Churches fill an important role in bringing people together and fostering a sense of community. But as with any organization, growth is crucial for continued success. One effective way for churches to reach new members and grow their congregation is through the use of leads.
A lead is an individual who has shown interest in your church and provided their contact information for follow-up. Leads come from a variety of sources, such as online forms, visitor cards, or events. Whether you gather leads through a downloadable resource or database form, your church needs to have a system in place to capture contact information and streamline your follow-up process.
And when you build on those touchpoints using individualized content and personalized messages, your church will develop more genuine connections, effectively turning strangers into members. Here are some ways churches can use leads to help connect with new members and grow their church:
1. Lead-Generating Forms Capture Contact Information
Lead-generating forms can help churches capture important contact information such as the name, email, and phone number of visitors and potential members. To gain this information, it’s most effective to offer something of value. For example, a church might offer a free downloadable pdf with a five-day devotional on doubt. This is called a lead magnet.
People are more willing to engage when you offer a valuable resource in exchange for contact information. Social media is a great way to reach a wider audience and connect with potential leads. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are perfect for sharing updates, announcing events, offering lead magnets, and providing other news about your church.
2. Lead-Generating Forms Identify Interests
Online forms can include questions about an individual’s interests and needs. Receiving this information helps the church understand how best to connect and serve the people reaching out to you. If you have a good CRM system or an efficient way to categorize your leads, this information can help you send out more personalized content. By grouping leads according to their interests, churches can tailor their follow-up and messaging to better meet their needs and preferences. This helps build stronger relationships with leads and increases their chances of becoming regular members. Whether your church offers parenting classes, addiction recovery groups, or marriage seminars, you’ll know whom to send the information to based on the interests recorded for each lead. Just be careful not to ask for too much information on one form because it may deter people from filling it out altogether.
3. Lead-Generating Forms Support Event Registrations
Hosting events, such as potlucks, charity events, or workshops, is a great way to engage with leads and provide them with a taste of the community they could join. Inviting people to these events is a simple way to help attendees feel more connected to your church. Churches can use contact forms to manage event registrations and collect necessary information from participants. When visitors register for an event, send them emails or texts with the event information and follow up after the event ends. Based on the kind of activity they attended, you can also send them invitations to similar programs or events in the future.
This tool will produce an overview of your church's local search presence. This includes factors such as your online citation profile, local search rankings, and online reputation profile. Local search results are a primary driver of new visitors to your church website and as a result Local SEO is of great important to churches.
4. Lead-Generating Forms Facilitate Volunteer Sign-Ups
In addition to online registration for events, your church can also offer online forms to recruit volunteers. As you track your leads’ interests and skills, you can promote upcoming events with similar themes or demographics. Volunteers may also invite their friends or loved ones to the events, which can garner new leads and create deeper connections. Your regular volunteers are the best people to post about upcoming events on social media or hand out flyers because they believe in what your church does and want to see people benefit. You can host dinners or award nights for volunteers to thank them for contributing. Make it fun to stay involved. If volunteering is a positive experience, they’ll tell their friends. Never underestimate the value of word-of-mouth marketing. Sometimes it all starts with a volunteer sign-up form online.
5. Lead-Generating Forms Compile Prayer Requests
As you engage with members of your congregation digitally and post content that attracts fresh leads from Google searches, offer to pray for people. Contact forms provide a secure, convenient way for individuals to submit prayer requests, allowing the church to respond and support them. Each prayer request submitted provides your team with an opportunity to follow up personally, offer individualized resources, and understand the felt needs of your community at a deeper level. If your church posts regular content or blogs, asking readers to submit their prayer requests is an excellent call to action. This turns passive readers into actively engaged individuals who are telling you exactly what kind of help and support they need.
6. Lead-Generating Forms Streamline Offerings and Donations
When congregants or visitors want to donate to your ministry, your online forms should provide an easy way to do that. Churches can use forms that collect offerings and donations in just a few hassle-free clicks for the person giving. Making it easy for members and visitors to give financially increases the likelihood that they will complete the transaction without getting sidetracked. Because contact information accompanies donation details, you can send a “thank you” email or even offer a downloadable resource as a token of gratitude. The more value you continue to offer, the deeper connection you forge with visitors online and in person.
7. Lead-Generating Forms Can Serve as Surveys
Forms are a good way to gather feedback and opinions on various topics, which helps the church make informed decisions and improve its offerings. If you want to understand the felt needs of your community, create a survey to gather insights about what programs or services people need most. There may be a gap you can fill, like providing after-school childcare or doing yard work for the elderly. Contact information received through online surveys provides a follow-up mechanism for your team to personally reach out and discuss their needs.
8. Lead-Generating Forms Increase Newsletter Subscriptions
Churches often use forms to collect email addresses and build a mailing list for newsletters and updates. But if you offer a newsletter that exclusively provides information about upcoming church events, people outside your congregation aren’t motivated to subscribe. However, churches that have switched to a content-forward newsletter that provides resources helping people grow in their faith see drastically increased subscribers outside their church community. Giving people a reason to sign up for your newsletter is a great way to generate new leads online.
9. Lead-Generating Forms Cultivate New Member Sign-Ups
Consider offering a follow-up class for leads interested in learning more about your church. This is a terrific way to provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision about whether your church is the right fit for them. As visitors get plugged in and want to pursue membership, online forms can simplify the process, providing all the information you need in one place. As part of the membership process, you can collect data on their interests and ways they want to get involved. Then add them to your email lists for the specific ministries and programs that align with their areas of interest.
10. Lead-Generating Forms Simplify Personalized Follow-Up
With the information gathered from lead forms, churches can tailor their follow-up to connect with individuals on a more personal level. Collecting leads is only the first step. To effectively develop meaningful connections with them, you must implement systems to follow up promptly and personally. Regularly reach out to leads with updates, newsletters, and event information to keep them engaged and informed about your church. Personalized emails, texts, or even phone calls can make leads feel valued and increase their chances of becoming regular attendees.
By using leads to connect with new members, churches can grow their congregation and build stronger, more meaningful relationships with those in their community. By nurturing leads through regular communication, tailoring their approach based on lead interests, and utilizing events, social media, and follow-up classes, churches can create a welcoming, inclusive environment that attracts new members and supports continued growth.
Lead-generating forms play a crucial role in helping churches fulfill their mission. Providing a convenient, secure way to gather this information, these forms streamline your processes and enhance the overall experience for members and visitors alike, so you become their new church home.