Start with the problem that your idea solves.
When you pitch your idea, start with the problem you're solving. That's because leaders are more likely to listen if they understand why a certain issue should be addressed. If you don't make this clear from the beginning of your pitch, it's hard for them to see how your idea is relevant in the complex world of the church. This is called "burying the lead" and it's a rookie mistake many new church comms/creatives make when they're pitching their first campaign ideas.
To make sure that leadership understands what problem you're trying to solve, include specific examples in your presentation and highlight the negative consequences of not addressing those issues (i.e., staff burnout, empty seats, lost donations).
Tie your idea back to the mission of the Church
It is important to show how your idea ties back to the mission of the church. This will help leadership see how it fits with the vision and purpose of your congregation.
Often times, leadership is steering the ship from a thirty thousand foot view so in order to get to that level you have to tie the problem & solution back to the mission and vision of the church. After all, if your problem isn't affecting the mission on some level then you shouldn't be addressing it in the first place.
Explain how your idea supports people connecting with the Church. What does it mean for the congregation? How will it invite them into a relationship with God?
Pitch your idea in a relatable way.
One issue that I've fallen into in the past is being too in the weeds. Many executives don't understand the intricacies of the problem you're facing. They aren't in the trenches of creative or marketing. They don't understand how instagram changes the algorithm regularly, or how a new camera can clean up the noise that you're seeing in the auditorium. So how do you get them to see the issue? You have to pitch in a relatable way
- Use stories and analogies. You know how it feels to be in a situation that's frustrating or complicated, so you can use a story to help other people understand the problem. A story is something that happened to you, while an analogy is something that's similar to what you're talking about—but not exactly the same thing.
- Use facts and figures to back up your ideas. Facts and figures are numbers that show how big a problem is, how much money it costs us, or how many people are affected by the problem we're trying to solve
Failure to be relatable is like trying to take off in an airplane without wings. You need it to get off the ground.
Make sure they understand the impact of not taking action on this idea.
As you pitch your idea, it’s vital that you paint a clear picture of what not taking action on this idea will mean for the church. Your leadership needs to understand the impact of their decision and how it will affect the people in their care.
One easy way to do this is by sharing stories about times when similar ideas were implemented at other churches and have had positive results. Another way is by showing them research from credible sources that support your proposal or make an argument for it being worthwhile (I like looking at Barna.com).
Make sure they know why this particular idea is so important to you—what’s driving you to pursue it? If possible, demonstrate how excited you are about its potential impact on the church community as well as yourself personally.
Establish how leaders can get involved.
Everyone wants to be part of the solution. So offer a way that leadership can get involved. They want to help you succeed so give them a way to do that. However, avoid adding more work to their plate. Chances are their day-to-day is already overflowing with to-do's. Make their involvement simple, yet powerful.
- Make sure the idea is something they can get behind. If they don't support it, you won't get funding or help, so make sure the idea is something they will want to be a part of. This is especially important if you're looking for funding outside of your organization—if the leadership doesn't believe in your idea and what it could mean for their team or company, there's little chance that anyone else will either.
- Find out how much time leadership has available for coaching sessions and check-ins as part of this process (more on this below).
Outline your budget and timeline.
There are two things all leadership will want to know when undertaking a new idea or campaign:
- How much is this going to cost?
- How long will it take?
These are very important questions that you have to think through and you better have an answer before you walk into that meeting.
Be realistic about the timeline. Realistic doesn’t mean fast, but it also doesn’t mean that it will take forever and ever and ever (and ever). You should be able to tell your leadership what kind of time frame they can expect from this project, and why that time frame is reasonable for what we are trying to accomplish with the campaign idea. If there is a lot of additional work required, or if there are other factors outside of your control which could delay things on your end (or theirs), then let them know! This gives everyone an opportunity to plan accordingly for any potential delays in production or delivery date so everyone knows what's coming up next month when they start working on things together again after vacation season ends... Which brings me to my next point:
Be realistic about budgets too! Your team may not know how much money needs spent per month/year until later down the line when they actually get into developing content such as videos or graphics so don't put those figures down right away just yet because these numbers will definitely change after some initial research goes into figuring out exactly how many assets need made/how many creatives need hired etcetera before moving forward with full production planning.
Invite feedback from others.
Leaders are leaders for a reason. They have years of experience guiding the church and providing direction. So ask them for their advice!
Invite them into the discussion. When you invite feedback from people who are not directly involved, it often births new, better ideas than the original plan. This allows for the strongest possible outcome. You're in a team for a reason, use it!
Plus, being open to feedback and changes shows leadership that you're adaptable and able to let go of things. This is a major factor when they consider future leaders of the church.
Now that you’ve learned how to pitch your new idea, get out there and do it! By starting with the problem that your idea solves and tying it back to the mission of the Church, you can make a compelling case for why this campaign is important. Also, make sure they understand the impact of not taking action on this idea (e.g. decreased attendance numbers). Once we have their attention and understanding, we can then establish how leaders can get involved in making this happen by outlining our budget and timeline (while also inviting feedback from others).