21 Ways to Attract More Moms to Your Mothers Group
Make a phone call. We live in a digital world. Consistently sending email invitations is fantastic, but I guarantee you if you get on the phone and make some phone calls – someone new will come! You can always ask someone to make the phone calls on your behalf – one of the other moms who attend.
Write an engaging email that projects enthusiasm. Often times Mothers Group Leaders send out an email as a reminder that says, “Mothers Group tomorrow at 7 pm.” There is nothing wrong with an email like that for your regular die hard attendees, but there is a possibility that after awhile – moms are going to hit the delete key. Try to make sometime an emotional connection in your writing. For example, you might say: “I am soooo excited about Mothers Group tomorrow…” Get someone to read your email before you hit the send key and ask them, “Does my email sound inviting?” University students are great at infusing some energy into their writing! Another suggestion is to write a short story about your last Mothers Group, an inspiring story, with an invitation to attend the upcoming meeting.
Declare the meeting as being special. A Mothers Group meeting can be special because someone has promised to bake something, or it ties in with a liturgical event (come and revive your spirit during Lent), a meeting can be special because moms are going to get a little gift – a prayer card, a Miraculous Medal etc.
Invite moms more than once to the same meeting. Think about how often you see a Pampers commercial, (you know, the diapers!) is it just once? Absolutely not – we are bombarded with commercials repeatedly, over and over again. If you have a monthly gathering, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to send out three emails for that same meeting. One email the night after Mothers Group – thanking everyone for attending, declaring how wonderful the meeting was and inviting everyone to come next month. The second email could be sent the week before, the third email could be sent the day before the Mothers Group. I have been know to send out yet another email on the day of the meeting. Remember, moms have many things pulling at their attention. Oftentimes moms, because they are so busy, forget to come! They simply missed it because they were distracting and not focused on your meeting and getting to it. Your emails help them focus. You may have to write a note in your own calendar to remind you to do these shout outs, because yes, we as Mothers Group Leaders are busy.
Shake it up. Do something different. Sometimes our Mothers Group meetings can fall into a little bit of a rut. They might get into a predictable pattern. Consider inviting a speaker, an guitar player for a sing a long, or a local artist to teach moms a few stroke of the paint brush. I’d love to hear some of the things that you have done to shake it up and make it different.
At each meeting ask the moms there to bring a new mom next month. Make it a habit to do that at the end of every meeting and before you know it – you will see more moms out. If you decide to make phone calls, reminding moms about the meeting, remind them to invite someone to come too!
Invite a specialist to speak at your meeting. There was a period in my own Mothers Group where many of us had had someone close who had passed away, on top of that, there were several suicides in a couple of the local schools. I did a little research and found a fantastic bereavement counsellor. We had a record number of moms come out that night. Keep your eye on the pulse of the group.
Invite your pastor to come to your Mothers Group with the explicit purpose of blessing the group. While he is there ask him to give a short reflection on motherhood, maybe even his own mom and how she affected his journey of faith. This will do two things, number one, it builds the relationship between your pastor and the group. Secondly, it helps him get to know who you are as a group, which keeps your Mothers Group top of mind, which increases the likelihood that he will talk about it to moms in your parish. I have often encouraged moms to call their pastor the day after Mothers Group with some good news! Priests hear so much bad news. I am sure it wears on them. Honest to goodness “good news” about the Mothers Group is vital to increased attendance.
Make an appointment with different people to inform them about what your Mothers Group. Having a formal meeting with a parish catechist, the parish secretary, the local PTA or the school principal, professionalizes the Mothers Group, it also puts a face to a name, building rapport. It also opens doors to getting postings in newsletters, bulletins and announcements etc.
Order Masses for the intentions of the moms who come to your Mothers Group. One Mothers Group Leader at CatholicMomsGroup.com ordered a monthly Mass for the moms in her group. Now many of the moms come to both the Mass and the monthly gathering. Another thing this habit does is it puts the Mothers Group in the church bulletin more than just once. The Mass dispenses supernatural graces for each of your Mothers Group members – that my friends is sure to work.
Identify the benefits of attending Mothers Group and announce them in all your communications. For example, you could say, “Come to Mothers Group and be refreshed, inspired and learn 5 ways to get your kids to spend less time on their computers.” This presupposes that you have watched the DVD or planned the talk and identified the learning points. Remember moms are busy and are always asking themselves the question, “Why should I go to this meeting, what’s in it for me?”
Conduct a short needs assessment or evaluation. Write up a Word document with 5 things you’d like to know from your moms, create a short questionnaire – asking them which topics they would like to learn about, what thoughts they have had about previous meetings, just so you can learn if you are meeting their needs.
Start an online community with the mothers in your Mothers Group by regularly sending out Catholic articles, blog posts, notifications about Catholic events. Doing this will start discussions amongst the moms and create a common thread of discussions. In doing so, this will help your moms feel more connected in between meetings. If a mom feels connected to your group, it will increase the likelihood that she will come out the day of the meeting. You will be surprised how these little email blasts can cumulatively inform and catechize your moms too! One of the Mother’s Group Leaders in our network started an online group where all members can exchange great Catholic news between one and other. The group often gets requests from one and other for prayers too! It really can build up a feeling of community.
Evaluate the resources you are using at your meetings. Are they relevant, engaging, do they include a discussion guide? Be careful not to project your own views of the DVD series or the resource you are using on to the members of your Mothers Group members. While our ministry is currently using the Mothering, Full of Grace DVDs, we are currently developing a data base of resources to make it easy for you to plan your calendar year.
