I Didn’t Even Know That Was Going On

THIS is the bane of every organization in America–heck probably the world.  How do we get our congregants, customers, clients, constituents, stakeholders, etc. to pay attention to US?  I was just in a meeting this week and the otherwise helpful, lovely folks there mentioned more than once that if only we did a better job of communicating about events, more people would attend.
That sounds right, doesn’t it?  And so we publish three (3!) weekly e-newsletters (worship, TLC and upcoming events), we repeat the upcoming events in an insert on Sundays, we post items to our Facebook groups, we hang posters, we print additional inserts, and we interrupt worship services with special announcements.  And still, no one knows what’s going on.
Because one of my roles on the staff is to oversee communications, I think about this a lot.  There is, of course, no answer as the phenomenon afflicts all sorts of organizations, including all churches.  And the more things that go on in a church the worse the problem gets.
Last year we upgraded our calendar so more information is available on it with a click on the event title.  The events are also sortable by subject.  We’re about to update our website (where there is a LOT of information that no one knows is there–sigh…..) and create a smartphone app that will also help us highlight events.
But like I said, I’ve been thinking about this and I’m not at all sure the original premise is accurate.  I don’t think it’s necessarily true that if we did a better job of communicating about events, more people would attend.  (Ignore the fact that I cannot think of how to do the job “better.”)  People make decisions to attend events for untold number of reasons, and although it’s true that you’d have to KNOW about something to choose it, “knowing” is necessary but not sufficient.  There’s interest, desire, time availability, health, and an entire flock of things that make people choose NOT to attend. Turns out “no” is much easier than “yes.”
So, two things: 1) If you have any ideas on how to communicate “better,” let me know (it cannot involve much staff time) and 2) Whenever you see an event that interests you, whether or not you are personally choosing to go, let your friends know about it.  YOU are a reader (because here you are) and your friends may not be!