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Posts Tagged ‘minister’

Bell Ringers

Akron Kiwanis

During the ‘Season of Giving,’ most of us are aware that churches and nonprofit organization rely upon the generosity of others for their operations.

Lest we forget, we often receive several letters, emails, phone calls, and of course we will see the Salvation Army bell ringers. However, while most of us are on the receiving end of soliciation… very few of us are aware of the great amount of detail and effort that larger nonprofit organizations use to research and track our giving habits.

Just like retailers and credit companies, many larger nonprofit organizations rely upon market research and public information to learn about our philanthropic passions and wealth. In a recenet NYT article, “Taking Fundraising to the Next Level, author Rob Lieber highlights just how a larger nonprofit organization like a hospital, college, or major foundation will likely track your information.

For most small nonprofit leaders, and most donors, this article will likely be the first time that you see how professional fundraising is done, and like the author, I would say that I support their efforts- even if it seems a little unsettling.

As I read this article, I thought it would also be a great way to help leaders of smaller nonprofit organizations see the bigger picture and learn how some of the biggest and best fundraisers in America support their causes and philanthropy organizations.

Enjoy the reading and have a Merry Christmas.

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Picture of Twitter Bird

some_communication

Last week I was interviewed by MSNBC for an article about how churches are using social media (read it here). As I prepped for the article, I created a list of reasons why churches should consider using Social Media (SM).

5 Reasons to Consider Using Social Media for Your Church:

  1. Local Context– Unlike most communication mediums, SM is grassroots based- meaning it provides a powerful way to reach out to people in your specific community.
  2. Be Present in the Conversation about You– People discuss all kinds of issues on SM- including their church. In order to be part of conversation, you need to be present. This is especially key when communicating about brand, major events, or in times of a crisis.
  3. Reach Gen X and Millenials– Younger generations are skeptical about institutional church- SM offers a way to engage with them, whereas they would be hesitant walk into a church building.
  4. Connect with People not Present– SM offers tools to connect with people who are unable to be physically present- traveling, hospital, shut-ins, etc. With SM they can participate live or by watching/engaging with an event later.
  5. Facilitate Conversation– more than just telling people about your church and its ministry, SM provides a place for a larger conversation where everyone has a voice- providing more transparency and accountability for organizations.

If you want to consider how Social Media can improve the operations and ministry of your church, I would also encourage you to follow Rev. Courtney Richards on facebook or twitter (@c_rev) – links are for her pages.

Courtney is a minister at Geist Christian Church in Indianapolis (facebook link), and when I asked her about SM, she said, “I use SM all the time to keep us with members and with what is going on in the community. It has been great way to reach out to people and to offer either a word of support or to give someone a shout out for their hard work.”

If you are considering using Social Media, feel free to read a number of blogs that I have posted here, and to also find someone in your local community who can assist you. You can begin by just listening and observing first, and then jump in as you feel ready.

Blog Notes: Special thanks to Courtney Richards for the quote and letting me share her online twitter profile.

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On Monday I was interviewed by Alex Johnson, a reporter for MSNBC.com about how churches are using social media.

In the interview I really tried to stress that churches really have a great opportunity to connect with their local communities (via social media), and that the conversation was taking place, with or without their official presence.  Here is the link to the full article: “For Some Churches, The Internet Clicks; for Others It Doesn’t”

social media

some_communication

Much of article focuses on how different denominations and local churches have adapted to using social media.  But, the article also helps to spell out that congregations need to think through how they plan to use it.  It is not enough just to create a facebook page or to have a static website.  Instead, churches really need to think about their ‘brand’ and what messages they hope to convey to their potential audience.

As you read the article, here are some helpful questions to ask about your church’s use of Social Media:

  1. Who are we trying to target?
  2. What is our overall goal for using Social Media
  3. What messages should we try to communicate?
  4. How can we participate in the conversation, rather than just push out information? (more…)

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Worship Bulletin

Paulo Brabo

Over the past three weeks, I have been a visitor to three different churches, and at each, I was struck by what their worship bulletin (program) told me about the congregation and its overall ministry.

