If the women who attend our events are given an opportunity to linger, they are going to connect. And, sometimes, reconnect. At an event a few weeks ago, I happened to check my Facebook account and saw a familiar name had checked in at the event. It was one of my closest friends from early elementary school. Changing schools and time had disconnected us. Now, 30 years later we were in the same place at the same time. Had there not been some time to linger after the event, I wouldn’t have know… possibly ever. Since the event, we have reconnected to find out that God moved our families into our current city in the same year… we have kids attending the same schools. How crazy? God crazy.
The thing is, you can’t embrace the linger until you send out the invites and follow up on them. Your invite needs to include all of the pertinent information:
- The name/purpose of the event.
- Date and time.
- Cost and registration deadlines.
- Childcare availability or suggestions.
In addition, you can include things the guests should bring (Bible, notebook, etc.) or even if there is a dress code for the event (funny hats, comfy clothes, art smocks, etc.). I also recommend informing your guests ahead of time if there will be opportunities to purchase items from the speaker, event themes, etc. that they may want to budget for. Also, let your attendees know if there is going to be time to linger. “Join us for the after party” or “lunch on the lawn after the event” are quick ways to let anyone registering for the event know to add a little extra time in their day to linger and mingle with others in attendance.
20 years of ministry leadership has taught a very important thing about inviting guests: an invitation without follow up will dramatically impact your attendance and registration.
If you mail an invite, it can get lost in the mail. If you just simply mention it over Sunday announcements, people may forget to write it down or late comers will miss the news. Not everyone is on social media, and emails can fall into the abyss of junk mail with ease. To reach the most people, it is wise to use multiple avenues to share your invitation.
- Service Announcement + Printed in Bulletin + Email + Website/Church Calendar
- Printed in Bulletin + Email + Facebook + Posters in Women’s Bathroom
- Announcements + Hand out Flyers in Church Lobby + Social Media Posts
Any combination of these is a sure fire way to extend your invitations reach, the more the better.
Yet, there is one SURE FIRE way to up your attendance…
A personal invitation is just that, personal. When you call, email, or text a person (not as a group) and express your interest in whether or not they will be attending the event ensures that your guests feel wanted and valued. It shows that the ministry really cares about who is coming to the event.
You may be thinking that calling every woman in the church and personally inviting her is going to be quite a task. It is, but here is how to handle it:
- First publish the event and allow your more motivated, committed guests register. Now you only need reach out to the women who didn’t. You have reduced the number of calls/texts to make.
- Every church has “connectors” people who just naturally seem to attract others. Make sure your “connectors” are sharing on their social media and with friends that they are attending the event, and encourage their friends to do so. Having connectors on your planning committee is another way to up your attendance.
- Divide up the remaining women that you want to extend a personal invitation to between your Women’s Ministry Team and volunteers. It may be a lot for 1 person to call/text 100 women from the church. But, it is a far smaller task to have 10 team members reach out to 10 women from the church.
As you begin to invite more people, the chatter will begin. Women will begin talking about the event on their own and this will help your reach anyone who fell between the cracks. This is especially important for new members in the church or for reaching out into the community where official contact information may not be available. Word of mouth is a great way to gain traction and spread information about your event.
Get your guests to the event.
Provide excellent content.
Let them linger.