People want ‘real relationships, genuine community’ in post-COVID world; organizations eye online conversations
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Christian ministries and nonprofits are eager to “ramp up the conversation” with the post-COVID generation, a new survey suggests.
They’re looking to increase their online video and live-chat offerings to engage people who want “real relationships and genuine community” in the post-COVID world.
The survey of Christian leaders — conducted last month — also finds ministries and nonprofits want to charge-up their communications with more emotional and inspirational content, as people exit COVID looking for connections that speak to their heart.
Key findings from the survey Enormous Expectations, Explosive Engagements: Communications Priorities for Faith-Based Organizations in a Post-COVID World — conducted by InChrist Communications (ICC, www.inchristcommunications.com
The survey report is available at https://inchristcommunication.
“After months of social distancing, shuttered churches, and lockdowns, people are desperate to connect with others — and right now ministries want to ramp up the conversation and find the best ways to engage with them,” said Diane Lonsdale, ICC’s chief communications strategist.
Packing A Post-COVID Punch
Christian leaders believe communications that pack a powerful emotional and inspirational punch will trigger the biggest response and engagement post-COVID, according to the survey.
“Nonprofit and ministry leaders want to engage their audiences and supporters, not merely inform them,” said Lonsdale.
Increasing online video and live-chat capabilities are among their top priorities in the quest to connect with the post-COVID generation and “create a dynamic platform for real relationships, two-way conversations, and genuine community,” Lonsdale said.
“Post-COVID, people are craving personal connections,” she said. “They’re looking to have real-time conversations — and they’re increasingly turning to online live-chat platforms to initiate those engaging conversations.”
“The rules of engagement have clearly changed,” said Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter Research & Consulting. “Ministry leaders and communicators are anxious to increase their emotional engagement with their audiences. They want more two-way relationships with donors and constituents.”
Struggling to Make the Connection
Many Christian ministries and nonprofits, though, are “struggling to make this crucial emotional and relational connection,” said Palmer Holt, ICC founder and CEO.
“Right now, many Christian organizations are drowning in the ‘sea of sameness’,” Holt said. “They’re failing to show how they’re different, and why people should have a heart-tug toward their cause and engage with them.”
Sellers said: “Many ministry leaders struggle with what branding really is and how it can make an organization stand out. Simply emphasizing the work they do or their commitment to the cause does not lead to a unique, meaningful brand.”
The survey findings, Holt says, indicate many leaders are ready to “re-engage” and develop a post-COVID communications strategy that’s relationship-driven and emotionally-charged. “As we emerge from the pandemic, now is the time for ministries and nonprofits to recalibrate their brand and messaging,” he said.
InChrist Communications (ICC, www.inchristcommunications.com
Grey Matter Research & Consulting (www.greymatterresearch.com) is a leading marketing research agency that partners with businesses and donor-supported organizations to understand consumer thought patterns and trends.
PHOTO CUTLINE: COMMUNICATING IN A POST-COVID WORLD: Christian ministries and nonprofits are eager to “ramp up the conversation” with the post-COVID generation, a new survey suggests. They’re looking to increase their online video and live-chat offerings to engage people who want “real relationships and genuine community” in the post-COVID world.