Here are some questions to consider as you review your bulletin:

  • Does your bulletin look historic or modern?– Visiting a traditional and historic church, it was no surprise that their bulletin looked out of date. It looked like the church had not updated their bulletin design since the 1980’s. In contrast one church’s bulletin had a more recent design, with colors, that conveyed a sense of life in the church.
  • Does your bulletin have pictures and colors?– similar question, but a good one to consider as we increasingly live in a world defined by visual images.
  • Is your bulletin easy to read?-This is more than just the size of your font. Hopefully the layout and flow of your bulletin is easy to read by visitors who will not be familiar with the rituals of your worship.
  • Does your bulletin welcome visitors?- Certainly a welcome note is helpful, but does it help give instructions for people who are unfamiliar with when to stand, sit, sing, take communion, pray out loud, etc?
  • Is more than half of your bulletin about the news of the church?- Some news and announcements can be good, but often (more…)

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Pew Research Quiz Logo

Pew Research Quiz Logo

There is a lot of conversation in the business world about how to connect with Generation Y, aka the ‘Millennial Generation,’ as they grow and transition from youth into adulthood.

If you are not familiar with the Highlights of this group, here are a few:

  1. Currently largest generation in the USA (yes bigger than Boomers)
  2. More ethnically and racial diverse than most of USA population
  3. Less religious than most of USA population
  4. More educated than most of USA population
  5. Highly technology integrated and multi-taskers (more…)

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On Monday, I talked about how technology can bridge the accountability gap that separates donors from beneficiaries, and in the post I shared that I would write 3 blogs showing how such examples can be used. This is the last of three posts.

When I talk with pastors and nonprofit leaders I often hear the complaint, “There is just so much to do, and it is really hard to keep our website updated.”

Having been a pastor and a leader of several nonprofit organizations, I totally understand.

Question: So how can an organization create a great website that has the normal static and important information, with a website that is updated frequently?

Answer: Using RSS Feeds, Blogs, and Twitter Feeds.

One of the best examples of this combination is Keep Indianapolis Beautiful ‘s website- www.kibi.org (Be aware that the organization uses green colors to match their environmental theme). By looking on the main page, you will see a twitter column (newsfeed) on the bottom right and a blog feed in the middle of their main page (the pic below is a screenshot- click to enlarge).

 

By using these tools, you can use blogs and twitter to help communicate the many ways in which your organization impacts your community.

Blog Notes: Thanks to KIB for letting me highlight their page.

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Football Coach

jeffweese

It is funny how most of us grow up being coached in sports (soccer, tennis, football, basketball, etc.), but never think about how personal coaches can improve our work performance.

For the past five years, I have observed how coaches have made an impact in (more…)

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Foothills Christian Church in Glendale, AZ has found a new way to promote itself and support its ministry.

Approximately a year ago, Pastor Erin Wathen was approached by a cell phone company, to see if the church would be interested in having a cell tower placed on its property.  The company said that they would be happy to pay for the construction of the tower, and to lease the space from the church.

The church was interested, and after talking through some of the details, the church accepted the offer.

As part of the process, the church and the cell company needed to select a design that fit the church and that would pass the city’s zoning codes.  In the past, the cell company had created a large plastic palm tree or giant cross at similar locations, but Foothills felt like the design didn’t match the look of their facility.  Instead, working with the church, the company designed the cell tower to look like a bell tower (see picture), and when presented to the county’s assessor, the assessor commented that, “it was the best design he’d seen.”

Cell Tower

Church's Cell Tower

Soon after approval, construction began, and so did the growing awareness of the church in the community.

“It was great,” says Pastor Wathen, “because it increased our visibility in the community (more…)

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It seems like the topic of leadership structures within churches and nonprofit organizations was a big hit. It was my most read blog of the week, and several readers sent comments asking about other trends in church administration.

church office

Micah68

In response, I thought I would share a list of anecdotal observations that I have made over the past three years, about shifts in church administration and operations:

  • Church staffs are being asked to do more administration than they had in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Some new tasks include facility management, website and social media administration, payroll, accounting, fundraising, board/membership development, and general administration documentation (insurance, state reporting, etc)
  • Church Boards are getting smaller as churches adopt new leadership structures and less people are concerned with the general operations of the organization.
  • Lay leaders often need more training to take on administrative roles in the church.  This is a trend that points to the increasing complexity of operating a nonprofit organization (or business) and the larger shift in the types of jobs that people have in the work place (less people work in middle management)
  • Churches are creating multiple revenue streams to help cover costs of operating (more…)

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Team Planning

Kaibib National Forest

Leadership” is a buzzword in many nonprofit organizations today. Part of this is due to the shifting trends in business and in part because of the greater change in the lifecycle of church in America (click to see more info on this).

During the 1950-1960’s churches often developed a leadership model that matched the common hierarchical model that was common in business.  There was the Board Chair, the board, and its subcommittees with the minister and staff acting as employees.  The board was composed of all major (male) leaders in a church, and usually a parallel structure existed for women (CWF), who were most of the church’s volunteers.

Since the 1960’s, businesses have adopted many different leadership models (more…)

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