Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders The Key to Registering More Students for Your Next Event

The Key to Registering More Students for Your Next Event

If you’re putting big time into events, chances are you want big turnouts.

(Who wouldn’t want that?)

It doesn’t matter if you’re building an outreach event for hundreds …

… or a Bible study for a dozen.

It’s always a nice thing whenever another student shows up.

So, what if I told you that there was a secret reason they don’t come?

If it’s difficult to sign up for your events, people won’t sign up for your events.

Sometimes we make these things way harder than they need to be.

We send people on scavenger hunts through our websites, we send them superfluous amounts of paperwork, and finally they just say …

It’s not worth it.

This happens when someone decides to visit your church, but spends 15 minutes on your website and can’t find your service times anywhere …

… or when they can’t figure out how to make an online payment for camp.

Here’s a valuable psychological insight you should understand:

Frustrated people don’t usually ask for help;

they usually just stop trying.

Every year, students miss out on quality, life-changing ministry opportunities simply because they can’t figure out how to get themselves on board.

Think that sounds ridiculous?

It’s not. Try this story or a dozen like it:

— Why Carla didn’t come to camp —

Carla was one of the most active students in our ministry and she’d been excited for camp for the past nine months.

But when I got the final list of campers, she was nowhere to be seen. So I called her mom and asked about it. Her response?

We couldn’t afford it and I couldn’t find any information about scholarships.

This killed me. I literally had $5,000 set aside for a year’s worth of camp scholarships, but I didn’t make it easy for Carla’s mom to ask for one.

Sure, she could have called me to ask about it, but how do YOU feel when YOU have to admit that YOU can’t afford something?

The good news is that most of these “it’s not worth it” moments can be anticipated and prevented.

The easiest way is to get on Twitter and ask someone totally unrelated to your ministry to try to register for your event.

Send her a copy of the email or flyer your students will receive, then let her figure it out from there. If she has questions or difficulties, you’d better believe someone else will.

If you can’t do that, here are the most common “it’s not worth it” moments that keep people from registering for your events.

1. “I CAN’T FIND THE STUPID LINK!”

They’re trolling your website looking for the registration form, they’re busy trying to find an email you sent six weeks ago, or they’re trying to type in some silly URL that you included in print media.

Either way, they know that the information exists somewhere on the internet and that they just cannot find it anywhere.

Alleviate these frustrations by getting your link everywhere, and keeping your emails recent. The moment when you feel you’re overcommunicating is the moment when your listeners are just beginning to receive your message.

2. “IT’S NOT WORKING ON MY PHONE!”

It’s 2013 and that means that Carla wants to register from her phone while she’s waiting for her mom to pick her up from youth group …

… and Carla’s mom wants to register from the car, while she’s waiting to pick up Carla from youth group.

If you ask for online registration, but can’t be friendly to mobile users, people will be frustrated by the time they get home.

Or even worse, they’ll forget about it entirely.

3. “THIS IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!”

This is what happened with Carla, and it’s rooted in this universal truth:

It’s harder to ask for money out loud than it is to fill out a form.

Include the scholarship application with the registration packet, or make sure that everyone knows how to easily request money online.

If parents feel less awkward about asking for help, then they’ll be more likely to get their children to your event …

… and that’s the goal, isn’t it?

So, is it too difficult for people to sign up for your events? Have you done something to make it easier?

Let’s talk about it.  

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Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes at Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations—things like leading volunteers, managing money, and communicating effectively. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana.