In the early 2000s our church did a quarterly canvas of our neighborhoods where we handed out information about the church and met our neighbors. It was very successful and our church was growing rapidly. It slowly died as we became more focused on internal things and less on outreach (my opinion) and by 2012 we decided to stop doing it in favor of direct mail and other outreach ideas.
For December 2023 we decided to try it again. I figured if the Jehovah's Witnesses could still do it, and a few Baptist churches in our area, then we as Methodists could do it also. Despite plenty of announcements about it, I would rate it as a failure.
It was not a total failure. We have an outreach program where we have a food pantry, clothing closet and meals program at another Methodist Church that closed and we took over. We handed out plenty of information to attendees along with information sent to our pre-school and after school program. We gave away about 700 but the ones we asked our members to hand out in their neighborhood remained largely undistributed.
Our church is in a town of 100,000 people so there are a lot of neighborhoods. Asking the members to knock on neighbors doors or leave information on their door may work for your church but it did not work for ours.
We do plan to continue to use print and hand the information out to our pre and after school programs and through our outreach ministry but we won't be asking the members to hand out any. We plan to use direct mail to reach the local communities.
The next post will be on how to set up direct mail if you choose to do it yourself (or use a local printer who is familiar with direct mail for non-profits). Let me know what you think and if your members have reached out to their communities and how it went.
The image was created by Chat GPT 4.0. I asked it to create me a drawing of a community of people.
Here is the information we created.
Back of Card