Draw a Crowd to Your Next Meeting

There is nothing worse than preparing for a big meeting and no one shows up.  Everyone is so busy these days and going to yet another meeting is often something that many people avoid.  Here are some easy ways to draw a crowd at your next meeting:

Invite a Speaker – Think about what interests your population and brainstorm a list of speakers that will be informative and interesting to draw attendees.  If you are a PTO or PTA, invite the superintendent to come discuss the latest educational initiatives in your district, a favorite teacher to teach parents about how to help their children with math at home, a web safety specialist to help parents protect their children on social media sites or maybe a local chef to do a quick talk on easy weeknight dinners.  If you are a sports team, contact a former coach or athlete; a fine arts club, invite a beloved choir director or actor in local theatre; an organization, ask someone who specializes in your cause or someone who has benefited from your efforts to tell their story - an interesting and informative speaker can help increase attendance at your next meeting.

Create a Take-Away – Consider providing your guests with something to take away from your meeting.  It should be valuable, helpful and informative.  It might be a flyer with healthy recipes they can prepare at home, directions for how to talk to your children about web safety, or a coupon from the local batting cages or theatre.  Hopefully, the take-away is an extension of the meeting’s topic and supports your organization’s mission.

Fluctuate Meeting Place and Time – Depending on your population, getting to a meeting in the morning or at night after work is difficult.  Maybe getting across town during rush hour every Tuesday just isn’t possible.  Increasing attendance might be as simple as offering a meeting at the library in the morning one month and at a local restaurant in the evening the next.   By varying your meeting time and location, it will make it possible for more interested people to attend.

Acknowledgements (or "warm fuzzies") – This is something that is too often overlooked.  Be sure to take a moment at every meeting to thank all of the people who have supported your organization since the last meeting, either financially or with the gift of their time.  Saying “thank you” publically is important and lets people know that they are valued and appreciated.

Make Decisions! – Be sure that by the end of the meeting, decisions have been made, an action plan is in place and volunteers have their marching orders.  People need to feel that their time has not been wasted.  Be sure you have ACCOMPLISHED something before they walk out the door.  They won’t come back if they feel that nothing is being accomplished.

Prizes – You can never go wrong with offering prizes.  We don’t think this alone brings attendees (most people won’t come just for the prizes), but it does make for a more fun and festive environment at your meeting.  Offer raffle tickets to each person who attends as well as an extra ticket to any attendee who brought a guest to the meeting.  Draw for movie tickets, free spirit wear or a gift card for a local restaurant.  Maybe lunch with the principal or coach for their child will be the big winner.  As we’ve said before, know your population and tailor your ideas just for them.

Oh, one last thing - don't forget the snacks.  Hot coffee and tasty treats go a long way to keeping your attendees happy and coming back for more!

Do you  have any unique and fun ways to increase attendance at your meetings?  We would love to hear about them.  

For more fundraising tips, tools and resources, visit us at www.thebigchangeproject.com.

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