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7 Tips on How to Host a Successful Event for Your Church

Church Event Tips

Churches are the center of the community, hosting numerous events throughout the year in order to bring people together. When you are called upon to host one of these events, you are given a lot of responsibility. Follow these tips to help make every event your church hosts a success.

Set Up a Monthly Calendar

A lot of time goes into planning events for your church, and the sooner you know what you have going on and when, the better. Use a large calendar and begin picking the dates for your various events so that you can begin to plan them as early as possible.

Know Your Budget

It can be very easy to lose track of how much you are spending when picking out decorations and choosing caterers. With each event that you have planned you should first budget how much the church can afford to spend. Once your event planners take over, they should then take that amount and allocate it to each portion to ensure that they do not exceed the budget.

Delegate Each Event

With as much as you already have on your busy schedule, planning and hosting church events may become burdensome. Choose key people in your church community who have the free time it takes and put them in charge. Be confident in their ability to make each event a great one, and only intervene when absolutely necessary.

Make Communicating Easy

You will want periodic updates on the progress of your church programs and parties, so ensure that the leaders of the planning are able to easily reach you. Put aside a set day of the week and time where you meet with them to discuss what has already been planned and what else needs to be accomplished.

Advertise Your Church Events

In order to make sure that your community shows up for these events, you have to ensure that they know about them. Allow the organizers to make postings in your weekly newsletter and on your website to reach as many people as possible. You can also give them access to your church notification system so that they can send mass messages to your congregation to let them know about your upcoming celebrations along with the details.

Be Creative With the Food

With most church events and activities, food is at the center. Be creative in your choices to entice your community to come out and celebrate. You could host themed dinners like Italian night or Chinese food, or forego the standard baked goods for dessert and set up a sundae making station.

Dress Up the Venue

Whether it is being held in the basement of your church or at a fancy restaurant, your church events should be personalized to suit the occasion. Your most creative church members should be able to add those extra details that will give your events a festive appeal.

Church events bring the community together in a way that is less restrained than the weekly services. When hosted correctly, new friendships will be formed and your congregation will walk away with a sense of fulfillment.

6 Tips For Being the High School Coach of Every Kid's Dreams

High School Coach Tips

Whether it's baseball, football, basketball, or another sport, coaching high school athletic teams certainly has its challenges. If you are just starting out on this rewarding, yet sometimes frustrating, path then these tips will help you get started off on the right foot:

Make Sure the Word is Spread for Tryouts - In a high school setting especially, you want to make sure that every kid has an equal opportunity to get on to your team. Be very verbal about your upcoming tryouts, post signs around the school, and ask that it be announced over the PA system. If your school is set up with a school notification system like DialMyCalls, you may even consider sending SMS text messages to the parents to help build up excitement for your team.

Be Objective When Choosing Your Team - It can be very easy for a new coach to succumb to pressure and pick popular students over the best talent, but don't fall into that trap. Make sure that you are judging each student on their athletic abilities and skills, and not picking kids because you know that they are school favorites.

Get to Know Your Players - Great coaching comes from knowing the people you are trying to coach. Take the time to watch and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your athletes, listen to what they have to say and get to know them as individuals as well as a team. This will help in gaining their trust and confidence, which will inevitably lead to them giving their all at each game.

Be Clear With Your Practice Times and Game Schedule - To avoid no-shows and last minute headaches, make sure that you are able to provide all players with a schedule of practice times and games immediately. You can also send that schedule to the parents via automated phone call so that they always know when and where their kid(s) will be playing.

Identify Your Starters - Know matter what sport you coach, you will eventually have to choose which players will make up your starting line-up. In addition to the obvious skill and knowledge of the sport, you should also be looking for signs of confidence and leadership when making these tough decisions. Follow the same rules as you did during try outs, and make objective decisions rather than emotional ones.

Make Arrangements for Scrimmage Games - It is one thing to play practice games against your fellow teammates, and something entirely different when up against a team you know nothing about. Get to know the coaches at nearby schools so that you can make arrangements with them to schedule a few practice games before the season starts.

Signing up as a high school athletic coach is a big responsibility with big rewards. The most important thing to remember that it is a sport, and meant to be fun, and it's your job as the coach to ensure that is achieved above anything else.

5 Extremely Useful Blizzard Survival Tips

Blizzard Survival Tips

The only good thing about a blizzard is that you are usually given some notice that it is on its way. This should give you enough time to buy some cocoa, batten down the hatches and light a fire in the fireplace. Follow these tips, and you'll stay safe and warm while the snow is piling on:

Add Extra Insulation to Your Windows and Doors

A blizzard does not just bring snow. A blizzard blows freezing cold winds right up to the exterior of your home. If your home is not well insulated, that freezing cold air will make its way into your living space. Reinforce window and door frames by filling in cracks with caulking, or if the entire window is a problem secure a piece of plastic in front of it. Use old towels rolled up as an additional barrier for the space at the bottom of doors that lead outside.

