Peter’s video on “Welcoming Newcomers” with song by Joe Uveges!

One of the highlights of my years of  guest speaking at Unitarian Universalist congregations happened October 5th, 2014! I was leading the service at High Plains Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado, Springs speaking  on “Friendship in the Digital Age.”  This was during a service after a weekend training on UU Social Media and Growth.  Following my message for all ages, the amazing UU musician Joe Uveges improvised a song reinforcing my message.  You can watch both the message and performance in the following video.  We joked about going on tour together — anyone up for a UU Growth-a-palooza and Sing Along conference?   Enjoy 😉

Note that the message for all ages was about how hard it is to come in to a congregation as a newcomer. This is a very funny message on how to introduce yourself to newcomers.  In it I use a paper smiley like face with googly eyes but with an awkward expression, no smile — call it an anxiety face.

It has eyes that can move around which surprises people. I often ask the kids what the persons name is and this time the name offered was Gumbo.  I did say I didn’t think we should call all our visitors Gumbo, but that’s the name in the song.

Connect with Joe Uveges online:
http://www.joeuveges.com/
https://www.facebook.com/JoeUvegesMusic

On Radio Tomorrow: On the Peoples Climate March, Why I’m Marching

Exciting news! I’ve been invited to speak tomorrow during the First Church Boston live streamed radio broadcast on the Peoples Climate March.

A very special thanks to Rev. Stephen Kendrick for offering that invitation. We need people of faith to be using (and sharing) their pulpits to focus attention on climate.

So tomorrow I’ll be explaining what’s happening with the march, share why I’m marching and offer a call for everyone listening to get involved. It is only 5 minutes, but I’ve been told the radio audience is around 15,000 people.

Educate Your Community, Watch Disruption

You can do a lot to help educate people on climate. Invite family and friends, be it in a group or one-on-one, to watch the new documentary on the Peoples Climate March, DISRUPTION. You may watch it online, download it, and have permission to schedule a screening.

Listen Live Tomorrow

Listen to First Church Boston services live tomorrow, Sunday, at 11am Eastern Time.

Tune in to 88.9 FM WERS in Boston
WERS internet live stream at http://wers.org

Listen to WERS on your smartphone with the following mobile apps:

More on Peoples Climate March

ClimateArtPosterWinner2

FALL 2014 UU Social Media and Membership Growth trainings

Friends, this Fall I’m leading two separate  day-long trainings on UU social media and membership growth.   I hope you’ll join us!

Peter BowdenHere’s the deal.  Today we need to be intentionally integrating our social media, visitor greeting and other membership development efforts.  If we don’t,  we’re in trouble.

Thanks to technology the path to membership is moving increasingly online.   How many people visit your website before visiting?  Around 100%.  And now people are wanting to explore your social media and check you out digitally for a while to judge you before they visit. That’s right, they’re judging you based on what you’re online presence and identity.

Potential members are  increasingly making a decision about your congregation based on their digital experience, and then and only then, if that’s good, they’ll visit in person to confirm you are what you’ve said you are online.  Increasingly you need to be helping people pre-qualify themselves for membership online if you want them to visit and join in person.  And your existing members?  They are bombarded with information via multiple communication channels.  How do you get them to hear you and to not drift away?  We’ll discuss all of this in more in one very full, exciting and useful day…

Think of  this training as a 2014-2015 upgrade for your communications and membership growth strategy.

Again, here the dates and registration links.  If you have questions, Email me.

What’s that you say?   Are these events being lives streamed?  No,  but I will be turning the content into text and video resources. Make sure you are subscribed to my Leading Congregations E-Newsletter to be updated as they become available.

In cooperation,
Peter

Registration & Event Details


COLORADO

Growing UU Membership Using Social Media and Visitor Integration Strategies

Day-long training with Peter Bowden
Saturday, October 4th, 2014
High Plains Church, UU (HPCUU)
1825 Dominion Way
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Event Registration

RHODE ISLAND
UU Social Media & Membership Growth Intensive
Day-long training with Peter Bowden
First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI
November 8, 2014
Event Registration

Program Outline

The following program is close to final for these two events.  There may be some small changes in timing and titles, but the content is set.

8:30 Registration & Refreshments

9:00    Opening Worship & Welcome

9:15  Technology, Culture and the Challenge to Congregations
How is changing technology changing us?  We’ll look at the new technology norms for how people are connecting, learning and making decisions. Understanding these changes is critical to effective outreach, social media use, and membership development.

9:25 Social Media and the New Path to Membership
The path to becoming a member in a congregation has changed significantly in recent years.  Not in terms of what has to happen for people to connect with a congregation, but how, when and where these connections happen.  Today much of what happens in the course of “church shopping” happens online via congregational social media channels.

