This post is part of a series of guests posts entitled “Favorite Things”. We talked to a bunch of youth ministers across the country and got them to send in some of their favorite tools and resources they’re using in their ministry.
Want to submit your own? Send them to [email protected].
An app that works with Evernote (though not as amazingly as it COULD) that is basically a great way to take down people’s contact information. You can either input info yourself or pass your phone along and have them do it. It takes down, phone, email, and twitter info. They can also take a picture of themselves so you actually remember what they look like. (Takes some time to get over the awkwardness of asking someone you just meant to take a pic of his or herself on your phone ) Anyways, the cool thing is that it organizes these “encounters” and syncs them with your evernote account so you can view later. It also keeps local copies on your phone. Lastly, after they put in their info, it will automatically send them an e-mail from YOU with YOUR contact information – great followup, kind of like how Autoresponders work for e-mail lists.
If you’ve never used Evernote before or just wondering how to get more out of it, the ebook Evernote Essentials is worth the read.
A FREE enewsletter service. Our parish uses it to 1) Communicate with various groups, 2) Send out parish news (events, announcements, etc.) 3) It works with RSS feeds so that when we upload our bulletin to the website, if automatically sends an e-mail to parishoners to download it straight onto their computers. This also works for ministry schedules since not everyone knows when to go on the site to download these forms, Mailchimp let’s us do it automatically.
It’s also great for tracking information about how effective your communications are. It allows you to design beautiful looking e-mails if you’re into graphics and stuff. And lastly, it tells you who opens them, & when. So next time a parent tells you “I didn’t get the e-mail” you can say, “Yes you did, on Monday, and you opened it twice at 9am and 1pm” (Yes, this was an actual conversation I had.)
I’m a geek. Perhaps not a mega-geek, but a geek none the less. I LOVE geeky stuff, from Star Wars, to LoTR, to anything Apple/Mac related. LOVE IT! One of the COOLEST geeky things I’ve found recently is IFTTT.com.
If This Then That .com is an incredible web-service that connects all of your most used web services like Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Instagram and MORE! The idea behind it is automating a string of tasks to make your life simpler. Here are just a few examples of what you can do with IFFT.com:
- Have your phone text you the weather every day.
- Have your phone CALL YOU, when you send a particular text message – sneaky way to get out of a meeting
- Have any pictures you take on Instagram automatically backed up to your dropbox account
- Have your Facebook status PUSHED to Twitter (instead of the other way around)
- Plus so so so much more!
So, in terms of ministry, how can IFTTT.com help? Well for me, my inspiration came from reading an article about a Youth Ministry that had created an Instagram Account to share YG photos with students and parents. I thought to myself, hmmmm, how could I make this more interactive. So here’s what I did:
I created an IFTTT.com recipe that looks for ANY public instagram photo with a designated hashtag (for me, I chose “#stmyouth” for St. Thomas More Youth Ministry) Once, ifttt.com finds this hash tag, it DOWNLOADS the photo to my dropbox account! Couple that with this recipe which takes any pictures YOU take and archives it to Dropbox and you’e got a great opportunity to collect photos from any given trip because they’ll all be in your dropbox waiting for you when you get back to the trip.
For some added interactivity use this recipe and ifttt.com will automatically post your instagram pictures to your group’s Facebook Fan Page!
Really hope you check out this SWEET Geek Tool. God bless!