Looking to understand the people you are trying
to reach? We suggest the following basic
1. Identify General Areas of
Interest: If you already know the
meeting location for your Sunday services,
make note of the address (street address or
intersection). If not, identify
addresses/intersections for potential meeting
locations. In most city/metropolitan
areas, your target area will typically be
within a 5 mile radius of a specific meeting
location. In rural areas, the radius
can be significantly larger.
2. Educate Yourself on Census
Data: Census data does not have to be
complicated. The US Census Bureau has a
educational paper explaining the
essential basics of census data that is a
Click here to read it.
3. Identify Variables of
Interest: Demographic data is available
for hundreds of different variables of
interest (e.g. age, income, housing prices,
race, etc.). The amount of data
available will overwhelm most people.
Decide the 5 most important variables of
interest to you. Start by obtaining
demographic data for these variables.
You can expand your list to 10 later.
Most of the sites below provide a list of the
different variables available.
Click here for a sample list of variables
from the US Census Bureau.
4. Obtain Free Demographic
Data/Reports: A number of organizations
offer free demographic data. In many
cases, the free data is based on the 1990
census rather than the 2000 census.
Look for data based on the 2000 census.
The level of detail in the demographic
reports varies widely so look for a site that
offers what you are looking for.
We've identified a list of sites that
offer free demographic information (see the
list below). Most demographic data is
provided in "raw" form leaving you
with the responsibility to interpret
results. Often, the sites that charge a
small fee for data will provide the
information in a more readable form with some
assessment/interpretation of the data
provided (e.g. Percept).
The best place to start is the
US Census Bureau or the Church
Marketing Solutions. The
Census Bureau site will allow you to
interactively get demographic data and maps
for areas you specify. The Church
Marketing Solutions can also provide you free
data and maps for areas you
specify. Click here for a
sample report available through the Church
Marketing Solutions. If you would like
a customized report, simply email the
Church Marketing Solutions or call them
toll free at 866-342-5264 with a list of zip
codes that you are interested in.
5. Demographic Mapping:
Demographic information is easier to
interpret when it is mapped. Typically,
data is mapped in different colors with each
color representing a different range of
values for the data. For example, dark
green may represent average age of 35-40
while lighter shades of green represent
different average age ranges. Maps
allow you to see the data in specific
geographic locations (down to small census
tract areas) and to easily compare how the
data in one area compares to another.
Many of the companies that offer free
demographic data also provide some mapping
support. Most paid demographic services
offer mapping. Again, the US Census
Bureau site is the best place to start with
Click here to see the Census Bureau's
site for Thematic mapping. Click here
for a sample report available through the
Church Marketing Solutions. If you
would like a customized report, simply email
Church Marketing Solutions with a list of
zip codes that you are interested in.
6. Interpreting the Data: After
collecting the data and maps, its time
to figure out what it means. You should
consider purchasing a report like the ones
provided by Percept.
They offer a relatively low cost solution
(under $500) that will tell you what the data
in your area means. This product is
called a Ministry
Area Profile. (Click on products and then
ministry area profile).
7. Carrier Route Mapping: Carrier
route mapping is done to determine how many
active households and businesses exist within
individual mail carrier routes. Carrier
routes become important for direct mail
marketing because you will want to
"saturate" an entire carrier route
to obtain the lowest possible postage
rates. Carrier route maps are typically
done by mail shops (or other paid services)
and are not available to the general public
online. Organizations like the Church
Marketing Solutions offer free route
mapping for customers doing direct mail with
Demographic Sites Worth
American Fact Finder (US Census Bureau) -
Probably the best overall site available for
obtaining FREE data tables and color coded
maps. Simple enter an address of
interest and then follow the on-screen
instructions. A huge number of data
tables and maps are available. Maps can
be zoomed to obtain closer views.
US Census Bureau (2000 Census Homepage) -
Gateway to all 2000 US census information.
Church Marketing Solutions - Church
Marketing Solutions provides free demographic
reports for church planters.
ESRI Business Information - Great free
Data - Great overall information
Claritas (Free Info) - Several great free
(Percept) - Link2Lead.com is a new web
site for local church pastors and lay
leaders. Here you
can download FREE demographic reports
by Percept, the leading
information provider to religious
organizations for the past 18 years, and our
growing client family of over 300
denominational regional bodies and national
offices from all across the United States.
You must be affiliated with a participating
denomination to download the free reports.
Site - Good site for free and paid
reports. To enter the site and obtain
free reports, you must sign up for a free
Citibay Data - Basic information, but its
- Premier "for fee" demographic
data for churches. Select
"products" from the main menu.
? 2005 Passion for