A few years ago, when you sent an invite you were almost guaranteed it was answered. There was always one or two who wouldn’t respond, but usually these people you could catch in the playground and they had meant to, or their child had lost the reply slip. However, in the last couple of years, we’ve noticed that more people don’t respond to invites.
This isn’t because parents don’t want their children to go. One acquaintance we spoke to had just two replies, but all 12 invited children turned up.
This new trend might be because we are all leading busier lives with work, hobbies and looking after the kids, so sometimes we think we’ve responded when we haven’t.
But from the other point of view. It’s harder for hosting parents to know how many children they need to cater for. Also, some activity centres want to confirm numbers and will charge regardless of whether children show.
So how can you get better responses from your invites? Here are some quick ideas:
1. Include A Telephone Number/Email Address
Mobiles and emails are a great way for parents to reply to birthday invites. They are quick for communication and if a child can’t attend, it offers parents a way to say no without embarrassment. Include your name on the invite with the telephone number as this adds a personal touch.
2. Offer A Choice
Choices are hard to ignore, especially if they are food related. Most activity centres offer a menu you can attach to your invite. If you’re hosting a home party, and you’re offering sandwiches for example, provide sandwich filling options. This can help with food costs as you can better predict what food you need to buy.
You can even ask parents to choose a teddy from our selection for their child before you order.
3. Add Urgency
This is a little unusual, but it works well. You shouldn’t just ask parents to respond – give them a deadline. This limits the chance that fellow parents put off responding until a better time, and then forgetting. Deadlines evoke urgency and parents are more likely to respond quicker.
However, setting a deadline can seem a little hostile, so we always recommend to also…
4. Give A Reason
Yes, you don’t just want to tell people when they need to respond by. You need to tell them why it’s important to respond quickly. You could give numerous reasons such as:
- Confirming numbers for an activity centre.
- Ensuring enough (and the right) food and drink is available.
- To order and receive the teddies.
5. Invite The Parents
If you would like one or two of the parents to attend as well, you should include them on the invite. I received one of these recently and instantly felt good about being included. I know I am there so there are enough parents for the children (it’s a Football match), but it’s the thought of being included on the invite that counts.
You know why so many invites don’t get responded to? There isn’t any personalisation in invites. There are numerous ways to personalise an invite including hand-drawn pictures on each invite, personalised messages and even unique invites for each child.
If you show you’ve taken time to invite the child, parents will appreciate that and take more time, thought and energy in responding.
So now it’s up to you. Let us know your invite successes and horror stories. How have you got responses from parents about birthday parties, besides asking each one individually?
Let us know in the comments.