Reaching Clarity in the Midst of Controversy and Confusion

Communications often is a misunderstood art. Sometimes too much energy is spent on what to say or how to say it. Significant investment is made in crafting just the right message, and strategizing what is perceived as the perfect platform. The first task for successful communications is not determining what to say, but predicting how what you say will be heard.   Listen to Your Audience How can those responsible for diocesan communications advise leadership searching for ways to reach out to their Catholic audiences in light of the most recent revelations about clergy sexual abuse and cover up?   Four Pitfalls to Overcome to Reach Clarity 1. Thinking your Catholic audience is homogeneous. Catholics are a diverse group. There are clearly ethnic and socio-economic differences. There are also weekly worshippers, infrequent churchgoers, single parent families, young and old, and everyone in between. This requires careful message management so that people feel like you are speaking to...

Strengthening Internal Communications to Expand Your Appeal

Building awareness of the benefits of your diocesan appeal is essential to success. One important ingredient is leadership. Empowering leaders to be strong advocates is the key. Building bottom-up energy – grassroots leadership – will increase awareness of and generate enthusiasm for the mission of the local Church. Grassroots leaders can help advance the pastoral vision of the bishop and encourage people to consider the needs of others beyond their parish community. Pastors and other ministry leaders play a critical role in promoting the appeal. When they are actively involved, people notice – participation spikes and giving levels can increase significantly. But it’s not always easy. How you communicate with pastors and diocesan leaders can be as important as what you communicate. A strong and consistent internal communications strategy is the cornerstone of any solid marketing strategy. Tapping into the energy and dedication of those on the front lines of pastoral care...

Reaching Diverse Audiences

Understanding your audience is the first step to successful communications. For your faithful donors, consistent stewardship messages delivered through traditional media (direct mail, print advertising, in-pew appeals) will always be an effective way to cultivate and sustain giving. But younger, more diverse audiences can be more difficult to reach. Henning Communications has developed a new donor pursuit methodology to help you build awareness and encourage stewardship commitments among "occasional" Catholics and disconnected households. Rooted in the principles of evangelization, this communications-driven approach invites people to recognize God's blessings and to draw closer to the life of the Church. A New Approach to Donor Communications The chart below illustrates three distinct audience segments, and identifies some of the behaviors and beliefs that characterize each. Using this model, we develop creative and messaging that will resonate with hard-to-reach audiences through innovative, integrated stewardship communications. Reach Occasional Catholics. Cultivate Faithful Audiences. This new approach integrates direct mail strategies, print and digital...

Building Stronger Results for Your Appeal

Whether you're just wrapping up your appeal or already planning for next year, you probably are thinking of ways to activate more prospects, retain first-time donors and move your most faithful donors to higher levels of giving. You may be interested to learn that Henning Communications has developed a proven, communications-driven methodology to help Catholic dioceses increase participation, improve donor loyalty and exceed financial goals year over year. The results below show how strong communications integrated with disciplined donor movement tactics can strengthen stewardship commitments among Catholic audiences. Our guiding principle is the simple belief that everyone has been gifted by God. Like you, we understand that this is the starting point for faithful stewardship and generosity. Every gift is rooted in God’s love. With that as our foundation, we help dioceses create communications that inspire Catholic audiences and achieve stronger results over time. Our team is “passionately dedicated to the search for new...

Archdiocese of Omaha Exceeds Appeal Goal by $335,000

We would like to congratulate the development team at the Archdiocese of Omaha for exceeding their annual appeal goal of $3.5 million by more than $335,000. Their vision and dedication to building a culture of philanthropy is bearing much fruit and impacting the lives of those served every day. We are proud to partner with the Archdiocese of Omaha, and we would like to share with you some of the ways they have accomplished these outstanding results. After conducting a successful $53 million capital campaign, the archdiocesan development team saw an opportunity to cultivate newly energized audiences and increase annual giving. They partnered with Henning Communications to develop targeted brand marketing and strategic communications to support their Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. Key messages of evangelization and stewardship, rooted in the vision of Archbishop George J. Lucas, provided a foundation for all appeal communications. New creative approaches were proposed and developed to encourage even...