I have worked with a couple churches who use CC are thrilled with the results. One of the things I suggest is that you don't do away with the hard copy just yet but add it as an Adobe PDF file link to your CC newsletter version so that you give the option to those who still want to print it out on their own. I would also suggest you place an Adobe PDF link of the hard copy on your churches website for download. I would then mention in the hard copy newsletter that there is an Adobe PDF version of the newsletter on the church website and give the link of where it is located. Kinda give you the best of both worlds.
One last thing would be to do a poll of your church members to see how many would like to get the church newsletter by email instead of postal mail. One way to do that is to use a website like http://www.surveymonkey.com/
We are working with a Christian denomination in Arizona that has begun using CC e-newsletters instead of frequent printed newsletters, and they are very happy with the savings. They have not done away with printed materials entirely, but have reduced the amount of printed communication materials. They save both on printing and postage. They are also quite happy with how easy it is to send out weekly communications via email & CC. This may not work for all churches and non-denominational orgs, but it has been a big plus for this denomination. Email marketing has become an integral part of their communication lines. I am not sure if readership has dramatically increased, however, there has certainly not been a decrease in readership.
My memebers love this form of communication. We print a weekly bulletin with an order of worship and upcoming events. Then we use CC to augment our communication and spotlight specific events. Our members feel like it is a helpful, professional way to keep in touch.
We have a few who are not on the net yet, but mostly that's not a problem.
I have been using CC since July 2002 twice a week for our church. Every Monday we send out what we call 'Prayer & Praise" which incudes prayer requests, updates, and praise reports. On Thursdays, we send out our "E-zine". This includes an article, then announcment reminders for upcoming events and other general information that we want to get out. We have been extremely successful using this format and love the ease of using it. We have saved so much on postage, paper and labor getting mailings ready. My postage budget has actually been cut several times because we can do so much with CC. We do also send out "emergency" prayer requests, but only to our church body, not the general account where everyone can sign up. I try to be careful to not send too many e-mails. I do also use CC to invite our newcomers to a special Welcome Dessert we have once a quarter. They get a pretty invitation with a link to the address of the meeting.
If you aren't using CC - you are missing the boat! We love it! Pam Assistant to Lead Pastor Rock Creek Church www.rcreek.com
PS to Mark - you can lead a horse to water... the people that will want to find out about what is going on will read it and those that don't - won't no matter what method you use. Unlike a snailmail newsletter, you can see who has opened your CC e-mail and that gives you an idea of how many are reading it as opposed to mailing it out and having no clue if anyone is reading it or not.
My church has gotten much better results by emailing people than trying to get them to form a habit of going to the website for updates, events and prayer requests. We send out a weekly email when the podcast is live - then many attenders will forward it to their friends who might not even attend our church - so in a sense it is its own outreach ministry! Our ministry has even developed matching print items(bulletins, postcards, invites,etc) to go along with the enewsletter to maintain a consistent brand identity.
Jason Pearson co-founder/chief creative FreeChurchPrinting.com
We use contant contact for major events advertisment and general email to membership and it is a great tool. I can monitor effectiveness and it alleviate an email problem we have with yahoo addresses downloaded from servant keeper (main membership database)
I would to to see what everyone else is doing. We actually post our newletters on the website and use contant contact as a link so that it looks snazzy going to the members.
We've been using CC for just over a year now, and it has been a significant improvement. I shopped the various list management services out there and don't regret using CC at all.
Previously we tried to send out snail mail newsletters quarterly, and Im sure everyone knows how much effort is involved in that. We now reduced our snail newsletter to twice a year (don't recommend doing away with this entirely because believe it or not, not everyone has email, especially if you're dealing with lower income folks and elderly, plus some people like just good old fashioned paper). We use CC now to send out a monthly e-newsletter, plus I archive the newsletters on our website so people can view previous events. For the serious inquirer who is considering attending your congregation this really helps them see what the Body life is like.
When our previous rabbi, who just stepped down, came down with terminal cancer, we began using CC to send out updates to our people (I created a subcategory for this). In a serious situation like this it was necessary to communicate to many people quickly. CC enabled us to do that.
For a small congregation of less than 100, we have approximately 300 on our email list and another 300 on our snail mail. Considering we've had 25 years to get our snail mail up to that number, its an amazing thing that our email list rose that high within just a few months.
My name is Pastor Kevin Kinchen and I have been in full-time ministry for about 23 years. Never in all those years have I had the kind of results I get by using something as awesome as Constant Contact to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. I have been writing a daily devotional for almost 8 years now and it literally goes around the world, around the clock. That is the beauty of it! I just got through preaching in Oslo, Norway; Australia; the UK; Canada; the Ukraine; and many more countries PLUS throughout the United States......all from my office in my house this morning! I love it and so do the people! I would encourage every church and every ministry to sign up for Constant Contact IMMEDIATELY and begin a daily or weekly devotional, a testimony page, a bulletin, just SOMETHING! Don't be "left behind" and limit the Holy Spirit to only reaching those who can physically drive to your church. Use the Internet to reach those people AND those who CANNOT physically come to your fellowship. As you can tell, I am pretty excited about this. I have stacks of "good reports" and "praise reports" from people around the world who I know through this devotional I write. I thank God and give Him all the glory for giving me the opportunity to PREACH AROUND THE WORLD, AROUND THE CLOCK, through Constant Contact! Where else could you do so much, to reach so many, with so little cost? Nowhere! Simply nowhere!
We've been using CC for about two months now and have had nothing but positive feedback. We send out a weekly "Update" with the two to three most important events/programs highlighted. We also have a lot of links in the update to our website.
We have found two things. One - communication is much better and more people are involved in things. Two, since we always spotlight "this week in Worship..." our weekly worship attendance has increased by about 20%. People know what's going to happen or be taught in worship and they don't want to miss out.
Our children and youth pastors are getting ready to start using CC in their ministries.