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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

There are a number of services that are advertised to Pastors and churches that promise to provide churches with a current list every month of the names and addresses of everyone that has moved into your area in the previous month (or quarter or whatever you desire).

When I was helping out at Blythewood Baptist Fellowship in South Carolina while in Grad School, we used one of these services, although I do not remember which one.

I have often been intrigued by them and have thought about pursuing this as an option to let new people in our area know that we are here and invite them out, but I can't quite swallow the price on our small church budget.

Over the last couple of years, however, I have thought, "This information must be publically available somewhere," but I have not been able to locate that source. There is a county government web-site that lists homes sold, but it does not list who bought the homes. I am in the process of looking into some other options of obtaining this information through legwork instead of finances, but I thought I would use this space for one of the things it is good for - I would ask those of you out there in cyberspace.

1. Do any of you have experience at using any of these services and what are your thoughts about them?

2. Do any of you know a way to obtain this informaiton without going through a service such as this? It seems that they have to get it from somewhere and if they do, why can't I?

Anyway, looking for your thoughts,

Frank

3 comments:

Mark Perry said...

Frank, in our area, home sales are published each week in the newspaper. Obviously, some of these may be refinancing situations, but they are all there listed by zip code.

Our church used these addresses to send an invitation to our church along with a tract, for about a year. We never had anyone visit or express interest as a result of those efforts.

Maybe if we had paid big bucks for one of the official services we would have had more response. :-)

Matt Johnson said...

We used the official services and paid big bucks for it and never saw one visitor as a result. We are talking over 2000 invitations sent out and not one came. In fact, they guarantee about 80-90% success rate, but what they meant was 80-90% were real addresses. It was for our church a waste of time and money.

Frank Sansone said...

Mark and Matt,

Thank you for your input in this. It is helpful.

A couple of quick follow-up questions.

1. Did either one of you do a follow-up visit to the homes after sending them a letter as part of your using this information?

2. Mark, did you have the names or just the address?

I can get the addresses here for free, but don't know how to get the corresponding names.

If I am understanding this correctly, Mark's church got the address from the paper and they may or may not have had the names (otherwise, did you address it as "To our new neighbor at 123 Main Street?), while Matt's church got the whole service - and it did not seem to make a difference either way.

Thanks for the input. Anyone else out there with similar or differing experiences with this?

Frank