Research and goals


So, planning starts with research, by conducting an assessment of internal and external factors. This doesn’t necessarily need to be anything too onerous, it all depends on what you are trying to achieve, but to do some basic background work is essential.

Internal factors could include what resources you have available already, this could be people willing to help, funds already banked, handouts, you may be lucky enough to have a portable bell or mini ring you could hire, someone may be a Scout leader, or look after the church bookings.

External factors could include your audience, understanding about when the Guides group meets, who their Brown Owl is, who edits the parish magazine and when it is produced, how to hire a hall, who the presenter of the local radio show is, which bell-hangers can quote, who can lend you a low-loader lorry, and so on, depending on your project.

You can understand some of these things by simple means such as asking questions:

  • Do you know anyone else who has done a similar thing?
  • What worked or didn’t work for them?
  • Who did they approach?
  • How did they find out where to go?

If you’re running a regular Saturday ringing school, how much would people be willing to pay to attend?

  • What would they expect to get for their money?
  • Ask questions of your existing ringers:
  • What do you get out of it?
  • How did you hear about it?
  • Why do you come?
  • Why don’t you come to certain events?

If you are doing a restoration project:

  • Ask what information they need in order to provide a quote?
  • Ask the PCC what they need to know
  • Do you need a faculty?

Review what you currently have:

  • Do you have posters, leaflets, handouts, presentations, noticeboards, previous press articles?
  • Are they still fit for the purpose?

If you’re reaching out to youth groups for recruitment have you got bright, engaging pictures of other young ringers, or the same ones from 1975 of older people wearing tank tops and sandals?

If you’re writing an article for a magazine think about when the article is likely to be published and whether you have some relevant images to go with it or whether you need to get some.

Internet searches makes it so much easier now to see what’s already out there by way of articles, literature and so on. Just be extremely careful about using someone else’s image from the internet with regard to copyright (it could get expensive otherwise), safeguarding or anything that reflects badly on ringing. Make sure if you are using photographs that you have all the necessary permissions in place.


Defining your goals is where you need to decide what your key message is. If you are doing a recruitment campaign for example, you could extol the virtues of the health and well-being benefits of bell ringing. Some of the key information we got from the Ringing Remembers campaign was that people joined in because they wanted to feel part of a community activity, some had been bereaved and wanted to make new friends and get a more active social life. It’s a great leveller across generations, a family activity, we had several stories about whole families taking up ringing and the kids loved the competition with their parents as to who got on the quickest.

Your object needs to be clear and specific.In business arenas you may have heard of the SMART acronym for objective setting – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. If your project is a restoration appeal:

  • How much do you need to raise, by when and what for?
  • Who are you going to tap for grants?
  • How much are you realistically going to raise from a cake sale in church?
  • When do you need to submit faculty documents by? And so on...

Is the audience for your message new recruits, or local community groups, or contractors?

  • Think about who they are, how old are they?
  • What other interests do they have that might impact on the time they can give to ringing, or may give you another outreach opportunity to talk about ringing?
  • What is their socioeconomic status if you are asking them to commit to a regular fee for a Saturday ringing school?
  • What do you want the response from your audience to be?

If you are targeting a youth group and offering 'have a go' sessions, could you handle it if more then twenty 13 year olds and their group leaders all turned up at the same time? If you are targeting a company for a grant for your restoration appeal, how much are you asking them to give? Be specific in what you want them to do once they’ve heard your message:

  • What is the best way to reach your target audience?
  • Do you go with the personal approach, having a chat with someone after church, or after a group meeting?
  • Do you need to think wider and commit something to print?
  • Where are you going to send your print article? Parish magazine, pew slips, noticeboards, newspaper, newsletters.
  • Do you need to talk to the Press on local radio, TV or on their website?

Vicki Chapman, CCCBR PRO