Making Money With Church Directories

by 22 comments
I have an idea and I checked if anyone had brought this up on the forums before and I did not see it. Throw your two cents in and help me smooth the edges off this.

I will contact large (500-1000 members) churches and tell them I will give them around 1,000 free church directories that have all the members numbers and addresses.

I make it clear that advertising will pay for the directories and I ask for a list of 50-75 businesses that the the church does business with already or that members are owners/employees of.

I then sell advertising to those businesses that will be placed inside the directory.

I have not hammered out the numbers but im sure that I would make a decent profit. Also, if I worked it correctly, I could get a good listing of addresses for future advertising.

These are my numbers so far, let me know if I am reaching too far for this.
I would have 25 targeted advertising spots to fill out of the 75 businesses.

I would charge 399.00 for a spot. If they all filled it would be $9,975. If I could get the thousand directories printed at $4 each I could pay for them and still make a $5,900 profit.

This is only a theory at the moment because I just started working it out recently so be gentle on the new guy, and thanks in advance.
#offline marketing #church #directories #making #money

  • Profile picture of the author ace666
    Sounds like a good idea, but in the digital age we are now moving into the first thing I would want to know is will they use this? I've unlisted myself from the yellow pages because everything I want I can access via the net.

    That would be my only concern, great idea though, you can always call a few churches to see if the idea is something they would be interested in.
  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    I wouldn't do this. Doesn't mean you can't be successful with it but I don't see the value in this? I dunno.. it could work.

    I'm kind of hesitant even marketing to churches.
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by ace666 View Post

    Sounds like a good idea, but in the digital age we are now moving into the first thing I would want to know is will they use this? I've unlisted myself from the yellow pages because everything I want I can access via the net.

    That would be my only concern, great idea though, you can always call a few churches to see if the idea is something they would be interested in.
    I completely agree but churches are a hard sell because they think that they should get things for free. So my thought was to do just that, and sell advertising in the process.

    Churches do use their directories to organize amongst themselves so, in theory, it makes sense. Worth a shot, wouldn't be impossible to break even if things went south.
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

    I wouldn't do this. Doesn't mean you can't be successful with it but I don't see the value in this? I dunno.. it could work.

    I'm kind of hesitant even marketing to churches.
    I totally agree about marketing to churches. I am just trying to use their entitlement and business connections to create an untapped market. If I go through with this I will update this thread.
  • Profile picture of the author Aussieguy
    I don't like the idea. Printing is dead cheap these days, and most churches 500+ have the budget to print their own (if they even do that these days). Plus, the idea seems more about you than them (sorry if that sounds too harsh).

    If it's about making connections, why not offer to look at their website gratis? Perhaps be upfront and ask that they would either give your business a free plug when they "show the new website" (most probably on the big screen).

    Set up a private members log in and put in an online directory there.

    SMS is actually a real possibility if they're not already doing it. My church occasionally sends out a text to remind of an upcoming event. Not often, but sometimes. I think that probably some churches wouldn't even know what's available to them cheaply. Why not go set them up (at their expense - your sacrifice is your time). One again, in return perhaps ask that they would allow your business flyer in the foyer or somesuch.
  • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
    I'll cut to the chase for speed.

    Do you think that any organisation will give you their database of peoples names, home addresses and phone numbers?

    Because I don't.

    It's called Data Protection.

    If they could do it, or had permission of members to do it, then they would just hit 'send all' in their e-mail with a spreadsheet attached.

    Dan
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by Aussieguy View Post

    I don't like the idea. Printing is dead cheap these days, and most churches 500+ have the budget to print their own (if they even do that these days). Plus, the idea seems more about you than them (sorry if that sounds too harsh).

    If it's about making connections, why not offer to look at their website gratis? Perhaps be upfront and ask that they would either give your business a free plug when they "show the new website" (most probably on the big screen).

    Set up a private members log in and put in an online directory there.

    SMS is actually a real possibility if they're not already doing it. My church occasionally sends out a text to remind of an upcoming event. Not often, but sometimes. I think that probably some churches wouldn't even know what's available to them cheaply. Why not go set them up (at their expense - your sacrifice is your time). One again, in return perhaps ask that they would allow your business flyer in the foyer or somesuch.
    Nope that is not too harsh. I never said I was looking to do things just to give away. I was merely looking to make a win/win/win situation. Churches are suffering just like everyone else in the economy and this seemed to be a plausible way to advertise to them and make some money from giving them free directories.
  • Profile picture of the author Pawpoint
    I hear THUNDER!!!!
  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I work at a church part-time. One thing to remember is that a lot of photography companies have been doing this for years. They offer picture directories to church for free. They make money by then trying to sell copies of the photos to church members.

