As communication leaders, we’ve all experienced the quick conversation in the hall, text message, phone call or email where a church staff member has a communications project that needs to be done. Often that is followed by, “So, could this be completed by tomorrow morning?”
Three years ago when I started as communications director of West Ridge Church, there was no simple solution in place for our staff to make communication requests for things like graphics, videos, event promotions and social media posts. It didn’t take long for the communication needs of a big church to become unorganized and overwhelming. The staff didn’t have an understanding of how to make requests, what information my team needed to know or how long it would take to complete a project. Welcome to chaos!
How did we fix this problem? We setup a Communication Request page with forms (powered by Wufoo) that walk the requester through all of the information we need to complete the project. We have communication requests and deadlines for:
- Ministry program/events
- Church-wide events
- Social media posts
- Design/print projects
- Video project
- Website updates
Getting this system in place was a game-changer for our staff and communications team. It provided a simple solution for our staff to submit all of their communication needs and an expectation for what the timeline looked like for the different types of requests.
Need a System for Communication Requests?
Here’s how to get started:
- Map out the type of requests you receive, along with the information needed for each request. Feel free to look at the forms at WestRidge.com if you need a place to start.
- Build the forms with a form builder like Wufoo, Formstack or even a free solution like Google Forms.
- Post a link to the forms where the staff can easily get to them. Then, teach the staff about this new system and funnel all communication requests through these forms.
Tips & Ideas
- As you begin implementing this new system to the staff, you’ll need to be intentional about all requests being funneled through this system. For this to work, staff needs to know that this is the place for all requests. No exceptions. It’s fine for the conversation about a project to begin in a meeting, phone call, etc., but make sure they know the project doesn’t begin until the communication request is submitted.
- I’m careful that the language in these forms says “Communications Request” and not “Work Order.” There are times when our team does not have the margin to complete the request or there is a more effective way to approach the project. If that happens, I always try to let them know what we can do and share alternatives for the items we can’t complete.
- For each of the individual requests, you can setup email notifications to go to specific members of your team. For example, if you have a staff member or volunteer in charge of video, they can receive the request directly when someone submits the form.
- Receiving the communications request is important, but it doesn’t end there. The next step for the communications team is to map out the tasks and milestones for how the project is getting completed. I do this by first mapping it out in a Communications Plan Google Doc and then assigning tasks to our team through a free project management app called Asana.
What does your system look like for managing communication requests? Share in the comments!