The first quarter of 2010 is coming to a close. That means the first opportunity to hold a “shareholders” meeting to communicate the ministry impact to the investor who sits in your pew is upon us. This task is vital to see future gifts from existing givers and new gifts from new givers.
Too many churches still print out a line item or summary budget and make it available to the congregation to pick up at their leisure. They fail to take advantage of the opportunity to tell the story behind the numbers.
I recently had the chance to sit down with Jess Erickson from Spiro Graphics to talk about work he has recently done with a local church to achieve a more creative way to communicate the “black and white” church budget. You can listen to our conversation as we discuss the key elements to creative budget communication strategy.
Here is a great example to consider. Below are the key thoughts from our conversation:
1. See the big picture.
Church leaders have the opportunity to treat their church as a brand and use all of their communications with their membership to reinforce that brand. Starting with their “prospectus,” the church can effectively communicate the personality, value, and goals of the church. A well designed “prospectus” will engage the congregation in an ongoing conversation of what the church is doing and where the church is headed.
2. Use visual elements effectively to communicate your message.
Images, colors, and type treatments can be combined in various ways to connect with church members visually and emotionally. A church that desires to be a cornerstone of the community can use conservative type treatments and a traditional color combinations to reinforce that image. Churches that want to portray a more dynamic personality may choose bolder colors and modern type faces. Images of spring buds or sprouting seeds can reinforce the message that a church is wanting to grow.
3. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
Photographs of community work projects, mission trips and community involvement can highlight a church’s commitment to effect the world and let the membership know where their contributions are being applied. Images from Bible studies, youth events, or worship services speak volumes about how a church ministers to its members and how the members minister to each other.
4. Don’t forget your audience.
No matter what approach is taken, the most effective communication a church can have with it’s membership will be consistent, focused, and engaging. It is important to remember the audiences that will receive the prospectus and target your communications to them. Good writing and good design will help your “prospectus” become an essential tool in your stewardship program.