Connecting with members during the summer slump

Newsletters are one of the most effective ways to reach your congregation. While they don’t receive the same attention as the latest viral video that’s shared thousands of times, they’re still an incredibly powerful tool for communicating with your audience.

Newsletters are really a convenience for your readers. They are delivered regularly to their inboxes. For members of your congregation, your church’s newsletter offers an easy way to stay in the know. It is a powerful tool to stay top of mind with readers and provides a direct route to getting their attention.

How can you create a newsletter that gets opened every time you send it, especially during your church’s summer slump? Here are some simple tips that you may find useful.

  • Create a strategy for your newsletter

Planning is key to the success of any newsletter and should not be overlooked. Define your strategy. This can be overwhelming, but a well-planned newsletter strategy will pay off in the long run.

  • Let your congregation’s personality shine

Make sure your congregation’s newsletter has a personal feel. Your congregation needs to feel the same connection it feels on Sunday morning when it reads the newsletter.

  • Set goals for your newsletter

Identify goals for your newsletter. Why are you sending this information to your congregation? What are you hoping to accomplish with the newsletter? Having a clear idea of the aim and the purpose of your church’s newsletter is critical to its success.

  • Determine your Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are extremely important when planning your newsletter. KPIs are key metrics that help you measure your newsletter’s success. Use industry standards to measure the performance of your newsletter. Keeping track of your KPIs will give you the analytics you need to determine the success of your newsletter.

Some of the KPIs are:

  • Open rate
  • Unique open rate
  • Click rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Bounce rate


  • Offer value

Whether it’s the church picnic, summer camp or Vacation Bible School, most churches offer summer activities that are unique to their congregations. Make sure your newsletter highlights these activities and offers information for individuals to participate. Be sure your members know about exciting new changes in worship service and how those changes will (or won’t) affect them. The information provided in your newsletter should make members of the congregation feel like they are in the know about church events and activities even though they may be vacationing hundreds of miles away.

  • Timing is everything

Find the optimal time to send your newsletter. The time your newsletter goes out is critical to its success. You want to reach members when they are likely to be on their computers or have their phones or tablets in their hands. To detect the best times, try sending out your newsletter at various times and then use your KPIs to determine your newsletter’s optimum performance time.

  • The subject line matters

Remember that your subject line needs to be engaging, creative and not too long. Fifty characters is a good length for your subject line. You don’t want to invest time and energy in a newsletter that no one reads. Make sure your subject line grabs your readers’ attention. If possible, try to make your subject line relevant to something current. This will increase the likelihood of your audience opening your email.


4 Responses to “Connecting with members during the summer slump”


    The material in this blog is a little vague. More specific information would be helpful. For example,how do I send an electronic newsletter. Is there any way to do it besides signing up for an expensive service like Constant Contact? Also, the blog says KPIs are important. ‘Use industry standards to measure the performance of your newsletter. ” How? I don’t have any idea how to do that.
    Just offering this as helpful feedback.

    • Gail Strange

      I’m so sorry you find the information to be vague. I would suggest that you go to the Presbyterian Communicators Network page on the Presbyterian Mission Agency site to find some of these resources that might help you. Please feel free to contact me if you need further assistance.

  2. Tammy Taylor

    We are a small church with a strict budget. I have found a free website that has an all in one marketing platform to help with designing and sending out newsletters by email, it is called MailChimp. It also has features such as scheduling the time and date of when to release your newsletter or any other announcements you may have. The site also sends you monthly summaries on reports of clicks rate, open rate, etc. If you want to get started check it out Hope someone may find this information helpful.


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