Promoting Your CDSG Group
You bought the SURVIVING DIVORCE Parish Kit and scheduled the 12-week group. Now how do you get people to show up?
This information is contained in detail in the Leader Guide.
Build an army of "salesmen" from the people in the pews. Lots of divorced Catholics may not even be going to Mass, but their friends and family are at Mass every weekend. Enlist them from the pulpit; they can be your ambassadors to get flyers to those who need them. Here are some of the best ways to get word out about your support group:
Pulpit Announcement (BEST)
Yes, every ministry in the parish may be vying for pulpit time, but you can schedule one Sunday a few times a year to make a SHORT but powerful announcement at all Masses. Rather than simply reading all the details about date/time etc., have a table outside with SD flyers and other helpful materials. If FATHER makes the announcement, all the more powerful. But any lay person can get up and read some of the powerful and pointed ONE MINUTE scripts we provide your facilitator(s) by email.
Flyers in the Vestibule (Somewhat Effective)
We provide your facilitators sample one-page flyers via email that can be tailored to include your group dates, times and location. But these will sit on the back table unless someone from the PULPIT directs Mass-goers to them. Get volunteers to hand them out on the weekends dedicated to announcing the group.
Handout Bulletins (Somewhat Effective)
A standing SURVIVING DIVORCE ad should be included in the parish bulletin year around, but NOT everyone takes or reads the bulletin, even when you offer hand it to them. So on those Sundays dedicated to announcing the program, get volunteers at all Masses to hand out flyers or bulletins that have been stuffed with the flyers.
CDSG Banner on the street (Very good)
If you have a church marquee or place to hang a large banner, Fed Ex will create an affordable sign that serves as high traffic advertising. This creates word of mouth promotion and can be highly effective advertising. We supply free logos and images.
Parish Website Page (Good)
Work with your webmaster to add a page for the SD ministry. We provide your facilitators with .jpg images and SD logos to create a professional page filled with information for the separated or divorced--including current meeting information.
Free Local Radio Ads (Good)
Many radio stations will provide short radio announcements as part of their community services. We provide your facilitators with sample radio scripts. TV stations may offer a similar service.
Free Community Newspaper Ads (Good)
Check your local paper for free community ads.
Feature Story in Local Paper (Very Good)
Ask your paper to send a reporter out to do a feature story on the SD program in your parish. When it comes to divorce issues, many non-Catholics (and ex-Catholics) want to know what the Pope, the Church and the local parishes have to say or do about it. Our program is NEWS! We provide national divorce statistics, images and other helpful information to create an ad with high reader interest.
Enlist other parish ministries (Very Good)
Ask for a 20-minute guest appearance at the next meeting of the Ladies Guild, Men's Group, Prayer Group, and even the school's parent meeting. No speech necessary - just turn on the TV and show the first ten minutes of the SD "Session No. 1 - Getting Your Bearings". Powerful! Just leave flyers and ask that the group take one and give it to someone that may need it. EVERYONE knows someone who is separated or divorced.
Stuff School Packets (Very Good)
Does your parish have an elementary school? Ask the principal if you can include SD flyers in with the school packets that get sent home to all parents.
Charge a nominal fee for the twelve week program
It's true: people perceive greater value when a fee is charged and groups that are "free" have much lower attendance and higher drop out rates. Most parishes charge between $15 - $60 per person for the twelve weeks of support, education, encouragement, and solid Church teachings. That's a average of about $3 per two-hour session.
We're here to help you make it easy!