Church events are occasions for the community to come together, celebrate, spend time with each other and work towards a cause together. On the part of the church, they serve as a chance to socialize with members outside of Sunday mass, meet new members and guests, promote church initiatives and encourage fundraising for the church.
There are many reasons to organize and attend a church event. No matter what the reason, a successful church event can help you:
- Increase church attendance: Involving the community in fun and meaningful ways is a great incentive to engage with the church.
- Encourage new members to join: A lively and active church is where you would most be inclined to attend, especially as a young family looking to connect with their faith.
- Boost your donations: Church events are a great platform to boost donations by setting up donation kiosks, encouraging giving, promoting fundraisers, etc.
- Market your church: Yes, with dwindling church attendance and around 4500 churches closing doors in the U.S each year, a church event is an excellent opportunity to market your church.
With so many things at stake, while planning a church event, everything needs to be perfect! Remembering every element of a successful church event might get complicated, but we’ve got you covered. A church event planning worksheet is just the hack you need to create a memorable church event.
Let’s explore different elements of a church event that must be in your planning checklist.
How do you plan a church event?
Every event, irrespective of the host organization, has pretty much the same elements involved in them. However, knowing all those elements and narrowing them down into a church event planning worksheet needs a bit of thinking. Depending on your event, some aspects of a church event might be more important than others. You might even want to skip some steps. A comprehensive church event planning worksheet will help you get all the elements in place so you can pick and weed out as required.
We’ve listed them here.
To begin with, why are you hosting this church event? Your reasons could range from increasing church attendance to promoting your latest community initiative – regardless, it must be said out loud. The first item on your church event planning worksheet would be the purpose of the event.
When you and other church members are clear about the event’s goal, you can then align all activities to ensure that you have the best chances of achieving that goal.
If you aim to attract new members, for example, you could plan for a registration kiosk at the entrance or train some church members to tend to visitors on the day of the event. If you are promoting a fundraiser, decide the amount goal and channelize your energy towards that single aim for the event.
Your goals for the event could range from
- Increasing church attendance,
- Improving online reviews,
- Involving the community,
- Adding new members
be clear on the purpose, and work towards it.
The budget for the event
Next on your list of items to tick off the church event planning worksheet would be the event budget. Once you recognize the goal of the event, ask yourself what is the amount you can adequately justify spending on this event.
If you are relatively new to hosting church events, you may not know the exact figures but can estimate with your best guess. Ask people who have organized similar events to get a rough idea about the expected and unexpected costs of hosting the event.
This is a critical step in ensuring that your event goes smoothly, without financial hiccups. If you realize that you do not have the funds required to make this event a success, you will have ample time to arrange for them. You can ask members for donations, look for sponsors or start a fundraiser online to raise funds.
The perfect event date depends on several factors. These could be:
- Which day works best for members to attend – perhaps a weekend?
- Does the date coincide with an important event such as July the 4th or Election day? If so, then you might want to consider another date.
- Is it a long weekend? Then perhaps people might want to travel instead of staying back in town.
- If you are planning an outdoor event, what kind of weather do we expect during those weeks typically?
Considering these points in your church event checklist will give you a clearer idea about the date you need to pick so that the event is nothing short of perfect! 🙂
The theme for the day
An event theme really brings everything together. It dictates the kind of decorations, food, music, dress code, etc. that you will put together. For example, if you go for a 90s theme event, you will want to get the decorations, entertainment, and menus accordingly.
You can also design your event invites and other marketing collateral according to the theme that you choose. Adding an event theme to your church event planning worksheet will surely give your event a much-needed lift!
A venue can be a significant expense out of your event budget. Depending on the event you are planning, you need to decide which venue will be perfect.
For a flea market-style event, an outdoor open space is just perfect. For a quiet, small dinner, maybe you could still opt for the church premises. The idea is to minimize the expenses while still having a picture-worthy, Instagram-friendly venue (you do want attendees to tag you online).
Look up venues online and even though everything seems perfect, make sure some members from the organizing committee visit the venue. Visiting different venues will give everyone a good idea about a variety of ways in which you can use the space.
Doubly ensure to check online reviews to understand how well the venue has handled similar events in the past.
Alternatively, if you are tight on budget, ask your existing members if you can use their garden or request a supporting business if they can sponsor a venue.
For your event to be a grand success, marketing should be next on your checklist. The more that the word about the event spreads, the more likely are people to attend it.
Whether it is an easter egg hunt or a virtual fundraiser – marketing a church event goes a long way in ensuring people support it. Here are different platforms you can explore to market your church event:
- Social media: Create the perfect Facebook event or share event posters on your Instagram feed. Either way, social media is a great way to reach a large audience. You can also pay for advertisements that target a specific demographic.
