All posts by Andrea Perry

Analytics. New and Improved!

“What does this mean and how can we use this information to help people live their Catholic life every day and bring people in our community closer to Christ?”

Over the past year, we have been working hard to develop our new myParish App analytics. After hearing from you and taking into consideration your needs we are excited to offer our new platform that will help you evaluate your app activity.

Building Catholic Community

Let me take you on a short journey before we dive into the data. I, like many of my colleagues, come from the parish world. Until this past summer, I was the youth director for three parishes in my community and wore many hats when I was full-time at the parish. Like many of you, I was a great multitasker; answered phones sat on committees, and organized many parish events. I can remember, time after time, our team would plan faith-filled events hopeful each would have a better turnout. Think of the hours spent in planning and hosting each of these events. When we brought in a speaker there would often be an additional monetary expense as well. Our goal was basically the same each time: to bring people closer to Christ and live their Catholic life more fully every day. As a full-time team member at Diocesan, I have this same goal. I help people like yourself help your community live their Catholic life every day.

Each time a parishioner goes to the myParish app and taps on a button or a feature they are engaging in your virtual community. If the message sent or the announcement you made inspires them to open the app, you have helped them grow in their faith. In just a few short minutes each week, you have the potential to reach every parishioner who has downloaded the app. If they choose to open the app a second time or a third, your communication helped to make that happen. Instead of weeks of planning for one event, just minutes of intentional planning and implementation with your app will have an ongoing impact.

Now more than ever your faith community is looking to connect through technology. Let’s seize this opportunity to bring our fellow Christians closer to Christ. Although analytics gives us a clear idea of how many people have engaged in your app over time it does not tell the whole story. Take a deeper look into what these numbers are telling us and the opportunities they present to engage your community more fully.

The Details

The analytics page in the myParish app portal displays your parish’s unique users over a period of time. (It is important to note that accurate numbers were not reported until the beginning of February 2021.) Not all users will access myParish app every week. Looking at a month or more of data is a good starting point. The frequency of users to your app is based largely on the frequency of your communication. Sending messages and promoting myParish app features will generally increase usage of your app.

Here are some insightful questions to ask yourself when evaluating your data:

  • Are there spikes in viewership?
    • Was a message sent out on that day?
    • Was an announcement made at Mass?
    • Was it a feast day or a special day in the liturgical season?
    • Did our parish have a special event happening that day or the next?
  • Are there valleys in viewership?
    • What days of the week are these trending?
    • Is there an opportunity to engage in a mid-week event?
  • How often are these happening?
    • What buttons might appeal to your community every day?
      • Prayers? Setting a daily prayer reminder?
      • Readings? Reading the daily readings every day?
      • Custom Button? Inspire Daily or Three-Minute Theology?

myParish app will assist your parishioners in living their Catholic life every day

A little work on your part will inspire and strengthen the faith of your parishioners.

Our team will continue to develop the analytics platform with features that will allow you to see the number of new users as well as how your users are specifically utilizing your app. You will know if your messaging is inspiring new downloads and what features to promote. Our team and our Admin Resource Center have a wealth of resources to help you do this with ease. Please schedule a call below for a 1-on-1 review of your app’s analytics.

Schedule a call for a FREE App Analytics Consultation:

Celebrate the Year of St. Joseph

The beginning of Lent is only a few weeks away and Ash Wednesday is February 17 this year. Here at Diocesan, we are planning to focus on the Year of St. Joseph.

Maybe you’re already having dialogue and making plans in your parish. We are excited to offer the following selection of Year of St. Joseph resources for you:

