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View Putting a Church Outreach Plan Together

Putting a Church Outreach Plan Together

Consider taking the following steps to develop a simple church marketing plan:

1.  Read through this document.  There are several good books on outreach and service projects (“Conspiracy of Kindness”)

2.  Talk with other new churches.  Steal their best ideas.  Adapt as necessary. 

3.  Start with understanding your demographic/target family.  Conduct demographic studies (hard and soft data) – find out what makes your customers tick so that you can learn where to find people just like them.

4.  Brainstorm a list of every possible outreach event, community felt needs class, and service opportunity you can think of.  Develop three different lists (events, classes/seminars, service opportunities). Examples include:

  a. Events (typically larger and more costly, but reaching far more people – often city wide events, but also includes community specific events).  Examples include:

•  Carnivals (e.g. moon bounces, kids programming, etc.)
•  Co-sponsor large community events (partnering with local communities and civic organizations)
•  Free community skating party
•  Special 9/11 Memorial Service
•  Celebrity Golf Tournament
•  Public servant recognition day (for police, fireman, etc)
•  Free movie sponsored by the community
•  Free concerts (series of summer evening concerts)
•  Vacation Bible School (or Backyard Vacation Bible School in numerous homes)
•  Neighborhood cookouts and pool parties
•  Community/neighborhood block parties
•  Family movie nights (free movies with popcorn and drinks)
•  Sporting tournaments (e.g. 3 on 3 basketball tournament, flag football league, etc.)
•  Sponsor classic car show
•  Special Christmas Eve service
•  Community New Year’s Eve party
•  Fireworks on July 4th
•  Information meetings (free meal and presentation about new church)
•  Parent’s night outs (fun activities for kids at local school while parents go out)

These types of events will typically take more effort, coordination and money than service projects but they will reach more people.  NOTE:  Give strong consideration to doing a large event within one week prior to launch Sunday.  In identifying events, consider researching local community/city and neighborhood association plans.  Look for ways to partner/participate in events already planned by the community.

  b. Classes/Seminars (typically target specific felt needs of the target demographic—can target large or small groups of people).  Examples include:

•  Parenting seminar
•  Newcomers Guide to the Community (practical seminar to get new people in the community familiar with the services and features of the community)
•  Marriage workshop
•  Estate planning workshop
•  Personal finances/budgeting workshop
•  Time management workshop
•  College Preparation for Parents Seminar (getting ready for the college years)
•  Basic computer skills
•  Job interview and resume skills
•  Basic landscaping seminar

The key to prioritizing classes and seminars are to ask “who will we reach?”, “how big is the felt need (i.e. how many people is this likely to appeal to)?”, “where will the class be held?” and “who will lead it (i.e. get a community leader with credibility – the local high school principal to lead a parenting seminar)?  Get innovative.  Use these seminars to network in the community.  The best contacts you make may be in finding seminar leaders and facility locations.

c. Service Opportunities (Micro-Mission Opportunities)  (typically smaller scale and low cost – usually target localized groups of people).  The Random Acts of Kindness Institute maintains one of the best free lists of community service ideas.  Their 18 page list of ideas can be found at http://www.actsofkindness.org.  Service opportunities are almost endless and include:

•  volunteer service at local schools
•  tutoring students
•  car wash
•  providing backpacks and school supplies to students in need.
•  Clothing drive for children
•  Breakfast in the city focused on feeding the homeless
•  pumping gas and car window washing
•  carrying groceries to cars
•  Giving away bottled water to commuters
•  Giving away stamps at the post office
•  Visiting people in nursing homes
•  Taking fresh baked goods to local police and fireman
•  Handing out snacks or hot chocolate to people standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles

Each small group should be challenged to make service opportunities a regular part of their focus.  Imagine groups that do a weekly service project.

5.  Prioritize the items on each of the three lists from highest to lowest priority (e.g. priority #1, #2, #3, etc.) based on consideration for community needs, cost, effort required per person reached, number of people to be reached, and what other community minded organizations are or are not doing.  Also, consider the “brand identity” and “niche” that you are trying to establish as a church.  If you want to become known as a church that helps single parents or the homeless or community cleanup, etc., bias your outreach in that specific direction.  Note:  remember, every outreach event is an opportunity to bring the new church to the community. 

