Beyond the Big Event: How Follow Up Can Increase Your Impact


By Britt Martin

We’ve all been there. You have a big event coming up so you work extra hours, recruit volunteers, promote it to students, and communicate to parents on top of your regular duties as the youth leader. Then during the event you work to make sure each detail falls into place. You typically show up early and leave late, and you want to try and connect with students that are there on top of the leadership and administrative duties you have for the event. These big events are typically ones that we encourage students to bring friends to, and it’s so easy to get so bogged down in the planning, prep, day of craziness that we watch new students walk into and out of our groups without us making a connection with them.

Follow up is huge in these “big event” situations. What if there were a few tweaks you could make to your event that would help you win by making a connection with the new students that come, or at least give you a second chance to make a connection? Here are a few follow up tips and tricks that our team has learned over the years.

Empower your volunteers

You’re not going to catch every new kid that comes in the door. We do a quick volunteer meeting right before students start to show up. We pray for them and encourage them to seek out any new comers or students that haven’t been in a while. We just want them to make contact with these teenagers—maybe give them a high five, catch their name (even if they have to jot it down when they walk away), or tell them a corny joke. This is a way to get names/info of students without making it an official thingOur volunteers pass this info along to the correct people after the event.

The Give Away

Now and then we do a big giveaway at our events (typically back to school/end of school). The concept of this is really simple. We print up some cards and have volunteers posted at doors where students enter and get them to fill the cards out to enter to win a big prize (hammock, iPad, gift card, free pizza, etc). On the cards we asked for info such as name, grade, phone number, and Instagram account name. We do a drawing at some point in the night to give away the prize. But the prize for US is the names and info from students (including first time guests and students that have been away for a while).

Hold the prize

We don’t always do this, but when we do, it really works well! If we do a give away or have some sort of game/contest we often tell teens the winner will be selected and prize given at our next youth gathering. We don’t mean this in a tricky way at all. We want to give a student any excuse necessary to walk through the doors of your “regular” gathering. That gives you a second chance to connect with these students and get them connected to other students/leaders.

The Ball is in your court

I’ve fallen victim to this more than I’d love to admit. We’ve done the work of planning a great big event. We’ve gotten new students in the door. We’ve even gotten info from new students and students that have been away for a while, and I’ve let that info sit on my desk and get put off until it felt like the window is closed. The last tip is pretty straightforward. DO IT! Send the text talking about the next big event or that it was good to meet them! Give them a follow on Instagram. Invite them for a cup of coffee! Whatever you need to do…do it! What we do is worth it!

Follow a few of these tips and come up with a few of your own! But whatever you do, make sure to keep follow up a priority. It’s a great way to win TWICE with your big event!