Identity & Communication Event held on 3-20-2004
"Tell 'em Who You Are!"
Glen Ridge Mails Brochure to Every Residence in Town
We mail our brochure [to be posted here] in late August to arrive prior to or just after Labor Day. We mail a second version to arrive on or about Ash Wednesday. The first one contains fall program info and invitation to church school and some Advent/Christmas announcements. The spring version contains Lent/Easter materials. We mail this to each house in Glen Ridge, about 2500 homes, plus everyone on our mailing list not living in GR. We get mailing labels from our town. It is the ‘Water List,’ that is, those who receive a water bill. We pay $35 for the labels. The Post Office will not let us mail to ‘Occupant…GR, NJ’. All have to have a name and a street address.
A member of the church lays the brochure out and produces a disk for the printer. This is very time consuming. We couldn’t do it without his work. As you can tell, he’s a professional. Our ministers work up the ideas, dates and such for each version. He lays it out and we go over the draft with him prior to taking it to the printer. The printer gets it and prints a proof. We must approve. Ink color and paper stock are determined. We paid printer $535 for printing and folding the brochure you have in your hand.
The brochure comes back to church. Each is labeled and sorted according to postal routes in town. (The labels don’t get sorted this way; so it’s very time consuming.) A group of volunteers do this under the Administrative Assistant’s supervision. It takes about a day for 5 to 8 people. Then it’s put in the mail at a cost of just shy of $400 for 2500 items.
This brochure that you are looking at today went out this spring. The following two Sundays we had 6 new families visit the church. These were all people new in town. Most have come back and we’ve contacted them with follow up letters/calls. I think this is a result of the brochures, based on what the visitors tell me. GR folks who are members of other churches will sometimes comment on our outreach projects or our music programs. This indicates to me that neighbors read the brochures even if they aren’t looking for a church.
From time to time groups in the town involved in welcoming newcomers ask for copies. We give them several hundred and these are further handed out. I once had a new couple tell me that when they bought their house the realtor gave them one of our brochures. So the brochures have a life of their own.
Don’t expect this to be easy. It requires full support and work by the minister. The church has to be well organized enough to know what is planned months in advance. And we try to vary the materials slightly each edition. This maintains interest, we believe. This spring we also produced a secondary brochure about our Academy of Religious Studies, Lenten Term. Previously we had only sent this to church members. This year we inserted it into the town brochure. The brochure has to be stuck in with tape before the Post Office will accept. That adds time for the volunteers.
—The Rev. Joseph David Stinson