These last two weeks I have been looking and planning for the Fall, (yes call me crazy or call me British – I like to plan this far out). In addition, I got an email this week from a good youth ministry friend who was asking how I promote events for the Fall etc. Here is his question:
hey. i’m working through some modifications for next fall, and one of the things I’m looking at a lot is publicity & communication with parents and students. I looked at your blog on stuff for parents, but was curious how you publicize stuff to your students. handouts? mailings? facebook? emails? a little of everything? just curious?
I am sure that there are some much more innovative ways out there, but the following are what work for our ministry right now mainly because they are simple, sustainable and effective. We employ all these ways to promo for events and series kick offs. One way cannot work on it’s own. I find that many ‘hits’ work to get the message out there:
1) Series Kick Off Postcards (2 weeks before): For our Fall Kick-Off series (and our January kick off), we send out some pretty awesome 5 x 7 postcards to every student on our mailing list, (we are very intentional in getting all their info). The postcards have been designed in one of two ways: First, I have a friend who is a graphic designer and he currently designs our stuff for free, (awesome I know). Second, some of the curriculum’s out there (like SYM and XP3) offer postcards and graphics you can customize yourself. However, I prefer to make it our own. This postcard, ‘Mission Impossible’ started out life as ‘Impossible for God’ from Simply Youth Ministry.
2) Facebook Group /Event Invite (10 days before): Probably the most effective current way to invite students to events and kick offs. We promo our facebook group quite a bit, but we also have many of our students who forward the invite to their friends.
3) Text Messages (1 week and then again 1 day before): We have many of our students (and parents) signed up for this. I currently used Simply Youth Ministry’s text service (which is basically txtsignal.com). I love using this and I find that many students will text me back with questions, so it become quite interactive…
4) Emails (10 days before): Again, we are very intentional about getting emails and contact info. Although email is an ‘old mode’ of communication for students, I find that a number of them still use email quite a bit. They might not check it regularly, so get the info out well in advance.
5) Blog and Video Announcements (updated two weeks before): Rather than having a traditional website for our student ministry, we have a wordpress blog that we can update and change quickly and easily. It also allows us to upload video announcements which create much more interest than usual. I use my flip camera for quick updates, and I have a great leader who is awesome and creating good ‘trailers’
That’s what we do. Like I said… simple, sustainable and effective. If you have some good ideas, I would love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment.