I mentioned earlier this month that my organization, Prenger Solutions Group, ran a nationwide research project with parishes that use the eCatholic web hosting platform.
We sent a 40+ question survey asking thousands of parishes across the country about their financial health and communications practices.
After combing through the results, we found the one thing that sets financially healthy parishes apart… They post daily on social media, specifically on Facebook. (You can read more about that in this blog.)
In that study, we found a stark differences between parishes with large social media followings versus small social media followings:
- Parishes with more than one follower per registered household saw their offertory rise by 10% on average between 2017 and 2018. This was regardless of the size of the parish. (A 500 household parish with 501 followers was seeing its offertory increase, as was a 3,000 household parish with 3,001 followers.)
- Parishes with less than one follower per household saw a 1% decline in their offertory between 2017 and 2018.
How’s that for motivation? If you can find just 10 minutes this week, one of the best things you can do is work to grow your Facebook following. This will ensure that more parishioners are engaged on a daily basis, which leads to more generosity down the road. Here are three ways to do that:
- Go back to popular posts and invite those who are responding: When you are on your desktop or laptop, you can click on the number of “likes” and “loves” next to each published post. This will open up a menu of every individual who has interacted with your post, and there’s a helpful button which allows you to send an invitation to any individuals who are not yet following your page.
- Invite friends: By combing through your personal friends list and inviting others to like the page, you can pick up a large number of followers easily. Just navigate to your parish Facebook page, click the three dots on the page menu, and choose “Invite My Friends to Like This page.” Then comb through your friends for fellow parishioners, add them to the list, and send them a personal invitation! You can even show other parish clergy and staff how to do this, and make it a friendly competition to see which staff member can get the most friends to follow your parish!
- Edit your page information: Every year Facebook adds more fields to your information page. There may be new fields you haven’t seen or old fields that just need updating. You can edit or add business hours, contact information, your founding date, mission statement, and a bit about your parish history. Perhaps most important is the “Categories” section, where you can choose three descriptors for your church. We’d suggest you choose Religious Organization, Catholic Church, and Christian Church. This will help people searching social media or Google for “churches near me” or “Catholic churches near me” to find you organically. This will also lead to an increase in followers.
In the end, it’s not that hard to have a robust following of parishioners and neighbors that is larger than your list of up-to-date email addresses or mailing addresses. And every time you post, you’ll be reaching that large group with the love of Jesus Christ. Keep at it, and those people will respond in generosity and love!
Prenger Solutions Group is a specialized Catholic fundraising firm that uses technology to help parishes, schools and dioceses raise more money with fewer headaches. PSG’s fundraising and communications experts have raised more than $450 million for Catholic causes while helping more than 4,000 parishes to engage and inspire their parishioners through social media. Nic is the CEO of Prenger Solutions Group. Nic is the CEO of Prenger Solutions Group.