When all is said and done the one question that will still remain: “Is the retreat affordable to everyone?”
Many would be retreat goers realize the benefits of getting away for a couple of days, but don’t feel they can justify the cost. Sometimes the amount of money isn’t the concern, so much as the fact that all of the money is due at one time.
A payment plan is one of the best ways to make sure all those interested are able to attend the retreat. Here are a few ideas that might work well for you. You may find it productive to use any of these ideas or a combination of the three.
Require a small registration fee when they sign up, maybe $10 – $15.00. This will reserve them a spot, but won’t blow their budget. You can make this registration fee refundable or non-refundable if you fear cancellations will be an issue.
Divide the total amount per person into two or three payments. It can be hard to pay $60 – $90.00 at one time, but $20 – $30.00 a few months apart is reasonable for most people.
Another alternative is to make the first two payments larger than the third. The last installment will be easier to pay and won’t seem so difficult to justify in the budget book.
No matter what type of a payment plan you decide to implement, make sure everyone in the group is aware of the payment schedule. It is important that no one is surprised when you ask for payment or feels caught off guard by the amount due.
Retreat Costs – How to set them? How to cover them?
1. Total all expenses:
- Speaker honorarium, travel, lodging
- Coffee breaks and snacks
- Favors – name tags, flowers, gifts, etc
- Printing – letters, registration, programs
- Lodging/meals for total number of guests
- Phone calls
2. Reduce this by volunteer labor and donated materials.
3. Divide by low number of participants.
4. Add this amount to the basic retreat costs charged by the facility you are using.
- When a facility charges varying rates, predict the average cost and charge everyone the same rate. (CBCC does charge varying rates.)
- Charge your guests the basic rate for meals/lodging and pay program expenses out of the group or church budget.
- When a facility charges varying rates, let individuals choose their accommodations and rate. Then add a program fee.
- Start registration early to give folks time to come up with money.
- Ask a higher deposit. This will not only hold more commitment, but also leave a smaller balance due.
- Scholarships from the church, sponsoring group, or capable individuals are always a blessing. The recipients can be any needy person. Always ask if they can pay at least $10 or the deposit. Offer them special responsibilities in fundraising events.
- Establish a ‘bank’ where individuals can make periodic payments.
- Fundraisers; either for the retreat or throughout the year for various events.
Before you begin planning, be aware of your particular organization’s philosophy of fund raising. Choose a project that will involve all members of the retreat group. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibilities! Evaluate the available resources, interests, volunteers, etc. to see which type of fundraiser will be successful. Establish policies ahead of time for distributing funds. You can decide if you should award scholarships or pay a portion for each person.
- Sponsor a fun – run for the community, encouraging walkers and runners alike. Ask local business to donate prizes.
- Organize a food or craft booth at a local fair or bazaar.
- Collect newspapers and cans to recycle.
- Organize an auction, selling pies, crafts, quilts, or local donations.
- Sell sweatshirts, mugs, church cookbooks, or gift boxes for the holidays, etc.
- Bake pies for the holidays: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, etc.
Successful fundraisers take time and sound planning. So, remember that your greatest resource is the talent that lies within each person and their willingness to give. They may just be waiting for you to ask!