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Will Online Church Replace Traditional Church Gatherings?

Will Online Church Replace Traditional Church Gatherings?
 

If you attend church on a regular basis, then you’ve probably noticed that many churches are modernizing their approach to worship and congregational gatherings. While most churches still hold physical worship services, many are also dabbling in online media, podcasts, and live streaming services. But what does this mean for the future?

 

Top 5 Types of Church Technology

Top 5 Types of Church Technology

When you think about church, technology probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But take a look around and you’ll see that technology is making major moves in this industry. And despite some friction and pushback from certain individuals and groups, it appears that the technological disruption is largely positive. Here are a few current tech trends for churches:

 

Online Media - Church Technology

1) Online Media

In an age where a lot of small and local businesses have yet to fully realize the potential of online media, churches – by and large – are strategically allocating resources to this important area of visibility. This includes website development, social media, and video production.

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Is SMS Marketing Right for Your Business?

SMS Marketing for Your Business
 

Believe it or not, text messaging can be a surprisingly effective marketing channel. In 2013, mobile marketing grew by over 100%, and part of this growth was an increase in SMS marketing. Nearly a third of consumers have subscribed to mobile messaging from brands, illustrating that people really are receptive to this form of advertising. Of those who have subscribed, two thirds have made a purchase as a result of receiving a relevant SMS marketing message.

With an open rate of an astounding 98%, versus 22% per emails, SMS marketing looks promising. For many brands, implementing an SMS strategy can bring a considerable return on investment, it can increase web and in-store traffic, generate sales, and strengthen relationships with existing customers.

Although SMS messaging isn't well suited for every niche or industry, it works very well for many types of companies, notably retailers, restaurants, and nonprofit organizations. But is SMS a good option for your business?

What Kinds of Businesses Do Well with SMS?

There are a few types of businesses and non-business entities that are likely to see good results from marketing and advertising via SMS. Some of these include:

  • Brick and mortar retailers
  • Ecommerce retailers
  • Salons
  • Supermarkets
  • Specialty stores
  • Bars
  • Bakeries
  • Food trucks
  • Churches
  • Nonprofit organizations

That's not to say that other industries can't see success from an SMS campaign, text messaging tends to work particularly well for these kinds of businesses.

 

Retail SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing for Retail

For both online and brick-and-mortar retailers, SMS marketing can encourage customers to make a purchase. Many retail stores across the country are implementing SMS as part of their marketing strategies, offering coupons, deals, and sale reminders to returning customers. While mobile coupon codes are a popular choice for text message promotion, that's not the only option. Some of the most popular types of promotional SMS messages for retail stores include:

  • Announcing product launches to create buzz
  • Limited time mobile coupons to encourage customers to make a purchase in the near future
  • Reminders about annual clearance sales

Mobile messaging reminds your customers about your brand, offering the incentives to shop with you, and not your competitors. Because SMS messages aren't intrusive, consumers tend to respond well to them.

 

Restaurant SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing for Restaurants

Restaurants can also benefit from SMS marketing. Offering deals, specials, and coupon codes can invite your customers to return and take advantage of limited time offers. Like retail stores, restaurants -- as well as food trucks, bars, and other establishments -- can bring in more foot traffic with SMS promotions.

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Top 11 Great Communication Apps for Scout Troops

Top 11 Great Communication Apps for Scout Troops
 

Leading a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop is a great way to give back to your local community. Many people, especially parents, decide to create a scout troop in their local area. For scout masters, keeping track of everything and maintaining good communication with the scouts, or with parents of younger scouts like Brownies and Cub Scouts, can present a challenge.

Fortunately, there are an impressive variety of options for facilitating consistent, effective communication with your scouts and their parents. Here are some of the best options, including general messaging apps, platforms designed specifically for scout troop management, and more.

 

TroopTrack - Top Communication Apps for Scout Troops

TroopTrack

TroopTrack is a software program specifically designed for managing and organizing scout troops. You can plan events, manage important information, and communicate with members of your troop using an email distribution list, which includes a monthly newsletter personalized for each member. 

In TroopTrack, you can also create custom web pages and share pictures, documents, links, and videos. For many organizations, including Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, they also provide information about badges and other achievements. [trooptrack.com]

 

Email - Top Communication Apps for Scout Troops

Email

Email isn’t the latest and greatest cutting-edge communication app, but it’s still in use for a reason. Pretty much everyone has an email address, and the majority of teenagers and adults check theirs regularly. If your troop is composed of younger children who don’t have their own mobile devices or Facebook pages yet, email is sometimes the simplest way to keep in touch with their parents.

