Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Many times, someone planning a Vision Dinner for the first time will be confused when they see the list of what needs to be ordered from the printer. There are 6 items that you'll need to have printed - each one has a specific purpose for a specific time. Let's give you a quick overview of each.
SAVE THE DATE
This is meant to be mailed and handed out to anyone who might possibly be interested in attending your dinner. It is typically send out around 12 - 16 weeks prior to your event, although some teams have found success sending it out even earlier than that.
These should be handed out freely - we suggest ordering at least twice as many of these as you'll order of any other piece. The Save the Date only contains basic information about your event - the name, date, location, and (if you have it) speaker info.
INVITATION & RSVP
These two pieces come as a pair - you'll mail out invitations with an RSVP card to allow guests to respond via mail. It may seem unnecessary to send a paper RSVP - can't everyone register online? Trust us, many partners still prefer the mail (especially if they aren't on the internet often).
Whereas the Save the Date goes to anyone who might possibly be interested, the Invitation is a more intentional group - handing or mailing this to someone means that you have a good reason to believe they might like to attend. Invitations begin being sent out 6 weeks before your event, but you need them in hand 12 weeks out so you can include them in your Table Host packets.
This looks almost identical to the Save the Date, but it serves another purpose. The pool of people who get this is even smaller - just those who have already registered or you expect to register. This is sent out within 1 week of your event and is meant to make it a little harder for people to forget about your event.
That may seem unnecessary - they're adults, right? - but this piece has proven to be integral in lowering the amount of no-shows on the day-of.
Hopefully this one is self-explanatory - the program is given to every guest on the night of the dinner. Not only does it tell your guests what to expect for the schedule, it also contains information about your ministry. That's especially important for any guests who don't know about your ministry.
Some teams have tried to skip this in favor of digital options, but it rarely (we're tempted to say 'never') works well. This piece helps your guests to see you as a professional ministry, especially because it's printed on high quality paper with a theme that matches all other material they've received (Right? You would never make it in Word and print it at home, right?? Believe it or not, people have done that).
THANK YOU NOTES
After your event, you'll send many template thank you notes to your guests (whether they gave a gift or not). These branded thank you notes are meant to send handwritten thank yous to anyone who gave an above average gift - typically $600 or higher.
Those are the 6 printed pieces. They'll be paired with a couple of digital resources (your Web Banner and Slides) to create a cohesive brand experience for all of your guests. This pattern of mailing - combined with an emailed invitation and save the date - has been refined and proven over the past several decades to be the most effective strategy for recruiting guests.