design

social media

e-newsletters

video licensing

event registration

websites

promotional products


 

Design

Designing any marketing is a challenge and each medium requires slightly different thinking.  But here are some best practices to get you started. 

Top Tips

1. Know Your Audience

Who is this for?  Who is supposed to be seeing this and compelled to action? Based on who your audience is consider if it is where they will see it. You might even do a prayer walk to understand the day in the life of the audience you are reaching out to.  Also consider if the message is something that is compelling or of interest to them. What language are you using? How are you adapting the communication for them?

2. Less is More

Typically in any communication material you need to have a maximum of 3 messages, especially if this is a poster or a sign. Your audience simply can't absorb more than that as they walk or drive by.  If you have more messages that 3, how do you make sure that they can absorb this?  Sometimes you might have a flyer or poster or even a phone number that you can tear off. Maybe it is an easy to remember website or phone number or Twitter handle to learn more. 

3. Go With The Energy

Not all of your marketing and communication will be equal.  Figure out what is working and what isn't. Focus your energy on where it is impactful.

Pricing Guide

There is quite a variety of pricing for marketing material. Typically the maximum rate you will see to design the following is: 

Logo - less than $500

One page brochure - less than $600

Multi-page brochure - less than $1000

Preferred Suppliers

Online resources are provided through printing services for posters, postcards, business cards, and other signage:

Staples Copy & Print

Vistaprint

Great Resources

Copyright information

 
 

e-Newsletters

E-newsletters are one of the best ways to stay top of mind with your community.  

Top Tips

1. Stay Relevant

  • The key is for the newsletter to have interesting and relevant information for your audience.  You want them to want to open it.  You want them to read it!  

  • Always focus on your audience.  What is interesting to them?  What do they need to know?

2. Be Consistent

One of the hardest parts of a newsletter is ensuring that you stay on top of it.  You really need to commit, as newsletters are for the long term.  It isn’t that you have to send this out every week or every month, it is more that you need to be consistent in your timing.  If you send it out every week for awhile, and then a month later, you will lose traction.

3. Keep it simple.  

You don’t want an article to be too long within a newsletter.  Always consider linking to more information so that people see all of the topics quickly, and then are able to move on.

4. Pictures & colours.

This is online, so there are lots of options for how you can visualize to make content pop.  Definitely have pictures and videos where they work. Always make sure that you reference where the pictures are from.

5. Privacy

In Canada you are required for people to verify twice that they wish to receive email correspondence with you.  That means that they need to sign up for your enewsletter and also click on a link that is sent to their email to confirm.  Most marketing automation platforms have this feature.

6. Measurement

There are only a few main measurements that you worry about.  

  • you worry about the number of subscribers that you have and how to continue to grow the size of the list.  

  • you worry about the open rate.  Even if you have a list of 10,000 people, the number that actually open the enewsletter and read it is more important.  

  • you might worry about click throughs.  This is where someone reads your newsletter and then follows a link that you have embedded in the newsletter.  This means that someone has signed up for your newsletter, opened it, and then did another action as they were so interested in the topic.  Or you might have linked to another site. So this is all interesting information. 

Preferred Suppliers

The enewsletter companies are called Marketing Automation Platforms. These platforms help you comply with privacy concerns, reporting, formatting, and organization of your email lists.  They definitely help make your communications easier.

  • Mailchimp:  This is the platform of choice for General Council Office, the Regions, and many communities of faith. This is a free platform for the needs of a community of faith.

  • Constant Contact: This is the largest competitor to MailChimp.  Although it is not free, it does have some extra features and training support.   

Great Resources

CreativeCommons.org If you’re short of your own images or you need something really specific, it’s a great way of sourcing images! Some of the images are attribution-free (mostly through Pixabay), but where credit/attribution is due, it is clearly detailed. (Contributed by Caroline Watson in Communications at GCO)

 
 

Event Registration

People are twice as likely to attend an event if they have registered and they are three times more likely to attend an event if they have paid for a ticket. Not to mention that having event registration helps your team with planning and communication with your attendees. 

Top Tips

1. Get Your Invite Out Early

Sooner is always better than later when it comes to an invite.  Remember that people get busy, especially if you have special guests or keynotes, you need to know the date and venue at least 3 weeks in advance. Plus once someone has committed to your event through a registration process, they are much less likely to cancel..

Often we delay sending out the invite as we don't have all of the details of the event locked down.  The entire agenda is not mandatory or all of the special guests confirmed.  What you do need is a venue, a date and the time.  So prioritize this early!

2. Know Your Venue

The venue can dictate a lot of choices and options that are available to you. Some venues have preferred caterers, rental supply company, av equipment, and others are more flexible.  Make sure you understand the restrictions upfront as this can add to your cost. 

