Many parishes have had to scramble to set up lines of communication to parishioners over the last few months, but it hasn’t been easy! When was the last time you had your entire congregation update their phone or email records? If your parish is like mine, that would be when we originally registered with the church or signed the kids up for religious formation classes. In either case, they have a landline number that was disconnected about 10 years ago.
Even though we don’t anticipate an entire shutdown to occur again, it’s still important to be able to reach out to your parishioners when something can’t wait for the weekly bulletin or announcement at Mass. Considering 90% of adults 50+ in the US have smartphones compared to 53% with tablets/computers* it’s time to get those phone numbers. Let’s face it, if you have a smartphone, you use text. So, unlike a phone call, a text gets the message out to parishioners and they can read it when it’s convenient.
So how do you get the phone numbers? Ask them every time you talk to them. You can leave a card in the pews (or providing a URL) that allows parishioners to update their contact info. This can also serve as a great reminder! This can be a lot of work for your staff and volunteers. Make it easier by having a church management system that allows parishioners to do it themselves.
The effort to update parishioner’s data should be a priority for your parish. You want to ensure you have what you need to reach your congregants. We’ve learned a very important lesson about the quality of our data this year.
If you have additional ideas on getting parishioners to update their data please post it below in the comments section.
* Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life