Stock Up on Supplies

Flashlights and batteries are good to have in case the snow cuts off your electricity. Also buy some candles and matches to use as lighting when not moving around your home. If you have a fireplace make sure that you have sufficient amounts of dry kindling and wood stored inside, or invest in a kerosene heater to provide heat if your electric is out.

When considering food to stock up on, shop as if you know that you will be without electric for a while. Bottled water and ready to eat non-perishable foods are your best bet. If you absolutely must have items like milk for young children, have bags of ice and a cooler ready just in case.

Get Your Warm Blankets Out of the Bedrooms

To conserve heat, your family should be limited to one or two rooms in the house, ideally those with an alternative heat source. Camp out on the floor together using your warmest blankets and take advantage of body heat to stay warm at night. Don't forget to include your pets in your plans to stay warm, as they are just as susceptible to extreme cold temperatures as you are.

Don't Leave the House

Blizzards create conditions where it is difficult to see and often hard to get your bearings. Make sure that you have all that you need at home, before the first flakes start to fall. With a fast moving storm, conditions can change for the worse in a matter of minutes, leaving you stranded outside in the cold.

Keep Your Cell Phone + A Backup Battery Charged

Cell phones will allow you to keep track of other family members and friends who are also braving the storm, as well as provide you with a means of contacting authorities in the event of an emergency. If your town or municipality has invested in an emergency notification system, you may also receive important storm updates on your cell phone.

Unlike other storms, blizzards can leave you in a precarious position for days after the storm has blown over. By being prepared beforehand, you and your family will have no problems in weathering out the storm, and its aftermath.

7 Tips For Getting Your House Winter Weather Ready

Winter Weather Home Tips

Parts of the U.S. are already seeing snow in their forecast, making it imperative that you get your house winter ready. Winter weather causes a lot of wear and tear on a home, most of which can be prevented with a few quick tweaks and fixes while the leaves are still falling from the trees:

Start by Sealing any Leaks

Winter heating costs will skyrocket quickly if your home is prone to letting in the cold air. Use a candle and hold it to the frames of your windows and outside doors to check for any drafts blowing in. Electrical outlets and holes for plumbing entry are also common culprits of a leaky home. Replace worn weather stripping and door stops, fill leaks with caulking and extra insulation where necessary to make sure that you are getting the most benefit from your home's heating system, without having to remortgage your home to fund it.

Schedule Maintenance On Your Home's Heating System

You should schedule a maintenance visit with your local HVAC company. They'll change out the filters, clean the components and make sure that everything is running the way it should. This alone will save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a cold winter, especially if your home is being heated by an older system.

Protect Your Plumbing

Check to make sure that your outside faucets are completely drained, and that all hoses are free of water and rolled up for storage. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, it should be blown out by professionals to remove all traces of water left over during the summer. Do an inspection of the exposed plumbing in your home, and make any repairs now before the temperatures start to reach freezing.

Schedule a Chimney Sweep

If you rely on a fireplace to warm parts of your home in the winter, get it prepared by having it cleaned before you light the first fire. Not only will this make it more efficient, it will protect your home from a fire caused by build-up inside of the chimney.

Have Your Gutters Cleaned Out

Clogged gutters will cause a big mess, and possibly roof damage, if they are not clear when the temperatures start to freeze. This is a DIY job, but take care if you do it yourself to not fall off of your ladder. If clogged gutters are a persistent problem consider installing gutter guards on your home.

Stock Up on Your Winter Weather Supplies

After a blizzard is not the time to realize that you have no gas in the snow blower. Make sure that you have a snow shovel that is in good shape, sidewalk salt or litter, and of course enough fuel for your snow blower before you need it. Stocking up on bottled water and non-perishable food is also a good idea if you live in an area where heavy snowfall is a common event.

Change Out Your Bedding

Now is the time to switch from your summer bedclothes to that warm down comforter. By changing to heavier blankets in the winter, you can turn down the thermostat at night, saving you money on your home heating bills.

There is a lot to do before winter steps in, and you should give yourself some time to get these things done. Make a schedule that spans out over the next few weekends, and your home will be nice and toasty inside when the temperature starts to drop outside.

