What You Told Us – What You Want to Know

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Report from the Foundry Communications Strategic Ministry Team

 

Shortly after Senior Pastor Ginger Gaines-Cirelli arrived, a group of Foundry members came together to improve communication at Foundry. The team includes new and long-time members, each with some professional capacity in communications and varied experiences, including a number of leadership roles within Foundry.

 

Our first task was to review how Foundry currently communicates with the congregation and the community to assess its effectiveness and usefulness.  We created a survey to collect current patterns of information engagement throughout our community.  Many of you completed the survey and we thank each and every one of you.  Many of you also took the time to add written comments and suggestions, which provided us a wealth of information and ideas. We have read every one of your comments.

 

Two hundred and sixty three of you completed the survey, Foundry’s best survey response rate ever!  Responses came from regular attenders, online attenders, casual attenders and members who are homebound.  We also received responses to two smaller surveys, one for ministry team leaders and a second for church staff.

 

Here’s what you told us:

  • You care about Foundry and you want to feel that you belong. You want to be engaged, informed and connected to fellow worshippers, to events, to lay leaders, pastors and staff.

 

  • You want more information delivered in multiple, easy-to-access ways.  Many of you want information accessible online and through your mobile device.  At the same time, a significant number of us aren’t online or do not prefer digital communications.  Providing information to all is the challenge but we are committed to improving communication for all, no matter how you like to get information about Foundry.

 

  • Sunday communication tools (the bulletin and verbal announcements) are useful, but limited in the information they provide.

 

  • You want a more personal face for the congregation – on the website, through use of nametags and a more accessible pictorial church directory.  Many find it difficult to connect with other members, and need better avenues to engage in small groups, prayer circles, or ministry opportunities.

 

  • Several communication tools, most notably e-mail and the website, need to be strengthened by improving the information available, how it’s organized and how we can access it.  Social media, such as Foundry’s presence on Facebook and Twitter, need to be strengthened and kept current.

 

  • Foundry already has a lot of good information that more of us would find useful if it were more widely available.  Bulletin information, as well as ministry group information, is available on line, but it is difficult to find. All Things Foundry and the new members handbook both contain lots of good information, but are seen by few other Foundry folk who aren’t visitors or new members.

 

Here’s what you told us you want more information about:

More than half of us want more information in advance  (at least 2 weeks and preferably 4 weeks ahead of time) about:

  • What’s happening: advance notice of weekly or special events and opportunities
  • Getting engaged: volunteer opportunities, current needs

                          “I miss the call for specific volunteers to contact those in need.”

                          “How to get involved in a steady group – not one that ends in six weeks.”

  • Connecting with other members: who they are, what they do, where they live, how to get in touch with them, including “contacts for the elderly.”

 

More than one in three of us want more information about:

  • Ministry teams: what different teams do, how to get in touch with particular teams, “It is too difficult to figure out who is doing what – and if you are interested in something how to find someone else who is too, not staff, but other lay people.”
  • Foundry’s activities in the DC region
  • Staff: who does what, who to ask or tell about what
  • Helping each other: joys and concerns / needs – “Healing and care support”

 

More than one in four of us want more information about:

  • Foundry’s finances
  • Budget and spending decisions
  • Management Board decisions and operations, meetings, how to contact members “Especially since the change in the administrative structure, both the Management Board and the staff, it is very unclear who is responsible for what.”
  • Foundry’s activities in the wider world

 

Now, the Communications Ministry Team is working to:

  • Inventory available current information, asking what can be repurposed across media? What gaps exist?
  • Develop a strategy to improve internal communication tools.
  • Build a talent pool of Foundry members and friends who can be called on to help with communications projects.  We are looking for:
    • Writers and editors
    • Graphic designers for print and digital
    • Help with audio, video and social media projects
    • Web designers

 

Here’s the team:  Barbara Cambridge, Sarah Chacko, Michael Hacker, David Lanford, Cassandra Lawrence, Stan and Elder Wellborn – working with board members Paula Blair and Dan Vock; Pastors Ginger Gaines-Cirelli and Dawn Hand.

 

If you would like to continue this conversation, e-mail us with responses, ideas, and suggestions, OR TO VOLUNTEER YOUR HELP. You can reach us at:  communications@foundryumc.org  and if email isn’t your choice, call Elder Wellborn at 202-362-6609.