Mount Horeb United Methodist Church. Communications Policy

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1 Mount Horeb United Methodist Church Communications Policy Mission Statement: Welcoming, Teaching and Growing Connections for God Date affirmed by Church Council: 1

2 The purpose of this policy is to articulate the procedures for MHUMC communications both within the church congregation and outside the church. With these procedures, duplication of effort can be avoided, a unified and cohesive presence shared with external audiences, and clear lines of accountability and authority established. In short, better communication! This manual is divided into four sections. The first section outlines the major parties involved in MHUMC communications, including Church Council, the pastor and church staff members, the Communications Committee, other standing committees, and members of the congregation. This section delineates the responsibilities and scope of authority of each of these groups, points out potential areas of overlap, and suggests remedies for conflict resolution at these areas of overlap. The second section provides an overview of MHUMC printed communications. Each type of printed material is defined by who is responsible for its design, execution, approval, and distribution, as well as who bears the cost. In some cases, production deadlines are also provided. The third section deals with signage both internal and external as well as church bulletin boards and display cases and the approval process for posting items intended for these areas. Section four deals with a growing area of communications at MHUMC: electronic communications. Currently, this consists primarily of the MHUMC website but also includes lists/groups and other forms of electronic communications, such as the social media site, Facebook. Specific guidelines for the website are included in this section as well as suggestions for managing . This manual is not meant to cover every existing or potential communications issue; rather, these procedures laid out for a bulk of MHUMC communications can function as a guide for resolving the inevitable, unforeseen communications challenges when they arise. Above all, this manual is meant to facilitate our church s mission: Welcoming, Teaching and Growing Connections for God. I. MHUMC Communications Responsibility A. Church Council The Church Council is the decision-making body for MHUMC. As such, it holds final authority over any communications projects of the church, regardless of where these projects originate. The Church Council has delegated some of the authority for communications to other entities within the church. Cost of communication projects generated by program committees, or the 2

3 Communications Committee itself, are expected to stay within established budgets for relevant program areas. Projects that will greatly exceed established budgets must first be approved by the Church Council. The program committee generating the project must bring the project rationale and budget as a proposal to the Church Council. Also needing approval are projects that substantially alter existing communications or increase/decrease MHUMC s presence in the community. B. Pastor and Church Staff Members 1. Pastor The pastor serves as the primary spokesperson for MHUMC with local media. (See External Media Policy The pastor will follow denominational guidelines for response to crisis, and care for communicating with the Conference and the District. In the event the pastor is unable to do so, the Communications Committee chair, in cooperation with the SPRC chair, will need to assume that role. The pastor has the authority to make decisions regarding any/all communications for MHUMC, in particular mediating differences of opinion between committees or between committees and church staff, etc. If further disagreement results, pastoral decisions should be discussed with the SPRC, then with the appealing party, with the pastor present. The SPRC may then invite the Church Council Chair to be part of the discussion with the appealing party if the issue is relevant to other areas of ministry beyond personnel issues. The pastor will direct church office staff duties regarding communications and hold them accountable for the performance of those duties. The office administrator will direct others, in terms of how and when to convey requests for communications work, so the workload is manageable. 2. Church Program Staff (Music, Education, Youth) These staff members are responsible for all communications regarding their programs and for budgeting for communications for those programs. Assistance is available from the Communications Committee for projects that target an external audience, or projects that require some specialized expertise. When deemed necessary, staff participation in church-wide communications projects is essential. 3. Office Administrative Staff 3