  • Litany of St. Joseph in the prayer button.
  • St. Joseph icon – this is a custom icon we are offering for parishes or dioceses that will have content to share.
  • Prayer cards and banners can be ordered here.
  • App Backgrounds and Lent button, request here
  • New for Lent 2021! An Invitation for parish priests and deacons to contribute to the Year of St. Joseph themed Lenten reflections. We are excited about this opportunity to get your parishes involved!
    • We are inviting your parish to contribute. Every year Diocesan adds special reflections for both Advent and Lent. Over 700 parishes add this button to their app during these liturgical seasons. This Lent we would like your parish priest or deacon to be featured in our 40 days of reflections. We are asking parishes to submit their priest’s or deacon’s Year of Saint Joseph Homily or a special reflection on St. Joseph for consideration. We are excited to feature our priests and deacons and hope you will consider participating. The Homily or Reflection can be submitted via pdf, youtube video, or audio (mp3 or RSS)
    • The form must include the following information:
      • Parish name, address, email address, priest’s name, upload of your file, and questions for us.
    • Please submit a homily or reflection given by your parish priest for the year of St. Joseph. The Diocesan team will gather all responses. We will choose 40 reflections/homilies from those submitted. We will notify you if your parish is selected. The submission will be used for the Lent Reflections button housed on myParish App. We will not use your content on any other platform. It will be available to myParish App users. Submit Homily or Reflection
  • *By submitting this form you are giving Diocesan permission to post the reflection on the myParish App.

Thank you for your commitment to our parish families.
We look forward to seeing your Year of St. Joseph App content.

Praying for 2021

After many of us have struggled through the difficulties and uncertainties of 2020, I believe that we are all ready to move forward with a fresh outlook and even resolutions that we’ve been reluctant to make in the past. In our church community, it’s important to channel messaging and resolutions based on what parishioners have available to them – the bulletin, email, myParish App, Evangelus, social media, or all of these. Resolutions and effective communication can work hand in hand.

If one of your resolutions would be to improve the timeliness and quality of the information to your parishioners, then how is the current communication process in your parish? In your role as the App administrator, try sharing meaningful messages with your parishioners that keep them engaged, strengthen their faith, give newfound ways to use the app, and share it with others. Keep resolutions concise and attainable. Here are a few you might want to share:

myParish app New Year’s Resolutions

  1.  Relaunch the app
    1. Use the bulletin cover and promo materials to reintroduce the app to the parish
    2. Announce the app from the pulpit
    3. Have a team of volunteers ready to help people install the app
    4. Make sure the download link is readily available on your website
  2.  Commit to sending at least two or three messages per week through the app
    1. Send informational messages
    2. Send inspirational messages
  3. Contact the myParish app customer support team and do an app refresh
    1. An app expert will look over your app and make suggestions on how to improve
    2. Now is the time to change your background if you have had any remodels or .revamps to your church
  4. Make sure you are using your custom download link
    1. Website
    2. Signature line of emails
    3. Facebook
    4. Personal invitations to download the app via email or text
    5. Create a custom QR code:  https://www.qr-code-generator.com/
    6. Evangelus? 
  5. New and custom buttons
    1. YouTube
    2. Facebook Mass Videos
    3. RSS feeds
  6. Review and add or subtract administrators
  7. Purchase a new myParish app banner and stand
  8. Update your staff directory, confession times, and Mass times as needed
  9. Explore the Admin Resource Center:  https://myparishapp.com/apptools/
  10. Explore the Diocesan Classroom for interesting webinars:  http://diocesan.com/classroom

Happy New Year from all of us at Diocesan. God Bless.

Preparing for Advent

As we looked forward to 2020, I believe many of us were filled with hope and enthusiasm. Early into the year, we learned that we needed to adjust our lives due to Covid-19. As difficult as that has been, can you imagine how much more difficult it would have been if we had not started with hope?

With the beginning of Advent just days away, the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love are once again on our minds as we prepare for Christmas. In your role as the App administrator, you have an opportunity to foster these gifts in the lives of your parishioners. Try sending meaningful messages that will keep them engaged, strengthen their faith, give newfound ways to use the app, and share it with others. Starting November 29, 2020, the first Sunday of Advent, there will be Advent Reflections that can be accessed by tapping the ‘Advent’ button in the app.  

