If you’re not reaching out to new move ins, you’re missing the chance to welcome them to your neighborhood, and your church! Inviting them into your church community is a natural way to participate in growing God’s Kingdom — you’re offering them a place to belong and a place to be loved. Read on for everything you need to know for effective New Mover outreach.
Reaching out to new movers makes sense
Moving is a big transition in and of itself, but moves are often driven by other life transitions: new jobs, retirement, marriage or divorce, starting a family, etc.
No matter the reason for the move, many people will be looking to build a new support system, and your church has the chance to be that support! In addition to fostering spiritual growth, your church can provide friendship, mentorship, counseling, and service opportunities for people in search of connection.
Christians will likely already be looking for a place to plug in. You can be there from the start to let them know you’re excited to minister to them and give them a place to connect with what God is doing in your city.
Those who don’t know Christ may use their move as a time to evaluate their life priorities. They’re already establishing new connections and patterns because of their move, and they might just be considering the spiritual side of their life, too. This is a natural time for you to show them they have a place to come to learn about God!
As you can see, there’s a good chance some of the new movers you reach out to will be receptive to your message. We know multi-faceted outreach is important – there are so many approaches unique to your church and community that will help you connect with people looking for a place to belong. Reaching out to new movers is one of the easiest, most universal ways to find people who are naturally in a position to give your church a try.
How to make your new mover outreach successful
So, how do you connect with new neighbors? If they’re searching for a church on their own, there’s a chance they’ll find you and get plugged in by themselves. But, why not be proactive and seek them out?
Sending a simple postcard that says “Welcome to the neighborhood” means your church may be one of the very first to welcome them to the community. They may not be ready to try church right away, but when they get to that point they’ll have a physical reminder that will help bring your church to mind.
Before you can send a postcard, you have to know who they are and where to reach them. Most New Mover mailing programs let you set up a radius in your community that you’d like to send invitations to. You’re likely to find some people this way, but what if you could be more precise?
The Outreach New Mover Program lets you target specific mail carrier routes in your city — you can even narrow it down to specific streets. Imagine being able to look at a map of your city and point to neighborhoods you know you want to reach, but also being able to rule out portions of town that don’t suit your church demographic. This level of customization and precision puts your budget to good use. Click here to get a free count of new movers in your area.
You can also follow up on your initial mailings.
Outreach will also send you a spreadsheet with a list of all the new movers on your selected routes. There’s a lot more outreach you can do once you have this list. Your New Mover postcards are your “first touch” with the names on your list. To follow up, you could mail them information about an upcoming special event at your church, a quarterly newsletter, a handwritten invitation – it’s up to you. You can also choose specific areas from your greater list to target with information about relevant events and programs at your church.
If you don’t have a welcoming committee at your church, you may want to think about creating one. This committee can take the list of new movers and follow up with a telephone call, or even drop off a welcome basket from the church. Odds are if a new mover feels connected and welcomed even before they’ve visited your church they are that much more likely to visit on a Sunday.
You can also opt-in to send New Mover cards more than once. Frequency matters when it comes to direct mail, so some churches like to send a complementary message that follows up with the initial mailing.
Here’s what to put on your New Mover cards
What should your New Mover card look like? Most companies have pre-designed cards that can be customized with your church’s information. Look for a compelling, moving-themed graphic on the front that will catch someone’s eye as they sort through their mail.
- Church name and address
- Church phone number and email
- Service times
- A map showing your location
- Church website (make sure to have a “New Here” section on your website so New Movers can find even more info about visiting your church for the first time)
Each New Mover card has room to feature aspects of your church that would appeal to someone new in the neighborhood. You could highlight things like kids programs, midweek bible studies, or volunteer opportunities. You can also make note of programs distinctive to your church that people who are unchurched might find appealing. For example, if your church is in a multiethnic community, list the ESL classes or bilingual services your church offers. If you’re in a low-income area, after school programs or rides to church on Sunday could be a draw.
Keep in mind that you’re going to get visitors to your church from New Mover outreach that you’ll never know about. There isn’t a way to track everyone who shows up, but there are some ways you can encourage new movers to make themselves known.
A fun way to do this is to offer an incentive for people to bring in their cards when they visit your church. Offer a free gift in exchange for the card – this could be a coffee or snack from your café, a Bible or book, a tumbler, or a t-shirt.
Important things to keep in mind
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a huge result right when you first start your mailings. New movers have a lot going on when they first come to your community, so it may take some time before they’re ready to add church to their weekly routine. There might be some initial lag time, but give it a few months. The benefit of a direct mail piece is that it has the “fridge factor.” People are likely to keep a postcard and stick it on their fridge or bulletin board, so a reminder of your church can be there when they’re ready to make a visit.
As effective as New Mover outreach can be, there are some situations where it’s not the best choice for your ministry dollars. For example, if you live in a very small town it might not be the best outreach avenue for your church because there likely aren’t very many people moving to your town on a consistent basis.
Statistically, if you can budget enough to get a sizeable mailing out to your community, you’ll have greater reach. The more people you send to, the better your results will be. That said, keep your mailings in proximity to your church – you probably don’t want to be targeting people 30 miles away.
Ready to start reaching out to new movers?
Outreach can help! We understand how to communicate with new movers and can help you craft effective invites. Choose from prepared messaging and designs that make getting started quick and easy, or let us help you with custom designs and messaging tailored to your church.
We make finding new movers easy – our data is accurate and regularly updated. In fact, you can even find mailing routes you’re interested in before you start the program. Once you get your New Mover mailings set up, you don’t have to worry about when to send them – Outreach makes sure your mailings go out without fail every month. You also get monthly reports with names and addresses of those on your mailing list.
Check out what one pastor has to say about our New Mover program:
“With so many new homes being built in our community (and many older homes being sold and purchased by new families), it seemed like the perfect time to give Outreach’s “new mover” program a try. We opted for the two mailers a month. At first, there were doubts about whether it would gain any traction. Months went by without hearing from any new guests that they specifically came because of the mailer. But we did have a steady stream of new people coming through our doors.
Then about two months ago, I was having a conversation with a guest when they said: “We just moved into the area and received your mailer. It was really well done! So we decided to check out your website and listen to some messages. After that, we knew we were ready for a visit!” That would have been awesome by itself. But then the kicker: “Oh, and we helped plant a church a few years ago. And I ended up as the Executive Pastor there. Systems and staffing are kind of my thing!” Little did he know, I had been praying for months that someone could help us with our systems and processes. Grateful to Outreach for this program! I’m not sure the total impact for us, but if it only reaches a few families a year, it’s worth it for us and likely pays for itself.”