By Rev. Marty Levesque
The welcome package is a sure-fire way to help newcomers learn more about your community. They identify the newcomer at coffee hour so your volunteers can introduce themselves and answer any questions. And most of all, they leave an impression in the mind of the visitor.
To ensure that impression is positive here are a few tips to help you generate the best welcome package for first-time visitors.
Most of the content needed for the package should already exist on your website: who you are, what worship is like on a typical Sunday morning, what life at your parish includes. Simply re-purpose this content into print format, preferably into a set of brochures.
The brochures need to be appealing. Not everyone is a graphic designer or has one who can volunteer their services. This is why I make judicious use of templates.
Both Apple Pages and Microsoft Publisher have professionally designed templates included with the software. Apple has over 100 + new brochure designs that can be downloaded for an extra 9.99 at the Apple Store and Microsoft 365 has an equal number available for download for your favourite Microsoft program (Word, PowerPoint, Publisher) at templates.office.com
If you wish to break away from the templates that come with the software, both lucidpress.com and canva.com (https://www.canva.com/create/brochures/) are excellent resources that give you access to fresh designs. Canva also allows you to match your design with Facebook banners images if you are planning an event. A bonus.
All of these brochures just require that the text is changed and new images added in the placeholders. They are designed to be drag and drop so that non-profits who cannot employ a graphic designer can still have professionally designed brochures.
Once the brochures are finished and printed in colour, I like to finish it off with a fridge magnet and a pen, all branded and all from Vista Print. Pop in some seasonal appropriate candy and then you have a welcome package that is professional and informative about the church.
Such a subtle way to leave an impression, but one that will leave a powerful impression that will have that first-time visitor returning again and again.
Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo.