Communication Department

Promoting Special Events

 Condensed from a presentation by Jon McTaggart 

When your church is planning an extraordinary event use the public relations talents and resources of your congregation. Such events usually reach beyond your church to invite members of your community to attend. These might include a 75th church anniversary, a program by a well-known religious leader or missionary, a Christmas or Easter pageant, a formal tea, health seminars, etc.

Here are some guidelines to help insure smooth planning for the event, whether you are the event's organizer or helping your paster or a department of your church. 
 

  1. Establish purpose and goals for the event. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. Determine your publics. Whom do you want to attend? Whom must you reach with your promotion?
  3. Ask, “What does the public know?” What do they think and how do they feel about your organization and/or this event?
  4. Write down what you want the public to know—in concise statements using short sentences and simple words. This is your central message.
  5. Determine your resources, both human and monetary. How much do you have? How much do you need? Where can you get more resources? Who will help? Be sure to have enough people to help you. Events can get out of hand when you don’t have enough help, and budgets can escalate unless good planning follows the ideas.
  6. Select the audiences and methods to effectively and efficiently promote the event—within limits of time and resources. For example:

                    Audiences:   

      -your church members

      -local Adventists from surrounding churches

      -local Christian churches

      -the public

 Methods

      -Pacific Union Recorder  "Coming Events" listing

      -conference newsletters and website

      -church newsletters and website

      -church bulletins, flyers, posters, brochures

      -announcements in the newspaper, radio, and/or TV

      -flyers to surrounding homes; posters in store windows

      -a mailing to your target audience—a letter to members of your church, a postcard inviting the  55+ club to a presentation, a letter to local Christian churches, etc. 

 

7.   Construct timelines and deadlines for planning and promoting the event. Know the deadlines of various media. Ask if unsure, but generally deadlines are two weeks before the event for daily and weekly newspapers, earlier for monthly publications. Make an announcement months in advance in your church bulletin and on the event section Web page of your church and conference. Then follow up with regular promotion in the weeks prior to the event.

8.   Clarify, on the organizational team, who does what with event organizers. For example, if it’s a Pathfinder fair, ask Pathfinder leaders to place posters at businesses in town, have Pathfinders distribute brochures door-to-door in their neighborhoods, etc.

9.   Create and distribute the promotional materials. Few event planners allow enough time for this. Most people won’t look at fuzzy pictures or take time to read a poorly written story. Creativity cannot substitute for quality. Allow some “buffer” time, because things can go wrong and you need time to fix them. 

 10. Do the Event! Be sure to promote on-site with signs, directions, parking signs, banners, etc. Use happy greeters and people to help with information, questions, and trouble shooting. Create a cordial atmosphere.

 11. Immediately after the event assess and evaluate. Were your goals accomplished? What worked and what didn’t? Decide what you will continue to do, or will do differently next time. This is valuable information.