 12/8–New Believers Class starts
Once I pulled those events, I looked in the Doc to see if any stats related to those events.
Did anything relate to Foster Family Christmas Party? Yes. I pulled the stat saying “850 foster kids and their families joined us at the Foster Family Christmas party.”
Did any stats relate to the Single Moms Xmas Tree or Tree Lighting Events? Not directly.
But did anything relate to the New Believers Class? Yes–Baptisms and the number of people who said “I believe”
Now, where do these stats belong?
Since social media is now the front door of churches, I decided to place the Foster Family stat on it. Social good is highly “likeable” and people checking us out for the first time will find it accessible.
This is our newsletter showing off various internal events. Since we’ve found that the audience is people who already attend Mariners regularly so I decided to place baptisms in there.
Since we were promoting the New Believers Class in the bulletin, I decided to put the stat for how many people decided to follow Jesus in it.
I repeated this process for all the stats. I looked at the weekend, figured out what we were promoting around that time and then saw what stats worked in conjunction with it.
Step 3: Translating the Sheet to Asana
Once I got the sheet approved by my comm director, I divvy-ed up the stats in our task management tool, Asana, to the different teams so designers would know what graphics to create and other teams knew which stat they needed to share at what time.
Here’s how I broke it down.
- I set up a project in Asana called: BOYG 2019–Stats
2. I created tasks with all the weekend dates
3. I set up subtasks for each channel in each weekend. (They’re a little faded because they’ve been checked off)
4. I then placed the copy that would belong to each graphic in each individual subtask.
5. At this point, the order goes
BOYG 2019–Stats > Nov 30 & Dec 1 > Social
So that’s how we put together our comm strategy. Our Year-End Giving Campaign raised over 20% of our projected budget. It wasn’t solely because of our comm strategy, but I’m glad we got to support this.