Communications Policy & Procedures

St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church

Communications Policy & Procedures
 

Purpose:

This policy and procedure documents the requirements for communication to St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church parish members and surrounding community.

Scope:

This policy and procedures applies to the following types of communications:

Internal Communication: Communication that occurs within St. Mary Magdalene Parish and the Parish community. Examples:

  • Mass Announcements
  • Welcome/Newcomer Information
  • Mailings to parishioners
  • Email communications
  • Parish bulletin
  • Parish events for parishioners
  • Distributed materials

External Communication: Communication that occurs between St. Mary Magdalene Parish or the Parish community and the general public. Examples:

  • Marquee on the parish sign
  • Media interviews
  • Parish events open to public
  • Parish website
  • Press releases
  • Social media
  • Community Solicitations

Some Definitions:

Mass announcements: Communication announced from the Ambo at weekend celebration of the liturgy which is applicable to majority of the persons in the parish.

Distributed materials: Printed information for the purpose of providing information to parish members and to the community. Examples include, but are not limited to welcome folder, newcomer packages, pamphlets, and newsletters.

Press Release: Information communicated outside of the parish to the public. Examples include, but are not limited to radio and newspapers.

Social Media: web based and mobile technologies through which users create online communities to communicate information. Examples include, but are not limited to Facebook and twitter.

Solicitations: The act of petition or approaching to make a request for non-St. Mary Magdalene Parish cause or purpose.

Procedure:

General Requirements:

These general requirements are applicable to all methods of communication identified in the scope of this document. Disclosure of confidential information is a violation of diocesan policy and can result in disciplinary action.

I Communication Requests:

  1. All communication requests must be submitted a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the date that the information needs to be released.
  2. All communication requests must be submitted for approval by the Parish Office as follows:
    1. Requests from clergy may be submitted directly to the Pastor.
    2. Requests from parish staff, ministry, council and committee leaders should be submitted to the Communications Coordinator who will seek approval as needed.
    3. Requests from members of ministries, councils and committees should be submitted to the corresponding ministry, council and committee leaders who will then forward to the Communications Coordinator.
    4. Requests from individual parishioners should be submitted to the Communications Coordinator.
  3. A response to a communication request will be provided by the Communications Coordinator within 5 business days of the request.
  4. Should any person make a request that is denied and the person feels the communication request is vital to the parish, the person may request a meeting with the Director of Business Administration.

Internal communications

  1. Mass  announcements
    1. All requests should be submitted as early as possible and no later than the Wednesday prior to the requested announcement date
    2. Announcements will not occur on certain Solemnities such as Palm Sunday, Easter and Christmas.
  2. Distributed materials
    1. The final formatted document(s) must be submitted along with the planned method for distribution for approval to the Communications Coordinator.
    2. The document(s) can be created via use of personal equipment or use of an approved publishing company.
    3. Printing costs must fall within the particular group’s budget (i.e., ministry, committee or council).  If not, requests for printing costs must be submitted to the Director of Business Administration for authorization.
    4. Final documents can be printed via use of personal equipment, use of parish office equipment, or use of an approved publishing company.
    5. Final printed documents will be distributed as approved by the Parish Office. 
  3. Email communications
    1. All email directed to St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church is the property of the church and not the property of the recipients or the senders. 
    2. Email communication should be related to church business only, maintain email etiquette, and respect the privacy of individuals.
    3. All emails should CC the appropriate St. Mary Magdalene email address for record keeping purposes.
    4. Approved emails for large distributions (i.e. the parish) will be sent by the Communications Coordinator and will include a subject line. Large distributions consist of parish wide communication or communication across more than 2 ministries, councils and committees.
    5. Approved emails for small distributions i.e. ministries, will be sent to the sender directly with all other persons on blind copy for privacy reasons.  The email should indicate the author of the email. Small distributions consist of an individual person, 1 to 2 ministries, councils and committees or individual groups working together on a project.
    6. It is the responsibility of Parish leaders (ministry, committee and councils) to insure email communications requested for distribution to ministry, committee or council members are distributed by the leader.
  4. Intra- and Inter-Parish Mailings
    1. All mailings will have St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church address as the return address. Large distributions consist of parish wide communication or communication across more than 2 ministries, councils and committees.
    2. Approved mailings for large distributions (i.e. the parish) will be sent by the parish office.
    3. Approved mailings for small distributions (i.e. ministries, councils, committees) will be sent by ministry, council, or committee leaders and their members. Small distributions consist of an individual person, 1 to 2 ministries, councils and committees or individual groups working together on a project. Contact the Administrative Coordinator to request mailing labels and use the postage machine for these mailings as needed.
  5. Parish Bulletin
    1. Any format changes to the bulletin will be submitted by the Communications Committee to the Pastor for approval.
    2. All requests for information to be published in the bulletin should be submitted no later than noon on Thursdays, 10 days prior to the date of the actual bulletin.
    3. Articles shall be 150 words or less, in Word format.
    4. Articles will run for 2 consecutive weeks. If additional time is required due to the nature of the article, submit request to the Communications Coordinator.
    5. It may be necessary to edit text in an article to adequately format the bulletin or delay publishing the article due to the need for the space to support other time sensitive information.  The Communications Coordinator reserves the right to incorporate changes or delay publication without notification.  If content changes are necessary, the Communications Coordinator will contact the author.
    6. The hierarchy of articles published in the bulletin is as follows:
      1. Office of the Bishop
      2. Parish Liturgical
      3. Parish Education
      4. Parish Ministry, Outreach & Social
      5. Other Parishes & Schools
      6. Outside Organizations (i.e. Birthright, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Meals on Wheels) as space is available.
    7. The Outreach Tithe Committee report will be published monthly.
  6. Parish Events

For Parish events, refer to the Fundraising / Event Policy.

