This is the second post in a two-part series. In our first post, we discussed why church sign-in books are ineffective at collecting guest information. In summary, they’re limited in space, people forget to pass them around, and visitors may not want to broadcast their contact information to everyone. For these, and many other reasons, we recommend ditching the sign-in book in favor of something more meaningful: a connect card. One of our unchurched mystery guests visited a church and told us:
“There was a card in the bulletin where you could leave your information, request contact, and/or leave any other note needed to be relayed and someone would follow-up from the church office. I think this is a better idea than the sign-in book that some churches have because it allows one to write freely without having the next signer privy to the information.”
What is a Connect Card?
A connect card allows you to collect guest information in a way that makes everyone feel more connected (and comfortable!). Although a connect card still asks for basic information, such as their name and contact information, it digs deeper to find out why your guests are there and what next steps they’d like to take. You can include spaces to indicate aspects of your church they may want to learn more about, such as questions about faith in general, youth ministries, Bible studies, and more.
What’s in a Name?
Even if you ditch the sign-in book in favor of a card, you may be tempted to call it a “guest card”, “visitor information card”, “registration card”, or something similar, but keep in mind that words like “register” may confuse guests into thinking they have to sign up or register for something. The words “guests” or “visitor” can make someone feel like an outsider. None of these names really communicate your intent behind asking for someone’s contact information.
We recommend changing the name to “connect” card to more accurately convey the goal in collecting a guest’s information – which is to connect with them and help them learn more or take next steps when they are ready.
How to Use the Connect Card to Collect Guest Info
Once you’ve made the switch to a connect card, it’s important to use it in the most effective way possible. Otherwise, you may have some of the same problems you had with the sign-in book: few participants or incomplete information. Here are a few tips to help you effectively gather a guest’s information:
- Explain What they Are: Make an announcement at the beginning and/or end of the service explaining what the connect cards are. Hold them up so there’s no confusion and explain where they can be found. Don’t forget to have pens or pencils in each pew in case someone is without one.
- Make them Easy to Find: The connect cards should be placed in an obvious location, such as in each pew or an insert in the bulletin. Avoid the temptation to use tear-outs in your bulletins, as guests may be reluctant to noisily rip them out drawing attention to themselves or being disruptive.
- Tell them Where to Turn it in: During your announcement, tell your guests exactly where they can turn in their completed connect cards. Should they bring them to a desk or table near the entrance or leave them in the pews? Turning them in is better, as it provides additional opportunities for connection and avoids the issue of someone else getting their information.
- Provide them with Motivation: Although your guests may want to connect to your church, they may need additional incentive to go through the trouble of completing your connect card. Consider offering a gift to every guest who completes and turns in a card or state that a donation will be made to a local charity for every card received. Better yet, allow guests to select a preferred charity from a list.
- Don’t Forget Your Website: Some potential guests may want to connect before they attend a worship service or following there visit, so it’s a great idea to include a digital connect card on your website. This also helps guests who forgot to fill their card out or turn it in before they left the service. One church we worked with gave guests an opportunity to get connected with a small group or meet with some congregation members before they visited the church. This made it less intimidating to visit the church for the first time.
By ditching the church sign-in book in favor of a connect card, you have a better chance at forming a meaningful connection with your guests. If you’re interested in finding out how well your visitor sign-in book or guest registration cards are performing, our church mystery guest program can provide you with unbiased, invaluable feedback. With the feedback from mystery worshippers, you’ll understand how to better connect with visitors. Contact us today to get started.