There’s obviously a lot of discussion and news about internet technologies. Many within the Catholic community are embracing social media and and social networking to share information, but many are missing the ability to reduce the costs of operating their parish. Let’s face it, a Church is not cheap to run. The revenue that comes in must provide for normal expenses as well as the services provided to the community. Today, we have a real opportunity to reduce those expenses a great deal while not diminishing services and communication. Let’s take a look:
- Create a website that is truly an extension of the parish office. Websites can be powerful community tools. The design should mimic every service your office can provide to your community and become an extension of the office. This includes the ability to get information they would normally get in your office. Schedules for Masses and ministries, contact information, downloadable forms, so forth and so on. Our website costs the price of our domain name and is about $10/year.
- Stop mailing/faxing and start emailing. Email is pretty commonplace today. It’s cheap, efficient, and a powerful way to communicate. By using the attachment feature you can reduce mailings and faxing to almost nothing each year saving your parish a ton of money.
- Reduce printing costs by putting your forms online. Any form that is needed for anything can be uploaded and stored online for parishioners to easily get and print for themselves. This includes new registration forms, ministries, youth group permissions, etc. We use Google Apps which provides the ability to store documents and forms “in the cloud” and then we can easily link to them on the website. Those needing forms can then simply visit the website and print the form if they need to.
- Replace flyers with email alerts or Facebook event invitations. Mass email systems like Constant Contact are great for creating full-color flyers that are emailed directly to large groups. Facebook is a great supplement for a parish community. With over 500 million users, you would be hard pressed to not find a great deal of your community on Facebook. By creating a Facebook page for the parish you can announce events to followers.
The bottom line is that if you take a serious look at many of the operating functions in your parish today, you can most likely reduce the costs associated with those things by implementing simple tech ideas. Unlike most situations where reductions often have adverse effects to services, these changes actually reduce costs and improve services.
What are your thoughts?