4 Under the direction of the pastor, office staff members are responsible for the execution, and in some cases, distribution of communications. This includes printed materials (e.g. newsletters and bulletins) as well as managing electronic distribution lists (e.g. group list for church members who receive their newsletter electronically). They also maintain current contact information for local media outlets and coordinate with the Conference for conference mailings, s, etc. The Communications Committee encourages the recruitment of volunteers, either from the committee or congregation at large, to accomplish these tasks (e.g. changing exterior signage, stuffing envelopes, etc.). C. Communications Committee The purpose of this committee is to advise and foster the MHUMC community in its communication of events, activities, and ministries, both within and beyond the congregation. More concretely, this translates into three functions: (1) to serve as a resource to the church on communications issues. For example, assisting committees with advertising and marketing for specific events, (2) to create and coordinate church-wide communications, e.g., advertising, press releases, welcome brochures, and (3) to evaluate MHUMC communications efforts and develop ways of improvement. This committee is responsible for the budgeting of websiterelated expenses, as well as printed marketing materials and advertising for the church as a whole. D. Standing and Ad Hoc Committees These committees are responsible for communications regarding their specific activities and events. They may ask the Communications Committee for assistance, including advertising. They are responsible for adhering to the guidelines when requesting church office staff assistance and for cooperating with all-church communication projects initiated by Communications Committee. Budgets for communications projects for ad hoc committees are generally the responsibility of the ad hoc committee; however, occasionally those communication projects may fall into the Communications Committee budget under all-church communications projects. E. Congregation All members are responsible for sharing the messages of MHUMC with the larger community and for providing feedback to the pastor, the Communications Committee, or other appropriate committees regarding the effectiveness of MHUMC communications. F. Consultants 4

5 All consultants, ad agencies, graphic designers, etc. are expected to adhere to MHUMC standards, use of logos, fonts, etc. in order to maintain consistency of MHUMC s identity. II. Printed Communications A. Weekly Bulletin Content and format are determined by the pastor and the Worship Committee. Church office staff has the responsibility to prepare, print, and fold the bulletin. Calendar events and announcements printed in the bulletin must be submitted to the church office staff by the end of the day on Wednesday. Other printed material to be handed out or inserted with the bulletin (flyers, etc.) must be approved by the pastor and submitted to the church office by noon, Wednesday. Costs for bulletins are included in the general office budget. The Communications Committee is available to help with any redesigns and will make recommendations for changes as they arise. B. Monthly Newsletter The Seeds of Faith newsletter is published during the last week of the month and is mailed or ed to all church members. It is the responsibility of church office staff to prepare, edit, print, fold, etc. The deadline for material to be included is the third Wednesday of the preceding month. The Communications Committee highly encourages electronic submissions. Inclusion of material depends on space availability and is at staff discretion. Major formatting changes will be handled by the Communications Committee and church office staff. C. Church Stationery System The stationery system consists of letterhead, No. 10 envelopes, and business cards. Office staff should work with the Communications Committee on any format or design updates. If the design updates are extensive (e.g. a new church logo or tagline) The Church Council and church staff members will be consulted during the process, and the Church Council will make final approval of any changes. D. Marketing Materials 1. Brochures Professionally designed brochures that introduce the church s services and programs to an external audience are to be overseen by the Communications Committee. This includes all-church information/welcome brochures, as well as program brochures (e.g. Education, Outreach). Brochure costs will be budgeted and covered by the entity or program requesting the brochure. Brochures must follow the recommended design guidelines stated in the appendix. 5

6 2. Invitation Cards Cards used for inviting guests to worship services and events are created by the Communications Committee, who work closely with the pastor and the committee hosting the event. The frequency of invitation cards is most often determined by the Membership and Evangelism Committee and the pastor and is based on the liturgical season and the church calendar. Before orders for invitation cards are placed, dates for events must be submitted and approved in the church office to ensure multiple events on the church calendar will not conflict with one another. The cost of the cards will be budgeted and covered by the committee hosting the event. Invitation cards must follow the recommended design guidelines stated in the appendix. Text for invitation cards regarding worship or liturgy will be provided by the pastor or his/her designee. 3. Flyers/Posters These are the responsibility of the program or committee hosting the event. Flyers or posters intended for external publicity must be produced with assistance from the Communications Committee and approved by the pastor. Flyers or posters intended for internal publicity may be created and designed by the committee hosting the event. The Communications Committee can assist with internal promotional flyers given adequate lead time, and/or they can provide a suggested template. The costs and distribution of flyers and posters is the responsibility of the committee hosting the event. E. Print Advertising 1. Newspaper Ads General church advertising is the responsibility of the Communications Committee. This includes the design and budget for general newspaper ads. Committees or church program staff who want to piggyback on to general church advertising should collaborate with the Communications Committee and should contact the Communications chairperson at least two months in advance. Special event advertising is the responsibility of the committee hosting the event. All special event newspaper ads must be approved by the pastor and the Communications Committee prior to submission to the paper. The cost of special event advertising will be paid for by the committee hosting the event. 2. Church Notes listing in the Mount Horeb Mail The Communications Committee works with church office staff to update and coordinate the Church Notes listing in the Mount Horeb Mail. The cost for this listing is accounted for in the Communications Committee budget. 3. Yellow and White Page listings 6

