When first-time visitors arrive, churches are often excited to collect as much information from them as possible.
First name, last name, address, email, phone number, text number, salvation status, how they learned about the church, ministries they’re interested in, prayer requests, children’s names and ages… How much is too much?
When the rubber meets the road, here’s the information you MUST collect from your visitors.
The Litmus Test for Information You MUST Collect from Church Visitors
If your church visitors are reluctant to fill out a provided contact card, it doesn’t matter how insightful your questions are.
A study by Barna and the Cornerstone Knowledge Network revealed that only 33% of Millennials were comfortable sharing their name and email with a church during their first visit. Even fewer wanted to share their address, phone number and social information.
Marketers will tell you that the quantity of information requested directly correlates with the number of people who will fill out your form. In other words, the less you ask for, the more likely your form will be completed and turned in.
Therefore, ask yourself: What information do we need?
If you don’t send out letters or schedule a pastoral visit, do you really need their addresses? If you are only following up with the adults, why ask for their children’s names? While you’d love to know how people find your church, is it really worth asking the question if doing so will result in fewer forms received?
At Minimum, Collect the Church Visitors’ Full Name
Receiving the name of the visitor who attends (not necessarily the head of household) will ensure that no matter how you follow up, you can personally address them. Letters, phone calls, emails…they all connect with a real person, so you must know their name. By collecting a visitors’ first and last name, you’ll have enough information to start a record in your Church Management Software.
At Minimum, Collect the Church Visitors’ Email
Next, by collecting visitors’ emails, you have an immediate, cost-effective way of following up electronically, whether it be with an automated email or a personal message.
At Minimum…That’s All You Need to Collect from Church Visitors
Address, phone number, other interesting information…this can all be collected at a later date when the visitors return and begin a relationship with your church by getting involved. It can be tempting to ask for everything up front, but remember, the more you ask, the fewer responses you’ll receive.
More Church Visitor Information Is Available Elsewhere
And don’t forget: If you have good Church Management Software, it can merge new visitors’ information with the children’s church check-in system. When parents drop their kids off, they’ll often leave their full address, phone number, text number and children’s names and ages as part of your tagging system. By merging this information with their name and email, you’ll have more than enough to follow up.
Time to Update
The bottom line is that the less you ask for on a visitor form, the more completed forms you’ll receive. Update your forms today and you’ll likely start building your database faster than ever.
And if you’re looking for other creative ways to make visitors feel welcome into your church, download our free ebook, How to Make Visitors Feel Welcome now!