“I haven’t seen Beth for a while. Do you know what happened to her?”

“Remember the woman who helped with retreat decorations a couple years ago? What was her name? She did a great job. Maybe we could get her involved again by asking for her help.”

It can be embarrassing and frustrating to realize you’ve lost track of a woman who used to be involved in your ministry. How can you keep people from falling away and being forgotten? Clear out your old system, and try these ideas:

Keep contact lists. Gather basic information any time women gather. Ask for names, phone numbers, and mailing and email addresses. Keep it simple, and let women know you won’t spam them with junk emails about singing kittens, and you won’t pass along their info to anyone selling anything (and then don’t!). Ask for everyone’s information, not just the “new” women. Contact lists will help you keep track of women’s involvement as your ministry grows and make it easier for you to publicize opportunities and follow up with women who are new or who stop participating.

Communicate with leaders. Expect all leaders to gather contact information so you’re collecting it from all small groups, activities, and teams. Designate one person to collect and manage all contacts. (We recommend keeping electronic files along with a hard-copy file.) Two or three times a year, schedule a portion of a leadership meeting  to go over the most recent lists and talk about who’s new and who’s missing. Refer to the lists when planning an event to involve women who are new or haven’t been involved for a while. There’s no reason to completely rely on your memory!

Follow up. Be intentional with follow-up. Contact new women who attend an event or small group. Connect with women who have missed a meeting or study. Share your appreciation for women who help with an event. Remind women of upcoming events and studies. Communication doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Handwritten notes with a piece of chocolate (hand delivered to save postage) are a sweet way to stay connected!