Following up from last weeks post on promo to students in the Fall, here is a reworked post from a while back. We have made a few changes since then in the way to connect with parents:
It’s not the first thing that most of us youthworkers think about when we are in youth ministry, but it is likely to become something that we struggle with if we don’t think about it: Communicating with parents…
I can’t tell you how many mistakes and misunderstandings I have made in the past, (some recent too). But, I can tell you that I have learned that communicating with parents is essential. When I do this, it makes a huge difference for me. It makes a huge diference for families.
Here’s a list of easy ways I stay in touch with parents. They take some setting up, but are imperative for effective youth ministry!
1) Website: Up to date website with calendar and events page. We also have a parent page and a parent FAQ page too.
2) Emails: We have all our students complete a connections card which has parent emails etc. We send out an email about special events and updates about once every two weeks. (Too many emails will be ignored by most parents).
3) Newsletter: An emailed newsletter, (printed and on our website) through PARENTLINK that Group Publishing puts together. (It has facts and info for parents as well as parent tips and has space for your calendar and events too. You can also customize with your logo and change it up yourself). This has proved to be a great resource and only costs $99 for the year! Worth every penny!!! I have a parent put this together and email it out…
4) Events Co-ordinators: I am intentional about recruiting parents to be my event planners. Right now I have two parents who book our events and email out the info to parents. I also make them the contact person for the event since a parent will likely think about the details I might normally miss.
5) Text Messages (Especially with a Swine Flu Outbreak): I finally gave into using text messages, but recently I realized the HUGE value in having such a service for parents and students in ministry: Three local high schools got shut down recently for confirmed H1N1 flu and we had got word at around noon the day our large group program meets. Having the ability to contact everyone to cancel our program using texts was huge for us. We use the service that Simply Youth Ministry provide. There are lots of other options out there too, this one works best for us.
Some of these ideas to take some energy putting into place, but in the end they are well worth it.
Have any easy ideas that you want to share? Feel free to comment. I would love to steal a great idea or two!