12 Free (Or Almost Free) Ways To Advertise Your Church and It’s Activities
By Tim Massengale
1. Telephone Campaign
A simple, yet effective way to promote activies. Select volunteers and give each a section from your local phone book. Give each volunteer a printed statement announcing your upcomming revival or drama. Ask each person you call if they wish more information or free tickets. If you are simply promoting your church, ask them if they would like a broshure of the church and its ministries. You can target certain areas and neighborhoods by using a “POLK” directory that lists phone numbers by street address rather than last
name (most libraries will carry this directory, photocopy the areas you wish).
2. Public Service Announcements On Radio
Most stations are required by law to provide free air time to non-profit organizations to announce events that are available to the community. Many call this their “Public Bulletin Board” or other such activity listing.
However, the notice MUST be written to show its benifit to the community rather than just advertising for your church. A revial becomes a “free seminar exploring the gifts of the Spirit” or “a Biblical oriented seminar on issues of salvation.” Send all such announcements to the “Public ServiceAnnouncement Director” of the station and be sure to list the dates you wish the notice to run.
3. News Releases To The Local Newspaper
Most newspapers are looking for items of interest to put on their Saturday Religious page. Write a simple announcement list the “who, where, what, when,why, and how of the event. Always send a photo if possible. Then give a phone number and good time to call if they need more information. They will call you if they run it as a story rather than just an announcement. Get to know the religious editor if possible at the paper. And don’t forget to send your announcement to the smaller weekly papers too! They are more likely to make the announcement into a full story.
4. Hotel and Airport Church Listings
Most good hotels and airports will have a “Listing Of Area Churches” for their patrons. Make sure your church is listed. Usually they don’t charge for this service. Call all hotels/motels/airports and ask.
5. Talk Radio
Talk radio is becoming more and more popular – and many talk radio personalitits – especially religious stations – are looking for interesting people to interview and to field questions from listeners. Offer a debate format on Oneness, baptism or requirements of salvation, or another subject you feel comfortable debating. Write up a simple description and send it to all local talk radio stations. You might be suprised at the response! Also, if you have a “unique” ministry that is of benifit to the community, you might get on the radio with that subject easier than a doctrinal one.
6. Electronic Message Boards At Banks, etc.
Although various communities differ on how much they allow, MANY banks and shopping malls will allow free community service announcements to be placed on their electronic signs. I have even seen church announcements on large mall sign boards! Non-profit organizations usually can place a short message at no cost. Check with the management of each sign.
7. Loud Speaker On Your Car
This is especially effective for community announcements during summer months to get children out to a special Sunday School drive! All you need is to borrow or purchase a portable PA system. Drive slowly through a neighborhood, announce your activity, and have a few clowns or people dressed up a Bible
characters walking along side passing out flyers and candy. If you have any low-income housing projects, you will find yourself swamped with kids!
8. Youth & Adult Poster Contest
Challenge the youth / adults in your church to a poster contest, with a simple prize to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place poster (the youth / adults can purchase their own poster materials or you can provide poster paper). Then, display in the vestibule on a Sunday morning. Have a panel of judges judge them and choose the winners. Then, post all the posters in the windows of area stores and places of business.
9. Store & Work Bulletin Boards
Many grocery stores, barber shops, hardware stores, etc. provide bulletin boards for smaller community announcements. Design up a good, attractive flyer (use some good artwork also!) and then run off 20 copies or so (usually SOMEONE in the church has access to a copier at their work if you can’t afford the copies) and distribute. Also, get up on a Sunday night and ask the saints if they have a bulletin board at their place of work. If so, give each a flyer to post on the bulletin board.
Most every church has a church sign. Usually there is a spot on the sign you can hang a banner, or you can hang a banner on the church building wall. To make a low-cost banner do the following:
a) Get a long sheet of butcher paper from your local butcher shop (many will donate).
b) Find someone with a computer and lazer printer (of you don’t know anyone, go “test” a lazer printer at your local computer.) Print out your message in large, bold type on a standard sheet of 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper.
c) Go to your local copy center and have the lazer printed message turned into an over-head transparency. d) Tack the banner up on a long wall in your church.
e) Project the message with an overhead projector on the banner paper, enlarging
it as large as you need to fill the entire length of butcher paper.
f) Carefully tace the outline of the banner message (example: Holy Ghost Revival Tonight! 7:00 pm)
g) Paint in the letters with a bright paint (red is best).
h) After the paint is dry, carefully outline each letter with a black magic marker and straight edge. This will cover up any “mistakes” of not staying perfectly with the lines.
i) Spray paint the banner – both sides – with a good coat of clear laquer or clear plastic (NOT water based). This will help to protect it against moisture in case it sprinkles. However, DON’T leave it outside during a rain storm or very wet weather. Also tack it down good so it won’t tear up in the wind.
11. Special Events Sign Board
This sign is designed to set out in front of your church and works much the same as a banner. You make a sign board out of a sheet of 4′ by 8′ ply board and posts. Don’t set the posts in concrete, but just leave “sockets” in the ground that the posts set into. Make yourself a nice sign exactly like you would make a banner (above). A good sign will last 2 – 3 weeks depending on the weather. Since the sign is only temporary, you usually don’t need a permit.
12. Dial – A – Message
If you already have a answering maching, be sure to leave a promo of your upcoming event on the introductory message. You can even promote the number using the above eleven promotional methods.