This week I’m writing about the one thing I’ve done in my first six months at Gateway that has paid of BIG TIME! It’s all about communication. No one should be left in the dark.
Once I realized that I needed to start communicating consistently, I moved pretty quickly. I ran a report that gave me the email addresses of all moms, dads and household of any kid who attended Gateway in the last four months. We sorted the list, eliminated the duplicates and simply cut and pasted them into my Outlook email. I crafted an email (it was a little longer than I wanted it to be, but it was divided into heading for differnt age groups or events). that I would send out every Wednesday afternoon.
TIP: If you ever have to email a lot of your parents from your personal email, I’d HIGHLY suggest you BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) everyone rather than put them all in the “To” box. You’ll quickly irritate your parents by not hiding their email from the dozens (or hundreds) who might add them to email chains.
I was pretty straightforward at the beginning of the email explaining that we had many changes on the horizon with many special events with information parents would want to know. I explained that we would be launching a new tool for communication within a few weeks that would help inform parents. I also told them that they would be getting emails from me every week through the end of the summer. So, everyone knew what to expect.
TIP: Oh, and being new I knew that I needed to make sure my email didn’t get ignored. I knew that many parents wouldn’t have any idea who I was and they were likely to delete the email before reading it. To be honest, even after being at a church for a very long time, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to things we’re a well known as we might think we are. So, my emails always have the subject line of “Gateway Church:” in the front. I know that “Gateway Church” carries more weight than Kids Quest or something else. So, be sure to be very clear in the subject so your paretns know exactly what the email is and will want to open it.
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Kenny you are a fellow F1er. Have you tried the F1 email you can do full HTML to give you a fully branded email. Very cool feature from our friends at F1. Also it personalizes the greeting and BCC automatically.
yes, but one negative to the F1 email. There is an unsubscribe link on the bottom of the F1 emails. If I’m sending out tons of emails to some people who aren’t going to want them, we as a church don’t want them to unsubscribe from fellowship one emails and not get an email from a communications push just because they unsubscribed for my emails. So, that’s the reason I went with Constant Contact. That way if they unsubscribe from my kids emails, they’ll still get F1 emails from big communications.