10:45 Break

11:00   Increasing Engagement, Understanding Social Media Today
For congregations to maximize engagement with newcomers, members and friends, we need to understand what communication platforms people are using, what they are using them for, and the new norms for institutional communication. We’ll identify the top social media platforms today, look at their use by demographic, and identify key ways congregations need to shift their approach in order to communicate effectively today.

11:30   Break Out Session
What have you tried? What works? What doesn’t? We’ll take some time to learn from each other, share successes and challenges. This will also prime our lunch time conversation.

12:00      Lunch
We’ll take a nice full hour lunch to allow for conversations to continue, connections to be made, and to let our brains cool down as needed!

1:00 Report Back
When we gather after lunch, we will take some time to hear some of our success stories and insights from our lunch conversations.

1:20   Social Media Storytelling, Relationship and Membership Growth
We’ll go deeper into the strategy of communicating with newcomers, members and friends via social media with the goal of building relationships, increasing participation in congregational life, and growing your membership. To be successful at this, we need to master the art and science of telling the many stories of congregational life in ways that are interesting, meaningful, and invite participation.

2:00 Best Practices for Keeping Members Engaged and Coming Back
If we’re successful in brining newcomers into our communities, soon we will have new members. Which raises the question, how do we keep members coming back in today’s world with so many competing demands for people’s attention and time.

2:20   Developing Social Media Plans, a Small Group Exercise
We’ll break into small groups and go through the process of developing a social media plan for one primary event or happening within the life of your congregation using strategies detailed earlier in the day. This may be for a large fundraiser, your monthly newcomer class, or a special holiday event.

2:45   Discussion on Small Group Exercise

3:00     Q & A Time

3:30   Closing

Testimonials

“Peter provided our team with an opportunity to learn together about social media giving us a common understanding of the benefits and costs of utilizing it. His enthusiasm for social media is infectious, making us feel not only that implementing it is possible and perhaps inevitable as our world continues to evolve.” — Sara Deshler, Church Administrator, Cedar Lane U U Church.

“Peter’s passion for social media communications and Unitarian Universalism is contagious. His vision for our future is something we need to learn and embrace.” – Don Southworth, UUMA Executive Director

Peter’s training on Social Media was clear, instructive, and interactive. He is dynamic, engaging and brings an enthusiasm to his sessions that is contagious. I recommend him highly.” — Mark Bernstein, Regional Growth Development Consultant, Central East Region of the UUA

UU Gotta Tweet at #UUAGA video Crash Course

Update:  If you’re watching this in 2016, remember this year’s GA is in Columbus, OH.

Friends, I told people using the UUA’s mobile General Assembly event app that I’d make a quick tutorial on how to get started on Twitter.  Here it is!

In this video I walk you through the process of setting up a Twitter account,  connecting with UUs on Twitter, and a few basics on hashtags.   This is not a comprehensive training, it is just intended to help you set up a Twitter account before General Assembly.  You can learn during GA and in the #UUsGetSocial workshop series.

I look forward to seeing you in Providence, RI next week and on Twitter.  Once you’ve created your account, make sure to follow me at @UUPLANET.  I will also be announcing new UU social media events for the Fall shortly, ranging from Colorado Springs, CO to Providence, RI.

In cooperation,
Peter

#UUsGetSocial workshop schedule and recording

UPDATE:  You may access resources and recordings here.

I’m excited to announce that the four-part #UUsGetSocial workshop series at the UUA’s General Assembly conference is going to be video taped. It will not be live streamed.

If you’re going to General Assembly, I hope you’ll join us. You may find the full program book online here. If you’re going to be at GA and have a smart phone or tablet, make sure to get the official UUA GA event app.

Workshop Schedule

204 #UUsGetSocial: How Congregations Can Deepen Engagement Online
Thursday 10:15 am EST
RICC Ballroom BC

260 #UUsGetSocial: Updating Your Web Presence: Tools and Tips
Thursday 4:00pm EST
RICC Ballroom BC

306 #UUsGetSocial: Reaching “Nones,” Activists, and Spiritual Seekers
Friday 10:15 am EST
RICC Ballroom BC

408 #UUsGetSocial: Digging Into Facebook, Twitter and Video-Making/Sharing
Saturday 10:15 am EST
RICC Ballroom BC

The Hashtag

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you can search for the tag #UUAGA to pull up all associated tagged posts and Tweets.  Search for #UUsGetSocial, click these links to give it a try:

#UUsGetSocial on Facebook
#UUsGetSocial on Twitter

Connect at GA!