3. Customize Your Registration

You don't have to have your registration the same as everyone else's.  You can customize it with questions to make sure that you are meeting or exceeding your attendees' expectations.  What are they hoping to get out of this?  What additional requirements do they have to ensure that this is a pleasant event for them (food, accessibility, other)?

4. Send Reminders!

Don't assume that people have this in their calendar and will not forget.  Especially if you have followed the best practice of sending out the invite early on, they almost assuredly need some confirmation about details and a friendly reminder.  It is almost not possible to over communicate! So send a reminder a week out and then another one the day before as a minimum. 

5. Get Feedback

Nothing is perfect and there is always room for improvement.  Find out what the attendees liked and what could be improved upon.  Even if you aren't planning on running the same event, it is good to build the relationship with the attendees and to find out how to run the next event even better. 

Preferred Suppliers

 
 

Promotional Products

Promotional items can be anything from a pen to water bottle, a t-shirt to a pin. How might you use promotional products as a community of faith?

  • Event Volunteer & Staff: If you are running an event where it is helpful to differentiate your volunteers and staff from the attendees, there are lots of ways to do that!  Buttons, t-shirts, and hats.

  • Speakers & Special Guests: How do you give them a meaningful gift? Inscriptions, books, or something more unique?

  • Volunteer Thank Yous: Thanking your volunteers is critical.  We often remember to do it at the end of an event, but could you thank your ongoing volunteers at your community of faith?

  • Special Milestones: Is it your 50th, 100th, 200th anniversary as a community of faith?  Is there a neat momento that you could share?

Top Tips

1. Think about your Audience

What would they appreciate?  What would they use? Don't assume this, test it by asking. 

2. No More Than Three

Don't have more than 3 messages on anything!  2 is actually the preferred amount with a picture and a line.  Anything else becomes overwhelming very quickly and often will make the product look cluttered.

3. The Crest

When using the United Church of Canada crest, make sure that it is the new crest and that you are keeping the same width and height ratios so that the crest is not distorted. 

The use of The United Church of Canada's crest must be approved by the General Secretary. Requests, preferably by e-mail, should be sent to Alison Jordan, Legal Assistant, at ajordan@united-church.ca . Once approval has been granted by the General Secretary, a copy of the crest will be sent by the graphics department by e-mail together with guidelines for use.

4. Ethically Made

When possible, consider how a product has been manufactured and their overall supply chain.  How have you reduced the impact on the environment through your choices?  This also goes back to the first tip, think about your audience so that they don't throw this out.

Great Resources

The United Church of Canada Crest

Technical Considerations for Use

 
 

Social Media

Top Tips

1. Be authentic

Being genuine is always the best way to go.  It allows you to speak from your heart, build relationships, and more often than not you are a lot more entertaining. 

2. Know your audience

Your messaging needs to be entertaining and something that your audience cares about. So you need to start any social media with who you are communicating with.  Consider in this; 

  • how do they communicate?

  • what language do they use?

  • what resonates with them?

  • what do they care about?

And this all naturally leads into the next best practice of choosing the right social media tool.

3. Choose the right social media tool

  • Facebook is great for an older audience of over 40 years old or it is great to help with event promotion. Facebook has added features of Facetime and Groups which can allow for added engagement.

  • Twitter continues to maintain its popularity among the masses as it is quick and now contains a variety of media beyond text.

  • Instagram continues to emerge with a focus on images and video.  It doesn't require as much attention as some of the other media platforms as posts are less frequent.

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google) and has interactivity included in it.  This medium can be connected to all of the other social media platforms to boost your searchability.  

4. Be regular

Staying consistent and in touch with your audience is critical.  Make sure that you have someone dedicated to doing this and ensure that it is connected with your phone so that you can do it on the go. 

Great Resources 

Social Media in Church Ministry

Social Media Guidelines

Search Engine Optimization Webinar

 
 

Video Licensing

You need a public performance license:

  • If you show movies or clips from movies/TV programs for public viewing (unless you are showing ‘live-fee’ YouTube material)

  • Public viewing includes every time your show a video in the church building during programming or worship or fundraising

  • It doesn’t matter whether you own or rent the movie/clip

The Canadian Copyright Act applies in all cases, even if films are personally owned, brought in from outside sources, obtained from rental outlets, or purchased in retail stores.  It applies if films are shown freely, partially, or to small groups, for educational or fundraising purposes.  Additional information concerning copyright can be obtained from the Copyright Board of Canada.

Summary: Without a public performance license you are breaking current copyright laws.

Top Tips

1. Spice Up Your Worship

Engaging your congregation with some video clips is a great way to have a message be more well understood, visualize the concept, and make it applicable to day-to-day life. There are some great movies that help with key learnings. 

2. Have a Fundraiser.

Movies are a great community gathering opportunity.  Whether you have it in the parking lot or grassy area under the stars in the summer or if you turn your sanctuary into a movie theatre, these are both opportunities for a fundraiser and gathering the community outside of Sunday.

