From Fall Guests To Engaged Attenders
This time of year can be one of the most anticipated seasons for some people. Apple cider, pumpkin spice, leaves changing colors, and football; fall does seem to have it all when it comes to activities, food, and entertainment. There’s even a scientific explanation as to why a lot of people feel the fall love, nostalgia, or expectation once this season has finally arrived.
Society has conditioned us to think of fall as a “reset” after the long summer days. It’s a new school year for the kids, a fresh football season for sports lovers, and a more normalized routine for everyone. What the newness of autumn represents for a lot of people is hope. Hope for all A’s on a report card, hope for a winning record for a sports team, and excitement for ambitious goals to be created and accomplished.
Even though fall is full of anticipation, it’s also a time of familiarity, because a lot of events occur annually. Fall festivals, pumpkin patches, trunk or treats, tailgating … events that the whole family can enjoy. With renewed routines at the beginning of autumn, it is plausible to think that people will also be returning to church after a busy summer traveling or spending time away from home.
Churches are at their best this time of year, because fall is a great time to engage the community. But, when it comes to planning an event, it can be tricky to balance the familiarity and expectations of a community with new ideas or improvements you may desire to make and build upon from last year. Trunk or treats and fall festivals are go to events that are proven to be fun and that really work for churches to host as a safe place for people to attend. It’s what you do to engage your community when they are at your event and connect them to the mission of your church in hopes that they will continue to return beyond just your fall event that really matters.
It can be hard to manage an influx of people on your church campus at a larger community-wide event. And you can’t expect church staff to intentionally talk to everyone and remember their names or contact information. Once people arrive at your event, you’ve already done the hardest part. You’ve convinced them to come and see, but then it’s time get down to what missional nature of what church is, to get people to come and be in a relationship with Christ. But, how? Gathering information passively on paper can create a lot of room for error. But, if you give people the opportunity to easily engage with your church on their mobile phone, that could be a game changer.
Guide Your Audience To Generosity
When you plan a community event, it’s likely that it’s free. But, just because your event is free, doesn’t mean the opportunity to be generous and share your story is lost. With Text Engagement, give people the opportunity to learn more about your church’s values and give to a capital initiative or learn more about your volunteer missions in the community. Have signs, key volunteers, or handouts that let people know to text “give” or “our mission” to your church specific phone number and they’ll receive all the information about a certain church mission or initiative and a call to action to give or learn more. Since 99% of text messages are seen and opened, text engagement is the most effective way to quickly capture your audience’s attention.
A Digital Connection
Again, it’s not easy to capture information of visitors at your church who attend an event. The goal is to get people to return, and it’s easiest to do that if you have the correct data to follow up with them. Make next steps easy for newcomers by allowing them to text a keyword to your number. Text “Connect” or “Fall” (or whatever keyword you choose) to receive a connection card. Your event fall loving event attendees can will out a connection card right on their phone, and you have accurate and organized data right from the source.
However you embrace the fall season, have fun and be creative. Use your fall festival or trunk or treat to share the joy of being children of God with other people in your community. Know that if you chose to get digital with your communication and information gathering, you’ll be creating a long term sustainable solution to connecting and following up with guests.