6.  Establish standards/expectations for how many events will be conducted up through launch.  Decide early in the process how many events you want to host.  For example, an aggressive outreach strategy may involve one major event per month in the three months leading up to launch (3 total), one class or seminar per month in the three months leading up to launch (3 total), and one service opportunity per week in the three months leading up to launch (12 total).  These 18 touches each have multiple marketing touches per event and will help establish positive name recognition in the church.

7.  Based on 5 and 6 above, schedule events on your calendar.  Do this as early as possible to give time for planning.  Challenge your launch team to take ownership for the events.  For each event, identify specific marketing opportunities.

8.  Identify the level of music support required for the events.  For example, will a church band be needed?  When?  Will sound equipment be needed?  Will a DJ be hired?  Will music CDs be played? 

9.  Identify any special equipment needs.  Examples include moon bounces, popcorn machines, snow cone machines, cotton candy machines, sports equipment, kid’s games, etc.  Determine whether to rent or buy equipment.  In some cases, it will make sense to purchase equipment rather than rent based on the number of planned usages.

10.  Identify special needs for serving food.  In many areas, special permits are needed to serve hot food.  Based on planned events, determine any special permitting requirements.

11.  Establish a budget for each planned event.

12.  Issue a written outreach plan that includes (most items are taken from the work above):
a.  Identify the purpose of your outreach plan
b.  Identify the standard/expectations for the number of events to be held
c.  Identify list of top priorities for the three types of outreach (events, seminars, service)
d.  Identify schedule of events
e.  Identify organizational structure for coordinating events
f.  Identify special needs (music, equipment, food, etc.)
g.  Identify budget for events as a percentage of total expenses through launch.


Example Schedule

June:

•  Launch Team Meetings
•  Vision Desserts/Vision casting opportunities
•  Gathering events (the ideas are limitless)
•  Neighborhood/community cookouts/pool parties
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)

July:

•  Launch Team Meeting
•  Vision Desserts/ Vision casting opportunities
•  Neighborhood/community cookouts/pool parties
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Community Concert
•  Friday Family Fun Night at a local school gym

August:

•  Launch Team Meeting
•  Vision Desserts/ Vision Casting Opportunities
•  New Mover Seminar/Workshop
•  Concerts (several Saturday or Sunday nights) in the park
•  Friday Family Fun Night
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)

September:

•  Booth at a Community Festival or Celebration
•  Vision Desserts/ Vision Casting Opportunities
•  Parenting Seminar/Workshop
•  Launch Team Meeting
•  New Mover Seminar/Workshop
•  Family Movie Night
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)

October:

•  Fall Fun Fest Carnival right before school begins
•  Vision Desserts/ Vision Casting Opportunities
•  New Mover Seminar/Workshop
•  Family Movie Night
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Launch Team Meetings
•  Once a month worship begins (this is often the largest impact point for many new churches)

November:

•  Information Meeting (share vision for new church)
•  Vision Desserts/ Vision Casting Opportunities
•  Launch Team Meetings
•  New Mover Seminar/Workshop
•  Family Movie Night
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Once a month public worship experience

December:

•  Christmas Eve Service
•  Vision Desserts/ Vision Casting Opportunities
•  Launch Team Meetings
•  Family Movie Night
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Once a month public worship experience
•  Begin getting out the word for weekly worship experiences beginning in January

January:

•  New Mover Seminar/Workshop
•  Information Meeting (share vision for new church)
•  Family Movie Night
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Begin weekly worship experiences
•  Continue promotion of the new weekly worship schedule

February:

•  Parenting Seminar/Workshop
•  Family Movie Night
•  Parent’s Guide to College Preparation Seminar
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Continue weekly worship experiences

March:

•  Information Meeting (share vision for new church)
•  Family Movie Night
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Community Dance
•  Continue weekly worship experiences


April:

•  Easter Outreach with an Easter breakfast or brunch
•  Post Easter event to invite people to.
•  Launch Sunday
•  Service Project (small group/launch team)
•  Continue weekly worship experiences

 


Category:Phase 1 - Launch Team Development

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