When your church hosts special events this should be the start of a relationship, not simply a one-time visit. But to make that happen you need to get your visitor's contact information. Following is a process you can use to get that information, samples of communications that will do it and follow-up cards after the events. There is a generic one and also examples for fall outreach and one for Christmas.
The big question is—how to make that happen?
One of the best ways we've found to do that is to have a drawing for a special prize related to your event and ask people to register for it. You can be very upfront that you will be using the information to contact them and that, if at any time they want to be removed from your mailing list, it isn't a problem. You don't want to hide your purpose and most people don't mind when you let them know the details upfront.
Gift baskets work really well as a gift in this way because they are visual when you fill them with goodies related to the event. The basket can be later used in household as a basket to store craft supplies. In addition to the gift basket, you can also add gift cards to places like Target or Wal-Mart, or whatever is a popular store in your area. A card in front of the basket could list the gift cards included. Below are some examples of cards you can use in this way. Four of them are for fall or Halloween events and there is a bonus one for Christmas:
Here are some ideas for gift baskets for various outreach events:
- For Halloween, have a giant pumpkin filled with goodies
- For Christmas, have a big gift basket with mugs and a variety of gourmet hot chocolates.
- For a Summer Outreach, have a gift basket with BBQ sauces and gourmet seasoning mixtures for BBQ.
- For Men's Outreach: tickets to a popular sports event, along with chips and dips or other snacks for them to enjoy while anticipating the event.
- For anytime: lots of chocolate—dark, light, milk chocolate. Chocolate candy, chocolate-covered potato chips, pretzels and trail mix, hot chocolate mixes.
Even more important than the gift basket, have your follow-up information ready before the event!
If you wait until after the even to do this, you'll most likely have so much to do, getting ready for the next ministry project that follow-up for this one this won't get done in a timely manner. Remember that follow-up material sent out a couple of weeks after an events loses much of its impact.
Before you create the cards:
- Have a person or team designated to IMMEDIATELY follow-up with the information you receive.
- Have follow-up postcards and digital media ready to send out.
- The follow-up materials should tell visitors more about your church, let them know who to contact if they have questions and invite them back for regular services and ministries at your church.
- Immediately send out the material.
- Designate someone to answer and interact with the digital messages you send.
Below are some examples of postcards you can send to follow-up. Four of them are for fall or Halloween events and there is a bonus one for Christmas.
For digital responses you can have text and links ready to email out and post on Facebook. For Facebook, your website, and many of the email programs, you can create your follow-up materials, upload them and then schedule when you want them to be live.
Repeat a similar process for every holiday
Most churches spend a lot of time planning and putting on special events, but to get the lasting turnout from your events you need to do more than hope and pray people will think you are a nice church and come back on Sunday.
Following a process like this where you intentionally collect contact information and then have pre-made materials ready to send out afterwards will greatly increase the chances that people will return.
Great events are fun to plan and put on, but the returning is what starts people with the process of connecting with your church, walking with the people in it, learning and ultimately coming to know Jesus as Savior.
Download and modify all the examples to use in your church
Click on the ZIP FILE below that has editable MS Publisher files, ready-to-print PDFs, and high res images of all the examples. Just download, save to your computer and click to open and use.