4 tips for communicating youth group news

Mid-week communication with teensHere’s a pretty common question that shows up in my Inbox:

How do you schedule where, when and how frequently you will advertise a particular event and keep all the different advertising needs straight? One of my biggest dilemmas is how to manage advertising needs week to week. Sometimes Wednesday comes and I’m trying to figure out how to share something that’s happening on Sunday. Being only a few days ahead does not leave me much time to be able to find, drag and drop advertising into all of the possible vehicles they can go to.

If you’re starting to push things on Wednesday that are happening on Sunday, I can see why you would feel a little frustrated. For some things that may work, like to mention what next week’s topic is or something, but most things need much more time than that. You need to be planning these things much further in advance and give yourself sufficient time to spread the word.

That said, you can use mass text messaging (I use and love them!) or a youth group Facebook Page (not group) to post quick little updates about things, and that works pretty well for us, but we use those avenues mostly as reminders of info they’ve already heard other places.

The other piece in this is how you train people to receive your information. There’s a part that says you need to put the information where the people are, but there’s a bigger part that says you also need to train your people where to get your information. For example, posting something on a website or Facebook is pointless if people aren’t trained to look there for it. Same with email, bulletin inserts, or anything else. If someone comes to you and says, “Hey, we didn’t know about this or that and didn’t get any info,” part of that may be your fault, but the other part is that you need to gently remind them, “Well, it’s posted on our website, it’s in bulletin inserts, and we have info sheets available at the youth kiosk every week, and we put it on facebook 5 weeks ago. I’m sorry you missed it, but for the future, those are the places where you can find info.” You can put it out there, but people need to take some sort of responsibility for finding it, too, right?

So, a couple suggestions:

1. Decide where and how you’re going to communicate. Remember that more is not always better. Pick a couple places that will work best for you guys and stick to it. There’s nothing that says you have to stand up in front of kids and give announcements, hand out flyers or anything like that if it’s not working for you guys.

2. Put information in those places with a sufficient amount of time for people to receive it and do whatever they need to do. For example, a trip to Planet Wisdom student conference requires more time because people need to gather money, check calendar conflicts, you need to work out transportation, etc. However, a quick announcement about a hangout at your house may only need a week’s notice.

3. Stick with it and be consistent. Continually remind people where to find information. Push them to those avenues all the time. Train them to find your news, announcements, and updates in those places. It will take a while, especially if they’re new means of communication, but stick with it long-term. Don’t keep constantly changing it and communicating news in a different way through different avenues every other week.

4. Be consistent with your communication. Do your best to make new information available on the same day of the week. Tuesdays are that day for me. People know to start expecting my news email on those days, so it becomes a part of their weekly routine.

Also check out these 5 reminders for communicating youth group news and announcements with parents and teens.

Posted on April 29, 2010

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