Retreats: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions we have gotten in the course of our planning ladies retreats and ladies days, and a few we had ourselves:
Q. How do you determine cost for attendees to the retreats or ladies days?
A. The cost of a ladies event is determined by the cost of the speaker, the venue, the food, the decorations and extras. If you do not have an allowance for this event from your church's budget, the cost of the retreat or ladies day will have to be distributed amongst the attendees. If you use your church building, have the ladies bring food for lunch and use a speaker from your own congregation then you can keep costs very low (or free).
If on the other hand you choose to meet in another venue, chose to meet out of town (we always liked to take it an hour or more away, giving it a sense of "getting away" that our ladies enjoyed), have a paid speaker, secure hotel rooms and stay 1-2 nights this will of course raise the cost per person. We usually did 1-2 nights, with a paid speaker and at least one meal covered by the cost of the retreat and we were able to charge $65-85/per person for a weekend. We also always had a "day only" option as well, which was usually around $40/person and included a catered lunch. Tshirts were an additional cost of $7-9.
If you pay a speaker you can expect to pay $250-700 depending on if you have her a day or a weekend, for her fee, travel and board. That is specific to a speaker, so check with her first before serious planning. One way to offset this cost is to only have a paid speaker every other year or every three years. You can disburse the costs over the years you do not have a paid speaker (meaning, you can include the a portion of the cost of the speaker each year in your cost for the retreat), and you can create a 'savings account' for the years that you do. On the off years, use ladies from your own congregation. There is likely some wonderful talent and messages amongst yourselves!
Q. How do you go about registering attendees and collecting money?
A. We found that the easiest way to do both was to have a table in an area where the traffic was heaviest for the 4-6 weeks prior to a Ladies Retreat, and 2-3 weeks prior to a Ladies Day. We always have a deadline for both registering and payment, usually 1-2 weeks prior to a weekend retreat. By trial and error we learned that a simple registration form was very helpful, for tracking those who planned to attend as well as those who had paid already and who had not. For our overnight ladies, we also used this space to let ladies assign themselves to rooms and chose their roommates. Being available in the line of sight to both sign up and pay on Sunday mornings the several weeks prior to the retreat was very helpful.
Check the sidebar for a sample registration form.
Q. How do you communicate all the information?
A. We use our churches communication methods primarily. We use the bulletin or weekly publication, Facebook, announcing in Bible classes and posting flyers in classrooms. We start about 6-8 weeks prior to the retreat, introducing the theme, speaker and location. About 4-6 weeks prior we present the costs, and start sharing the details of the hotel and deadlines for registering and paying.
We also like to send out a flyer about 3-4 weeks prior to the retreat. Also, having a table set up the 4 weeks prior to the registration deadline is helpful. This gives people a face to ask the questions to. Because, believe it or not you can advertise all day and you will still have people confused! :)
Check the sidebar for a sample flyer.
Have more questions? Please contact me. Between me and my team we will do our best to answer it!
Courtney Kendall Steed
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