7 The Communications Committee works with church office staff to update and oversee any advertising in local telephone books. The cost for these listings is accounted for in the general office budget. F. External Media Policy To ensure public statements involving the church are accurate, complete, efficient, consistent and coordinated, the church has designated the Communications Committee, in conjunction with the pastor, to manage all church-related public statements. The committee and the pastor are responsible for all routine interactions with the media and for all contacts between the church and outside media. Exceptions would be for criminal activity or chargeable offenses that have occurred within the church. In that event, the pastor will work cooperatively with the District office on external media communication. If the pastor has any connection with the activity or offense, then the SPRC and Communications Committee will work cooperatively with the District office on external media communication and internal communication. Media contacts include but are not limited to radio, television, Web broadcasts, social networking, and blogs. All media inquiries should be referred to the pastor and/or Communications Committee chair for handling. The pastor and Communications Committee are responsible for managing the church s media presence, for making contact with the media on behalf of the church and for responses to media inquiries on behalf of the church. G. Press Releases These can be written by the Communications Committee at the request of any other committee or church staff person. Church staff members and members of other committees may also write press releases; however, they must be approved and edited by the Communications Committee or church office staff prior to being submitted. Any concerns regarding content should be resolved by first contacting the writer. All press releases, both paper and electronic, are distributed by the church office or the Communications Committee. Information about deadlines and submission guidelines for local and neighborhood newspapers and lists are located in the appendix. H. Member Directory An updated member directory (non-pictorial) is produced annually, typically in January/February to reflect the newest, standing committee information. This is an office staff project, with assistance from the Communications Committee as needed. Electronic distribution of the directory is preferred (for members who also receive the newsletter electronically); otherwise, paper copies are provided. 7

8 I. Charge Conference Report This is an annual report produced by the church office staff. The Communications Committee is available to help with design and execution, at the staff s discretion. There is currently no budget line item for this report. It is available to members who attend Charge Conference, and anyone else who requests a copy from the office. J. Committee Minutes and Reporting All standing and ad hoc committees are responsible for taking minutes at their meetings and submitting a copy of those minutes to the church office in a timely manner. Office staff are responsible for collecting committee minutes into a binder that is available to any church participant during church office hours. If Committee Chairs are unable to attend a Council meeting, it is their responsibility to provide an updated report e.g., minutes, to the Council Chair about the work of their committee III. Signage A. Permanent signage, interior Interior signs are the responsibility of the Board of Trustees. The Communications Committee will work with the Trustees and the office staff to review any sign needs or design updates. The cost of replacing or making significant change to interior signage will be managed by the Trustees. B. Permanent signage, exterior The church currently has one exterior sign, one side facing County Hwy S and one side facing the church. Church office staff is responsible for overseeing the messaging on this exterior sign, highlighting service times or other church activities of public interest. The Communications Committee will provide consultation for office staff if needed, or back-up if the church office procedure cannot be implemented. The Trustees, the pastor, the Communications Committee, and Church Council should work together to review and approve the purchase and installation of any additional permanent signage. The cost of permanent signage will be covered by the capital maintenance fund. C. Temporary signage All temporary signage must be overseen by the Communications Committee and approved by the pastor. This specifically includes signs designed to go in portable frames, which are placed outside our main doors to welcome people, or near the road to highlight special events. 8

