With the current economic situation, everyone is tightening their belts and conserving their funds. And, as you know, giving to charities and churches has declined too. In Part 1 of this blog, we talked about how to keep your church doors open, continue the regular weekly ministries and still find funds to reach out to the lost.
But once you find the funds, how do you spend them wisely and get the most reach for your outreach dollar? Although spending money on marketing should be considered an investment in the future of your church and in the souls of your community, you still have a responsibility to be a good steward of what God gives you. Here are some avenues to explore to make your budget go further:
1) Memberships and Association Discounts – Take advantage of the discounts and promotions offered by the professional associations to which you belong. These organizations often have special offers from partners or discounts that can save you a little or a lot on purchases you need to make. Check out the Outreach Association — a $199 membership automatically gives you over $250 in free products, plus numerous discounts from preferred partners.
2) Value-Added Purchases – When you are ready to purchase promotional tools for your church, make sure you buy them from someone who gives you extra services or promotional items with your purchase. Instead of buying something “a la carte,” look at the package price. Like the “value meal” at your favorite restaurant, a Full Service package may offer you services like free graphic design, delivery to your post office, demographic reports or matching PowerPoint slides to go with your purchase. These provide you with the best value.
3) Buy the Best Quality You Can Afford – With a little bit of Internet research, you can always find something that is cheap, but will it really get you the best items or leave a good impression? Bulletin shells are a good example—you can purchase very inexpensive bulletins online, but the paper quality may be poor, the designs out-of-fashion, and helpful templates non-existent. And when you consider that your bulletin is the one item EVERYONE looks at on a Sunday, having a great-looking, informative bulletin is key in connecting visitors to your ministries and worth a couple extra dollars for a high-quality product. Outdoor Banners are another great example—make sure the product you buy is going to withstand bright sunlight, wind, or cold without cracking, ripping, or fading!
4) Use the Resources God Has Given You – When you were raising funds for outreach, you tapped resources in your church for financial support. Now that you are ready to purchase tools, return to your members again for services they can offer that may save you money. Business owners may be willing to put flyers and posters in their windows or loan you the use of their office equipment, like copiers and folding machines.
5) Think Outside Your Comfort Zone – It seems like new technologies come along every day, and if you are trying to reach anyone under the age of 60, taking advantage of new social media sites, text services, and e-mail blasts is an inexpensive way to reach “early adopters.” Your church and many of its ministries should have a Facebook page, and your pastors may want to consider “tweeting” on a regular basis, too. Although these sites do have their down-sides, they are a great way to keep in touch, share a thought, or “tease” your upcoming sermon.
Even though it may be tempting to skimp on your outreach efforts when money is tight, there are ways to follow the Great Commission without breaking your church budget—be creative and spend wisely, and see God bring more visitors to your church and more souls into the Kingdom!