A Church which does not have member records is not very effective. How can you effectively serve people you don’t know?
At the same time, collecting any information from members is a challenge. It doesn’t matter where you are and the nature of the Church. If you hand out forms to members, be it membership forms or pledge forms, once they are taken home they will never come back.
I’m not sure whether it is to do with people’s dislike of administration or the way they don’t value giving information to the Church. That is why below I share a few ideas to effectively collect your member information.
But first, if you landed here and you don’t have forms for your Church, please go request them here. You’ll get 5 editable forms for FREE. These include membership forms, request to update information, pledge form etc.
So if you know that forms which are taken home will never come back, don’t hand out the forms for people to take home and complete. If you hand them out to be completed at home, then all you want is to be frustrated with following people up.
Here are the steps you need follow to successfully collect member information:
Step 1: Make sure the name of the Church is clear at the top of the form.
The name of the Church makes people trust the form they are completing. That is why the FREE forms I referred to earlier are editable. If you can, also put your logo at the top of the form. It looks even more professional.
Step 2: Print adequate number of forms
You don’t want your forms to run out. It frustrates people and discourages them from completing your forms next time. Sometimes it is much faster and cheaper to get these forms photocopied at the local photocopying shop. They usually have a huge printer, unless of course your Church has a huge and fast printer.
Step 3: Buy a box of pens from the supermarket or bookshop to use.
Many people do not complete forms for a simple reason that they do not have a pen. They then take the form home, but unfortunately they misplace it or keep forgetting to bring it back.
Step 4: Identify a few members to help with explaining the form to members.
Many people are not patient standing in line waiting for you to explain the form. They quietly walk away, unless of course your Church has very few people.
Step 5: Collect on your busy days
On a Sunday (or whenever most of your members meet), announce you will doing data collection AND people are not allowed to take forms home.
Step 6: Hand out the forms and pens PLUS Be there to Assist.
You and your assistants help members complete the forms. Make sure there are people available to explain the form, again, even though you think you explained it very clearly.
Step 7: Repeat this process for at least 2 or 3 Sundays.
This is to make sure you get to those people who have missed a Sunday in between. The more Sundays you do it, the better.
Step 8: Draw up a list of those who completed
Start compiling a list of all people who have completed the form, and stick it at the back of the Church. Next to the list, leave a few blank forms and a pen for people who don’t find their names to quickly complete the form. A list stuck at the back of the Church is a subtle reminder for people to complete the form, if they haven’t already.
Share your thoughts below about how you get people to willingly and quickly complete forms at your Church.