5 Best Practices For Using Invite Cards At Your Church
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We live in a digital age, so why are we bothering to talk about paper invitations?
Can these little cards that announce upcoming series at your church still be an effective tool in the here and now?
Haven’t we moved beyond mass broadcasting to use platforms like Facebook to get in contact with people who might want to come to our church?
Despite the drive of the digital world, invite cards continue to be a core tool used by prevailing churches to encourage people to invite others to church. When I travel to large and growing churches, I regularly see invite cards as a central part of the communication process. There are really two important groups that invite cards motivate when it comes to seeing new people come to your church: first-time guests and those who currently attend your church.
There’s something different about handing people a tangible item in a largely digital world and saying, “Please pass these on to your friends and ask them to come to our church.” These cards end up in cars and on kitchen counters where they serve as an effective reminder to people to invite their friends to church. Even if the physical cards don’t make it into the hands of their friends, they help encourage those attending your church to invite their friends. A best practice is to hand these cards out in bundles of two or three so that people can invite two or three guests. In a very real way, this strategy is so old-school that it has a new-school ring to it, as it pushes beyond our digital landscape and ultimately encourages face-to-face interactions.
Use them for every series
Yes, every series. The power of the invite card is that it can become a regular tool for extending invitations and spreading the word about what’s happening at your church. However, if you use them infrequently, people won’t know what to do with them if they aren’t familiar with their function. A best practice for invite cards is to hand them out for every series, if not every week, at your church.
The week before the series rolls out, make the invite cards available at the exit or maybe place them on every seat in the auditorium. Don’t skip a series simply because you think it sounds less inviting than another—never underestimate when people may extend invitations. Making the cards available for every series implicitly communicates that we always want folks to invite their friends to church, regardless of the topic at hand.
Put the words in their mouths
Consider the reader’s point of view when you’re writing the text for your invitations. If people read the words on the card aloud, is it the kind of thing that they would say naturally? Sometimes I see invite cards that are trying to be more clever than they are clear, and they don’t communicate in a way that aligns with the way we actually speak.
Another tip is to write the text in a way that will easily allow people to invite their friends. I often call this the “locker room test.” If I can’t imagine telling someone about an upcoming series in the locker room, then the chances are that series will not have the kind of viable spread you’re looking for.
Series that spread are ones where the core ideas are easily transmitted from your people to their friends. Present the information on your invite cards in the clearest way possible to achieve this transmission.
Experiment with a few different standard sizes to understand what works best for your church and your context. Too often, churches make their invite cards too small. A business-card size often doesn’t have enough room for all the necessary information and it can easily get misplaced.
Postcards sized 4×6 or 5×7 are generally ideal; they’re large enough to be substantial and contain enough information, and you still have space for a nice visual on the card. Experiment with what feels best for you and your community.
Provide all of the information
This may seem like a small thing, but does your card have enough information on it? If the only information people had about your church was what is listed on the card, would they show up at the right place, at the right time, and enjoy a service? Make sure that you include your church’s address, service times, contact information, and website on the card so that potential guests aren’t left wondering.
Again, this is one of those areas where churches try to be more clever than clear and don’t provide enough information in the process. If you assume that everyone will check the website, you defeat the purpose of the invitation.
Have a compelling visual
These cards need to contain more than information; they need to have a visually appealing design. We live in an increasingly visual age, and people are drawn towards well-done graphics. We’re seeing this as a consistent theme at so many of the prevailing churches, where they are investing time, effort, and energy to ensure that their printed materials are compelling. Whether you hire a graphic designer or use a service like Design Pickle, it’s important that the visuals of the invite card elevate the information being presented so that as a total package together they motivate people towards coming.
Invite cards continue to be an effective way to help people in your church reach out to their community, and I would love to see the invitations your church is using. Would you share yours with us?
Put a link to your invitations in the comments below. Thanks for sharing!
My recommendation is that you change up how you hand them out from time to time. Try a few different ways and see what helps.
“The Craft of Copywriting” Alistair Crompton — is a read everyone who does church promotion should read — far too many invitation cards are good money spent after poor thinking.
free read on archive.org — but there is a waitlist for reading it there — wonder why!
We used a series invite card for the first time last month! Not sure it drew many extra people (maybe a few), but it was a good exercise for our team (found out AFTER they were printed that we forgot to include service times on the card!). Here’s a link to what we produced:
There are likely other good printers out there — but we’ve used GotPrint.com for a number of projects and they provide a high-end product along with incredible pricing. (1,000 4×6 full color, 2-sided cards on 80lb gloss paper are just $41 before shipping!). Here’s a link: