I've enjoyed reading and listening to some material on how American uni ministries have made the most of new contacts in the first few weeks of the uni year – it comes from the blog of a guy named Tim Casteel:
- What you should be doing in your first week on campus
- How to reach Freshmen in the first week
- Audio link: Starting Awesome by Brian McCollister
- Stuff you can use first week on campus
Some things that stood out to me because they differend in various ways from how we've done things here:
- Involve lots of local church people to volunteer to help increase your O Week workforce
- Have LIVE data entry – so that some people are plugging in details at the same moment that others are making contacts.
- Chase a new contact SEVEN times, over the course of a week before giving up.
- Hold social nights on campus each night you do contacting during the day – so there is something to invite people to straight away – with free pizza, brief explanation about the Christian group, a testimony etc.
- Invite people BACK to the place where you held the social night the following week – and run first year small groups in that context for the first few weeks of semester.
- Aim to meet with every new contact face to face in the first few weeks of semester.
- Have multiple contact tables all over the campus.
- Create a really festive 'party' fun vibe for students and staff who are doing the immediate phone/SMS/email follow up of new contacts.
- The role of the staff is especially to go between all the teams and boost morale – reminding them why it's worth it.
- Use a brief, simple survey of people's 'Spiritual interest' so that you get Christians, non-Christians, interested and non-interested to fill them out.
- Ask 'Would you like to join a group?' and give options Yes, No and Maybe so students don't have to commit then and there.
- Have little incentives for people to fill out the surveys – something decently attractive and free!
- Ask those who fill out each form to write their name on it afterwards, too.
- Provide free snacks and drinks for all those doing the work, during the day.