Should we make it a free (or charge less for the) event?

Q: We understand that you recommend charging $10 a ticket, but we have some room in our budget and we’d like to bless the women in our community by doing it for free (or by charging less). Is that okay?

You can certainly do whatever you want; the only problem with charging less, of course, is that my fee and expenses won’t be covered. HOWEVER, here’s what we have found: when the event is free, or even when the event is only $5, fewer people come.

I’ve been involved with a number of ministries that have put on large women’s events for free. What they found is that when it was free and they gave out tickets, only about 40-50% of those tickets actually ended up in attendance.

When it was $5, about 60% came.

At $10, you were getting about 90% of the tickets showing up to the event.

And not just that, but the audience was LARGER. At $10 a ticket, people know that the event is worth coming out to. When something is free, people don’t take it as seriously.

And finally, another bonus: when the event is free, people often don’t see the need to pick up tickets, and often won’t commit to coming until just before the event. That leaves the church will no idea how many women are coming, making it difficult to plan for food. If you charge $10, people will tend to buy at least a week in advance, and that makes it easier on you.
So if you want the event to have an impact, with the least stress, we suggest charging the full $10. If you want to bless the women, spend the extra money you have in your budget on door prizes or on making amazing food!

Will it work to have a business sponsor?

Q: We have a business that wants to sponsor the event in order to get email addresses. Will that work?

That’s a great idea! But see #1, above. In general, I’d suggest that the business use that money for goodie bags for the women, rather than subsidizing the tickets. You’re more likely to get a larger crowd.

How can we make it happen as a small church?

Q: We’re a small church, but we really believe this is needed in our community. How can we make it happen?

When we were in San Antonio, Texas, three churches got together to host a Girl Talk. One church hosted and did the ticket sales and coordinated with us. One church provided the food. Another church did the decorating. And all the churches got the word out! Several hundred women came, and it was a blast. And because the work was spread out, no one felt overburdened.

If you are a small church, reach out to another church and see if they will agree to do the food or the decorating, while you take care of the administration. Often with partnerships you get a larger crowd, and you build community in your own town with other churches.

What can we do to get more publicity for the event?

Q: What can we do to get more publicity for the event?

If you provide us with contact numbers for any Christian radio stations, we will try to contact them beforehand to do some radio interviews to drum up interest. Also, most Christian radio stations provide event announcements. Make sure you get Girl Talk on their roster!

Does this evening work as an outreach?

Q: Does this evening work as an outreach?

ABSOLUTELY! 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 much will expenses be?

Q: How much will expenses be?

Expenses vary, depending on how many churches are involved in the tour. If there are 4 churches, for instance, those 4 churches will divide between them the cost of 2 airline tickets (Sheila requires an assistant to travel with her, because she can’t do it by herself anymore), a hotel for a night, meals (we keep this cost as low as possible), the rental car, gas, and other travel expenses (like parking). Again, we try to travel economy class and save as much as possible.

If you charge $10 a ticket, and have 150 women at the event, you’ll almost break even. Your cost will be $1000 for the fee, and then roughly $500-$600 for expenses (depending on size of tour, etc.) Your receipts will be $1250 ($1000 for the first 100 tickets and $250 for the next 50 tickets, which we split 50/50). Depending on how much you spend on food, the event will only cost your church a few hundred dollars. If you sell 250 tickets, you’ll actually make money that you can then use for door prizes or for your budget for the year.

And remember: if you sell the event as an outreach, you’ll have more people–and thus more receipts.

Why do we pay for airline tickets if Sheila is traveling in an RV?

Q: We see on Sheila‘s website that she’s traveling around in an RV. How come we have to pay for airline tickets, then?

Yes, Sheila and her husband are touring in the RV, and for most Girl Talks they’ll show up in their Minnie Winnie.

However, the cost of traveling in the Minnie Winnie is actually MORE, in most cases, than the airline tickets. So what we do is we calculate how much it would have been had they flown, and charge you for that. With gas being expensive, and with driving taking more time, requiring more meals and more stays at RV parks, flights are cheaper. We want to charge you what you would have paid had they not been in the RV, so you’re not just subsidizing them seeing the country!

Do we pay by cheque or cash up front?

Q: How do we work all this with our finance department? Do you require a cheque or cash up front?

We usually ask for a $200 deposit at the time of booking, and then a cheque on the evening of the event to cover expenses and the fee. If more than 100 tickets are sold, then an additional cheque can be sent after the fact to reconcile that (since you may not know the total ticket sales until afterwards).

Sheila is in full compliance with the IRS and can fill out a W-9 for you, if needed.

Do we have to decorate?

Q: I see all these gorgeous pictures on your website. Do we have to decorate like that?

No, you really don’t. Sheila has a backdrop that she can use on the stage, and if you’re not able to decorate, no one will notice the difference. If you are able to decorate, though, it often adds a lot of “pizzazz” to the night that’s fun.

So if you want to–go for it! We love seeing what different people come up with.

But if you don’t have women who can help decorate, the event will be fine regardless.

Click here for lots of different ideas for decorating–from elaborate to simple.

What do we do about food?

Q: What do we do about food?

You can do as much, or as little, as you want. In general, we recommend punch/water/coffee/tea at the intermission, and something to munch on, like some chocolate brownies. Store bought are fine.

If you would like to do more, the women, of course, always appreciate it. We recommend some fruit and veggies, as well, if you want to do a little bit more, because some women can’t eat that much chocolate.

What can we do to make YOU (the Girl Talk team) feel at home?

Q: What can we do to make YOU (the Girl Talk team) feel at home?

Thanks for asking!

We try to arrive at the church by 4-5 p.m. before an event to set up, test the microphones, and test the PowerPoint. That often means that we don’t have time to eat dinner. A veggie try or light snack, like a soup, is much appreciated. Please don’t feel like you have to provide a big meal, though. We usually have a HUGE lunch, and then Sheila tries not to eat too too much before she speaks.

Do we have to sell this as a "marriage" event? Can other women come?

Q: Do we have to sell this as a “marriage” event? Can other women come?

This event is geared towards married women. We talk explicitly about sex in marriage, and have a Q&A.

It is not appropriate for teenagers, or for single women (though engaged women will likely find it helpful). Similarly, we don’t feel that it is the ideal event for a woman who has just come out of a bad relationship. It may make her mourn what she doesn’t have.

We have had widows come who counsel a lot of younger women, and they enjoyed it and found it informative. In general, though, we advise that you stick to “married or engaged”.

Do we have to mention "sex" when we‘re talking about the event? Can’t we talk about "intimacy"?

Q: Do we have to mention “sex” when we’re talking about the event? Can’t we talk about “intimacy”?

Yes, you have to mention sex! We have held Girl Talks at churches that “beat around the bush” about what we’d talk about, because they didn’t want to offend anyone. And at one church a homeschooling group came with all of their teen girls (from 13-17), thinking it would be a great way for them to learn about being wives! The mothers were shocked and pulled their daughters out.

It is better to be up front so that you don’t have misunderstandings. Sheila is a mom of teen girls, too, and she didn’t want them listening to the talk when they were 16 or 17, either. It really is about married sex, and we do talk about the problems that many women encounter. Married women need a place where they can talk about this openly and safely, and that can’t be done if there are young, single girls there.