The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Tips and recommendations for communication

Communicating with each other:
Tips & Recommendations for Ministry Networks and other small groups

  • Basic email: Set up a few common free gmail accounts for positions rather than individuals. Use BCC for long lists (supporters, for example) to protect privacy and save space, or use online newsletter format. If your email more than about 50 people at a time, you risk being considered a spammer, so if your list is large, break it up.

  • Listserve: for conversation by email that is organized by topic and searchable. Google Groups is free.

  • Scheduling meetings: Doodle.com (free)

  • Online (video) meetings: Zoom.us (basic is free, sufficient for many groups as you can host up to 40, for up to 40 minutes.)

  • Conference calls: Freeconferencecall.com. Or have zoom meetings

  • Online event registration: Eventbrite.com (free for free events)

  • Design services: canva.com has templates for creating flyers, posters, memes and other graphics for social media, etc. Basic is free, premium services available. Adobe Spark (as of early 2018) might be another resource for more advanced media. Recommended to get a logo or select an identifying graphic and brand all your ministry-related info; you can use the ECCT logo and your network name; contact the comm & media office for assistance

  • Online photo editing: Check your phone for apps to edit your phone pics. befunky.com has some free services and their basic service is just under $3/month, if paid yearly. There's also pixlr.com, fotor,com, and more you can find through a Google search. NOTE: Take the right size pictures for the task. You don't need 2+ MB unless you're making postcards or print posters/flyers. You can make a large photo smaller/work for the web; you can't take a web-quality and make it work for print. Take the best photos you can, and crop them for maximum impact before uploading.

  • eNewsletters: MailChimp.com is free for limited numbers; Constantcontact.com (which ECCT uses) is low cost; VerticalResponse.com is also low cost. You may eventually want paid options.

  • Storing common documents (also videos, images, etc.) in the cloud: Google drive (especially if you use Google docs) or Dropbox (dropbox.com), basic is free.

  • Work on common documents (instead of emailing versions back and forth): Google docs (free) or Dropbox Paper

  • Website: The website is the landing page for long, mostly static content and may include a blog function. Describe what your Ministry Network participants are passionate about; describe who you are and what you do and how often you meet; post resources and links; post longer descriptions of events. 
    You can use a page set aside for you on the ECCT website, or, get your own page and the ECCT page will provide a link. For your own website, we recommend Weebly; also recommended: Wix, Wordpress, or Squarespace; there are many others. All are free for the very basic level, though you’ll probably want to pay for a few features. It’s low cost. They all use templates and are edited online. Call the comm & media office if you have questions about the platform, hosting, or domain name.

  • Facebook: Create a Facebook page for your ministry and take advantage of all its features including paid promotion. You’ll use it to post events, links to news articles, prayers and other observances, links to announcements, etc. Create a Facebook group for your members to have conversation. Use Facebook live to promote engagement.

  • Other social media: Create accounts with the same name; identify and use a common hashtag for your Network.

    • Instagram: share your story in photo

    • Twitter: breaking news and announcements

    • YouTube: get your own channel if you will be doing promo videos, for example

    • Flickr: storing photos (if too many for the website or Facebook, for example)

    • Pinterest: crafts, visual arts and architecture, children’s ministry, seasonal

    • SnapChat: Engaging with Gen Z

    • WhatsApp: Useful for overseas partnerships

    • Blog: Daily reports while on a trip, or regular contributions by a good writer

 

  • Marketing/Media releases (secular media): Connect by email or social media with specific reporters who cover type of story you want to promote. Respect their deadlines; be sure you give them phone numbers that people will answer (not offices that close); make sure you have opportunity for good photos and/or video; having a news hook is important. Also, if you are in a position to write a letter to the editor, or have an opinion column published, go for it!
  • Promoting your ministry within ECCT: Let the comm & media office know about your website, Facebook page, other social media, enewsletters so we can (1) like and follow your Ministry Network) (2) tell the rest of ECCT about it and (3) put those links, and a signup, on any appropriate pages of the ECCT website, and (4) share them via ECCT social networks.
  • Event promotion within ECCT: Submit your event to the Parish, Region, and Ministry Network Calendar online; it will be listed in the weekly eNews. Your Region Missionary as well as comm & media office can help explore other options. If you’ve just done something fabulous or gotten some good local press, let your Missionary and the ECCT office know.
Don't forget the importance of community!
  • You’re not alone; you’re not an island. Follow, like, share, click on, repost or retweet, related networks or organizations both inside the church and outside its walls.
  • Encourage your Network members to share on their own social media pages, and to the extent you can, provide material in ways that help them to do this.