Ditch the RSVPs

Posted on: May 15, 2017


I don’t know about you, but I sure get invited to a lot of things. Over the years, there has been a shift in how galas, weddings, banquets, showers, birthday parties and [fill in the blank here] have been asking for RSVPs. It’s commonplace these days for RSVPs to have an online option, whereas 15 years ago that was unheard of.

When I’m invited to something, I try to respond the way that I think the sender wants me to. It’s the people-pleaser in me.

For instance, I was recently invited to my cousin’s formal wedding with an invitation that puts most other wedding invites to shame—I’m talking multiple envelopes, heavy linen paper, personally addressed in embossed calligraphy… it was a work of art!

In the invitation was a pre-stamped return envelope with an elegant (and numbered) RSVP card. There was also a teeny tiny note at the bottom of the invite that showed their website on theknot.com. It seemed to me that they wanted me to RSVP with the response card. So I did, even though online registration would have been my first choice.

My question to you

When you are inviting guests to your events, how are your invitations suggesting that you’d like them to RSVP?

Are you sending an RSVP card, then complaining when you have to decipher the handwriting to record it by hand, while muttering under your breath “I know they have a smartphone. Why couldn’t they have just registered online?”

I so often hear “our people don’t really register online,” but I wonder—was that clearly your preferred method of response?

For fun, I challenge you to time yourself the next time you take an RSVP over the phone. How long did the conversation take? Did you already have AttendEasy open, or did you have to open it while on the call? Did you happen to chit-chat with the guest?

rsvp-womanNow, time yourself as you enter an RSVP card that comes in the mail. Don’t forget to start the timer when you get up from your desk to check the mail! Did the guest fill out the entire RSVP card or did they neglect to give you full names? Phone numbers? How long did it take you to enter them?

I’ve timed myself. A phone call—with AttendEasy already open on my computer and no excess chit-chat on the call—takes an average of a minute and a half per person. Per person! Multiply that by 300 people and I’ve wasted seven and a half HOURS registering my guests. Oh, what I could have done with that time had they registered themselves!

A couple of years after I began to use AttendEasy, I started giving only two RSVP options—online and via phone. Our online registration skyrocketed! Couple this with Unlocking the Power of the Table Host by encouraging my hosts to use the tools AttendEasy gave them, and I saved days—literally DAYS—of time.

Please don’t interpret what I’m saying as “don’t connect with anyone.” That’s certainly not my point. The relationships with your Table Hosts are crucial—they are one of the 3 Secrets to Increase your Banquet Response, after all.

What I am saying is that the time saved in manually entering RSVP’s allowed me to focus more on other areas of my event, and gave me the time to invest in my table hosts through calls, notes, and encouraging emails; ultimately deepening their relationship with the ministry, and commitment to filling their table.

It may be scary at first to rip off the band-aid and get rid of RSVP cards, but trust me— the “you” the week of your event will thank the “you” who made that decision months before. 😊

Crystal Velte
Crystal Velte

This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events.