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Engaging your Congregation from a Distance

Even as churches, temples, and mosques reopen, it's more important than ever to continue to engage your congregants online. Here are four easy ways to keep your digital communications going.

Whether you want to increase donations or serve those unable to participate in person, these simple tips will help you reach more congregants now and into the future.

1. Improve your Website

Your website should be your organization’s hub for information through an uncluttered, easy-to-navigate format. When people arrive at your website, is it obvious how to make an online donation? Does the site work well on a mobile phone? Is it easy to find a list of your in-person or live-streamed services? These are questions you should ask yourself as your congregants turn to your website more than ever. If you answered "no" to any of the above, it's time to make improvements.

2. Accept Online Donations

If you do not already have it, now is the time to set up online giving. Just select a system to accept donations online like Stripe, PayPal, or Square to add a donate button to your site. Some platforms even allow you to set up direct deposit to your bank account.

If you already accept online donations, make sure it’s easy to use and one-click away via your website, email, or social media pages. Most importantly, remind your congregation to give online through all of your communications channels.

3. Clean up your Digital Communications

People are being inundated with emails during this crisis. Make sure you aren’t just contributing to the noise. Instead, strategically communicate with your congregation. For example, emails and social posts should link readers directly to a web page for more information, while appeal letters should direct readers to your online giving page.

Send communications through the channels your readers use most, and appoint one person to approve all messages; this will ensure you are reaching your readers effectively, and that you're doing so with a consistent and appropriate tone.

4. Deliver Programs Virtually

Which programs, services, and ministries can be delivered online? What does your community need, and how can you address those needs virtually? Remember to keep virtual offerings simple, and make sure it is easy for congregants to participate.

To create opportunities for lots of interaction, consider a Skype or Zoom session with limited registration so everyone can participate equally. If you want to engage a larger audience, consider Facebook Livestream, and encourage viewers to use comments and reactions to share their experience in real-time. If you use Livestream, make sure your internet speed is powerful enough to handle it.

Don’t forget to track your virtual engagement by monitoring the number of views, clicks, or open rates, and build on the programs that are getting lots of participation.

To learn more ways to engage your congregation online, send a note through our contact form. We are here to help!

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