We learned four main things when we started to actually evaluate our communication.
1. The process we had in place was painful for everybody. Event promotion required several forms and talking to numerous people. If somebody got left out of the loop an event didn't end up someplace (web site, bulletin, newsletter, preworship slides, etc). The communication team was frustrated because we'd catch all kinds of "why wasn't my event in X." The ministry team was frustrated because things fell through the cracks and it was way too much work.
2. Nobody really heard what we were saying unless we caught them when they were thinking about church. Our most effective tools were the bulletin, the preworship slides, and platform announcements. The mailed newsletter that showed up at the end of the week didn't get read by most people. An informal survey put the "straight to the trash" rate above 50%. The younger people were the less likely they were to read a mailed out newsletter.
3. For the most part people only wanted event information. Thank you notes, recaps of events or projects, and feature type stories were really just clutter. When asked what they really needed us to communicate people clearly told us they wanted to know when and what was happening in the various parts of the church. Everything else was noise.
4. We were publishing a lot of information for weeks on end. Officially we promote small events two weeks out, but what was happening is that most every event would be publicized for about a month. It made it very difficult to sort through what was important now and what was important a month from now.
Next we'll look at how each of these lessons apply to the various ways we communicate.