External Communications

  1. Marquee on the parish sign
    1. All requests for information to be displayed on the marquee should be submitted to the Communications Coordinator. The Communications Coordinator will seek approval if necessary.
    2. There is a maximum of 3 lines per screen and a limit of 16 characters and or spaces per line.
    3. The message will be formatted to fit the screen at the discretion of the Communication Coordinator.
  2. Media Interviews
    1. An assigned parish staff person will be identified when the approval for the interview is provided.
    2. The assigned parish staff person shall coordinate all interviews.
  3. Press Releases
    1. An assigned parish staff person will be identified when the approval for the press release is provided.
    2. The assigned parish staff person will work with the requestor to finalize the press release and then submit the request to the diocesan for approval.
    3. Following approval from the Diocese, the assigned parish staff person will send the press release to the designated news outlet.
  4. Parish Website
    1. Any format changes to the website will be submitted by the Communications Committee to the Pastor for approval.
    2. The content of the website will be maintained by the Communications Coordinator.
    3. Clergy, parish staff, ministry members, council members and committee members can submit requests for information to be displayed on the website by submitting a request to the Communications Coordinator via email webmaster@smmcc.org .
    4. The Communications Coordinator will work with the requestor to finalize the information to be displayed. The Communications Coordinator will seek approval if necessary.
    5. Once approved the information will be loaded onto the website until the information is no longer valid.
  5. Social Media
    1. All requests for information to be displayed on social media sites should be submitted to the Communications Coordinator. The Communications Coordinator will seek approval if necessary.
    2. All requests for posting information should be submitted no later than Thursday by 2:00 PM, 10 days prior to the date of the actual post.
  6. Solicitations
    1. There should be no solicitation on parish grounds, including flyers on cars in the parking lot.

Use and dissemination of parishioner lists and contact information:

  1. The confidentiality of parishioner contact information (includes address, phone numbers and email addresses) should be maintained and should never be disseminated to any outside source or vendor.
  2. Should an individual request to be taken off a contact list, the Stewardship & Ministries Coordinator will delete the individuals information and notify all persons to whom the information was disseminated.
  3. Should an individual request their information to remain confidential, it cannot be distributed unless the individual provides written permission.
  4. The Pastor and parish staff should have access to contact information for parishioners, as needed.
  5. Pastoral, Finance and Stewardship council members should have access to contact information for parish staff, ministry, councils and committee members, unless individuals request their information be kept private.
  6. Ministry, council and committee members should have access to contact information for parishioners who are members and volunteers for their corresponding group, unless individuals request their information be kept private.
  7. The Stewardship and Ministries Coordinator will make these lists available as outlined above for the requesting individual.
  8. Ministry, council and committee leaders will provide updates of their ministry, council and committee members when updates are made.

Roles & Responsibilities
 

Pastor – The Pastor has the responsibility for ensuring all diocesan rules are upheld and has the final approval for all communication requests.

Communications Committee – The purpose of the Communications Committee is to build better bridges in communication between the parish and the parish community. Our goal is to establish better communication processes and maintain these processes in accordance with the needs of St. Mary Magdalene parishioners. The scope of our responsibilities as the Communications Committee includes developing, updating and/or maintaining multiple communication avenues for St. Mary Magdalene Church.

Communications Coordinator – The Communications Coordinator develops and maintains an effective plan for communications throughout the parish that is consistent with the Vision and Pastoral Plan of the parish. This plan will include all interfaces: inter staff, staff and parish leaders, staff and leaders to parishioners, and parish to the community at large. The Communications Coordinator will work with the Communications Committee to fulfill the parish communication needs.

Director of Business Administration – The Director of Business Administration staffs and manages the financial and administrative operations of the parish including accounting, expense control, human resources, Safe Environment Program, internal & external communications, clerical services, document control, facilities, and asset management. The Director of Business Administration also ensures that goals, objectives, policies and procedures are established for assigned operations.

Stewardship & Ministries Coordinator - The Stewardship and Ministry Coordinator helps establish and implement a stewardship plan to increase parishioner’s understanding of the concept of Stewardship as A Way of Life. Challenges them to integrate stewardship into their daily lives, helps develop plans to engage parishioners into active, full and conscious participation in the parish and encourages generous sharing of financial resources. Establishes and implements stewardship programs that are consistent with the Vision and Pastoral Plan of the parish and in accordance with the policies and directives of the Diocese of Charleston.

Quality Updates

This document should be reviewed by the Communications Committee and parish staff every two years and updated accordingly. Last revised May 2015.

Should there be a change in the process at any point in time prior to the two year update, the document should be updated and redistributed to inform users of changes to this document.

Reference Documents & Other Resources

Fundraising & Event Policy

Facility Scheduling Guidelines

Reimbursement form 

Catholic Diocese of Charleston 

Safe Environment (Office of Child Protection Services)

 

 
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