The college football season is over. Now is the time that coaches focus on recruiting players out of high school. If a coach doesn’t get an offer in front of a recruit by signing day, the recruit will commit elsewhere. It is the same with churches. We have programs to offer, and we need to get that information in front of people before signing day.
There are a few times per year that most American families make commitments to programs that they will be participating in for the next several months. While these times may vary slighty in some communities, the most popular commitment making time are: August, January, and June.
The most important is August. This is when the school calendar is set. Band, football, scouts, sports, etc. all vie for our commitments. The first week of school is when all the fliers listing fall activities go home to students. It is important to get our information out on or before the first week of school. While it may seem that this only affects families with children, it actually affects everyone. The school calendar tends to drive community calendars, which affect people who do not even have children in school. As a result, we naturally experience fall as a time of commitment. It is important for church programs to get on people’s calendars as summer is coming to an end and before fall begins. Start sending out invitations for fall programming in late July and early August. For school aged activities, if it isn’t out the first week of school, you have missed signing day.
January is a natural time for new programs to begin, as Christmas is a natural breaking point for fall activities. With that in mind, it is important to get people information before the new year. January is an opportunty to launch new programs and catch some of the folks who were busy in the fall and all of the sudden have open slots on their calendar for winter/spring (Families with high school band students are a great example here). The new year is also a time of evaluation and resolution, where people are looking to prioritize their calendars in meaningful ways. We can help people by giving them choices for the new year in early December.
Summer is by far the most difficult signing day to get commitments. Flexibility in the summer goes a long way. Summer activities should be designed in such a way that people can miss a session and not get behind. It is also very difficult to continue programs from summer to fall. Fall is such a major calendar influencer that many people will leave summer programs to explore fall opportunities. The first two weeks of May are important to get information to people. Any earlier, and it will be forgotten, and any later, and you will miss people to other commitments.
This may be different in some areas. For example, if you live in a community with a college that is on a quarter system instead of semester system, it may affect the schedule of the community. Another example I can think of is if you live in an area where children go to school year-round. That may alter the community calendar as well.
May your church have successful signing days this year!