In recent months, church member engagement and viewership on digital platforms has been on the decline. We know that in the last four weeks, nearly 50% of congregants have not been attending online services. We must ask ourselves, how can we make attending online services easier for members? The solution lies in embracing digital technology. How do we know? We recently did a nationwide study on the effect Covid-19 had on churches and found that nearly 55% of faith-based organizations — particularly those that are digitally savvy — experienced consistent or increased giving levels during the pandemic.
If you’re looking for a new way to connect with your most engaged members, there are four essential platforms your church needs to implement right now. Read on to learn why, how, and what platforms your church should be using to build community near and far.
1. Use Social Media Platforms to Increase Member Engagement
Social media has become an integral part of our world. With the recent coronavirus pandemic catapulting everything we do onto social media, it’s imperative that places of worship be visible and active on social platforms. An easy way to build your church member engagement through social media is to create a Facebook page. A strong social media presence can benefit your place of worship by becoming a true resource for your faith community and having a way to communicate with your members near or far.
Once you have your page set up, here are four things that you should include on it:
- Accurate Contact Information: To make your page as reputable as possible, make sure you have the phone number, address, service times, website, and a little bit of info about your church listed.
- How to Give: Your members want to share their generosity with your church. Make it easy for them by pinning your Givelify Social Giving Link to your Facebook page. Learn how.
- Relevant Content: Having helpful, consistent content on your page will allow you to successfully build rapport with your members online. Whether it’s verses to study or announcements about an upcoming service, having good content makes a difference!
- Upcoming Events: Facebook allows you to set up events and share them on your page. Your followers can RSVP on Facebook and get reminders about your upcoming events. What better way to keep it top of mind for your members?
If you’re managing multiple social media platforms, our in-house social media expert, Stephanie, shares her top recommendations for churches.
“Hootsuite’s free version is great for small churches with a small social media presence and primarily need a tool just to schedule their posts across profiles not very far in advance. This platform includes posting capabilities for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. On the other end of the spectrum, Sprout Social is a great tool for large churches with a heavy social media presence. It offers strong scheduling, reporting, and engagement capabilities for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.”
2. Choose an Email Communication System Your Members Will Love
You’ll want a streamlined method of communicating with your members that is reliable and consistent. Email is arguably the most common method of communicating en masse and may be a viable option to keep your congregation engaged. Do more than half of your members have an email address on file in your church management system? If so, it may be time to add an email platform to your digital church member engagement toolkit.
Email is an effective way to share:
- Service Times and Dates: Did you have a last-minute schedule change or a special guest attending your online church service? Email that information so your members can refer back to it easily if they need to.
- Giving Opportunities: If you have a building fund or an ongoing fundraising campaign, including that in your emails is a great way to make the ask to your members while providing an online giving option to make giving easier.
- Acknowledgments: Recognize members who are doing admirable work in the community with a feature in a newsletter. Including their name and photo in an email can keep the praises going when it’s time to host service in person.
Mail Chimp is an easy and affordable communication solution that has a free option. They also offer integrations for church and contact management systems like ChurchSuite.
3. Start Live Broadcast & Online Streaming This Sunday
Online streaming is no longer optional when it comes to church member engagement in the worship experience. Going live isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Many churches are simply setting up their altar as they regularly would for traditional service, but adding a phone camera to the mix to live-stream directly to Facebook, Instagram, or Zoom.
When choosing an online streaming platform, these two essentials should be considered:
- Reliability: Your services are important to your members, so they expect that your live broadcast will start on time, every time. Choose a reliable platform that has positive reviews so you can be sure your message gets across the way you intend.
- Accessibility: Another key to a successful live stream is accessibility to the platform. Do your members have to pay or download an app to access your broadcast? It may better if they do not have to jump through hoops to participate in service. A platform like Zoom is free for up to 40 minutes per meeting, but if your services are longer than that, you’ll need another solution.
Facebook Live is a viable option for many churches, large and small, because it doesn’t have a time limit. It also uses an app many of your members already have – Facebook – and it’s completely free to use.
4. Add an Online Giving Solution to Promote Safe and Secure Giving
Giving via cash or check is next to impossible these days. A safe and secure way to give digitally with a credit or debit card is the way to go.
Givelify offers both mobile and online giving options, making giving convenient for your givers. Security and customer service are among the top remarks in the 4.9-star reviews in the App Store and Google Play Store so you can be confident that this mobile and online giving solution will be the right choice for your church.
Now you should be ready to reenergize your member engagement and optimize your services and operations. Do you use any of these solutions already? Let us know how they’re working for your church in the comments.
Did you know Givelify has no sign-up fees, monthly fees, or hidden fees?
It’s true! Our app has the lowest cost to places of worship, and more than 30,000 people have rated the Givelify mobile giving app 4.9 out of 5 on the App Store and Google Play Store. Start accepting donations in as little as five minutes and learn why the most generous donors love doing more good, together with Givelify.