According to the report provided by the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics in Poland for 2016, only 36.7 percent of all Catholics participated in the Sunday Eucharist. While many churches still function with the legacy channels of communication, i.e., announcements on the church bulletin and at the Sunday prayers; few churches have leapfrogged into the era of innovation and technology. They leverage the digital medium and in particular technologies such as beacons, to create more touch points with their members in the long run.
This blog post talks about how churches can leverage beacons to evangelise, educate, raise funds and recruit volunteers. In particular, it also shares how some of the core Beaconstac features help in making these campaigns powerful.
Beacon technology in churches
Companies have been using beacons to promote and sell almost everything, from currency exchange at airports to designer handbags at Macy’s. In the last few months, we have witnessed a handful of churches, such as Church of St. Michael’s, leverage beacons for fundraising, engagement and recruitments. Below are a few interesting beacon campaigns for churches to consider.
Beacon campaigns for churches
A short message about tithes and funds is pretty standard before the Sunday-morning service. But talking extensively about church fundraising activities aside from the Sunday offering can overwhelm your members. Instead, consider leveraging beacons to reach out to members when they are in and around the church campus.
Here are few interesting beacon campaigns to raise funds within the church campus-
1. Candle selling fundraiser
Almost everyone is happy to buy candles! People either want them for their own homes or buy as gifts for others. Unlike food and other products, candles are not perishable so you can nudge people to buy in bulk.
You can take orders and deliver candles door-to-door or advertise them on your church’s website.
Selling candles can be really profitable. Typically, to raise $40 in profits, you need to sell 5 candles, vs 10 gift wraps, vs 100 chocolate bars!
Send beacon notifications about a candle selling fundraising event at the church or encourage them to place an order online.
2. Buy one, give one – for a cause
TOMS Shoes, a company that helps “a person in need” with every purchase of one of their products – has become an internationally recognized brand by making “changemaking” easy and affordable. This concept fits best for fundraisers in churches.
For e.g. your ministry can provide lunch for the homeless by charging a small premium for baked goods or a pizza slice sale. Beacon notifications that offer “buy a lunch, give a lunch” can be a creative way to promote this cause.
3. Fundraising for church building or repair
Repairing, renovating and renewing a church needs significant amount of funds. This is often a campaign that runs for months at a stretch.
Announcements at the Sunday mass might not be sufficient for raising the funds needed. According to Non-Profit Source, 60% of the people are willing to make donations to the church, digitally. This gives a clear direction of how churches can collect the capital needed for renovations and repairs.
Beacon campaigns bridge the gaps between offline and online and enable seamless donation process. Using Beaconstac you can implement an easy donate button on your landing page to help your members contribute at the click of a button.
FOR ENGAGEMENT AND EVANGELISM IN CHURCH
Printed booklets and posters have lost their efficacy in the digital era. People seek information on their smartphones. The Church of England’s head of digital communications, Adrian Harris, recently spoke of the success of the Christmas campaign #Godwithus. Its film of All Saints’, High Wycombe, had been viewed more than 300,000 times since September 2017. The total reach of the entire campaign has been estimated to be over 6.8 million people.
In a Bible engagement research in America in 2016, it was found that teens and millennials were least likely to define preachings and concepts of the Bible.
“One of the first things Christians did with the computer was to put the Bible into digital formats,” says Phillips, director of the Codec Research Centre for Digital Theology at Durham University, UK. Those digitised Bibles then made their way onto phones. “To some extent, the mobile phone Bible is now replacing the book Bible.”
With these changing trends, it is only natural to engage with teens and millennials on their smartphones. According to a research by Barna in 2014, 38% of people increased their Bible readership in a year by downloading a Bible app or by listening to religious podcasts and streaming services.
Here are a few examples of how beacon campaigns can be effective –
- Send thought for the week from the Bible
- Send audio sessions of Bible readings
- Broadcast snippets of the Bible in interesting ways
- Promote spiritual eBooks
- Capture email ids for the monthly newsletter using forms (a feature in Beaconstac)
- Update visitors about upcoming events in the church
- Retarget your members on Facebook to build a following on your Facebook page (a feature in Beaconstac)
RECRUIT VOLUNTEERS FOR CHURCH
Recruitment of volunteers in a church is a perennial activity in addition to being an intentional focus at set times. Given how effective beacons have been in recruitment for the military, job fairs and generating leads at trade shows, it is promising for recruiting volunteers. Using Beaconstac’s lead generation form, churches can create an engaging message to have volunteers to sign up for their passionate causes.
Tips to make these beacon campaigns powerful
1. Use videos to tell powerful stories
When a church pastor makes a personal ask, the appeal is much stronger than a web banner. With video, such personal appeals can be captured and shared.
A video is also ideal for telling the story and impact of your organization’s work. Interviews with people you’ve helped let others clearly see the impact you’re making, and it encourages them to get involved. Embedding video into your dedicated campaign page is a good way to keep everything centralized.
Here’s an example of one such video.
2. Link your fundraising campaigns to social media
Give an option to share the campaigns on social media. This not only gives a lot more visibility to the campaign but also gets in funds through online transactions.
The digital age that we live in has created an array of tools that are changing the way we share and absorb information. With technologies as versatile as beacons, churches have the opportunity to inspire, nourish and inform users within the confines of their smartphones.
If you are planning to try out beacons for your church, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!