3 Ways to Use Asana for Church Communication

3 Ways to Use Asana for Church Communication

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

I love organizational tools. Naturally, I look for ways to stay organized online. Enter Asana. It’s a collaborative project management tool that I’ve found really useful.

Here are three ways you can use it for your church communications:

Big Days

For big Sundays like Easter and Christmas, I’ll create a new project outlining all tasks including marketing, internal communication, service planning and design. I use the subheadings to segment the project into major “buckets” and assign tasks to team members along with the due date. It also allows you to add comments, links to documents, and screenshots to specific tasks. This keeps everything related to the day organized and in one central location.

 

 

Weekly Tasks

I have a project labeled “weekly” for recurring weekly tasks (mind-blowing, I know) and any additional tasks that might come up. It’s a simple way to ensure nothing falls behind and provides structure to my week.

 

Meetings

I like to use an Asana template to take notes in meetings with teammates and volunteers. It covers standing topics, the weekly agenda, and items to follow up with at future meetings. It’s a useful way to share meeting information with your team and keep everyone on the same page. Plus, action items that come from the meeting can be added in and assigned to the person responsible.

 

So there you have it. Three easy ways to get started in Asana. What about you? What project management tools do you use?

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not paid for the endorsement of any product on my blog. I am just a satisfied user who wants to share my experience with great products. 

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Why We Got Rid of the Monthly Bulletin

Why We Got Rid of the Monthly Bulletin

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

One of my most popular and asked about blog posts has been why we switched to a monthly bulletin. But it’s been a while since that original post, so I thought I’d share an update on how it worked and why we ultimately got rid of it.

Let’s start with the pros. The monthly bulletin was a great avenue to give a high-level view of what was happening at our church and share stories of life change. It almost read more like a magazine than a bulletin. It did save on our printing costs and reduced time spent preparing a weekly bulletin.

But, even with these benefits, we found the lack of flexibility to change information challenging. It improved our communications planning but, like many churches, last minute changes or events added throughout the month meant we weren’t always producing the most accurate information. Also, our church was going through major changes in our location, staffing, etc. and we needed an additional avenue to get out information quickly on Sunday mornings.

So after a year of the monthly, we switched back to a weekly. But we wanted a format that would still allow us the benefits of the monthly: reduced printing costs and minimal production time each week.

The solution was a bulletin shell designed around the sermon series that focused on first-time guests and included a simple black and white insert with the weekly news and events. This gave the visual appeal of the sermon series design but minimal weekly production to create the promotional insert.  The insert was printed in-house each week to keep printing costs low. We could add weekly changes easily in the insert but keep up the overall quality with a series shell. And, bonus points, we could reuse the left-over shells as long as they were not damaged.

Here’s an example

Here are three takeaways from the monthly bulletin:

1. It’s good to try something new in your church communications! Creating a monthly piece ultimately allowed us to produce a better weekly bulletin because we learned the pros and cons of each.

2. Allow ample time to see how a new channel of communication works. Be patient when you introduce something new. We used the monthly bulletin for a year to get a true sense of the benefits, costs, and results.

3. There’s no magic answer to bulletins. You won’t solve every church communication challenge with one bulletin format over another, so it’s okay to make a change…and change back again!

 

3 Things To Do in Your Weekly Communications

3 Things To Do in Your Weekly Communications

1. Connect to the Sunday service
Sunday is the “big day” for churches, and you can use this as the launch point for creating and sharing content during the week. This could be in the form of pulling quotes from the Sunday sermon, sharing an application step based on the message, or even creating a sermon video clip for your social media.

2. Recast the vision and mission
Share a story of how you’ve seen the mission move forward. Share a photo of a person taking a next step through baptism. Share a highlight from one of your missionary teams making an impact around the world. Share a photo of your worship team on social media and include a blurb about one of your core values.

Find creative and compelling ways to keep the mission (why your church exists) in front of your church and community.

3. Prioritize the promotions
Look at your church calendar and determine the top 5 things that need to be communicated for the week. This should start with events and next steps that apply to 80% or more of your Sunday morning audience and flow from there. The best way to get people connected is through personal relationships and conversations, not all church promotions. Remind your leaders of this from time to time! Encourage small groups and volunteer leaders to share what’s happening in the church, as they are more likely to know, and get others involved.

What do you think? What other things need to happen each week in your church communications?

4 Ways to Use Push Notifications

4 Ways to Use Push Notifications

There’s a lot of debate happening around church apps right now. Critics say that a well-designed, mobile-friendly website eliminates the need for a separate app. And there are certainly valid reasons why churches shouldn’t launch an app, like additional the cost and maintenance.

However, one reason I love having an app for our church is the ability to send push notifications. These quick little messages allow us to communicate and stay in front of our church throughout the week.

Here are four ways to use push notifications in your app.

1. Inclement Weather Closings
This is especially important in my state of North Carolina where Southerners (like myself) tend to launch into a mild panic at the first flake. With a push notification, we can quickly let our church know if services and ministries will be held or cancelled.

2. Sunday sermons
Recently, we started sending out a notification when our Sunday sermons are ready to view. This is typically on Monday or Tuesday. With fewer people attending church every Sunday, it’s a helpful reminder and way for people to stay engaged with the teaching series.

3. Online Bulletin
Every week we create a quick online bulletin post that is linked directly in our app. Sending a push notification on Sunday morning with a link to the bulletin acts the same as if we were to pass out a physical bulletin as people come through the door.

4. Big Day Reminders
Have a baptism service coming up? Need to remind folks to reserve tickets for Christmas Eve? A push notification is a fast and easy way to send reminders for the big days happening at your church.

What do you think? How do you use push notifications for your church?

2 Easy Ways to Improve Staff Communication

2 Easy Ways to Improve Staff Communication

One trap of church communication is to focus so much on communicating with our church and community that we neglect clear communication with our staff team.

While staff members may not need to know every event or detail, it is wise to give periodic updates about your church calendar. This helps prevent silos and gives leaders an idea of what’s happening outside their ministry area.

Here are two easy ideas to help your staff have better internal communication.

1. Create a Monthly Staff Update

I started putting together a monthly update email. I call it “Staff Sync” because the goal is to keep our staff in sync for the month. (See how I did that?)  I send it out at the first staff meeting of the month. You can pass it out or email it, depending on what’s best for your staff. This could vary depending on your staff size.

This is pretty high level and gives key dates about upcoming events, sermon series and it has a section directly related to staff items. You can also add fun stuff like staff birthdays and trivia questions. Some months contain more information than others. I always add a reminder about making sure all communication requests are submitted by the necessary dates.

2. Make your communication plan available.

We use Google Drive to share and store files. You can use a tool like Google Drive or Dropbox to upload your communication plan and make it available to your team. This allows them to see what’s coming up and how it’s going to be communicated. I update the plan directly through Google Drive so it stays current. The plan includes the church-wide calendar and a communication outline for each week.

There you have it! Two easy ways to have better staff communication.

 

What about you? How do you keep your staff updated?

 

Communication Planning Sheet for Big Days

Communication Planning Sheet for Big Days

Christmas. Easter. Baptism. There are big days in the life of every church. My solution for mapping out these days has been to create a basic planning sheet. This allows me to see the overall picture of dates and communication channels in one place. This doesn’t capture every action item in a project (I use Asana for that), but it helps visualize what needs to happen and when.

Here’s an example from Christmas.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-4-08-38-pm

Here’s a blank PDF template to download.