ASK: Why do I need to RSVP for a FREE event?

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In our new series, ASK, Women’s Ministry Leaders will be answering common questions from not only other leaders… but also the women in which we serve.

Q:  Why do I need to RSVP for a FREE event?

It’s Sunday, as you scan through the church bulletin, or listen to the announcements, you hear the good news… there is an upcoming Women’s Ministry event!  You note the date and time, uncertain at this exact moment if you can attend.  As part of the announcement you are directed to RSVP through a website link or sign up sheet located in the lobby.  The event is free, why do I need to RSVP?  Can’t I just show up?

Some Women’s Ministries are funded by their church, others are funded directly through the women who serve on the ministry team, or costs are covered by taking up an offering or charging a small fee.  Whether the event has a fee or is free, RSVPing is incredibly important.  Why?

  •  Your ministry team needs to know how many people to prepare for.  It is our job as the leadership team to prepare for the attendees.  This means we need to have enough tables and seats set out for our guests, plates & utensils for the meal, enough food, print materials, and take home favors.   When we have no idea how many women are attending, we end up either underprepared or overprepared.  RSVPing gives the team the ability to plan accordingly.
  • We are called to be good stewards.  Whether the funding is from the church or from our own pockets, we are still called to be good stewards with the money.  If we over spend due to too many supplies for an event with a lower than anticipated attendance, we have wasted money.   We may have wasted supplies, wasted food, etc.  By RSVPing, we can budget responsibly.
  •  We may be responsible for providing information to other parties.  Occasionally, we have a Women’s Ministry event off campus at a local golf club.  It’s a really nice event, not very expensive, and a treat for our women.  However, the Golf Club requires us to give them our attendance numbers two weeks ahead of the event.  Sometimes our women visit other locations that are hosting a live simulcast, special conference, etc.  By knowing how many of our women are coming, we can save seating so that our group can sit together.  There are also occasions where we are partnering with another organization or ministry, that will be providing information or gifts to our attendees.  We need to provide them with an approximate number so that they too are prepared for the event.

It is also important that if you have RSVP’d for an event (free, paid, or scholarship) and you are unable to attend that you notify the team AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

  •  Notifying the leadership that you will no longer attend a free event, allows us to adjust our numbers so that we steward budget/planning of the event well.
  •  If the event is sold out or at max capacity, even free events can fill up, we can let people who are interested in attending but missed the initial RSVP an opportunity to attend.
  •  If the event has a cost, by notifying the leadership you will be unable to attend, you may be able to receive a refund.  Or, it gives you the opportunity to scholarship your ticket to someone who wanted to attend but couldn’t afford.
  •  If you accepted a scholarship, and didn’t show… that means the church paid for your materials/meal… and it went to waste.  It also means that someone else who needed scholarship couldn’t attend.  By notifying the team as soon as possible, it allows them to extend the scholarship to another person.

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