How Much Is A Retreat?

reading can be a favorite retreat pasttime
You’ll recall that we started into our retreat-planning discussion a month ago by identifying the well-known Five W Formula, a common and effective tool for gathering information and making decisions. You may also remember that we added a sixth crucial question to our list: “How Much”.

By the time you arrive at this point in your event organizing process, you will have established the first three essential foundational points of “What”, “Who” and “Why”. In this post, we will combine our discussion of the final three vital fundamental decision-making points, which are “When”, “Where” and “How much”. It makes sense to examine these three questions together, as their answers will be interdependent.

Reaching a final answer to the question “How much” will be impossible without first determining where your retreat will meet. If your event, like most, will include at least one overnight stay, “Where” will necessarily require a consideration of appropriate sleeping accommodations. As you contemplate various options such as hotels, retreat centers, camping areas, etc., you will discover a wide spectrum of pricing for the use of these facilities. And naturally, the question of “When” comes into play as you attempt to finally settle on a price and a location—and whether or not the venue of your choice will be available at the time you have decided on.

Here at the Mt. Chestnut Nazarene Retreat Center, reasonable pricing is critical to our mission. As you seek an appropriate location, you can expect to find that for-profit venues will likely price their accommodations much higher than will non-profits. You may decide to sacrifice a high-end luxury setting for a more affordable, home-like experience. Again, both the expectations and the resources of your attendees will be major determinants as you make this decision.

As you consider “Where”, “When” and “How much”, you will rely on those foundational issues that you have already determined answers to:

  • What your event will look like and what type of facility will be appropriate for carrying out the activities you envision.
  • Who will attend your event and what those individuals’ needs are.
  • Why this event is being planned and what you hope to accomplish.

Having initially identified your group, your goal and the type of event, it follows that the final three questions may be answered by expanding on that established foundation. For example, if your “Who” will be a church youth group, your “When” can best be determined by considering and avoiding any conflicts with school or after-school activities. Likewise, if your targeted pool of participants consists of senior citizens, your “Where” may need to consist of a site that is ADA-compliant, or at least is devoid of uneven terrain, rocky ground, etc., to minimize any mobility issues.

When deciding “How much”, remember to consider any financial constraints of your retreat attendees and to include all potential costs in your budget. Those costs will include the venue charges, additional charges for providing meals/snacks for the group, any transportation costs being covered by the retreat fees, supplies and materials, speaker fees, other staff fees, entertainment fees, and marketing costs (postage, printing, advertising, etc.). This list may not include every aspect of your retreat that will need to be funded, but it will give you a starting point for consideration and help you finalize the basis for all remaining planning.

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