Invite a priest, this is a little different than invite your pastor, in that we suggest you invite any priest that you hear give a fantastic talk or homily! Approach him after Mass, after the talk, and say, “Father, would you consider coming to visit my Mothers Group and give that same talk/homily?” Asking him immediately after the homily does two things, it eases the burden in his mind, because since he has just given that homily, that talk, he knows he doesn’t have to do much prep work for it – secondly, you haven’t procrastinated inviting him. It’s done, bang, boom, you have a speaker for your next Mothers Group. And, just for the record, I always see my numbers go up when I announce a priest is giving a talk. Lastly, since you have heard the priests (or deacon) talk – you know he is a good speaker, and that really does help!
Host a family event. If occasionally your Mothers Group hosts a family event, for example, a Happy Birthday Jesus Party, or an All Saints Day party, or a Come Meet a Children’s Author Book Signing, (I have a ton of ideas about events, don’t get me started) you are making a very important statement to your parish about your Mothers Group: we’re fun, we are engaging, we love your family and we are here to help! Hosting a family event will definitely bring out moms that usually don’t come out to your Mothers Group. Here the mom will get to know you and the organizing team, and think to herself, “Hmmmm these women are wonderful, I want to see these women again!”
Nurse your Mothers Group. Right now I am leading four Mothers Groups, three that are parish based and one that is home based. When I mean nurse your group, I mean this, check to make sure that there are brochures about your Mothers Group at the back of the parish with future dates on them at all times, ensure that the poster advertising your Mothers Group has business cards thumb tacked to the bottom of the poster so moms can take the business cards which has the website listed on them, touch base regularly with the parish secretary to make sure information about your Mothers Group is getting into the parish bulletin, same goes for the Catholic schools associated with your parish. Check to make sure that the schools are regularly putting information about your Mothers Group into the school newsletter. There are many other things that go into nursing a group, but you get the picture!
Attend the Mothers Group Leader Training Session we offer. Attending a training session specifically to help you launch a Mothers Group in your parish can provide you with many practical tips and motivation in getting a group launch. It actually can provide you with a quantum leap in the process – shortening your “on-the-job” learning curve and removing unnecessary stress.
Pray. Pray. Pray. Sometimes, in the busyness, coffee talk and the fellowship of a Mothers Group we can forget to pray at the start of a meeting. I know my own Mothers Group, after a number of years, took a real turning point when we started praying the Rosary, taking intentions from the moms before every decade, more moms started coming out and the Mothers Group got rooted in a particular way. I am not saying every Mothers Group has to pray the entire Rosary, but please don’t squeeze prayer out of the meeting for any reason what so ever! At your meetings, consider praying 3 Hail Mary’s for 1. All Mothers Group Leaders 2. All Mothers Groups. 3. The moms in your Mothers Group.
I oftentimes go to Eucharistic Adoration, with a list of all the Mothers Group Leaders I know and bring them before Our Lord, asking the Holy Spirit to anoint the leaders with the graces they need to keep their group going.
Ask for help. I have a conviction that each and every Mothers Group Leader is doing the best that she can in her ministry and that sometimes she can do more, sometimes less, depending on the demands of her primary vocation and that’s being a wife and mother. Don’t feel guilty about anything – sometimes, we as Mothers Group Leaders are lucky that we have even shown up at our own meeting! A new baby, a sickness in the family, an argument with our husbands, the demands of our job; a variety of stressors sometimes mean we can’t always do all that we know we can do for our Mothers Group. I am a strong believer in the idea that, “Anything done for Our Lord imperfectly, is worth doing.” Do the best, the utmost that you can, lift your group up in prayer and ask for help. Don’t be a martyr, don’t be afraid, asking people to help just a little bit here and a little bit there, can end up being a GREAT help. Remember having a team of moms, a core group of moms, will help you multiply your efforts!
Invite mothers everywhere! Right now in our CatholicMomsGroup.com directory we have approximately 19 Mothers Groups, the number is growing, one of the moms that is now a leader, I met at a baseball diamond or a hockey arena, our sons played sports together! Smack in the middle of a hockey game, I told her about my Moms Group and asked her if she wanted to come out, no pressure, once, twice – whatever worked with her schedule. Well, she ended up attending my Mothers Group for ten years. I then asked her, “Ann, would you consider starting a Mothers Group at your parish?” She had to give it a lot of thought, she had to pray about it – she needed to talk to her husband about it – but she is now hosting a Mothers Group at her own parish and attending mine too! A second mom, I met at a conference. The story is not exactly the same, but similar… Keep your your Mothers Group promotional materials in your pocket, purse, car trunk – and invite mothers everywhere!
I hope these ideas helped. I have tons more! All of us here at CatholicMomsGroup.com are here to help you start your group, grow your Mothers Group, and YES, we are here to cheer you on!
Your work is important, we love you and we are praying for you! Please pray for us!
Dorothy Pilarski is the founder of Dynamic Women of Faith, author, motivational speaker, blogger , guest columnist with the Catholic Register and a facilitator on Salt + Light TV.
To learn a little bit more about Dorothy, visit her website at www.dorothypilarski.com You can get her book, Motherhood Matters, here on Amazon. If you feel called to start a Mother's Group, get the ministry's publication, How to Start a Mother's Group!