We all want to lead better and more fulfilling mission trips. We see how important they are to our church’s character and even more so, the people who participate. But if we are honest, the greater congregations of our churches are often less engaged than we really want them to be. Our biggest mistake is when we think simply a compelling trip or purpose for a trip will naturally get people involved. But the truth is, promoting great trips takes a lot of work.
Somewhere along the way many people start buying into a promotional myth. It says, “If I put the right piece of information, in front of the right people, at the right time, I will get a massive response.” It’s the silver bullet myth.
In truth, communicating and motivating people is about consistency, not potency. This has never been more true than today. As the quantity and quality of instant communication (mail, Facebook, bulletin, Snapchat, etc.) continues to grow people are becoming more selective in how they consume communication. As you plan for your next mission trip, here are three ideas to help you create an effective promotional campaign to get stronger participation from your church.
When we are in the mix, trying to promote our events, we don’t realize the channels of communication available to us. Sit down with your team and make a list of each possible channel of communication within your church. It could be: announcement from stage, informational meetings, direct mail, bulletin, social media, email, blog, website, phone calls, text messaging, etc. In addition to writing down each available channel, use a sentence to describe its position or purpose within the communication spectrum (this will help you customize the message to fit the channel).
Once you’ve developed a list of communication channels, put out a calendar. Start to develop a schedule. What channels on which days will you utilize to communicate your message. Your goal should be to develop a rhythm that effectively leverages each channel of communication. Post something on social media 2-3 times a week leading up to the trip. Understand the patterns of your church and realize you may need to announce from stage three weeks in a row rather than just one, since most people don’t show up every week. When you leverage the strengths of each channel of communication you can effectively position it on the calendar to have the most impact.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when promoting a trip is in the messaging. Sometimes we oversimplify and leave people uninspired or under informed. Other times, we overcomplicate the message and leave people confused. When planning and promoting your trip, it’s vital that you do the hard work of refining your message before you even begin promoting your trip. What exactly are you doing? Why are you doing it? Why is it important to me and my church? When will we be doing it? Most importantly, what role will people play and what is the call to action? Refining the message is not simple work, but ultimately it will result in more passion and buy-in to the vision of your trip.
Planning trips can be hard work but if we do the right things on the front end, the rewards to our churches will be tremendous. Happy trip planning!
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