AUUC Communications Audit

This site is dedicated to my internship for Aiken Unitarian Universalist Church. The church expressed a need to strengthen its communication with the members and friends of the congregation and the community at large. I compiled strategies in four domains to adjust AUUC's communication system to best reach members and friends and the larger community.

Over the course of four weeks, I conducted research on the current communications systems: interviewing church leaders, researching communication tools that are currently in operation and possible alternatives, and reading blogs about effective church communication. Additionally, the congregation was gracious in their participation in a Communications Audit Survey, yielding rich detail about the types of information they seek, how they rate the current systems, and how they prefer to receive updates. After analyzing all of the elements of my research, I found common threads among church leaders and feedback offered from the survey. In this site, I offer some possible solutions and training to accomplish them.

Project Management Institute (PMI) suggests that organizations employ a combination of three forms of communication: push, pull, and interactive for maximum engagement of participants.

Push

One way broadcasting of information by a sender through e-mail lists, printed/projected announcements, and/or push notifications

Pull

Information that is accessible to the user on their terms through a website, bulletin board, or any accessible cache of information

Interactive

Dialogue among participating parties where questions can be answered. This can be done during a worship service, in a meeting, or through phoning, texting, or e-mailing a person.

In order to effectively communicate with church members, we must maintain a balance of push, pull, and interactive communication. You must find a balance of broadcasting information (push), offering space where people can find information (pull), and use meetings, worship services, and calls, texts, and e-mails as means of exchanging information (interactive). While it is recommended that you use a variety of methods to share information, it is important to limit the amount of steps it takes for users to access information.

In evaluating the strengths and weakness of the communications at AUUC, members and friends concluded that you have a robust website with rich detail on Unitarian Universalism, your congregation, and the services you offer. The church calendar is routinely updated with important and relevant information. Additionally, your Constant Contact subscription, where you send out weekly announcements, effectively delivers timely information to our members and friends. I created a Communications Inventory and included it in the Artifacts section of this site.

Your "pull" resources are well established. You will want to improve our systems for pushing out information and establish mechanisms for feeding the pull tools with topical or relevant information.

Announcements

  • make submitting info easy for leaders through Google form
  • rename submission links for simple sharing
  • collaboratively build the Sunday presentation for monitors


Collaborative Newsletter

  • through a share link, allow multiple authors to enter data for newsletter
  • send a view link through Constant Contact
  • embed archives in the website, secured through log-in credentials
  • encourage Adult RE groups members to be guest columnists

Social Media

  • add a link in Facebook for visitors to sign-up for our Constant Contact mailing list
  • add a Word Press plug-in where new content in the website auto-populates our Facebook page


Notifications

  • investigate adding cell numbers into Constant Contact for opting into text reminders
  • sync the website to Facebook or AUUC creates a private group on Facebook
  • publicize this group in Sunday slideshow