Communications on the Cheap

Even on a limited budget, your church can still engage in effective communications.

Joe Porter is communications director at Whitewater Crossing in Cincinnati. Speaking from experience, he shares how to keep your church communications effective on a limited budget.

Dig on Vimeo for Promo Videos

If you are like me, you see the value in moving pictures behind your ad. But it’s not practical to hire a production company every time you want to promote an event or initiative. You might already be using Vimeo to host your videos, but did you know a lot of artists openly grant access and allow you to download their resources for free? Check the box “downloadable.” Boom. Then you can spend your money on design and editing. (Make sure you’re only grabbing videos that are licensed for reuse. You can also set the search box to look for specific licensing. User beware: Not every licensed video is fully licensed and good to go. Do your homework.)

Download Existing Designs for Marketing

It might surprise you to know how many large and growing churches use pre-existing designs, templates and other shared media. If you have a limited staff and budget, you probably should not be spending 10 hours working on a custom graphic for your men’s banquet or hiring a designer to do it. CreationSwap.com facilitates this inexpensive design sharing. Most graphics are free and can be downloaded as a source graphic (i.e. Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.).

Target the Market With Facebook Ads

Bummed that you don’t have the budget to do a mail drop to 20,000 people? This will comfort you: You can reach an exponentially larger and more targeted audience for much less money by harnessing the power of Facebook ads. We ran a simple five-day ad on Facebook to promote our Easter Web page. It targeted those who are friends with someone already connected to our Facebook page (approximately 1,800 followers at the time) who also live in a 10-mile radius of our church. The result was that 8,492 individuals saw the ad at least once, 401 clicked or took action, and we spent $38.58.

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Piece Together a Web Presence

You might already know your web presence needs refreshing. Maybe you need to start over. If you started to look for all-in-one packages, then you are probably disappointed with the cost per month. While there are lots of advantages to this option (Web hosting, design, forms, email, etc. included in one fee), you are usually stuck in an expensive contract with little or no expansion possibilities. Instead begin to make a list of all Web functions you require, then set out to get them individually. By piecing together services, you also have the ability to adapt to growth or eliminate an area that is not working while retaining control of all the pieces. Here are some sources that have worked for us:

Web template/structure: WordPress

Web hosting/support: local Web nerd

Forms: Wufoo

Sermon audio/video: Series Engine

Video hosting: Vimeo

Audio hosting: Dropbox

Giving: Paypal

Calendar: ServiceU

Email: Google Apps