Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Changing Stations in Outreach

Attracting the right kind of people. The big question is how do you get an unchurched person to attend an outreach event? While we think there are gimmiks and tricks to get people there (and there are), it's still true that most people come to an outreach event because they were invited by someone. It isn't the fancy flyer, the radio ad, the mailer, or billboard. Those are simply reinforcements for the churched person to use as references when inviting their friends. But that begs a good question...

When it comes to radio...on which station(s) do you promote an outreach event - Christian or secular? Christian radio? Secular radio? We need a base audience of churched people to know about the event - so Christian radio would do that. But churched people will need a tool to invite their unchurched friends - so secular radio would do that.

The answer is BOTH Christian and secular radio. You cannot have success without promotion on both Christian and secular fronts. Allow me to explain...

We actually need LESS believers to attend our outreach event (The Crosswalk Show). What do I mean? I'm actually talking about a specific KIND of believer. We need less believers who come to the show by themselves. This will, in turn, free up seats for both unbelievers and the believers who actually will invite and bring unbelieving friends. You see, we can pack the house with beleivers...but they aren't our target. Unbelievers are our target.

From the surveys at the shows, less than 3 percent of our audience said they did not have a church home. That's 30 people out of 1,000. Not a good showing for the resources dumped into the show. We'd rather have 500 people show up and 100 of them are our target audience. This would mean we are being more effective with the 500 crowd than the 1,000 crowd. Promoted soley on Christian radio wasn't helping our cause - it was helping pack the house with believers...and only believers. We also were promoting through mailers to an in-house mailing list that was generated from those who previously attended events.

Now that we have our Christian base...we make a shift in how we promote this outreach event. Our next show will be promoted on both Christian and secular radio. Our Christian radio ads will be 1/2 of the volume we ran before. Also, our mailing will be to 10,000 homes in a radius around the church to those 50 years and younger (the show's target audience). We will not promote this year to our in-house event list (generated from previous event).

Will these efforts help? We hope so. There's a lot at stake. We have THE greatest message for the world. It's one of love and hope that people need. We are hoping that we will attract the right crowd so they can hear about the relationship God wants to have with them. Reaching our target audience for The Crosswalk Show has been difficult...but the only alternative is to change our tactics or quit our effort to reach unbelievers.

Here were the results of a recent survey of local public high school students. We recently survied local public high school students as to their top two most listened to radio stations. (By the way, it's interesting that our local contemporary Christian radio station wound up on only 2 surveys...yet THIS is the generation we are attempting to reach.) Only four cards DID NOT have WLAN listed. WLAN is where we put our chips.

High school students were asked to list the top two radio stations they listen to most frequently.

96.9 - 16 votes
105.1 - 13 votes
105.7 - 3 votes
99.3 - 2 votes
90.3 (Christian) - 2 votes
101.3 - 1 vote
92.1 - 1 vote
98.5 - 1 vote
94.9 - 1 vote
96.5 - 1 vote
96.1 - 1 vote

God, use us to reach a world that is lost and hurting for truth. You bring the opportunities. You give the resources. You've given the command to reach as many people as possible and make disciples. Help us, now, to do what You've called us to do no matter the personal cost in change or risk we take on. If You have asked us, we will follow Your lead. May our feable efforts be used to expand Your kingdom. While You don't need, You've asked to work through us anyway...so we are Yours.

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