- Text messages: Share your event invite through text messages. You can use texting tools to reach out to a large group of people at a time. Modern tools allow you to have personalized, individual conversations with your audience at scale and keep a record of these conversations.
If you want to make your text message invites more appealing, you can also share posters through texts.
- Phone tree: You already have a database of your church members. Add the list onto a software that enables phone trees for churches, such as CallHub. Ask volunteers to make calls to members, make notes, and follow up before and after the event. It gives you a fairly good idea about the number of people attending your event.
- Email campaigns: Email campaigns are a great way to stay in touch with members and individuals associated with the church – it could be old visitors or VIPs. Share beautifully crafted, visually appealing email campaigns to encourage people to attend.
- Website: Create a separate landing page on your website or redesign your homepage to reflect details of your event. Visitors viewing your website will be automatically informed about the event. Add an option through which visitors can register for the event online and you will have a buzzing list of attendees in no time!
Add these marketing platforms on your church event planning worksheet and tick them off as and when your marketing strategy for each platform is launched.
You’ve planned a great event. There’s going to be a speaker from the most prestigious background gracing the occasion. But what else will happen? Have you considered:
- Who will greet the speaker?
- Who gives the welcome address?
- Who thanks the speaker at the end of their lecture?
- Is there a felicitation ceremony?
- Do you have time to allow for a Q&A session?
This is an example of event activities that you will need to plan. Your concerns and questions may vary depending on the type of event you are conducting but the point stays. Plan out your event activities on your church event checklist so there’s never a moment of confusion or doubt about the event flow.
A checklist for a fundraiser
If you are planning an event to increase fundraising, then you need to explore ways in which you can maximize the fundraiser.
Here are steps you can take to maximize donations:
- Place a donation box at the event. Those who would like to donate could write a check or drop cash.
- Hold an auction during the event and direct the money collected to your fund.
- Promote your fundraiser prior to the event by sending out mass texts to people who have registered to attend.
- Make different donation options available to people. Set up a Venmo or Paypal account. Send donation links through SMS so they can directly pay online. Make in-person donation possible. The more options that are made available, the easier it will be for people to donate.
- Advertise your SMS code on all your marketing material so that anyone who receives your flyers or sees your marketing messages can donate – even if they do not attend your event.
There are many possibilities to maximize your fundraising. Make sure you include them in your church event planning.
Sponsors for the event
A good way to minimize your spending and maximize benefits for the church through an event is to find a sponsor. It is a win-win situation since the sponsor receives recognition while the church reduces its spending on the event.
When you are planning your event, factor in the time it takes to look for a sponsor. Ideally, start a few months in advance. In your church event checklist, add the following tasks:
- Prepare a sponsorship deck
- Create an outreach plan
- Set up your communication platform(s)
- Make a list of potential sponsors
- Reach out to high-value church members
- Follow-up with everyone you have reached out to
- Finalize interested sponsors
- Collect your cheque
When you are conducting your sponsor outreach initiative, it will help your volunteers if they could make calls efficiently. Additionally, making notes after each call and segmenting contacts as ‘interested’, ‘not interested’ or ‘potential sponsors’ will further optimize your outreach. These features and more are available only through a good communication channel such as CallHub. Invest in us to increase your chances of reaching out to promising sponsors.
An event can take months of planning and marketing. But, the last few days before an event are especially crucial. When you feel like you’ve done it all, there’s still a little more to go.
Push for some last-minute sign-ups, ticket sales, and donations. People are more likely to make short-term plans as compared to long-term plans. For example, you are more likely to confidently sign-up for an event a week from now than 4 months from today. There’s always scope for more during the last few days.
For those who have signed up for your event months in advance, set up an SMS campaign to remind them of the event a few days in advance and then again right before the event. This ensures no one forgets about or misses the event.
Promote your event on social media in this last phase and get more people to share your posts for higher reach.
Division of duties between church members
While we would like to do it all, an event requires an army of people working together synchronously. One of the most important additions to your church event planning worksheet would be the division of duties during the event.
Note down who is in charge of which section so that accountability and follow-up become easier. Assign leaders for each element to ensure everything is on track and being monitored by someone responsible.
Here are some roles you might want to consider:
- Social Media Manager
- Public Relations Coordinator
- Digital Advertiser
- Marketing POC from the church
- Finance Manager
- Event coordination
- Events Manager
- Logistics coordinator
- Catering staff
Always look at your budget and requirements when making hires. The most important thing to remember is to sign a contract before hiring anyone.
Now that you are armed with pointers to add to your church event planning worksheet, start preparing for a great, successful event. Considering how important a church event is, you need to know everything about advertising your event and the church.
Read more about how you can grow your church through our article, Top 9 Church Advertising Ideas To Grow Your Church Today.
Featured Image Credit: Donna