Question: How do I go about reaching that older congregation while also still trying to communicate with the younger generation that we want to be growing in?
This question has come in multiple forms, but each come down to the same central idea.
The challenge of communicating with multiple generations at the same time.
I understand your frustration:
Time is short, resources are tight and you want to get as much reach as possible from your promotions.
So we try to create a single promotion that “reaches” everyone.
The problem is, each generation gets information in a different way.
Older adults read newspapers, make phone calls and take home church bulletins.
Younger people scan social media, respond to texts and leave printed items in the church pew.
When you try to create something that communicates to everyone at the same time, no one hears what you want them to.
So, STOP TRYING.
The majority of the things you promote don’t apply to everyone.
Our church members and guests have a limited attention span.
When we share everything with them they tune out. They aren’t sure what really is for them and what is for someone else. So rather than sift through it they stop listening.
The key to reaching multiple generations is to share with them in different ways.
How do you do that?
Determine how they currently get information and deliver it in that way
Here’s what I mean…
Older congregation members get information primarily through newspapers, weekly bulletins, personal invitation, phone calls.
Younger generations gets information through email, text, social media, web.
Putting info about a youth event in the bulletin is only going to be seen by a couple teens. But, send details out through social media and text and you will get a high response.
At the same time, emailing your older congregation and expecting a high response rate isn’t going to work. Sure they might have email, but it’s not their preferred communication platform.
How do we communicate to multiple generations at the same time?
Communicate with your audience through their preferred source for information, and you will get a higher response rate.
It will take more time and create more work, but the trade off is higher response rates and promotions that don’t get ignored.