I’ll be at General Assembly all week, including during ministry days, so make sure to connect.   Besides helping to lead this series, I’m going to be talking with clergy colleagues about a new series of social media learning opportunities specifically for parish ministers on making your public ministry more public.  Yes, if you are a professional minister being paid to do public ministry,  I think it is critical that you have a strong online identity — YOU, not just your congregation.  Oh yes, I’m talking about using clergy personal branding as a catalyst for Unitarian Universalist growth.

Look for our Leading Congregations ad in the program book. It shares contact information for contacting  me and Amy at General Assembly, plus an invitation to subscribe to our newsletter.  I’ll be sharing new social media educational offerings and resources via the newsletter following GA.  Don’t miss out!  Some offerings are going to have limited participation, and I’m going to share invitations with subscribers of our newsletter first.

Hope to see you at GA!
Peter Bowden

Before GA, make time to play — with the mobile app!

UUAGA 2014 App

If you’re going to the UUA’s 2014 General Assembly conference in Providence, RI this June and have a smart phone or tablet, you’ll want to make sure to download the brand new UUA General Assembly app. I just gave it a test drive and it is fabulous.  But don’t wait until GA, you’ll want to downloaded it now and start using it so come General Assembly, you’re good to go!

The UUA General Assembly 2014 app   is the official interactive mobile app for the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Inspirational worship services, informative workshops, entertaining programs, and a bustling exhibit hall help make GA an unforgettable experience for the thousands of Unitarian Universalists that attend.  (From iTunes App Store)

Before GA, make time to PLAY!

The UUA General Assembly 2014 app is LOADED with features.  So many, in fact, that I think you need to spend some time with the app before arriving at General Assembly. You don’t want to waste valuable GA time getting oriented to the app — do that in advance.

This mobile app allows you to:

  •  View schedules, explore sessions, and find after parties.
  •  Create your own personal schedule and access location and speaker information.
  •  Access interactive maps and find local places.
  •  Check­in to sessions, meetings, keynotes, and exhibitor booths.
  •  View an entire feed of the event activity, including attendee check­ins, photos, and more.
  •  Earn points, badges, and prizes for being active on the app and at the event.
  •  Expand your professional network and have fun!

Listed features include:

  • Update ­ — a quick way to share photos, comments, where you are, and which session you’re attending
  • Activity — ­ keep your finger on the pulse of the event. See what people are doing, view photos from the event, find trending sessions and topics, and “like” and comment on other attendee check­ins
  • Agenda — ­ view the full agenda and related information (session time, room number, speaker info, etc.) Attendees ­ see who’s at the event, and connect with them on the app
  • Exhibitors — ­ find exhibitors and sponsors, check­in to leave comments and feedback
  • Profile — ­ your official app profile, highlighting your name, profile photo, title, and organization
  • Leaderboard ­ — see who has the most points at the conference and climb your way to the top with check­ins

See? It’s loaded… So, do take time to set up a profile,  figure out how to navigate to events and venues,  share photos, and follow people you want to connect with at GA before you arrive at GA.

A Word of Caution
We don’t want to have thousands of UUs gather for General Assembly and then have all social media traffic for General Assembly get redirected into an app that only people at GA can see.  GA should be the most active UU social media week of the year, not a time when Unitarian Universalism goes silent.  Use the app, but don’t hide in it…

Keep it Social
Make sure that if you use the app, you still Tweet and share Facebook and other social media updates.  The app lets you connect Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to the app and select which updates get sent out via those channels.

Tag it #UUAGA
Don’t forget to include the #UUAGA tag in any update you post via the app that you are also sending to Twitter! The app does not hashtag for you.

Don’t Forget Your Friends
While this app allows us to connect with others at GA in powerful ways, much the way Twitter & Facebook connect us year round,  we need to make sure we don’t totally abandon those who are not plugged in!  Keep your heart open and your eyes out for those who are not digitally connected at General Assembly.

Photos of Public Witness
The app does let you take and share photos. However, if you take and share photos of public witness and and use the app to send them to Twitter, they appear as links in your tweets, not automatically displayed Twitter photos.   During public witness I’m going close the app and focus on sharing Twitter photos and videos made with Vine — that will get more reach.

Peter Bowden at #UUAGALet’s Connect!
You can connect with me, Peter Bowden, on the GA app and on Facebook & Twitter. During General Assembly, this year I will be focusing on talking ministry & media with all of you.

Also, look for my Leading Congregations ad in the GA program book. That’s the home for my interfaith congregational consulting practice . At General Assembly I’m going to be booking the rest of my speaking, training and coaching for the year. If you wanted to work with me in 2014-2015, make sure to connect with me at GA. I expect to be booked for year by July 15h.

Download the UUA General Assembly App: