When it comes to planning Vision Dinners, Digital Events, and other events, one of the most common push-backs I get is against how often we encourage our users to contact partners. Staff are typically very worried that they're going to annoy their partners by asking them another time to RSVP for their event. It is true that we aren't afraid of making sure no one forgets about our events, and that's because we aren't worried that they'll be offended by getting another email, phone call, text, or piece of mail related to our event. The main reason we aren't worried about that is the culture of notifications we're operating within.


  • A 2015 study showed that the average American received 64 notifications every day on their phone (a number that I'd expect has only gone up in the years since the study). SOURCE

  • Another 2015 study found that the average person receives around 125 emails every day. That might seem like a high number of you've spent your career in ministry, but the numbers don't lie. SOURCE

  • According to Forbes, marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to 4,000 - 10,000 advertisements every day. It's so overwhelming that our brain learns to ignore the vast majority of them that are unimportant to us. SOURCE

Personally, I know I have several apps on my phone that send me regular notifications. After looking at my phone's analytics, I saw that the biggest offenders are all wildly successful companies (I believe that's not by chance). Every week I receive on average 10 notifications from Amazon, 14 from Spotify, 21 from Instagram, 42 from Google News, 77 from Maps, and a whopping 112 (!!!) from ESPN.

Let me synthesize all of those numbers I just threw out there. In the 2 months before your event, you can expect that each person your asking to view or attend will receive over 3,500 notifications on their phone, get over 7,500 emails, and be exposed to potentially 50,000 paid advertisements. All that is to say this:

  1. Your partners are very used to getting notified about the things people think they should pay attention to.

  2. There is immense competition for the attention of your partners.

In the 2 months prior to your event, each person your asking to view or attend will receive over 3,500 notifications, 7,500 emails, and see 50,000 ads.

Let's compare that to what we endorse as a communication strategy for Vision Dinners and Digital Events. Amid that sea of thousands of notifications and emails, your friend will get 7 - 10 official communications and invitations to your event. On top of that, they might hear about it through a personal invitation 2 - 5 times. So if your team is really on it's game in the communication department, each partner might hear about your event 15 times. Compared to the numbers above, you should see that your notifications are just a drop in the ocean that they're already swimming in.

Your event's notifications are just a single drop in the ocean of notifications your partners are swimming in.

I should mention that staff's hesitations about sending so many emails and mailed pieces isn't completely unfounded. One outcome of our culture of notification is that some partners (especially those who are 60+) have become averse to all notifications. They might, indeed, be unhappy to get a third email from you. But it's important to remember that you can always apologize and explain that you were simply trying to make sure they knew about your exciting event because you thought they'd appreciate hearing about what God is doing in your area.

If you want to have any hope of sticking out to your partners and rising above the constant grabs for their attention, it's important to communicate regularly in advance of your event.

©2020 Cru. These materials cannot be duplicated in any form without the permission of James W. Dempsey, with the exception of worksheets and forms. None of these materials should be used for profit.