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Last Minute Scramble

Not registeredHas this every happened to you? You are at the retreat, and people are arriving. They are coming to the registration table to check in, pick up keys and name tags and booklets and you are checking them off your list.  Everything is going smoothly, until….someone shows up who is not on your registration list!
Well, this year that happened to us, and there was a mad scramble which I missed because I am not normally involved in registration at the retreat, and I wasn’t even present when this was happening.  So today, my guest blogger is Pam, one of our leaders who was there:
Here’s what happened:  Two women showed up, saying that they had registered for the retreat, but they were not on our list.  We didn’t have money for the two of them, we didn’t have a registration card for either of them and therefore we did not have a room for them!  We questioned them a bit to try to track down the mistake, but they were adamant that one of them had turned in their forms and paid.
We were tempted to panic.  How had we possibly overlooked these two precious women?  We had reviewed the registration cards and the rooming lists numerous times prior to the retreat.  How could we have made this error?
This year our retreat was held at a retreat center. Had we been at a hotel, it might have been easy to get another room.  Here we had to guarantee that we would occupy a certain number of rooms and pay for that number, regardless of our final registration numbers, and the place was full.  Fortunately, we had one extra room that no one was assigned to, and we were able to give these two women that room. Had the Lord not provided in this fashion, we would not have turned them away; we would have doubled up on some other room and made a way for them to stay.
Our prayer in the months before the retreat is always that God would make a way for those He wants to come to the retreat.  And He certainly did this time.
A week or two after the retreat, this lady came to the office between services and sheepishly help up the two registration cards that she had forgotten to turn in and the credit card payment slip. We were so relieved that it was not our error, and we had not overlooked her.
This particular situation had never happened to us before, and we pray it will never happen again.  But if it does, we will let the Lord lead us though it and He will be given all the glory!
 

Posted in: Lessons Learned, News & Information, Registration, Retreat and Event Planning

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What’s the Price? (Part 2)

Let’s pursue what we talked about in Part 1.   Let’s say you have your contract with the venue in hand, and you have determined the baseline cost per person, depending on room occupancy.  You are hoping for 50 women to attend.  The contracted room price is $80 per night, $160 for two nights.  This is divided by the number of ladies in each room.  Additionally, the meal price is $60 per person for 4 meals.  **In this example, the room price includes the 7% city tax you pay even if you are exempt of state tax.  Meal prices are inclusive of all service charges:

  • One-per-room = $160 plus meals ($60) – $220  **Guest speaker would be offered a private room
  • Two-per-room = $80 each plus meals ($60/each)  =  $140 per person
  • Three-per-room = $55 each plus meals ($60 each) = $115 per person
  • Four-per-room = $40 each plus meals ($60 each) = $100 each

How do you come up with the actual cost of registration?  All other retreat costs will be estimated and divided by your projected number of women attending (50):

  • Guest speaker travel (local – possibly gas and to meals ($80), private room and meals ($220), honorarium ($400) = $14/person
  • Promotion,booklets, nametags ($200) = $4/per person
  • Remembrance gift ($50) = $1/per person
  • Decorations ($50) = $1/person
  • Built-in expenses ($250) = $5/person

How do you come up with the actual cost of registration? Actual cost for each person would then be figured at the base cost of the retreat plus $25/person.

  • Two-per-room = $140 + $25 = $165
  • Three-per-room = $115 + $25 = $140
  • Four-per-room = $100 + $25 = $125

If you do not have any budget money to work with and the retreat is totally self-supporting, you now have your budget for guest speaker, booklets, name tags, remembrance gifts and decorations. If more than your budgeted number of people attend, then you find yourself flowing in the black, which is a good place to be on the balance sheet!

 

 

Posted in: Money-Saving Tips, Registration, Retreat and Event Planning, Starting Points in Retreat Planning

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What’s the Price? (Part 1)

What to charge for your event? That is the question.  And it is never a simple answer, primarily because we have to set the price before we know the exact number of women who will attend.  Our price is based on our best guesstimate of the number of women coming.

We begin with the biggest expense–the venue and meals.  If this is a hotel, you have probably contracted a price based on room occupancy (if you are staying overnight), the meeting room and then a price for the number and kind of meals that you want during your event.  Full breakfasts cost more than continental breakfasts; buffets may be more expensive than plate meals. Remember, meals can be an area where you have some flexibility in cutting the cost of a retreat.  Both of these prices (rooms/meals) are based on your projected number (of rooms/people).  If you are needing extra meeting rooms, that increases your costs, and there may also be additional charges for equipment and special set up requests.

Once meal choices have been made, the only variable in the base cost of your retreat is how many people room together.  In our case, we have a price for 2-per-room, 3-per room and 4-per room (which is the maximum per room, normally).  This price includes the meals.  Any additional entertainment (such as horse-back riding at a camp) would be an individual choice, and not included in the price of the retreat.

The following expenses may also need to be considered; divide the total cost by the number of expected attendees to determine the cost per person:

These costs are estimated at a per person cost, and added to the base cost of the event to determine the amount charged for the retreat.  We will look at this further next week.  Finally, these numbers are also used to provide a budget for the retreat.  We’ll explain that further in two weeks.

 

 

Posted in: Money-Saving Tips, Registration, Retreat and Event Planning, Starting Points in Retreat Planning

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Let’s Talk $$

For the next month, our weekly posts will concern money matters.  And money does matter, especially if you are the women’s ministry in a smaller church with a tight budget.  Often, there is no extra money in the budget for women’s ministry, so all of our activities need to be self-supporting–meaning that we need to bring in enough from the event to fully pay for the expenses of the event.  And that can be tricky at times.

As we plan a retreat, a luncheon or other event, we need to estimate, as accurately as possible, the number of women who will attend the event. This will enable us to create a budget  that will balance in the end. IT IS ALWAYS SAFER TO UNDER-ESTIMATE!  It will mean smaller budget numbers, but hopefully keep you from ending up in the red.

Even when we underestimate, leaders can find themselves anxious that even that number of women won’t attend because ladies are waiting until the final minutes to sign up.  Consider this option for encouraging early sign up!

Posted in: Money-Saving Tips, Registration, Retreat and Event Planning, Starting Points in Retreat Planning

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The Case for a Waiting List

Our Rule

With a very few exceptions, IF you have registered for the retreat and have to cancel after the registration deadline, you do not get your money back.

Unfortunate Truth

There will still be ladies who can’t attend because something comes up at the last minute.  Often, this type of cancellation happens the week of the retreat.  It is sad, because we are then left with an opening, fully paid for, which may go unfilled.

The Waiting List

Encourage women who are unable to afford the cost of the retreat or women who, for whatever reason, missed your registration deadline to be on the waiting list.  By keeping a waiting list, we have a list of women to call who may be able to come if someone cancels at the last minute, using that fully-paid-for registration.

 

 

Posted in: Registration, Retreat and Event Planning

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