How well does your neighborhood know your parish? Are you involved in local festivities and events? Do your neighbors know about your St. Vincent de Paul program, your grief support group, or other ministries you offer? If you need some help reaching out to the communities around your parish, we’ve collected 65 unique approaches to help share your story!
Mailers — Do you know about Every Door Direct Mail by the USPS? The USPS has a super simple way for you to create and send out mailers to everyone in your surrounding neighborhoods right from their website! You can even download one of the thousands of graphics available on WeCreate, or a flyer template to get you started* or a beautiful mailer to send out!
Use neighborhood mailers to spread the news about:
- Holiday Mass invites and times
- Your open-invite church picnic
- Special events happening at your church
- Registration for youth ministry programs/events
- Graduation celebrations
- Ministry days, health fairs, vaccination clinics, etc.
- A general invite to attend Mass plus who to contact if you want to get involved
Church Swag — Having clothing, stickers, and more helps your community stand out wherever your parishioners go! Consider including an inviting message on your church swag that inspires people to look up your website or start a conversation. Partner with local printers to print your swag! If they aren’t already, local printers might also be interested in advertising in your church bulletin! Don’t have a great church logo yet? Our design team can help you with that!
Church swag ideas to get the word out:
- Tote bags
- Car window flags/ — Alongside the name of your parish, you could use your church’s tagline or use one of these catchy phrases.
- Need prayer? Ask me!
- You are loved!
- On Mission
- All are welcome!
Lawn Signs — Create lawn signs for your parishioners to take home and put on their property. Imagine having customized signs advertising your church or ministries wherever your parishioners live! Just be sure to include a large enough QR code that someone could scan it from their car to access more information from your church homepage.
Here are some ideas for take-home lawn signs:
- I love my church! St. Clare, Shoreline
- Need Prayer? Let us know at St. Clare, Shoreline
- Looking for community? We welcome all at St. Clare, Shoreline!
Local Schools — Your parish may have a school connected to it but, if not, be sure to seek out the local school(s) in the area because there is a plethora of ways that your community can be active alongside your neighbors via your attached or local school.
School outreach could look like:
- Teacher/educator appreciation nights
- Back to school celebrations
- Support any food insecurity initiatives like Feeding America’s BackPack Program
- Helping the school find volunteers from your parish
- Sponsor school events
- Partner up with schools to advertise school games, celebrations, concerts, plays, and more, in your bulletin or church announcements
- Better yet, organize staff and families to attend these events!
- Write cards to educators for holidays
- Celebrate graduating seniors and other school accomplishments like sports team’s championships
- Provide meeting space for overflow school meetings like the PTA
- Check out 6 more back-to-school outreach ideas on this previous LPI blog post.
Community Events/Celebrations — Become a frequent sponsor at local events!
These could include:
- Farmers markets
- Holiday celebrations like tree lightings
- City celebration days like anniversaries
- Community concerts
- Local sporting events
- Art Walks
- Pet Adoption Events
- Parades — especially ones centered around holidays like Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, and more! You could add a fun element by having someone from your parish dress up as St. Nicholas or St. Patrick!
Your Website and Other Apps — Is your homepage dialed in? Can people easily access information about what events are happening and what ministries your parish offers? We recently posted a blog with 4 tips to help you make sure that your parish’s homepage is super inviting. Check it out here.
Be sure to advertise events in the following places online:
- Your parish’s homepage
- Local neighborhood Facebook groups
- Your parish’s Instagram
- The Nextdoor app
Partner With Local Small Businesses — especially those businesses advertising in your bulletin! These are folks in your neighborhood who are already invested in your parish community, so you have every reason to work with them! If they aren’t already advertising with you, participating in their events might help you develop the relationship you need in order to secure them as an advertiser!
Ways to partner with local businesses:
- Hold a meeting or bible study at a local coffee house or public house
- Put together a neighborhood clean-up near where an advertiser’s business is and don’t forget to tell them ahead of time!
- Organize parishioner volunteer groups to help with events a local business might be hosting
- Celebrate their wins with announcements, shout outs, and participation with regard to their business anniversary, special events, or other occasions they might be celebrating
- Use local restaurants who advertise with you as your first choice for catering your events!
Share Your Space — do you have a church hall, meeting rooms, or grounds that could be used by other organizations in your neighborhood? This might be something you’d want to advertise to your parishioners or via your online social networks so that the greater community outside of your parish members knows that you have space available!
Some groups who might want to use your spaces to meet are:
- Scouting troops
- School PTA or other school organizations
- Fitness classes like yoga or boot camp
- Special events like birthday parties or retirement parties
- Special interest groups like quilting clubs
Host Neighborhood Events — You could also engage your neighborhood with special community events designed for outreach and engagement.
Consider the following engagement opportunities:
- Children’s movie nights — these can give parents an evening off to themselves! Some churches have one or two during peak holiday shopping times so that parents can drop their children off and then go Christmas shopping!
- Parish BBQ’s/Block Parties
- Car washes
- Family game nights
- Seminar/speaker series
- Educational events
- Hold a free coffee house/study time for college students during finals
- Talent shows/ open mics
- Clothing swaps
- Yard sales
- Family field days
- Neighborhood cleanups
- Hold a parish open house
Use Feedback From Your Community —Think of ways that you can make your neighborhood a part of your events and activities.
- If, for example, you’re hosting an adoration event, consider sending volunteers through the neighborhood to inquire about any intentions that you can pray for.
Have a long-term chapel? Find a weather-proof way for people to drop off prayer requests outside if they find themselves walking past.
- In November, pray for the dead. Put out the word to the neighborhood that you’ll be cleaning graves and ask if any specific grave sites need care or if anyone desires prayer for their diseased relations.
- Pray for those in the service in your community, consider making a display around Armed Forces Day that can be visited by your neighbors.
- Put a prayer request box at your local laundromat. Collect these prayers every week and use them to pray for your community during the prayers of the faithful.
Do you have other fun ways that your parish engages your neighborhood? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
**Wondering if your parish could benefit from WeCreate? We offer trials and giveaways for folks like you! Fill out the contact form to learn more.