Billboards, Buck Coffee, and Church Bulletins
I’m just a wee bit irritated.
If you live in the Triangle, you can confirm that there are McDonald’s billboards everywhere that shout out “$1 small hot or iced coffee.” They’re on highway 70. 15-501. I-40. Taunting me and my cheapskate self…“Cooommme to the cheeeeap siiiiide. Staaaarbucks is eeeevilll.”
Editor’s note: Trying to sound like the creepy old lady on Poltergeist doesn’t play well in print. Move along.
And so finally, I broke down and dropped by the golden arches to have myself a dollar iced coffee. The lady behind the counter looked at me like I’d lost my fool mind. “We don’t have coffee for a dollar.”
“But there are billboards everywhere that say you do.”
“We. Do not. Have coffee. For a dollar.”
No explanation, no apology, no let-me-find-out. Just no coffee. No dollar. No deal.
Usually I don’t name names when I’m giving negative reviews. But I figure Ronald is a big boy, and he can handle it. The reason this irritates me is because that’s happened at not one, but two McDonald’s here in the Triangle. It’s a weird phenomenon, that you wouldn’t sell what you’ve advertised. If I didn’t know any better, I’d blame it on the Hamburglar. Or the plastic Burger King guy. He seems shifty.
But the reality is, we do the same thing in our churches every weekend. The printed worship guide or the Eye Candy on stage (hey, can I help it what people call me when I make announcements?) will mention an upcoming event or a product at the resource table, and when people seek out a volunteer to ask more questions, the volunteer knows nothing about it.
Macro publicity without micro execution is mega dumb.
When we announce globally (from the stage or church bulletin) but don’t communicate locally (to our volunteers), we rip off both the people we’re communicating to and the people on the front lines. In the end, it frustrates everybody and makes it seem that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. I should know…I’ve been responsible for doing it once or twice or 591 times.
One of the steps we’ve taken recently is an (i)F.A.Q. Notebook that resides at our First Time Guest tent as well as our Information Table. It’s an ever-evolving document where we have the infrequently asked questions that people are prone to ask: “Does the church offer rides to worship services?” “How can I get a copy of a sermon from two years ago?” “How can I sign my kid up for fall retreat?”
And each week, we have a “This Weekend’s Events” page, which breaks down the service for the volunteers: who is speaking, what the message is about, what will be announced from the stage, and how those announcements affect the volunteer’s role. (You can download a sample of that sheet here.)
It’s a new process, and we’re learning. But so far, it’s getting great reviews from our volunteers. They’re able to help guests. Guests are able to get more info. It’s a win win.
So it’s audience participation time: what does your church do to facilitate macro publicity and micro execution? How do you let your volunteers know the stuff they need to know? And which freakin’ McDonald’s serves iced coffee for a buck?