If you review your parish finances, it’s likely that 80 percent of your offertory comes from 20 percent of your families. Likewise, 80 percent of volunteer hours are supplied by the 20 percent of families who are most engaged. This concept, known as the 80/20 rule or the Pareto Principle, also applies to social media.
Eighty percent of your online activity – likes, shares and comments – is generated by 20 percent of your followers. Even if you’re posting daily and have thousands of followers, you’ll start to notice the same “vital few” are the most likely to interact with your posts. That’s good. Let’s identify those people and then use their skills to help grow the parish:
· Identify the “usual suspects” on your Facebook page: Who are the first people to like, comment and share?
· Acknowledge them: Send an email, Facebook message, or personal note to each of your online super supporters, thanking them for their activity. Recognize the important role they play in the New Evangelization and encourage them to keep it up.
· Compare your active online and offline volunteers: Is there overlap between your key parishioners and your key online followers? Personally reach out to any key volunteers (committee members and donors) who aren’t showing up on your parish Facebook page and ask them to follow the page and share anything they really like. Let them know it’s part of the parish’s strategy for the New Evangelization to be more active online and ask for their help.
· Get everyone together: By inviting your most committed parishioners and key online followers to meet and work together on committees, councils and task forces, you are assembling a dream team for your parish that will have a reach far beyond the usual working group.
Part of the reason you want to invite the 20% to gather together is that they tend to score high in the “Woo” category (not “WHOO!” – rather, “woo” as in they know how to woo others to the cause). They’re highly skilled in the enthusiastic invitation – exactly what you need to grow your online audience. Likewise, if you want to grow the list of super-supporters, it’s pretty easy. Talk with young, tech-savvy parishioners, those who own local businesses, and others with many social connections. It’s likely their list of friends on social media is thousands of names long! That means every time they share a post from your parish, it’s getting out to that many more people.
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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 Prenger is the CEO of Prenger Solutions Group.