advertise where you shouldn’t

This is one of those posts where it will be impossible for me to provide enough examples, since I don’t know the particular context of your school. So I’m not going to put too much effort into that. If this is a useful notion to you – and I think it could be if you’ve got a few minutes to brainstorm – great! And if not, hopefully the next post will be more useful.

As a guy who’s paid to think about “mobilization” (which means “volunteer recruiting” a lot of the time), I’ve come to learn the value of “outside the box” efforts in helping move people to their best next step. Sure, a college ministry needs to place a lot of its energy into obvious wins like organizational fairs, big events, facilitating word-of-mouth, fliers in certain places, or whatever you’ve seen work for your college ministry. (You are tracking how students hear about you, right?)

Yet it’s worth holding some “chips” back to spend in experimental ventures, especially experiments with a lot of potential benefits and not a huge investment requirement. Who knows if dressing up an engaging student in a cow costume might draw more people to your kick-off event? Who knows if fliers in an apartment complex – instead of just the dorms – might work? Who knows if a parent-oriented booth during New Student Orientation could pay off? Who knows if sometimes advertising only one part of your ministry – instead of the whole thing – might bring a bunch of students interested in that niche? Who knows if advertising in a venue outside of your denomination or organization might expose you to students/parents/leaders who otherwise would overlook you completely?

And it’s even better when an effort could reveal a type of advertising that might work for the future. Maybe the costume thing only works okay, but you realize having people out-and-about (perhaps in T-shirts next time?) seems valuable. And so on.

The point is: Could you give a little thinking time to advertising outside of your normal venues? What might you learn… and who might actually respond?

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