How to Find Participants for Your Faith & Finances Class
– July 1, 2019
You’re ready to start your first Faith & Finances class. All your planning and preparation is about to pay off! What’s next? Inviting the right people to participate!
Finding folks to join your class can be a challenge, especially if your church or ministry doesn’t have existing connections with people who can benefit from Faith & Finances. But there are a few things you can do to get the word out.
Before we get to that, how many people should you try to invite? The “ideal” class size is 10-12 participants—that’s enough people to foster lively discussion but not so many that people get lost.
In our experience, the average Faith & Finances class graduates about 7 people. So it’s important to invite about double the number of folks you want—about 20-30 people. Don’t be discouraged if a few people don’t show up or don’t make it all the way through the class.
Hopefully, you’ve already had a few people sign up for your first Faith & Finances class. But maybe you want to invite more people! Here are a few pointers:
- Use existing connections. Use relational networks to spread the message about Faith & Finances, and take the time to talk to potential participants face-to-face about their interest. Who are you already talking to who could benefit from Faith & Finances? For example, is your church already involved in ministry with single moms? Do your deacons regularly meet with people asking for help paying bills?
- Consider when you host your class. Timing matters. Don’t start your class before the holidays or summer break. Schedule your class on a day and time that people can attend even if they’re working.
- Recruit by word of mouth. Don’t rely on written marketing alone to promote your Faith & Finances class. Word-of-mouth is the best way to get the message out about financial education programs in an inclusive and accessible way, especially for people with low levels of literacy or people who come from oral cultures.
- Focus on existing allies. When participants show interest in joining your Faith & Finances course, ask them to identify a friend, mentor, sibling, or parent who can attend the course with them and serve as an ally. Participants are less likely to drop out when things get tough if a supportive person is walking alongside them.
- Make it easy to say yes. Meals and childcare are essential for working people to attend the class. Dinner provides an incentive to come after a long day of work (if on a weeknight), and informal meals strengthen relationships and allow participants to build rapport as they work through difficult financial issues together. Childcare provides a safe place for parents to leave children during class time.
- Charge admission. Charging each participant a small fee encourages participants to value the learning. The Chalmers Center does not mandate a cost, but we do believe that asking people to pay empowers them and affirms their dignity, introducing early on the concept of ownership and investing. Practically speaking, $10-20 is a reasonable price to pay for education, course materials, childcare, and meals over 12 weeks.
We’ve created a whole kit of materials to help you promote your class to potential volunteers and participants. Download it here!
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