Our socializing has changed over the past three years, and it has also changed the way we view or send invites online. In the past there were clear, effective ways to invite people to your donut-themed baby shower, but the ways we communicate have become fragmented.
Facebook event invites — once the most reliable way to make sure enough or too many people show up to ragger — don’t work if you’re inviting people who don’t check Facebook anymore. According to eMarketer, the number of Facebook users under the age of 24 has been steadily declining since 2015.
Evite has been around for 24 years and still wants to send an email invite to anyone, but it can get caught in spam filters or unread by people who don’t use email for personal correspondence . Third-party tools can also inadvertently cause spam to your friends.
It’s not just our favorite technology that has changed. Even when someone invites you to a late summer dance party, they can take into account things like COVID risk and their own mental health before saying yes.
“People are taking longer to decide whether they’re going to attend an event,” says Matt Hays Kaffer, an event producer in San Francisco and owner of More SF, a party-planning company. “Many people who have attended any event in the past are taking longer views and are declining more often.”
One solution, Kaftor says, is to meet people on apps where they already are, then follow up regularly on multiple services that match their usual communication patterns. For example, let’s say you’re inviting your family to a Halloween brunch and you need to reach out to youngest cousins and greatest aunts. Messaging will reach children, but email or phone calls may also be best for older relatives. Make sure you send reminders in the weeks before the party, and one for your forgotten or last-minute friends one morning.
Let’s analyze your invitation options.
But first, a privacy warning: There is a privacy risk with any third-party invitation option. Invitation apps, especially free ones, are interested in your personal data and specifically friends contact information, If possible, manually enter the contact information of the people you’re inviting and don’t give apps access to your entire contact list.
invite template appsPaperless Post, Punchbol, and Evite all have templates for digital invitations you can send via email, and they’ve added the ability to invite people over text in recent years. Hobnob is another, newer option that was designed to be text-first. Keep in mind that Gen Zs are less likely to use email for friend-to-friend communication like older generations, and email clients are sometimes more curious about putting these emails in the spam folder.
a calendar invitation: By far the most offensive way to let someone know you’re having a party, sending them a calendar invite is also quite effective. This will automatically appear on their calendar and they will be pushed to RSVP just like at work. (This can annoy friends who won’t accept your invitation to a pedicure with their manager, like a Zoom.)
Facebook event: If you’re inviting people you know are active on Facebook, there are benefits to Facebook events. The company will remind guests to RSVP or that the event is coming on your behalf. However, when deciding who to invite, don’t rely on your Facebook friends list. In recent years many people have given up on their accounts and they may be abandoned.
Instagram postInstagram Stories: For large events, Instagram Stories has become an option to reach followers where they are. You can post a story with the time and date, a little art, and even request a DM for their response.
Event Apps: If you’re holding a big event, tools like Eventbright and Secret Party can help you reach the right people. Posting event details on social media is essential when you want to maximize the number of attendees. Just be careful that you don’t end up with a viral party that gets set off by the police.
DIY: To avoid the loss of privacy and spam of third-party apps, just approach the old fashioned way: with emoji. For an intimate event you can start a group chat, or simply copy and paste a typed invite and text it to everyone on your list. Duplicate your outreach by DM, email or any other place where your potential guests usually communicate. If you want to design something for text, try whipping up something using a tool like Canva (or my personal favorite, the free drawing in the Apple Notes app.)