When considering community or neighborhood outreach for Easter, Christmas, Fall events, and other special occasions, many churches first think of postcards. Postcards do have many advantages and they are a proven tool for outreach, but there is another tool that can be equally effective and can cost little to produce—that tool is a door-hanger. The article here gives you an overview of how to use them and a resource list, on the TEMPLATES section you can find door hangers for various holidays.
One advantage a door-hanger has it that, unlike a postcard, which can get lost in a large pile of junk mail, a household seldom gets more than one door-hanger at a time. When a person picks it up and carries it inside, chances are that person will read at least some of it.
No postage required—how to get them out to the neighborhood
The distribution of door-hangers is not only cost-effective, because you don’t have to pay postage, but it is a way for your congregation to be involved in outreach. I have described this method in the past as a way to get your congregation involved in outreach to their communities using postcards, but it also works well for door-hanger distribution, here it is:
How to involve your congregation in outreach using door-hangers
1. The church produces the door-hangers.
2. This can be done easily with the use of blank door-hangers. You can buy them in your office supply store, but the online-selection is fantastic. At the end of this article is a list of annotated sources that will take your directly to the websites that sell door-hangers blanks. You can also get them at many office supply stores.
3. Prior to Sunday, 5 door-hangers, that were produced by the church, are placed into the bulletins.
4. Sunday morning, the Pastor or Outreach Leader stands up and says “You can see in your bulletin that you have 5 door-hangers. I’d like you to take them home and pray about who you might invite to our Easter Eggstravaganza (or whatever other event you’d like to invite people to). When you decide who to invite—take a few minutes and jot down a personal note on the back. Then prayerfully put them on your neighbor’s doors. If you want to do this anonymously that is OK.”
5. Along with the announcement and encouragement on how to use door-hangers, do a sermon or series on how the entire church needs to be involved in evangelism and outreach. But though everyone should be involved, the church realizes that a lengthy faith-challenging conversation may be difficult for many—but anyone can put a door-hanger invitation to a church event on a neighbor’s door.
6. Consider combining distributing door hangers with a prayer walk for your community.
A production tip for door-hangers
To keep door-hangers cost-effective, consider printing them in-house. To make them super inexpensive and to produce them in a production method that won’t jam and can be run very quickly, use a digital duplicator. I know many churches have one sitting around that they may not have used in a several years because full-color has become so popular.
However, these machines are real work-horses and handle card stock with ease and very cheaply. Your copier and other printers can work if you don't have one--but you have to be careful and watch them so the paper doesn't jam and feeds evenly.The RISO ComColor Inkjet printer also does a great job with door-hangers.
You can also get them printed with one of the online print companies such as Vista Print where you can upload your design and they will print it for you. If you want that slick, glossy look they can do it for you less than the cost of a company like Outreach Marketing.
How you get them printed isn't nearly as important as that you make use of this great tool to involve your people in outreach to their community.
Below is an annotated list of web-based companies that sell blank door-hangers.
Sources for Blank Door-hangers
Great company, been around a long time and their products work great with Digital Duplicators and ComColor printers. One little caution, they also sell to print shops, which means they stock odd-sizes of products that work well for a print shop, but are not designed to work in a home or church office machine. Be sure that you order your blank door-hangers or other products in sizes that are appropriate for your equipment.
I like their message: “You're in luck, everybody has a door, so what are you waiting for? Order today, and start getting your message out!” They also have an interesting collection of door-hangers I haven’t seen elsewhere including one that has a tear-off postcard on the bottom. If you wanted some sort of response from people, this might be interesting to try.
Paper Direct has been around since before the web, but they have evolved and continue to make a great assortment of resources for printing church communications.They don’t have a lot of door-hangers, but do make a unique one with a rounded top.
This company not only sells blank door hangers, but a HUGE collection of all kinds of paper, card stock, paper company swatch book, whatever you can imagine to use in printing. Local paper merchants can only carry limited stocks of paper and sometimes a great paper can make a simple outreach piece look fantastic. Sometimes it means using a slightly heavier weight (that local stores seldom carry) or it might mean a paper with a soft metallic or parchment finish. This company stocks them all. If you have a Digital Duplicator or ComColor Printer, you can run specialty card stock, and other kinds of print media (envelopes, etc.) that have a hard time in a copier and this company is a great resource for buying whatever you need.