16 Best Practices for Church Communications Cards plus a Sample

church communications cards best practicesLast night I had a blast moderating the church and social media #ChSocM twitter chat! The chat was focused on measuring and evaluating the success of church websites and social media. If you missed it…

One of the recommendations I shared in the blog post and chat is to track how visitors to your church found out about your church using communication cards. Several chat participants asked if I could provide an example, so I’ve included the communications card from my church below.

Having a church communications card is only a small part of what goes into using them well, so I thought I’d share with you…

16 Best Practices for Using Church Communications Cards

Design:

1) Keep the cards short. The less info you ask for the more likely people are to complete it.

2) Ask people to indicate whether they are a first time visitor, 2-5 times or more than 5 times.

3) If they’re a first time attender ask how they heard about your church. Give common options they can check and an “other” option they can write in.

4) Include a place for prayer request.

5) Include a place for contact info

6) Include a place to indicate if they want more info about specific ministries at your church.

7) Include a place for comments, questions, and “Is there anything else we can do for you?” Remember, the purpose of communication cards is not to get as much data out of people as possible, but to find out how we can serve the people in our congregation better.

Distribution/Collection

8) Hand them out in/with the bulletin/program you distribute in your weekend services. You don’t want to be passing them out separately or handing them out during services.

9) Create time in the service to fill out the cards. Someone will need to ask people to complete the cards, then people need to be given a minute or two (perhaps during other announcements) to fill them out.  This means giving communications cards some thought during in the service planning phase.

10) Collect the cards in the offering basket. Far more will be returned if you collect them this way rather than have people drop them off somewhere on their way out.

11) Ask everyone to complete the communications cards every week, not just visitors. Visitors don’t want to stand out. In this way, they are doing what everyone else is doing. Ask your staff & leaders to lead by example. If people see none of the staff complete the cards, they won’t either. But if the staff do, a lot of other people will as well. I’ve even heard in some churches the senior pastor or person giving the announcements completes the card while they’re up in front of everyone.

Processing

This is where the rubber meets the road. You can do everything right with the design, distribution and collection, you can get everyone in every service to complete a card, but if you mishandle the cards after they are collected it’s a total waste.

12) Create a WRITTEN process for how communication cards are going to be handled. You want to be strategic about this. Think it through and make sure things are done in the same way every time.

13) Determine how cards are going to be stored securely until they are processed. There could be confidential information on the cards.

14) Determine how you’re going to handle every piece of information you receive.

  • How are you going to respond to first time visitors?
  • What’s the process for updating contact info?
  • How do you handle prayer requests?
  • How do you respond for requests for more info about specific ministries?
  • How do you respond to misc comments and questions?

15) Collect & track data. Finally we get to the part of the process related to your website and social medial. Yea!  If your card asks people how they first heard about the church or which of the following influenced your decision to visit today, determine the process for collecting and tracking this information every week.

How will this data get reported?

My recommendation is to compile the data into a monthly report that shows the number of 1st time visitors and how many found your church from each source. Keep a spreadsheet, so its easy to show month to month comparisons and see trends over time. This data will be a huge asset to the senior pastor and everyone involved in outreach/marketing, the website and social media.

16) Determine what you’re going to do with the cards after they’re processed. Probably best to destroy them.

Sample Chruch Communications Card

Thanks to Tim Walters, the executive pastor at my church, Cypress Meadows Community Church in Safety Harbor, FL for sending me an electronic copy of our communications card!

I would guestimate the card is about 7″ tall x 3″ wide. What you see below is the front and back of the card side by side.   I would probably shorten it, eliminate a few things and make a few other tweaks, but I hope it serves as a good starting point for your church.

sample church communications card

Discuss

  • What are your thoughts on the sample card?  What do you like about it? What would you change for your church?
  • What are your thoughts on the best practices? Anything you would add, remove or change?

 

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

11 Responses to “16 Best Practices for Church Communications Cards plus a Sample”

  1. I'm curious about including Date of Birth on there. How is that info used?

    • PaulSteinbrueck Oct 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Honestly, I don't know for sure. I think most churches keep the DOB of their members/attenders in their church database. Some use it to send birthday cards. Some use it to send invitations to age-specific ministries/events. Some people may be reluctant to give that out, so whether churches should ask for it or not is a good question.

      • DOB could be asked for when they join the church. But of course, it would be really cool to send them a birthday card while they are still visitors.

  2. Meredith Gould Oct 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I'd include boxes to check for this question:
    I'm comfortable with using:
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Pinterest
    Instagram

    I prefer being contacted by:
    email
    phone
    text
    USPS

    • PaulSteinbrueck Oct 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Great ideas, Meredith! You may be inferring this, but it might be good to take it one step further & specifically ask if the person would like to subscribe to receive whatever regular communications the church does. Email newsletter, pastors blog, printed/mailed monthly newsletter, etc.

      • Meredith Gould Oct 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        Yes! I recently embedded a very brief survey into this church's website, asking about that and also frequency because the administrator has been sending out waaaaay too many looooong (and awful) newsletters. http://www.stmarksbaltimore.org/

        • Am I right in thinking this is just a survey for trends, not an actual way to choose a personal preference? (or is there another screen where they enter their name etc.) … I think in our congregation people would possibly see the options as choices and then expect their response to determine what they then receive (particularly the first and third question)?

          • Meredith Gould Oct 3, 2013 at 9:41 am

            Yes, trends but not personal preferences…yet. This is a very retro congregation that is just now entering the 20th, possibly 21st century relative to communications. This is my way of getting info to assess just how retro they are without scaring them into thinking they have to choose anything. Yet.

  3. This is our version of a communication card https://twitter.com/mnplatypus/status/38547651211… (the boxes on the right have since become Music Ministry, Bible Studies, and just one blank)

    • PaulSteinbrueck Oct 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Awesome Angela! Thanks for sharing your church's communications card. I like how concise your card is!

  4. I'm sorry I missed the original discussion. I would have love to have participated. Did you know about Yvon phren's book on Church Connection Cards? I think she still has it for free on her website and on kindle.