Communication in an “Uncommon Denomination” Nanette L. Peterson University of St. Thomas December 2004.
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Communication in an “Uncommon Denomination” Nanette L. Peterson University of St. Thomas December 2004
Introduction The Prairie Star District Provides services to 60 congregations in 8 upper Midwestern states Headquartered in Minneapolis 3-member staff
The Problem: Is anybody listening? Variety of messages & methods Diverse audience - 8 states, small congregations to very large ones Lack of audience identification with District Limited resources to evaluate success
The Question: Are people aware of the information? Do people act on it? Which methods do they prefer? Are the communications methods of the Prairie Star District effective?
Methodology: How do we find out? Comprehensive written survey Questions on all methods Questions on all services provided Audience-1,437 surveys mailed Ministers & staff Lay leaders Committee members/chairs Previous attendees at events Others who request
Results 183 surveys returned (12.83% response) Fairly even distribution across 8 states; 73% from small or large congregations 82% are not involved in District activities.
Current Communications Methods Electronic Websites General site Speakers bureau (Stonetree) Young adults (18-35) Youth (<18) Email list
Current Communications Methods Print The Prairie Star newsletter (3x/year) Special mailings Annual directory & resource guide Brochures sent to congregations
What did the respondents say? Core Services: workshops & events 67% have participated in one or more Annual district-wide conference Special events for leaders, educators, administrators, fundraisers.
How would you LIKE to learn about the other services?
The websites How frequently do you visit the websites? 80% responded “never” or indicated no awareness. Recommendation Use newsletter articles to educate. Target primary audience for site. Update information more frequently.
The email list Do you subscribe to the PSD email list? 95% do not subscribe. If not, why not? 40% were unaware it existed. Recommendation: Increase prominence on website Clarify purpose and use
The newsletter Do you read The Prairie Star newsletter? Print: 90% read at least part of every issue. Online: 2.5% have referred to it online. Recommendation Focus on print edition. Provide online as a courtesy.
Newsletter frequency How frequently would you like to receive the newsletter? 46% requested greater frequency. Recommendation Consider increasing frequency or provide “special editions.”
Other communications tools Do you recall receiving: Annual Directory & Resources - 20% Notices to ministers/leaders - 26% Fundraising mailings - 45% Did you act? 67% did, primarily responding to fundraising mailings.
The Answers Do people act? Yes, by attending events or sending money. Are people aware of communications? Yes and no Electronic methods are under-utilized. Newsletter is recognized.
More answers What do they prefer? Newsletter is top choice for receiving information. There is interest in more online communications. They respond to special fundraising mailings
What next? Make sure websites are updated and accurate. Improve awareness of email list. Consider increasing newsletter frequency. Provide “special edition” or supplemental newsletters.