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STCM 470: Strategic Communication Campaigns: Religious Organizations

This guide provides resources for the course, STCM 470 : Strategic Communication Campaigns.

Finding Articles & Data in Religion Sources

The religion/theology resources are useful when your client is a religious organization (examples: a church or church-affiliated school.)


Suggested Keywords:

  • Catholic elementary schools, Catholic schools, Church attendance, Church membership, Church schools, Private schools, School choice.

Researching Religious Organizations

Research Tips

1. Mine their website and social media channels for information; look for "About Us" information and any resources or publications produced by the organization. See if the organization has posted an Annual Report. Check for press releases or a news section.

2. On the Nonprofits tab (if they are a nonprofit), search websites (including ProPublica's 990 Finder, 990 Finder - Candid, and CitizenAudit.org) for the nonprofit's 990 filings (many nonprofit organizations are registered with the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS.) You can also do a web search using 990 and the name of the nonprofit.

3. On the Companies tab, search for your organization in the directories Mergent Intellect and Reference Solutions.

4. On the News/Articles tab, search local, regional, and news sources. You can search for full-text articles in ProQuest US Newsstream, Access World News, Pioneer Press, and Business Journals (includes the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.) You can also search newspaper websites directly, but they often have a paywall.

5. Perform an Advanced Google Search on your organization and limit it to the "PDF" format.  Many reports, program reviews, and other documents will be on the web in this format. Be sure to check how current the information is, and evaluate where the information is coming from.

6. Set up a Google Alert on your organization or their leader(s) to monitor the media.

Learn About the Religion Sector

Learn about the Religion Sector. What are the larger trends?

1. On the Industries tab, search in IBISWorld, ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry, and Business Source Premier for industry profiles and trade publications related to the religion sector (examples: charter schools, child care services, private schools, private schools K-12, religious organizations, and/or membership organizations.) Use the format limiters to narrow your search results to these types of publications.

2. The Association of Religion Data Archives includes data and reports on religious beliefs and attitudes.

3. Check religious organizations (examples: National Council of Churches, National Catholic Education Association) for background information.

4. On the Market Research Reports tab, you can use Statista to locate statistics related to church membership, church attendance, etc.

5. Search for relevant trade and professional associations in the religion sector. You can find trade associations through web searching as well as in industry reports in IBISWorld and ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry.

6. On the News/Articles tab, search local, regional, and national news sources for articles and news stories. You can search for full-text articles in ProQuest US Newsstream, Access World News, Pioneer Press, and Business Journals (which includes the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.) You can also search newspaper websites directly, but they often have a paywall.

Related Guides: Religious Clients

More resources for religious clients.