3. Great for Rural!

For rural and small towns without movie theatres, this is a great opportunity to help engage the local community and provide a fun activity to do.  In 2019 there is a new release license as an additional option, where you can show movies that are still in theatres! 

Vendors

The main public performance video licensing organizations in Canada are Criteron and ACF. Collectively they represent the vast majority of the production companies, allowing you to show most movies and clips at your community of faith. 

Criterion Pictures Includes:

  • USA Films

  • New Line Cinema

  • Fox Searchlight

  • Sony Pictures Classics

  • Paramount Picutres

  • Nelvana

  • DreamWorks SKG

  • Lucas Films

  • And more

  • Warner Brothers

  • Artisan Entertainment

  • Alliance Films Inc.

  • Big Idea, Inc. (Veggie Tales)

  • 20th Century Fox

  • Fine Line Features

  • Focus Features

  • Odeon Films

  • Miramax Films 

Audio Cine Films Inc. Includes:

  • Orion Pictures

  • Pixar Animation Studios

  • Sony Pictures Entertainment

  • United Artists

  • MGM Studios 

  • Universal Studios Canada (plus others)

  • Walt Disney Pictures

  • Touchstone Pictures

  • Hollywood Pictures

  • Christal Films

  • Columbia Pictures 

  • Equinoxe Films

Great Resources

Copyright information

Main Contact

If you are interested in registering your community of faith for a Public Performance License, then please email Alexandra Belaskie.

Timing

Current licenses are available from March to December, and information about renewal will be distributed in October each year.

 
 

Websites

Websites are critical for any organization – and that includes a church!  The first thing that someone does when they are looking for something, is to Google it.  So you need to have a presence online for people to find out more information about you.

So how to get started?

Step 1: Make sure that you are on Google Maps.

Having your church registered on Google Maps is free, and is usually the first thing that pops up when someone does a search.  Make sure that your church is on Google Maps, and then claim your profile so that you can make it stronger by adding in pictures, linking to your website, and keeping your contact information updated.

Click to register your church on Google Business.

Step 2: Create the website.

When creating your website make sure that you recognize who you are making it for. Every church serves two audiences:

Seekers: Those looking for a church or being part of a volunteer opportunity.

Adherents/Members: Those who already are coming and want up-to-date information.

Understanding the needs of both of these audiences and making sure that both can find the information that they need.  Balancing this is the key to a successful website.

There are a couple of options to get your website up and running:

Volunteer Website Designer: You might have a web designer in your congregation or community that is willing to volunteer and set up your website.  The most important thing here is to make sure that the URL of your website is owned by the church (not the volunteer) and that anything in the registration of the site or hosting is related back to the church email rather than the volunteer’s email.  This will help to make sure that this information isn’t lost. Even with a volunteer website designer, it is important that the website is built on a platform that most people can use.  This will ensure that more than one person can update the website, making it easier to maintain for everyone. One of the easiest platforms to use is WordPress.

  1. WordPress: WordPress is the easiest website platform out there.  There are free websites or blogs that you can set up.  Sometimes you might have to pay for a template or a plug in if you are creating something more complex, but in general the basic options are good enough to get started with.

  2. Google Sites: Google Sites is continuing to upgrade and is very user friendly.  The basic templates aren’t as good as WordPress, but this is constantly improving.

  3. Wix: Wix is another website template company that already has ready to use non-profit and religious group templates.

  4. A+ Computers & Services: These pre-branded, customizable WordPress templates, developed in partnership with the United Church, will help you save time and money while providing a high quality look and feel for your new website. The optional deployment packages include professional consultation, setup and training, making this a good fit regardless of your level of experience. Affordable hosting and maintenance services are also available and a portion of all proceeds are donated to charity.

  5. Ascend: The team at Ascend offers congregations in the United Church of Canada an easy to edit, technologically advanced site that looks great on any device and offers features to assist churches. They provide friendly, dependable email and phone support, as well as free online training to introduce your church to their product. An Ascend website will give your church the confidence that your site will remain technologically fresh, maintain your domain, and have qualified staff available to assist you with questions you may have as you refresh your site.

    For further details, and to inquire about special pricing for United Churches, please contact Matt Morrison toll free at 1-877-988-8580. 

Step 3: Link your social media

You don’t need to have every type of social media out there, just pick the ones that work for you and be consistent with them.  Make sure that these are linked to your website and vice versa.

Step 4: Keep your website updated

The best way to be found is to have lots of relevant information on your website. As a church, you have a lot of content and just need to start the practice of putting it on the site. This is also why it is important to have a site that is easy for people to use, so that lots of people can update it.

What could you update on your site?

  • Your events, like what is happening every Sunday, special events, and programming or events from the partners that are in your church

  • Your church newsletter could be posted online

  • Your sermons (video, audio, or text) could be posted as a blog within the website

  • Your annual reports

By doing these 4 steps, your online presence will rocket and you will be found.