You may wonder how questions about what churchgoers do when they aren’t at church fit into a survey about attitudes and preferences for giving.
But we included a few in Vanco’s survey of 1,000 churchgoers, and their answers provided great insights that can help you build and promote successful outreach programs and increase overall giving.
What they told us is important because knowing how your congregation prefers to give is just one part of the generosity equation. You also need to know where their interests lie so your outreach programs are meaningful to them.
You want them to volunteer, contribute money or participate as group members, so it’s helpful to know what they’re most likely to respond to. Their answers about the activities they participate in and the way they consume information create a roadmap that can help you design programs that energize your members and serve your community.
When we gave churchgoers a list of activities and asked them which ones they participate in, their top responses were:
• Walking, jogging, running: 61%
• Reading for pleasure: 53%
• Gardening: 40%
• Swimming: 37%
• Fishing: 27%
We also asked them about their use of online media, and found the most popular activities were:
• Check personal email: 85%
• Browse internet on a computer or tablet: 72%
• Use Facebook: 60%
• Send text messages: 58%
• Browse internet on a phone: 42%
Survey your congregation
Before launching a new event or group, survey your members to find out what they’re interested in. Taking the time to learn which activities and hobbies are popular among your congregation can provide you with the information you need to build programs they’ll want to take part in.
For instance, if 40 percent of your congregation enjoys gardening, then a gardening ministry is an ideal way for your members to serve the local community by teaching gardening skills and providing a place for individuals in need to grow their own vegetables.
Spread the word
Deciding how you’ll promote your programs is as important as deciding which ones to offer. Reach out with emails and text messages to promote group activities and events, and post them on your website.
Different groups prefer different types of media, but our survey results show that your members are online and on their phones. So use all of the online channels at your disposal – emails, social, texts, website, etc. Don’t limit yourself to one or two.
And since so many people use smartphones to access the internet, make sure your site displays as well on mobile phones as it does on desktops or tablets.
Get more insights
We’ve checked out programs that churches offer around the top five activities from our research and generated some ideas of our own. Download 5 Activities that will Energize Your Members and Serve Your Community for ideas that may work for your congregation and outreach ministries.