Kansas City The First Experiment 4 Month Media Test Spring 2003 $130,000 Media Buy, UUA Capital Campaign- Funded “Uncommon Denomination” Creative Focus Groups with UUs and non-UUs Hospitality & Belonging Training for Congregations Focus on using advertising campaign to leverage congregational change Pre – Post Awareness Research
Kansas City The Numbers Average Growth of Congregational Adult Membership in 3 years prior to test → 2% per year Adult Membership growth during and after the test Test Year + 13.2% Year 2+ 8.0% Year 3+ 4.4% 3 Year Total+25.6% National 3 Year Growth+3.0% Total New Adult Members Test Year 93 Year 2 64 Year 3 38 3 Year Total 195
Houston The Second Experiment 4-Month Media Test Spring 2005 $212,000 Media Buy, Major Donor-Funded More Effective Media Buy/Cooperation of Houston Chronicle Improved Creative “Imagine A Religion” More Heart / Less Head Hospitality & Belonging Training for Congregations Improved based on K.C. Experience
Houston – The Numbers Average Growth of Congregational Adult Membership in 3 years prior to test → 1.7% per year Adult Membership growth during test → 6.35% Total New Adult Members → 107
Houston vs. Kansas City Kansas CityHoustonDifference Media Buy $130,000$212,000+63% Size of Market 1.1M Metro Area 4.7M Metro Area +427%
Cost per New Adult Member Kansas City First Year 3 Year Total 3-year adult membership growth 93195 Expected growth w/out advertising(14)(48) Growth attributable to advertising79147 Cost/New Member $130,000/79 = $1,645 $130,000/147 = $884
Cost per New Adult Member Kansas City First Year3 Year Total 3-year adult membership growth 93195 Expected growth w/out advertising (14)(48) Growth attributable to advertising 79147 Cost/New Member $130,000/79 = $1,645 $130,000/147 = $884 New pledge income to congregations (new pledge units* x average pledge**) 47x$1,205 = $56,635 88x$1,205 = $106,040 Months to recoup media costs 2721 *new pledge units = 60% of new members **average pledge increased 14% during 3 year test
Early Reports from Orange County, South Bay & Long Beach 100,000 Media Buy Growth 3 prior years = 1% Growth this year = 11.3%
Early Reports from Orange County, South Bay & Long Beach Rev. John Morehouse, Pacific Unitarian Church “The ultimate testimony to the campaign’s transformative nature can be summed up in one short story. About three weeks ago a lesbian couple showed up for our worship service. They had seen the insert in the LA Times. After the service they asked to speak to me and told me they wanted to have a union ceremony to bless their domestic partnership. Just the other day, one partner stopped me after church and asked to speak to me. She told me that her partner was dying of cancer. ‘You see,’ she said, ‘while that is sad, it so wonderful we found this church. At least we will be blessed by this community, at least she won’t die before she knows that there is such a religion for us.’ We have a world waiting to be saved. This campaign was a brave step into that work.”
Some Simple Minded* Projections Growth Goal 1%**2%3%4%5% Incremental New Members Required 1,6003,2004,8006,400 Acquisition Cost using K.C. 3 yr cost as basis ($884) $1,400,000$2,800,000$4,200,000$5,600,000 New Pledge Income to Congregations $1,152,000$2,300,000$3,456,000$4,608,000 * Simple minded because media selection and cost must be market specific. **Our growth has been a steady 1%/year for over 20 years.
Does advertising work to grow UU congregations?
Fringe Benefits Congregations work together Basis for future growth efforts (for instance, a Kansas City emerging new congregation) Congregational culture change Happy donors with capacity for significant future generosity Increased awareness of Unitarian Universalism: Unmeasurable - but perhaps central!
We Are Still Learning Role of PR tied to ad campaigns Southern California Success Media selection How much do we have to spend? Impact of market size Did we under-spend in Houston? Did we over-spend in Kansas City?
Conclusions Advertising is not a panacea, but where conditions are right it can be a powerful tool for growth and should be a part of an overall growth plan. The fringe benefits are impressive. The costs are substantial, but not beyond our reach. A single typical mid-size church can easily raise $150,000 for a minor renovation.
Conclusions In Kansas City and Houston our advertising had to do two jobs: Create awareness (effectively -0- prior to the ads) Generate visitors/members A modest national awareness campaign might well multiply the effectiveness of market-based outreach campaigns.