How NOT to promote events at Church

Have you ever sat through a talk at church where someone was promoting an event and you thought “they are butchering this chance”? Even worst have you heard someone do such a bad job at promoting an event that you thought “I won’t be attending that event”?  There are some basic mistakes that people make when promoting events, perhaps because people are new to a position or maybe nobody has ever workshopped their presentations.

One time that really sticks out in my mind was a ministry leader who was promoting a youth camp at our church.  This person kept referring to the ministry as “my ministry” which straight away made me feel distant as though I wasn’t part of this.  Then they complained to the church that they didn’t get enough helpers last time and then said “I can’t do this all alone, if I don’t get more helpers I might have to cancel”.  At this point I wanted to encourage them to stop talking before they did anymore damage.  Whilst the dates of the camp were clear this ministry leader didn’t give any clue as to how we could help out or how the youth could register for the camp.

Recently we looked at three styles of promoting events, so now lets look at four things to avoid when promoting events:

  1. Don’t be vague – sometimes you only get one or two shots at promoting your events so be very clear about the information other people need to know, which is:
  • When is the event
  • How do people register
  • How can people assist with the event
  • Where they can find out more information (website, Facebook, foyer etc)

2. Don’t doubt the event – it is so important to sell the event with confidence.  Never say that the event won’t go ahead if we don’t get numbers because people won’t register until they know you have the numbers.  Don’t promote this as the best event in the world but you should promote the highlights of the event in a way that is attractive.

3. Don’t be disorganised – if you haven’t got a flyer, Facebook group or webpage set up then never get in front of your church or ministry to promote an event.  You should present a well prepared talk or video clip to your church or ministry when promoting events, don’t make it up on the spot.  The minute you say “more details to come later” people switch off and think “then I will pay attention later”.

4. Don’t make it about you – you are trying to get other people to attend an event so make your presentation about how others can attend rather than how much help you need.  You have to convince the audience that they should either attend the event or ask someone in the target age group to attend.  Don’t make people feel sorry for you having to do all this work to host the event.

Perhaps you can extend this list by leaving a comment on the mistakes you have made in promoting events.  Whilst we learn from our own mistakes, perhaps your mistakes can help someone else get it right the next time they have to promote an event.

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4 thoughts on “How NOT to promote events at Church

  1. benjaminkerns says:

    thanks for embarrassing me by sharing with the world how we promote events. and thanks for not just blowing me up, but thank you for sharing really helpful tools to promote an event well. great post!

  2. mc_traveller says:

    I think it is a great point that you need to make it easy for people to be able to find how to help you or an event. Often in our church it can be hard to understand how to get involved in a ministry or how to help out with an event.
    The other point is don’t forget all your target audience. Are they up to date with technology or do they still need paper? Also do the people attending need permission from parents? The parents are just as much a target audience as the child.
    One of the other great methods of promotion is text messaging, especially for events that don’t require a prior commitment (eg Christmast carols). Often people forget something is on, but a text message is just the reminder they need to prompt them to attend.

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