Additionally, here are a few Advent ideas you might want to share with your parishioners:

  • Encourage small group daily devotion. Because of the health risks we are faced with.Try using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or a simple phone call. Share a couple of readings and prayer found on the App with a friend, family member or group. Remember, “Inspiration Daily” can be delivered right to your email box. Click here to subscribe.
  • Listen to beautiful Advent music. “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” is a favorite. Enjoy this beautiful version from The Piano Guys. https://youtu.be/iO7ySn-Swwc
  • Light an Advent wreath. Advent wreath traditions can be simple, lovely ways to strengthen your faith at home. https://www.stjeromeonline.org/prayers-for-the-home-advent-wreath.html
  • With or without small children, reading classic Christmas stories each evening can be very peaceful. “24 Christmas Stories” is a popular one. https://www.catholiccompany.com/twenty-four-christmas-stories-welcome-jesus-i112911/
  • Give to your church, your neighbors, your community. Again, keeping cautious with health regulations, leaving a simple gift on a friend’s porch can mean so much.
  • Consider the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Advent is about preparation. Prepare your heart and spirit for Christmas.

Keep hope in your heart. Be at peace. Experience joy in new, simple ways. And, as 2020 has shown us, it’s love that bonds us together. Don’t take it lightly during these challenging days, and encourage your parishioners. God’s greatest gift to us is LOVE. 

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10

Preparing for Lent and Communicating the Message

In the time before Lent, many of us start thinking about what we and our family members are going to “give up for Lent” Many bad habits are put on hold during that six week period, while other habits are given up completely. As the years have passed and I don’t have small children to guide through the process, I find myself looking for a balance. Not only do I focus on something I can give up, but something I can change about myself to help me be more in touch with the beauty of the Lenten and Easter Season. 

Lent is a special time of grace in the Church and as parish communicators, we can support and foster our visitors in their desire to grow in holiness through inspiring and welcoming images, thoughtful reflections and links to meaningful content. Preplan your Lenten online communications. Ash Wednesday is February 26th.  

As others approach you to share their sacrifice, below are a few that you might offer:

  1. Take the time to set up online giving, it is easy to do and will help you give consistently throughout the year.
  2. Set a prayer reminder and pray every day. Need more accountability? Set one with a group of friends.
  3. Start a daily Lenten reflection through the Inspire Daily button.
  4. Be more accepting of other peoples’ habits that seem to push you over the edge. Close your eyes, smile and think about why that person or action annoys you. When you take a moment to think about it, you might feel better about yourself which will in turn help you to be more accepting of others.
  5. Start weekly and offer acts of kindness to your friends; surprise a friend with a meal, stop by with a little inexpensive gift for them, offer to run an errand for someone or pick up something from the grocery store for them. Even as simple as a happy text. Seeing the gratitude from others will encourage you to continue this lifestyle habit.

myParish App has a wealth of resources to help your community make this Lent meaningful.

Make the Lenten Season a time for YOUR change.

Communication Builds Trust

Churches do not need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to communicating with their parishioners or guests.

Think about building relationships in your personal life and what makes them successful. How did you earn trust, build rapport, and make people feel important? Thriving churches communicate using the same key themes needed to build lasting relationships in our personal lives. If you’re eager to improve as a parish communicator in 2020, it helps to have a plan—or at least a few goals to shoot for.  As an App Administrator, you have the unique ability to reach a wide range of your community at one time.  Here are four relevant resolutions for communication pros to commit to and keep:

  1. Asking Questions – People tend to tune out if they are always asked for things or told to do something. Conversations are enhanced by asking good questions and truly listening.
  2. Keeping it Short – Give people options to learn more and ways to find additional information so they can digest it in their own time. Try not to overwhelm people with too much at one time.
  3. From the Heart – All communications from your church, whether written or spoken, need to feel like a one-on-one conversation with the other person.
  4. Say ‘Thank You’ – Showing gratitude, even for the little things, goes a long way toward building trust and cultivating an atmosphere of appreciation.

These tips may not only help you in your parish communications but assist you in living  Catholic Life every day!

Resolutions 2020

Resolutions. To many, a dreaded word in December. But after listening to the homily on Sunday morning, the First Sunday of Advent, I’m finding it easier to list my New Year resolutions. Communication. I have always considered myself a communicator. I was a marketing communications major in college and it was the goal of our cohort to communicate continuously. Through careers and years, I have learned that while communication is important, choosing the right medium and message is key. In our church community it’s important to channel the messaging based on what parishioners have available to them – the bulletin, email, myParish App, and social media.  Why resolutions and communications in the same message, you asked? Maybe one of your resolutions would be to improve the timeliness and quality of the information to your parishioners. How is the current communication process in your parish? Everyone knows what’s going on? No one does? Most probably fall somewhere in between. 