5 Tips For Turning a Snow Day into a Family Fun Day

Snow Day Tips

No two words spoken at home can cause the paradox that "snow day" does. Kids are thrilled to learn they get to enjoy a free day off from school, while mom and dad are terrified to find out they have an unscheduled day where they must provide entertainment at home. Take the terror out of a snow day alert by being prepared with some entertaining ways to keep the kids from burning up with cabin fever:

Let the Morning Pass By Slowly

Embrace the impromptu day off with nothing planned, and stay toasty in your pajamas for a few extra hours. Let the kids turn the living room into a campsite using blankets and couch cushions. Drag out the sleeping bags and spend the better part of the snowy morning just snuggling, telling stories and snacking on foods that are normally a no-no in the morning.

Frolic in the Snow

Midday is the best time to get out into fresh snow, as this is likely going to be the warmest part of the day. Pile on the winter gear and let the kids burn off their energy outside. You have to shovel your driveway anyway, so why not let them build a snowman or make snow angels alongside you. Bigger kids can even help with the shoveling task, giving you some free time to throw a snowball or two before it's time to head back inside.

Bake Your Dinner - And Dessert to Go With It

When was the last time you had the time to bake a lasagna, or roast a chicken? Snow days at home are perfect opportunities for preparing family meals that aren't put together on the fly. Add some homemade cookies or a cake inside the oven, and your snow day with the kids just turned into a holiday. Get your kids involved in the preparation by letting them whip up some mashed potatoes, clean the greens for a salad, or even fill the pans for their snow day cake.

Bring Back Family Game Night

It's easy to flip on Netflix to keep everyone entertained, but with some time to spare, you have time for a few hours of Monopoly. Game night is a past time that can be brought into the present, giving your family a rare moment to spend some real quality time together. If Monopoly is too much, try UNO, Scrabble or for young ones, a race around the Chutes and Ladders.

Remind the Kids to Study

The unscheduled day off from school won't last forever, so keep the kids on course by having them study their school work for an hour or two before bedtime. You can make it fun by letting them have a hot cup of cocoa or popcorn while they go over the times tables one more time.

If the flakes are starting to fall again as you turn down your lights, don't forget to check your messages to see if the school is sending out yet another snow day alert for tomorrow. When they are using a school notification service like DialMyCalls, you and your kids will never be left out in the cold.

Tips on Getting Started With an SMS Marketing Campaign

SMS Text Message Marketing Tips

The cell phone has evolved into much more than just a phone. It provides you with access to music, video games, your social networks and of course instant advertising. With the high probability that an SMS text message will be read, businesses have begun using them as a way to draw in new customers.

Businesses have quickly learned the value of text messaging as a marketing tool. This is an inexpensive way of reaching thousands instantly with just a click of the send button. Yet like email marketing, a business must ask permission of the consumer first before they start sending special deals and event invites via text message.

Building an opt-in list is a must if you plan on using a text message campaign to build your business. You don't want a random list of names, but rather a database of interested customers where you can personalize messages based on what you know about them. This is not nearly as hard as you think with a carefully crafted plan for gathering opt-in numbers.

For Brick and Mortar Stores

Signs on doors, inside of dressing rooms and at the cash register that show your SMS keyword will grab the customer's attention and get them initially interested in learning more. All employees that deal directly with the customer should be trained in how to talk up the program, and how by opting in they will be getting exclusive discounts on merchandise, and real-time notices for when their favorite items are going on sale. Cashiers should be explaining to each customer how text messaging opt-ins work. For example, I you were to use DialMyCalls' text messaging system then your customer would simply text your custom SMS keyword to DialMyCalls' shortcode (80123) and they will be opted in to receive alerts from you.

Always Offer an Incentive

We all love the feeling of getting free stuff or discounts designed just for us. Make sure you are giving people an incentive to opt-in. Restaurants could give a free appetizer, bars a discounted drink, and a store an extra bonus discount for their first purchase. When the customer weighs the value, they see a freebie for nothing more than handing over their cell phone number.

Bars and Restaurants

Bars and restaurants have an advantage over other business types in getting people to opt-in for SMS text messaging, since their customers generally spend more time in the restaurant. Put out table tents with your unique keyword with directions and an explanation on what they can get by opting-in. Make sure that your staff is trained to help customers opt-in if they need assistance.

Online Stores

If your business is primarily online you can still use SMS text messaging for advertising. Create a landing page that encourages visitors to fill out the form, letting them know that they will be getting exclusive information on your upcoming sales. Another way is by having the option at check-out, giving the customer an extra percentage off of that sale as an incentive for opting-in to receive your texts.

With the information you gather from the form, and the way in which your customer shops, you can send them messages relative to their habits and likes. With this type of in the hand, personalized marketing, you will see positive results in your bottom line.

*It is against DialMyCalls' terms of service to send out any unsolicited marketing/sales text messages through our system - only recipients that have opted in to receive your text message alerts may be contacted.

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