Every Financial Peace University coordinator has dealt with dropouts: people show up for the first, second, and maybe even third and fourth classes, but then they stop coming. It’s definitely frustrating, but it’s also common.
“Don’t be discouraged by it, and don’t take it personally,” says Dorothy Bridges, who, with her husband John, has coordinated about 100 classes and says they still lose people every single class.
Still, as a coordinator, your goal is to keep as many people engaged as possible. Here are some tried and true tips from FPU classes just like yours to keep people engaged, not dropping out.
1. Set the ground rules early.
During week one, create an environment where your class feels safe. Tell them that what’s said in the room stays in the room—and that if you find out anyone is talking about sensitive information outside of class, you’ll ask them to leave class for the remainder of the nine weeks.
You want your class to trust you and each other so they’ll be open and honest. Vulnerability forges connection—meaning they’ll become invested in the class and each other and be less likely to leave.
2. Ask participants what they hope to gain from the class.
If you know what everyone’s goals are going into FPU, you’ll know what signs of struggle to look for that could lead them to drop out. For example, if a class member says they’re having a hard time doing a budget with their spouse (and that is their main goal in taking FPU), you know to give them extra guidance and affirmation.
3. Let the Word do the work.
When the Bible speaks the words a struggling class member needs to hear, it can be the difference between quitting and persevering. Try using Hebrews 12:11 (NIV): “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
That truth reminds us guilt, shame or pain are normal—and temporary. If a class member’s heart is truly open to change, hearing God’s Word can be just the encouragement they need.
4. Be transparent as a leader.
In leadership, imperfection is attractive. So the more transparent you can be about your own financial struggles, the more rapport you’ll build with your classes. And if your class is loyal to you, they’re more likely to stay the course. Plus, it’s easier to take advice from someone who’s speaking from experience, because, hey, you understand them.
5. Make class fun!
Simple things like gift cards and prizes go a long way in keeping people engaged. If you can position FPU as a fun night out—and even a date night for your married couples, especially if they have kids and you offer child care—you’ll help them to look forward to class every week.
Whether you’re in week one or week eight of FPU, it’s not too late to put one of these tips into practice. You’re already an amazing coordinator teaching an awesome class—and the more your participants understand that, the more successful your class will be. You’ve got this!