In A Modern Take on a Classic Church Event, we spoke to the Church Communications Podcast about planning your next potluck with ease. Potlucks are a staple of the church social calendar. They are easy to plan, bring congregations together, and allow us to try all sorts of fun new foods together! 


If you’re planning your next potluck, consider using our Signup Tool. You can easily gather sign ups for food, volunteers, and collect donations all in the same place. This makes it easier for invitees to sign up, encouraging participation. Our Signup Tool also has built in features to help you avoid repeat dishes and ensure you have enough food to go around! Below, we’ll outline a few of the sign up strategies we discussed in A Modern Take on a Classic Church Event, so you can seamlessly plan your next church potluck with PlanHero!


Avoiding Repeat Dishes


Anyone who’s ever planned a potluck knows the anxious feeling you get when everyone arrives with a chocolate pie, leaving your guests without a main course! To avoid repeat dishes, ask your participants to share what they are bringing in the Comments Box when they sign up. Other invitees can view these comments, allowing them to see which dishes other congregants are already bringing. This way, they can sign up to contribute something else!


You can also break your potluck signup into categories, allowing participants to easily find different ways to contribute. You can separate your potluck into main courses, drinks, side dishes, and desserts, for example, and use emojis to represent different food items. Creating simple signup lists for each type of dish helps differentiate your potluck needs for participants, ensuring they know what to bring.


Our Signup Tool also allows you to limit signup spots for each list item, so you can clearly communicate how much of an item you need. For example, you can make a signup to bring chocolate pies, and limit the amount of signups to two spots. This way, only two people can sign up to bring chocolate pies, encouraging your participants to bring a variety of foods!


Ensuring Sufficient Servings


When hosting a potluck, it’s important to make sure you have enough food to go around. We don’t want anyone to leave hungry! 


To ensure participants know how much food to bring, you can note how many people you expect to attend in the Event Description and/or in the Item Name of your signup list. You can also track attendance, allowing you to keep an accurate headcount. If more people mark that they are attending your potluck than you expected, you can adjust the amount needed to account for extra people. For example, say you asked 2 people to sign up to bring 24 cookies each, but then 60 people sign up for your event! You can edit your signup and increase the Amount Needed to three people, allowing another person to sign up to bring 24 cookies so you’ll have enough for everyone.


If the potluck is coming up, and you still need more participants to bring food, you can use the Message Invitees feature to easily communicate your church’s needs. You can send a message to let them know how many people are coming and if you need more of a certain item. This message is automatically sent to every invitee, and can help you ensure you have enough food at your potluck!


Encouraging Participation


When collecting signups for your potluck, creating a simple, easy to use signup form can help encourage participation! Using subheadings to separate drinks from main dishes makes it simple for participants to find the category they want to contribute to. If a participant does not have time to cook that week, they can find the drink section and sign up to bring lemonade in seconds. Your congregants can also sign up on PlanHero without creating an account, making it easy for users to participate in your event. This simplicity helps encourage participation among your congregation!


Collect Donations Anonymously


If you want to collect donations for your potluck, you can include a Collect Money List on the same page as your signups. You can choose to make your donation signups private, this way no one can see who has or has not donated. This ensures that all guests feel welcome, regardless of whether or not they can donate. You can use a Collect Money List as part of a fundraiser, or to cover the costs of your event, without discouraging congregants from attending your potluck!


To learn more tips and tricks for planning a church potluck, check out the episode, A Modern Take on a Classic Church Event, below!



Have you ever gone to a church potluck? Let us know your go-to dish in the comments!


Ready to get started planning your church’s next potluck? Start your free trial today!


PS– No obligation, no contract, and no credit card required to get started.