One of the keys to the success of Cross Point Church?s A Merry Music City Christmas event was internal communication leading up to the event. This included communication to volunteers, business leaders, and congregation members.
The runway of time leading up to the event was especially short since they hadn?t intended to create this event early on. The idea snuck up on them, so they had to start communicating internally as soon as possible so they could give the event a chance to succeed.[quote]The idea snuck up on them, so they had to start communicating internally as soon as possible.[/quote]
The first thing they had to tackle from the get-go was getting people on board to sponsor and support the event. Since most of the environment they wanted to create outside was expensive?and therefore out of their budget?they knew they needed to get people involved. They approached business owners who attended the church and others who wanted to invest in the event to back it and split the vision of what they were trying to accomplish. The Cross Point team didn?t know how much of their vision was possible until they had an idea of what sort of funds they could expect.
A lot of the initial push for sponsorships came from stage time. They made it clear to the congregation what they hoped to accomplish and then gave the church an opportunity to be part. They also put together a team to deal directly with those wishing to be part of sponsorship and help communicate details as well as arrange logistics to make this all happen.[quote]They made it clear to the congregation what they hoped to accomplish and then gave the church an opportunity to be part.[/quote]
This initial sponsorship push happened for about two weeks from the stage. Then they moved onto asking for volunteers at the event?another huge resource ask they knew would be a stretch.
This was a much bigger event than they had ever attempted at the church. So they knew they had to get a ton of volunteers mobilized to be part and contribute their time to the event. Because they did a great job casting the vision and building excitement for the event, they had over 300 volunteers sign up to assist over the four days of the event.
This, of course, created a new set of problems. How do you create a clear line of communication to that many volunteers for a brand new event? Also, how do you make sure you split the volunteer base proportionally across the four days to make sure you have adequate help and coverage? Schedules and holidays always combine for messy bits of chaos. So communicating to them as they decided to help and getting data out to all 300+ volunteers was one of the most taxing things they had to communicate.[quote]Schedules and holidays always combine for messy bits of chaos.[/quote]
One of their staff members used to work as a computer programmer. Rather than relying on an external site or a pre-made solution, they decided to create a back-end site to help people plug in as volunteers. This helped them pool the data to make sure they knew how many people they had and how many they needed for each time slot. Since this was a one-off special event, it worked for them to design their own program rather than rely on a program like Planning Center?what they normally use for weekend services.
Finally, they transitioned their ask to get people to invite their friends and attend the event. Eventually, as the event grows, they want it to be something people recognize and look forward to each year?and not even something necessarily as a ?Cross Point event?. But when you have five to six thousand people attending weekly, that?s a huge base of people you can mobilize to help invite people.
This was an easy ask for their attendees. ?We know it?s scary to invite someone to church with you. So why not invite them to this free Christmas event that?s for the whole community??
Thus, the bulk of their external communication was actually through their own people. They mobilized them in the services and through social media.
Many of the people who attend Cross Point are very dialed in and plugged into the church on social media. So when they created a microsite (AMerryMusicCityChristmas.tv) for the event, they pushed things out on social media to allow people to re-share. For instance, they created some 15-second videos to help people share with their friends on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They posted those on the microsite where they were easy to download and use wherever their congregation liked. These videos were things like an animated logo reveal and an animated logo showing people sledding and ice skating.[quote]They spread the enthusiasm of the event and allowed their congregation to share in the burden.[/quote]
By mobilizing their congregation to sponsor, volunteer, and invite their friends, they were able to ease a lot of the pressure of making this event a success. They spread the enthusiasm of the event and allowed their congregation to share in the burden. Ultimately, the event was very successful?making this year an even easier ask from their congregation. A successful track record makes asks like these all the easier.