We here at TreeFrogClick have discovered some odd things about recruiting religious vocations on the internet.
Quicker is not always better.
For years we’ve been running our Come & See Vocation Assessment Program. With this program, we find religious candidates with the use of internet ads and a “Is God Calling You?” quiz.
We’ve had some good results – but we want better results, and are improving it as a result of new insights. Let me tell you of two recent communications I had with young people which sums up our findings.
Jorge is 18 and is attending a community college in California. He took our quiz for one of our clients last month. When I called him, he told me that his parents were supportive of him if he chooses a religious vocation. Upon the advice of a priest, he had inquired into a vocation conference for would-be priests sponsored by a large diocese. But he couldn’t go because he could not get a replacement at work.
It seems as if Jorge has a good heart, and is prayerful. He responded on the quiz, “I love God and I am amazed by him.” But he knew nothing about the active men’s order to whose ad he responded. I really didn’t have much to tell him, except to encourage him to remain open to God’s plan for him, and that we would be keeping in touch with him with our newsletters.
Another such contact rounds out what I’m trying to say.
Erika is from the South, and wrote to one of our religious clients last week saying she wanted to visit the community three states away over her Christmas college break. She had taken our “Is Jesus Calling You?” quiz on Aug. 31, and has opened all of the nine newsletters that we sent for our client. (Our software tracks such things.) So, she has an intense interest in that community.
What I’m trying to say is that the candidates who have just taken our quiz are not quite ready to make a decision to come on a retreat. In fact, if I had called Erika the day she took the quiz, she might have been taken aback. What these candidates need is a constant stream of information about both religious life, and about one’s particular community. They get this from our newsletters.
With such a plan, the candidates we get are sent newsletters several times per month. After several months, we would then tell you who are the most interested candidates, based on their newsletter open rate, and their answers on the quizzes.
Many vocation directors think that all they have to do is find the right candidate. Do you? There’s more to it, we are finding.
You have to keep knocking on their doors, and yet respond to those most interested.
One of our clients, a religious community in the Midwest, recently said,
“Kevin, of the eight girls who came to the retreat, one girl came from the recent Quiz Info. And three others came because even though they took the quiz two years ago, they kept receiving the newsletters!!! Good job, thanks!”
That’s the kind of results we like to see.
Since we learned this new twist, we’ve gained a whole new way of looking at the vocation recruitment picture.
I hope that our Come & See Vocation Assessment Program will bring a flood of good candidates to religious communities around the country. We need to bring about a revival in religious life that will contribute to the renewal of our culture – wouldn’t you agree?
I know of no other ad agency that is trying this vocational approach. We have developed a system over three years, and it is probably the most successful in the country.