    In other words, there's no cost to the church or to the members to have a full color photo of their family placed in the directory and each member gets a directory for free. The companies only make money if a family decides to order copies of their photo. It will be hard to compete against the well established companies such as Olan Mills and Lifetouch.

    Rose
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by jimbo13 View Post

    I'll cut to the chase for speed.

    Do you think that any organisation will give you their database of peoples names, home addresses and phone numbers?

    Because I don't.

    It's called Data Protection.

    If they could do it, or had permission of members to do it, then they would just hit 'send all' in their e-mail with a spreadsheet attached.

    Dan
    I was simply stating that it could be one possible avenue for the business model. I could simply allow them to put all the info together and send it to the printer and I deliver the directories when they are finished.

    Also, I think I should have explained that I live in the Bible Belt of the US and the church/state relationship is very different than in California or any other Blue State. Churches are far more likely to make deals with individuals to do things like I stated.

    Thanks for the feedback I want even the bad stuff. I would hate to waste my time for nothing.
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by Pawpoint View Post

    I hear THUNDER!!!!
    Lol. I know I must tread lightly on this business model. I do not see any ethical problems as long as I am honest about how they are paid for and do not try to lift their member's data without their consent.
  • Profile picture of the author StephanieMojica
    You'll really have to sell yourself as honorable, because some people would try to lift those addresses. Are you connected to any local church in any way? If so, start in your own congregation, build some trust, and go from there.

    Good luck!

    Stephanie
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

    I work at a church part-time. One thing to remember is that a lot of photography companies have been doing this for years. They offer picture directories to church for free. They make money by then trying to sell copies of the photos to church members.

    In other words, there's no cost to the church or to the members to have a full color photo of their family placed in the directory and each member gets a directory for free. The companies only make money if a family decides to order copies of their photo. It will be hard to compete against the well established companies such as Olan Mills and Lifetouch.

    Rose
    Well the difference in what I do and what those companies do will make the difference. Some churches have passed on those companies because they do not want them trying to solicit their congregation. While I am doing that to a degree I am not trying to sell directly to the members. I will just provide advertising space from business that the church already has ties with.

    I would never try to hustle a church. I am just trying to provide them with something they want in a way that would also benefit me but that benefit does not include me taking any money from the church. As long as I remain transparent and honest I do not foresee any issues.

    Would you think it would help if I used the angle of a fund raiser and I gave youth, outreach, etc. ministries a check for half of what I earn or something in that nature?
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by StephanieMojica View Post

    You'll really have to sell yourself as honorable, because some people would try to lift those figures. Are you connected to any local church in any way? If so, start in your own congregation, build some trust, and go from there.

    Good luck!

    Stephanie
    I most definitely would have to do that.
  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy James
    Breakinglink - contact me via PM with your contact information (phone, skype, email, etc.) I WANT to talk to you.
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by Jeremy James View Post

    Breakinglink - contact me via PM with your contact information (phone, skype, email, etc.) I WANT to talk to you.
    Still shy of my 50 posts. My email is americanskydiver (at) gmail (dot) com
  • Profile picture of the author StephanieMojica
    Originally Posted by Breakinglink View Post

    I most definitely would have to do that.
    Also, most major cities have Christian business networking groups. If you're not already in such circles now would be a good time to get in and focus on building relationships.

    Good luck!

    Stephanie
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by StephanieMojica View Post

    Also, most major cities have Christian business networking groups. If you're not already in such circles now would be a good time to get in and focus on building relationships.

    Good luck!

    Stephanie
    Oh, that is a very good point. I also think that line of thinking works for bigger organizations such as the Southern Baptist Convention (the large group in my area). Thank you again that is a great idea and I will get working on that ASAP.
  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    Using it as fundraiser for youth or mission projects could really help you sell the idea. Target youth ministers when you address letters or make the calls or they will never see the material you mail to the church.

    Stephanie is right...if you could do this for your own church it will make it much easier to prove your reliability to other churches.

    Marketing to churches is like marketing to any other non-profit organization. We pay for services every day from carpet cleaners to webmasters. We never expect them to offer their services for free. But then I'm in the Bible belt as you are so many churches have over 1,000 plus members. It would probably be different in a small community with a church of 75.

    Rose
  • Profile picture of the author Breakinglink
    Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

    Using it as fundraiser for youth or mission projects could really help you sell the idea. Target youth ministers when you address letters or make the calls or they will never see the material you mail to the church.

    Stephanie is right...if you could do this for your own church it will make it much easier to prove your reliability to other churches.

    Marketing to churches is like marketing to any other non-profit organization. We pay for services every day from carpet cleaners to webmasters. We never expect them to offer their services for free. But then I'm in the Bible belt as you are so many churches have over 1,000 plus members. It would probably be different in a small community with a church of 75.

    Rose
    Thank you for the insight Rose. I do believe you are correct about the fund raising point. I will get something together for my church to give this a test run.

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