Do I really need to include volunteers in key leadership positions? Shouldn't the staff just fill those roles?
First, Cru Staff are too valuable to be just working on the dinner responsibilities all year long - someone has to be on campus. You need to begin trusting volunteers to assume key roles. That said, for first-year dinners, Staff should assume at least the two most important roles; overall dinner coordinator and table host coordinator. If you feel like you don't have any volunteers to fill these roles yet, that's okay; one of the main benefits of a dinner is that it will help you to find and develop those partnerships.
Do I have to use Ministry Sync? Why is this software so beneficial?
Today, successful dinners are no long accomplished just through paper and phone. Successful dinners include electronic registration - allowing guests to register online. The Ministry Sync software takes registration to the next level by allowing table hosts to register their guests and manage their tables - moving guests in and out, communicating dinner and ministry details - which, ultimately, saves your team tremendous amounts of time and money. It also enables your Reservation Coordinator and Table Host Coordinator to assign tables and register new guests and walk-ins “on the fly” the night of the dinner. You are not required to use Ministry Sync, but hundreds of teams around the U.S. have found it to be not only a valuable tool but the best tool for our dinner model.
Should we try to get a "big name" speaker? All the other ministries in town are getting one.
It has been proven over thousands of dinners that getting a “big name” speaker is not the answer to all your problems. In fact, it could actually lead to failure for your Vision Dinner. A big name speaker will definitely draw a large number of guests, but experience shows that those are not always the people you want to attend. In all likelihood, many people who only come for the speaker won't be interested in your ministry, let along giving a gift. And since we provide complimentary meals, the person doesn’t even cover the cost of their own meal.
We used Joel Rosenberg a few years back and grew the attendance of one dinner from 225 to 500 people and raised $103,000 with a net profit of $60,000. The next year we couldn’t afford a big name speaker again and had 250 people and raised less - $96,000 - but we netted over $76,000 because the cost of the dinner was so much lower. We had three men that flew all the way from Indiana to Virginia in a private plane to hear Joel speak. Do you know how much those three men gave combined? $0 - nothing. Everyone will want you to use a big name speaker, but a little known effective communicator will do just as good a job – perhaps even better. Resist the pressure and prove to the detractors that the best way to have a successful dinner is through table hosts and not through the speaker. Explain, too, that this philosophy allows us to be better stewards of God’s resources because we get the people who really care about us and not just the speaker.
Why is it important to mail so many invitations and reminders for the dinner? Aren't we bugging people?
It is a proven marketing fact that the average American needs five to seven “touchpoints” before they will consider coming to an event like this. Those friends of the ministry who are real planners appreciate the “Save the Date” because it gives them something to look forward to. The broad planners appreciate a formal invitation and reminder that comes back after the response. And the last-minute planners respond positively to the “urgent reminder” card since it comes while they are thinking of the current events at hand.
Just like you can't depend on one announcement to get your students to an event, your guests will need multiple reminders to make sure they register and attend.
Why does the invitation include a dress code?
Statistics show that the better dressed your guests are, the more money they will give. That’s why we ask our guests to wear business attire (jacket and tie for men, dress/skirt for women). For those who are participating in the program as well as your staff team, plan to wear suit and tie (men), and nice dress (women).
Why does the invitation say "adults only"? And how do you explain that to your guests?
Having children at a dinner radically changes the feel of the evening. It will distract guests from the program and communicates to guests that it is a more casual affair. This is also not a good place for high school or college students to “find out more about Cru” because they will be presented with a need and asked to give. A much better place for that would be your local weekly meeting. Just tell them that if we let one child come, then every child will have to allowed to come. We can’t afford to pay for all of their meals and their presence would change the feel of the evening.
Why do you need to use each piece of the media package? Isn't that just a waste of time and money?
Each piece of the media package has been chosen based on years of experience. Each element of the packet has a specific purpose and will help your overall attendance even if it costs a bit more to send each piece. They also provide a consistent branding, which gives your event a more professional and exciting feel.
Web Banner: This image is designed for your site's Ministry Sync page. It follows the same visual branding of all printe
Save the Date Postcard: This gives possible guests a heads up so they can mark their calendars.
Invitation & Envelope: The invitation shares a brief vision behind your dinner, where it is, and what time to show up.
RSVP Card & Envelope: Believe it not, some people still don’t use the internet! This piece is used for that demographic who still have great giving potential but needs to mail in their RSVP. Also, many guests that do not attend will reply using the RSVP card and envelope and will enclose a check as their giving.
Reminder Postcard: This type of postcard is used not for those that have already replied, but for those that have yet decided to make up their mind about coming. This is sent to every person who received an invitation.