Successful Conference Recruitment and Registration Strategies

If You Plan It… They Will Come… (not necessarily)

We all should intuitively know the impact and significance going on retreat has on our spiritual lives. Getting away from the noise, pressures and distractions of our everyday life to the quiet contemplation and meditative solitude of a camp or conference experience often has life-changing consequences. You could plan the most amazing program, speakers, worship and activities but if no body comes, nobody goes home changed. At one of InterVarsity’s National Staff Conferences, some experienced conference planners shared their insights and strategies on how to move students from “that sounds cool” to “where do I sign up.” Below are their tips and though they were specifically looking at the college campus context, these strategies can be altered to apply to your church or organization’s conference at CBS.

Sucessful Conference Recruitment Strategies to Grow Your Registration Numbers


• Saturate whole process and each step in prayer. From goal setting to asking Holy Spirit to move on hearts of students that have been invited.
• Get commitments to pray for conference. Ask student leaders to pray daily for conference and their role in recruiting other students
• Ask the Lord for a goal. Then ask the Lord to give your chapter that result. And continue to pray for each aspect to that goal.
• Remember to celebrate victories, gifts, answered prayers with prayers of praise.


• Consider: Chapter Culture, History, Other Commitments/Roadblocks, Momentum (is your chapter at an upward trend, downward trend, other?)
• Set the goal (How many students do you want to come to your event?)
• Track goal progression: You, as a staff director or CSM, need to be having WEEKLY check-ins.


• Planning space to plan (i.e. When will you plan out your plan?)
o Your plan should begin, at least, 2 months before the conference
• Your plan should include: conference dates, registration deadlines, connecting with key student leaders, coaching them in conference goals and recruitment (3 conversations), weekly check-ins, structures pointing to conference, etc.)
• Plan needs to be easily transferrable (other staff, AD, students)

Key Students (Group Influencers and Stakeholders)

• Good News: Recruitment does not (and should not) ride solely on you!
• Identify key students to coach in recruiting other students
o Once identified, when will you invite them? How can they own the goal?
o Coach them through a network map.
• You need to coach these key students in:
o Registering for the conference (so they know how to guide others through)
o Having 3 Conversations with other students/friends:
3 Conversations Checklist

  1. Head: Does the student know the conference exist? When it is? Where it is?
  2. Heart: Do they have buy-in? Do they know the vision? Have you coached them in sharing the vision? Do they want to go?
  3. Hands: Have they signed-up? Do they know how? Is scholarship money needed?

Early Deadline

• Identify the ACTUAL deadline for conference registration
• Create an EARLY deadline (at least 3 weeks or a month before actual)
o This is so that your key student leaders/core can have 3 conversations with friends SO THAT these students are ready to register when the actual deadline arrives.
• Put it on your calendar and communicate it to your key students!
• Incentivize with an early bird discount of at least 20% or $50 off the first 20 to register but make sure that registration price after that date more than makes up the total amount discounted!

Aligning Structures

• Identify ALL your chapter structures leading up to the conference:
o Small Groups
o Personal Conversations
o Large Groups
o Leadership Meetings
o Outreach Events
• How can these structures point your chapter towards the conference? How can they do it better?
o If they are not currently, what is your next step to change it?

These tips were developed and compiled by IV staff Steve Lambert: and Justin Weber: who are Regional Coordinator of Great Lakes East and Area Ministry Director of North Dakota, respectively. They are happy to answer questions and would be excited to hear your feedback and success stories from applying these principals.