The Sunday bulletin has been a staple of Catholic life in North America for more than 75 years. But as almost all areas of life become digital, a paper bulletin may soon become a thing of the past (and maybe you’re already moving toward digital fundraising letters). Can we imagine a future without bulletins?

What would a future without bulletins look like? Some parishes have already made the switch using these methods:

  • E-newsletter: Last week we highlighted the value of an email address. If you have a high percentage of parishioner emails, an e-newsletter is likely to reach more people than your Sunday bulletin. Professional e-newsletter services like MailChimp or Constant Contact also let you track open and click rates so you know what is drawing your audience’s eye.
  • Communications apps: As smartphone apps like FlockNote and MyParishApp become more popular, you may be able to reach 70% or more of your parishioners using these programs. In addition to sending a weekly events update, you can also build unique audiences for different ministries. For example, this would allow you to cancel religious education classes and only send that breaking news to parishioners who need to know.
  • Website: By keeping your website up to date with breaking news and events, you have all the convenience of a bulletin with the added benefit of being able to make instant updates as things change. Because a website is not limited by page numbers, your website is your parishioner’s ultimate reference resource.

If you’re thinking of moving away from the bulletin model, be sure to phase it out slowly. First, get your digital communication tool up and running so that your families can get used to receiving information from the parish in that way. Then, once you’ve built confidence and credibility, you can transition your news and announcements away from the printed bulletin and toward your digital platform. A future without bulletins is coming – it’s time to get ready!