Perhaps you can relate to our recent budget dilemma…
Our women’s ministry team has been working through the initial plans for our next retreat.
Often, over the past several years, the team has been blessed by church members that have provided their vacation home for free so that only one home needed to be rented.
God has provided in multiple ways over the years that has allowed the team to keep the retreat costs minimal.
Last year the team was able to negotiate an unbelievable deal at a family-owned hotel.
As the group attending our retreats closes in on 40 women, we are re-evaluating what our women need and want at our retreats and what it will cost.
As part of that discussion, we’ve had some tough conversations about what our women require for their retreat lodging.
Three things have come up repeatedly:
- The majority of our women want hotel-style rooms where there is a private bathroom and they don’t have to share a bed. Definitely no bunk beds.
- We want meals provided for our group. While preparing our own meals allows us to stay in a house or cabin, the time spent prepping and cleaning up from each meal is a distraction and forces our women to miss large chunks of the retreat.
- We want to have a dedicated, private meeting space. One of the reasons last year’s great deal is off the table.
Several of us spent many long hours researching our options.
In the end we discovered that retreat conference centers offer what we’re looking for, but at a price.
The least expensive retreat centers with hotel-style rooms in our target area (2 hours away or less) are in the $160 range with 5 meals.
Last year our ladies paid $125 for 2 nights and 4 meals with each person having their own bed in a hotel-style room. The truth we’ve discovered is that we paid far below market value last year.
While our team doesn’t want to have to raise the price for our next retreat, to provide what our women need and want we are going to have to do so.
Perhaps you’re sitting in a similar situation. Maybe you’ve had a donor cover the costs of a bigger-name speaker than your budget allows. Maybe you’ve had a retreat location gifted to you in the past but those sweet folks have since moved.
Or just maybe your expectations and budget were out of whack and left you deep in the red forcing the price to increase for the same event this next year.
Sometimes it’s necessary to raise prices to be good stewards.
5 Tips for softening the blow of a price increase:
1.Be honest when asked specifically about the price increase. You don’t have to print an explanation in your church newsletter (unless your team and your Pastor feel you should), but you should be prepared to share one-on-one.
2. Give women plenty of time to save up if it’s a big ticket event such as a retreat or conference. Allow them to make payments if at all possible.
3. Highlight the added benefits. If you’re gaining meeting space, share that. If everyone will have their own bed make sure they know.
4. Eliminate any add-ons. While t-shirts would be nice, they aren’t necessary. You could offer them at an additional price or just not offer them at all.
5. Take baby steps if you can. If the goal is to eventually stay at “X” Retreat Center but it’s a big price jump, stay at other less expensive retreat centers for the next couple years and slowly increase the price. You can also rotate locations and costs – the cost doesn’t have to be the same from year to year. Or retreat just every other year.
We’ve since booked our location for our fall retreat in 2017. And we are super excited about it! The meeting space is more than we ever could have hoped for! There’s even a kitchenette were we can serve our own snacks and drinks during the weekend.
I have no doubt our ladies will see that it’s worth the extra cost.
We also discovered that the Christian retreat center we’ll be staying at bases the price off the number of rooms, not number of women. We can add extra women to the rooms to lower the cost for those willing to share a queen bed. Would you believe that our cost for 3 women to share a room will be $125?!
I consider that another confirmation from God that our retreat is exactly where He wants us to be. I love how God can be seen in the smallest details.
Your turn to share: Are you having to increase the price of an event this year? Are you facing any resistance?
You may also want to read:
10 Ways to Stretch Your Budget
What should you charge for your retreat?
One year ago: Where should you have your women’s ministry retreat?
Two years ago: Gathering Prayer Requests
Three years ago: Minty Thank You (Free Printable)