Girl Talk Best Practices

Thanks for agreeing to host a Girl Talk! We’re excited to partner with you. To make it easier, we thought we’d share “Best Practices” from other churches and groups that have hosted a Girl Talk.

Charging For the Event Brings More People–and Makes Planning Easier

We know it can be tempting to want to offer the event for free. You certainly don’t want money to be a factor in whether or not women attend.

But what we have consistently found is that churches that charge for the event get more people–and the people are more engaged.

First, let us share with you a large scale experiment Sheila was involved in. For several years Sheila headlined at the Girls Night Out events produced by World Vision Canada. They were evening events held at local churches for the women in the community. For the first few years they charged nothing, but often found that by giving the tickets away they had no idea how many women would actually show up. It wasn’t unusual to only get 50% attendance based on number of tickets in circulation.

They decided to try to charge $5 to help defray some costs. All of a sudden up to 90% of women who had tickets showed up–and attendance didn’t drop, either. In some cases it even increased because people value what they pay for.

Within a few years they increased the price to $10 a ticket, again to defray costs, and found that the extra $s made no difference. They still had roughly equivalent attendance to when they charged $10. So whether you charge $5 or $10 you get the same number of people–but $10 defrays more costs.

With Girl Talk, several churches have tried to offer it for free, and in some cases organizations have wanted to underwrite the event. However, this can backfire because when you give away tickets, people are less likely to come.

We have taken this previous experiment further with the Girl Talk event.  We actually have found that Churches that charge $15 for the event, end up with the highest percentage of people committing to attend.

What we suggest: Charge $15 a ticket. If a sponsor wants to underwrite the event, have them instead offer gifts totalling $15 each, like a romantic gift bag for each woman with candles, oil, and even some promotional materials inside. You’ll find you get higher attendance and a more accurate count of how many women are actually coming, not only that, you will be able to do some extras to pamper your ladies as well.

Charge a Two-Tier Ticket Price

One of the challenges of planning an event is knowing how many will show up. After all, you have to plan for food!

Using a Two-Tier price structure can help you get more accurate numbers. Today it’s hard to get people to commit to an event more than a week in advance, and many would rather buy tickets at the door.

If you give a discount for buying tickets early, though, you overcome part of this problem.

You could charge $15 a ticket, or $20 at the door, and you’ll get a more accurate count early.  It gives people a greater incentive to commit earlier on, which will help with your planning.

What if You’re a Group That Meets in the Mornings? Have an Evening Event!

In Seminole, Texas, a MOPS group that normally gets 70 women in a morning ended up with 400 women at the event in the evening. In Lafayette, Louisiana, with only 3 weeks notice, a group that gets 40 in the morning had 90 in the evening.

Girl Talk is a really easy sell. People WILL come out to hear a talk on sex–absolutely.

If you have a regular meeting in the morning hosting an evening event can seem daunting. But it does work. And there’s a lot more energy when you meet in the evenings for a special event than if Sheila just walks into your regular morning meeting. It ends up being more fun for everyone!

Consider joining with the women’s ministry at the church, or ask other MOPS groups to go together with you to host a community-wide Girl Talk.

Join with Two Other Churches or Groups

In San Antonio, Texas, one follower of Sheila’s blog really wanted to host a Girl Talk. But her church wasn’t big enough.

So she contacted the women’s ministry directors at two other area churches and the three churches went in together.

  • One church did the decorations.
  • One church did the food.
  • And one church did the ticketing/administration/coordination

It worked wonderfully! The turnout was almost 300 women from 3 medium-sized churches, but all churches had fully bought into the event and promoted it to their congregations and their neighborhoods.

And because each church was responsible for one area, it was easy to split up the work.

Ask Another Church to Buy In, Don’t Just Give Them Posters

If you want the women from other churches to attend your event, asking other churches to buy in in some way will help. Ask another church to take on the responsibility for one area–like the food or the decorations–and then you’ll have more people excited about it!

Sell the Event as an Outreach

In Willmar, MN, they normally had 125 women out for a yearly women’s event. At Girl Talk they had 400 women, their largest crowd ever. And most were unchurched! Seekers are often eager to come to an event that talks about sex, even if it’s in a church. Don’t be shy about asking. This may be one of the best ways to get your neighbors into your church building this year.

Girl Talk does use God language, but it’s easily accessible. And we’ve never had problems with people saying it was too “preachy”. In fact, about 80% of the audience consistently signs up for the newsletter–which means a lot of unchurched women do.

The best way to get seekers out is to sell the event to YOUR women. When the women in your church believe in the event, they will ask their friends. But they likely won’t unless you explicitly tell them: we want this to be an outreach event, too. Please ask your friends!

We at Girl Talk are so passionate about this. After every event, we have women coming up to us saying, “I wish I had brought my niece/co-worker/neighbor.” If only I had known. So tell your women now, so that you won’t miss an opportunity to reach them with the gospel in a way that’s more easily accessible.

How Should We Decorate?

You don’t have to be elaborate! Some churches have gone all out and some have just done a little bit. If you don’t have a big enough team to decorate, Sheila’s banner provides a great backdrop for the stage. Here are some pictures for inspiration–whether you want to decorate a little bit or a lot.