As a staff member or volunteer at your church, you do your best to familiarize yourself with all the names and faces you can. From front-row regulars to the CEOs (Christmas Easter Only) that could mean hundreds (even thousands) of folks to keep up with!
We’re sure you want everyone to feel welcome, especially newcomers. That’s why we’ve devised a way for you to extend your welcome wagon efforts to all new members with a little help from texting.
By combining the abilities of keywords and autoresponders, you can build out a communication strategy comprised of five messages welcoming new members to your church. And the best part? The only work required on your end is in setting it up! The rest is automatic.
If you’re not already familiar with them, keywords are one of the most useful ways for interested parties to subscribe to your text messages. They simply text in your short, designated word or phrase to a number or short code. Once they press send, they’re automatically added to your list of contacts.
For example, a chapel in North Carolina invites their community to text the keyword “biblechallenge” to 94090 to receive bible study information.
Autoresponders then, are a feature designed to automatically send follow-up messages days, weeks, even months after a user signs up using a specific keyword.
By using these two tools together, it’s possible to regularly communicate with a new church member without any need to remember to reach out on your end!
To create your own “Welcome to our Parish” sequence, here’s what you need to do:
You may be wondering, what kind of information should I send in these autoresponders? While you may already have church-specific communications in mind, we wanted to help you out with a sample sequence of five welcome messages that would work for any church.
As a newcomer to your church, there are a few things someone might want to know about. It’s important information like mass times, contact details, and church-sponsored activities are shared as soon as possible.
When you set up an autoresponder you have the option to either send your message immediately upon opt-in, or to delay it. Since you want your new members to feel as welcomed as possible, we suggest sending your initial greeting text right after opt-in!
Your welcome text message should be something that thanks them for coming, encourages them to text with any questions, and lets them know to look out in the coming days and weeks for more information from this number.
You may have some folks who are eager to get involved with your church. But if they don’t know when mass is held, how can they join you? That being said, second to your welcome message should be information regarding regular mass schedules.
Now that you’ve shown your new member that you’re eager for them to join you, you need to let them know a little more about who you are. If your church has a website up to date with contact information, mission and vision statements, and other relevant content, now is the time to promote it!
Depending on your denomination, your church may offer additional resources like bible studies, confirmation classes, after-school care, or monthly group gatherings. These kinds of extracurriculars can easily be missed by someone who’s new to your group. Make sure your programs are clearly communicated from the get-go to increase the chances of your new member getting involved early.
The final message in your welcome sequence is the opportunity to gather feedback. This can be sent to new members as well as utilized when reaching out to inactive church members. In order to see if your welcome efforts are working you should take this time to send subscribers a brief survey. This survey will follow up on all the points above asking if they’ve attended mass, visited your website, attended an event, and any other follow-up questions you think would be helpful. Over time this feedback will help you sharpen your welcome sequence and continue to attract and service more folks to your church!
Inviting new members into your community is exciting! Making sure they have the best experience possible with your church shouldn’t be stressful for you or them. By automating as much of the process as you can, you ultimately create a win-win experience!