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Top 8 Tips for Planning a Productive Church Meeting

Top 8 Best Tips for Planning a Productive Church Meeting

Whether you're a pastor, an administrator, or a devoted volunteer at your church, meetings can feel like a serious drain on your energy and time. When not properly planned, meetings can meander off in a million different directions, making it impossible for your group to focus on important issues that need to be resolved. Poor organization, poorly defined meeting goals, and a lack of meeting structure can cripple an organization's meetings, and houses of worship are no exception.

If you feel like your church meetings aren't really accomplishing anything except wasting your staff and your volunteers' time, it might be time to reassess how you go about planning and executing your church meetings. Maybe you're having trouble contacting everyone effectively, leading to important people accidentally missing critical meetings. Maybe you're never quite sure what to talk about, leading to poor focus and meetings that spread your subject matter too thin. Maybe your meetings last far too long, but when they end, no one feels like anything actually got done.

These helpful tips can help you make your church meetings more productive than ever, turning them from a drain on people's time into a truly valuable opportunity to plan and grow together as a community.

Top 8 Church Meeting Tips - Schedules

1) Plan Your Religious Meetings on a Regular Schedule

Are your church meetings happening haphazardly, without any real schedule that determines when and where you meet? Having your meetings on a regular, predetermined schedule makes it easier for participants to keep up with them, as well as making it easier to measure progress toward your goals. Whether your meetings are once a week or once a month, planning for predetermined dates and times can help ensure that everyone who needs to be there is available.

Top 8 Church Meeting Tips - Agendas

2) Plan an Agenda for Each Church Meeting

For each church meeting, you should have already planned what you're going to talk about. Many church groups create handouts with key points, which can be distributed at the meeting. Without a clear agenda, meetings are likely to veer off-track or last longer than anyone wanted them to. A carefully designed meeting agenda ensures that anything truly important is brought up and talked about. If you're planning a meeting to discuss an upcoming bake sale to raise money, you don't want half the meeting to revolve around recent problems with the church choir. Structured meetings get a lot more accomplished than meetings where everyone is left to their own devices.

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Does Your Hospital Have an Effective Emergency Plan in Place?

Hospital Emergency Preparedness
 

Hospitals are incredibly important resources within a community, and in the case of an unpredictable and devastating disaster, it's crucial that hospital facilities remain organized, operational, and prepared. This means having an effective, well constructed emergency plan in place, capable of dealing with scenarios like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, chemical emergencies, and other events.

Back in 2006, a study published in the journal Prehospital and Disaster Medicine evaluated hospital emergency preparedness for mass casualty incidents (MCIs). These events are almost unthinkable, but the fact that they're possible means that hospitals need to have an emergency preparedness plan in place to deal with them. Furthermore, if a hospital is equipped to handle an MCI, this preparedness plan can form a framework that allows them to handle minor emergencies smoothly and effectively.

 

Hospital Emergency Checklist

The Elements of Hospital Preparedness

The 2006 study outlines nine key elements for hospital emergency preparedness for disasters of all kinds. The authors recommend an annual assessment of emergency plans, focused on these nine important aspects:

  1. Elements of disaster planning
  2. Emergency coordination
  3. Communication
  4. Training
  5. Hospital surge capacity
  6. Personnel availability
  7. Equipment availability
  8. Medical supply stockpiles
  9. Expanded laboratory capacities

Numerous tools are available to hospitals to conduct these annual assessments, including surveys and self-assessment tools.

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Top 22 Best Apps for Nonprofits

Top 22 Best Apps for Nonprofits
 

There are quite a few apps out there that are designed to help businesses run more smoothly. From project management to lead generation, these helpful web and mobile technologies make our lives so much easier. This is also true for nonprofits. Nonprofits face unique challenges, but many of the same apps can provide significant benefits for these organizations. Here are some of the best apps available for nonprofit foundations.

One Today by Google - Nonprofit App

1) One Today by Google

One Today is a mobile app from Google that features a different nonprofit every day. Users can donate $1 or match peer donations. To be approved, you'll need to register with Google for Nonprofits. [onetoday.google.com]

Check-in for Good - Nonprofit App

2) Check-in for Good

Check-in for Good can turn any business or event venue into a hub for donations and raising awareness. This app uses location-based technology to help your donors find donation hotspots. By checking in, they can conveniently send a micro-donation to your cause. [checkinforgood.com]

 

VolunteerMatch - Nonprofit App

3) VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch makes it easier than ever to find volunteer workers for your next event or fundraiser. People can search the site by location, skills, and interests, helping them find places to volunteer their time. You can create a free account with the app to attract local volunteers who care about your cause. [volunteermatch.org]

 

One Day's Wages - Nonprofit App

4) One Day's Wages

One Day's Wages is a grassroots movement that encourages users to donate one day's wages to fight world poverty. If your nonprofit's cause is similar, you can partner with them and work together to better the world. [onedayswages.org]

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