Marketing Is For Churches Too
When consulting church administrators, I have found that many individuals involved in church operations, especially those with a smaller congregation, carry the belief that their organization is not a business. I suppose the term “business” lends a for-profit connotation and makes many nonprofit leaders feel that it violates their church’s mission. It has been my goal to make these emerging leaders aware that increased organizational capacity can only be generated if they begin to undertake administrative tasks that were once found only within for-profit entities. With the increased competition that is becoming apparent within the sector, one such critical task is adequate marketing of the organization. Market-driven church organizations are implementing a variety of marketing strategies in order to fulfill their mission, meet their programmatic goals, and achieve long-term financial stability.
In the church and/or religious sector, marketing incorporates focusing on the needs of your church body and planning to satisfy those needs over time. Serving your community in a way that drives church growth, and expansion of the Kingdom of God is why churches exist. Therefore, it is critical to know how to plan and market church events. To become highly effective, begin with understanding your program’s target markets. You’ll need to identify what groups of potential members exist, what their needs are, what groups you’d prefer to serve, and what programs you might develop to meet their needs.
Finding a demographic target for your church can be easily done by learning the neighborhood you live in while hosting outreach events. If you know that the area you live in is full of young families. Planning church events such as vacation bible schools, or having a Community Life Center you can very effectively pull youth to your church. This younger demographic will usually mean that these kids will “grow up” in your churches. The next step to make sure that you can grow your congregation by creating opportunities for your youth to not only serve but to have fellowship. If you can do this effectively they will invite their friends to come to church, parents will become curious about where their children are going for church, and visit. This means that new families will join your church’s congregation. This is just one example of a way that your church can grow, and a way that you can bring new members in.
Plan your market strategy. This, again, may involve “for profit” techniques. This strategy may involve undertaking the creation of :
- Business Plans
- Market Research
- SWOT Analysis
- Strategic Plans
- Web Marketing
- Corporate Branding
Keep in mind that an essential aspect of marketing is continuously developing a positive self-image for your church. The relationship between price and perceived value is nowhere more evident than in the church sector. Thus every organization must find ways to make members believe your programs or services have the most value.
Careful planning allows a church to position itself best to compete for all kinds of support, including funds, by looking systematically at mission, image, constituents, competitors, resources, strengths, and weaknesses, and then devise strategies to gain more favorable positions in the community. Ultimately, adequate marketing will help your church to meet its strategic goals, whether they increase revenue, expand your congregation, or promote your church in a new market.