In your role as the App administrator, try sharing meaningful messages with your parishioners that will keep them engaged, strengthen their faith, give newfound ways to use the app, and share it with others. Keep resolutions concise and attainable. Here are a few you might want to share:

Read Scripture – Too few Christians have actually followed through with and read the Bible. What kind of reading plan is best? Of course, the one you’re going to finish is. Get friends together and commit to a plan. Daily readings are available on myParish App or at usccb.org.

Spend a Holy Hour in Adoration – Quotes of our Popes and Saints concerning Holy Hours show we can see how much importance they placed on adoration for a healthy spiritual life. These writings tell us that our Holy Hour is more powerful than anything in this world outside of Mass. Check out Our Catholic Prayer website to learn more about the value of a holy hour.

Journey with a Saint – Use this fun Saint generator to learn about a new Saint and include them in your journey of faith throughout the year. http://saintsnamegenerator.com/

Increase Your Bulletin Readership – Try making it a routine to read your bulletin each week. Be informed.  

Merry Christmas Blessings to you and may you close the year in peace and look forward to 2020 with joy.

The New Season is Almost Here

The next several weeks are jammed packed with special activities in our church and family lives.

The myParish App has a built in EVENTS calendar that can help your parishioners (and visitors to your church community) stay up to date during this busy time of the year. There are two separate components to the calendar feature.

Google calendars are easily attached (using the public ical link found in your google settings) at the bottom of the page in the events tab, on the myParish App administration main page. Need help getting your google calendar to sync with the App? Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-997-8805. We are here 9am – 5pm EST to assist you.

You can draw special attention to specific events at your church by going to your admin page and using the “add event” feature. Just click on the “Add Event” box on the upper left hand side of the EVENTS tab (on the myParish App admin home page). Fill in the applicable information and click ‘save’ at the bottom of the page when you are done. It’s that easy.

All these aspects of Catholic life and more can be found in your myParish app. May it lead you to an experience of our faith, just a fingertip away. Catholic life every day.

Work Smarter Not Harder!

Your App must be integrated in all aspects of your parish communications. Why?

The Rule of 7. The marketing rule of seven states that a person must see a message 7 times before they will take action. The myParish App was built for Catholic parishes, designed for YOUR parish to engage your parishioners in their Catholic life everyday!

Follow these simple guidelines to get great results!

On your Website:  Section off part of your site exclusively for the App, or, have pop-up page display whenever someone visits your site.

In your emails: Any email that is sent out, whether it be from the parish office, your newsletter or even a payment confirmation email, should include a footer with one line advertising your App. Include details such as what can be accomplished through the App and a link redirecting towards the download page. Emails not including App information is a missed opportunity.

Twitter or Facebook presence: Promote your App here as well. A simple banner with the name of your app and where to find it is all you need.

Want to encourage ongoing App downloads? Place promo cards in the vestibule or parish office, verbal pulpit announcements, or a bulletin article informing the parish that you have a mobile App. This may be new information or a reminder that the App is available to keep them connected with parish and catholic life everyday.

Rejuvenate Your Workspace With Prayer

The busy days of fall are here. We need to take the time to make sure our offices are a sacred space. By doing so we can intentionally bless all those whose names and lives we touch (literally) through our workspace and fingertips: at the door, at our computer, over the phone, or through our writing.  It’s time to rededicate our work space to be an extension of prayer for each and every one with whom we come in contact, in every moment of every day.   

There are several great prayers available in the myParish app for those times you feel moved to offer a specific prayer for one of your parishioners or co-workers. The prayers also come in handy when praying in a large group, each person has access to the same wording and all can actively participate.

There is a nice little prayer service from Catholic News Agency with blessings for an office, shop or factory.

All these aspects of Catholic life and more can be found in your myParish app.
May it lead you to an experience of our faith, just a fingertip away. Catholic life every day.