9 D. Bulletin Boards and Display cases The Communications Committee, in coordination with church office staff, maintains the public bulletin boards and display cases in the building, including the welcome kiosk in the narthex. All items intended for display or posting must be submitted to the church office for approval. Office staff will post at their discretion. IV. Electronic Communications A. Website The MHUMC website ( is maintained by the Communications Committee via its designated webmaster. The webmaster may recruit assistance for maintaining any part of the website, as long as MHUMC website guidelines are followed. The Communications Committee should be updated as to who is involved in helping. The church webmaster works with the pastor and Communications Committee to update the home page on a regular basis, most often once a month, or as events pass and new ones emerge. This ensures the site stays current and fresh. Final information to be added to the website will be ed from the church office to the webmaster who will post it to the website. Final decisions about the website content and format are the responsibility of the pastor and the Communications Committee. B. Social Media 1. Pastor s Blog This is solely the pastor s responsibility. It is expected that the blog s content will fall within established standards of doctrine of the United Methodist Church. Any person who has concerns about blog content should bring their concerns to the chair of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee. A joint meeting between the concerned party, the pastor and the chair of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee will be scheduled. If the issue of concern extends beyond personnel issues, the Church council Chair may also be asked to part of this meeting. C. listings/ groups The church office staff is responsible for maintaining up-to-date addresses for members, and setting up groups as needed on the office computers. For example, an group list is maintained for all members receiving their newsletter electronically. group lists used to send important announcements or information to a majority of members should be 9

10 done with great discretion, and the approval of the pastor, so as not to overwhelm people with too many messages. The addresses of all recipients should be placed in the bcc box of the to prevent multiple reply all responses from occurring. D. Phone One of the most important points of contact we have with members and potential guests is through the telephone. It is the responsibility of the church office staff to answer the phone in a timely, cordial manner. When no one is in the office, a friendly, up-to-date voice mail message should always greet callers. APPENDICES A. Best Practices and General Guidelines 1. Proofreading Accurate proofreading is of paramount importance. It is highly recommended that a skilled, volunteer proofreader take a fresh look at all communications before they are published, whether they are bulletins, web pages, advertising, brochures, or letters to the congregation. Members of the Communications Committee are available to serve in this capacity. 2. Copyright Laws Copyright laws are often unintentionally broken. Most published material from books, magazines, newspapers, songs, and websites is copyrighted. In general, photocopies or cutting and pasting may only be made of copyrighted material with permission of the copyright owner and only if the source is credited. Please be respectful of copyrights. 3. Church Calendar Coordination Coordinating events within the ministry and providing consistent communication around those events is crucial to the success of our ministries. A current calendar of church events is to be kept up-to-date in the church office by the Pastor and Office Administrator. Dates for special events and fundraisers must be submitted/approved in advance and then added to the church calendar. This will ensure that multiple events do not conflict with one another, and can be supported by both our physical spaces and any needed volunteers. B. Style Guide 10

11 1. In printed or electronic materials, the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook should be followed. 2. The full name Mount Horeb United Methodist Church should always be used on first reference. MHUMC may used on subsequent references. 3. All printed materials should include our standard contact information, including our address, phone, website and . C. Graphic Elements There are multiple elements that, when used consistently together, help to clearly identify Mount Horeb United Methodist Church, its ministries and publications. 1. Church Logo The Communications Committee highly recommends using the church logo whenever possible on printed materials. The logo is professionally typeset and should not be recreated from scratch. Electronic files of the logo are available from the church office for both high-resolution and low-resolution applications. 2. Typography Our primary typeface family is Helvetica. It is a classic, versatile typeface with many font variations. It is highly legible in both small and large sizes. It can be easily used in a wide variety of applications, from body copy to signage. There are thousands of display typefaces that can work well with Helvetica, and any number of them might be appropriate when creating a special program logo, or typesetting a special headline on a poster or flyer. The designer may use his or her discretion when picking a secondary display typeface. 3. Photography Photos of church members intended for use in MHUMC communications must have the consent of the person in the photo. This is especially important regarding images of children. There must be consent of the child s parent or legal guardian before photos can be used in printed materials or used on the website. D. Templates and Examples To be built at a later date. 11

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