5 Professional Tips for Church Event Promotion on a Limited Budget

Using church management software, improving trunk or treat

You have an upcoming event at your church and you want the whole world (or at least your whole neighborhood) to know about it. The only problem is, as you look at your budget and the number of volunteers or ministry team members you have, the task seems daunting.

In another scenario, you’ve been using the same process for letting your community know about events at your church for years. It’s been working alright, but you’d like to see your efforts reach farther.

Read on to find professional tips on ways to expand your outreach efforts and to be a better steward of your outreach resources.

Professional Tip #1: Find new free sources of advertising.

You’re probably already hanging flyers (more on this in Tip #5), contacting your local newspapers and radio stations for free public service announcements, and posting the event to your website and social media. But if your list of locations to advertise and media outlets to contact hasn’t been updated in over a year, it may be time to try to find new free sources of advertising. Search for eZines, and ad columns in your area that may be willing to include details about your event for free. Think about places and publications that you look to when you want to find out what’s going on in your neighborhood, such as Craigslist or Eventbrite, and reach out to them.  Lastly, network with other churches to see if they will announce your event or allow you to share materials with their congregation.

Professional Tip #2: Store media outlets in your church management software.

Reaching out to your local radio stations and newspapers can take a lot of time if volunteers need to find contact information, and create a professional looking communication for each place you want to advertise.

Storing media outlet information in your church management software allows you to save time in a couple ways. First, you can easily pull this list of contacts to distribute to future volunteers and ministry coordinators. As volunteers reach out, they can update information and make notes that would be helpful for future communication.

Second, storing their information allows for faster communication. Pull up your media group and quickly email them from within your church management software. Or if your ChMS has a tool available like SK Writer, you could even pull a saved public service announcement template, quickly fill in the details about your specific event, mail-merge with the address and contact information for each media outlet, and send them a professional letter. (This would also be a great step to take afterwards thanking them for helping you to reach the community).

Professional Tip #3: Sometimes less is more. Get targeted.

Let’s say you’ve decided to send out a mailer, or even to go door to door to pass out flyers about your upcoming event (the latter is a great idea for building personal relationships). Each house that you send or go to will require a certain amount of money and time. Save resources for the events where you don’t need to blanket the whole neighborhood and target a specific audience. For example, if you’re advertising a VBS, your money would probably be better spent on sending mailers to anyone within 3 miles of your church with kids between the ages of 5 and 12 than to a house of a single 20 something with no kids. Using a tool like SK Neighborhood, you can target just the audience who would be most interested in your event, purchasing only the addresses of people who match the demographic (age, location, child status, etc.) you’re trying to reach. Then, save these lists for effortless communication for future events.

Professional Tip #4: Hang flyers with a purpose and a plan.

Hanging flyers is one of the simplest and most inexpensive ways to advertise. There are ways to do it better. Map Quest, Google and Bing maps are all excellent tools to use to help you find and strategically choose businesses and public locations where you can hang flyers for your event. Have an upcoming women’s retreat? Do a Google maps search to find women’s salons and gyms in your area that might let you drop off some brochures. Advertising your after-school program for kids? Find family restaurants or kid-focused dentist offices in your area that may let you hang a flier. As in Tip # 2, when you find an organization or business that allows you to distribute your promotional materials, add it to a group in your church management software so that you can easily pull their information later.

In addition, if you’re trying to mobilize a team to hang these flyers, start by pulling up a map of the home addresses of your volunteers. Plot out where you’re going to distribute materials, and determine which of your volunteers or ministry team members live close by. This will increase the likelihood of them already having a relationship with the organization, which translates into a greater chance of being able to promote your event there. Plus it will save everyone time. With Servant Keeper Membership Manager, you can do this quickly by pulling a map of volunteers’ home addresses from within their individual profiles.

Professional Tip #5: More wisely plan future outreach events using SK Neighborhood.

If you’re trying to figure out what new outreaches might be great to start in the future, SK Neighborhood can help you to better plan and organize. For example, using only the free features of the tool, you can find out how many people in your neighborhood are over a certain age, of a certain religious background, single with kids, new to the area and more. Knowing this kind of information is powerful to help you determine what needs might exist in your community and help you better plan and pray about how to reach unmet needs.  For example, knowing that there is a high number of households in your community made up of single adults with young children might spark discussion about starting a daycare at your church.

Bottom Line

Outreach efforts don’t have to break the bank. You can expand on and improve what you’re already doing by reaching the right people for the right events, without much if any additional spend or volunteer hours.

Discover more ways you can use the church management software to reach your community. Get a 30-day church management software demo here.