It’s almost summer and that means vacation!! This typically means two things for the church:
- Your parishioners are away from the parish visiting the beach or the mountains or family members who are far away.
- Many Catholics are visiting your parish because it’s a great vacation spot or their families have moved to your city.
Are you ready for this?
Prepare for your Parishioners to be on Vacation
We find that having an Online Giving Program set up helps to keep your offertory stable throughout the summer when parishioners are away on vacation. Your parishioners want to support the life changing mission of your parish even when they are not in town, but writing a check and mailing an envelope is not high on the “Before Vacation To-Do” List for most people. Have an Online Giving system in place before summer to provide parishioners an easy way to donate even when they are away. What have we seen from Online Donors who give an automated recurring donation?
- Your Parishioners are at your parish at about 40 of 52 Sundays throughout the year. Those 12 Sundays when parishioners are away are usually during the summer months when families leave for the weekend after work on Friday and get back home late Sunday evening.
- Donors who give online with a weekly or bi-weekly donation, give more to their parish over the course of the year. The average bi-weekly donation annual donation is almost $1900!
- Right before summer is a great time to set up Online Giving. A great time to launch Online Giving is September when families are getting back into their regular schedule for school. September is like a 2nd “New Year”!
Prepare for Vacationers Coming to your Parish
We find churches like we find restaurants – online directories like Yelp! Are your entries in these Online Directories up to date with your website, correct Mass times, and current pastor. A few sources online to update are:
- Google Places: This is the official entry on google for your parish. It includes your address, phone number, website, and even reviews. Claim this space to have accurate listings when people are searching for a Catholic Church in your area. You can also add images of the outside of your church or directions for the best parking.
- Facebook Places: When visitors create a status and say they were at your parish, an entry is created on Facebook. Sometimes multiple locations are created, when you claim the space you are able to merge them all together and have control over how your parish is tagged on social media.
- Masstimes.org: This ministry was started in the early 2000s as a way for Catholics to attend Mass when traveling. Now almost 300,000 churches worldwide are represented with Mass times, directions, and a website. Be sure to update your entry when your Mass times change. [There is also a ministry like this at catholicmasstime.org with many, but not all Churches listed.]
- Discover Mass, Catholic Directory, Parishes Online: Bulletin companies have also created a directory of Churches online. If they publish your bulletin, your listing is accurate, however, it is a good practice to claim these spaces and control the information shared on them. There is a listing for most Churches even if the company does not print your bulletin.
- YOUR Website!: Make sure your Mass times are easy to find and there are directions for how to get to your parish right on your homepage!