It’s all about deals…perhaps some would call a bait and switch, for which I don’t apologize. On September 1st we had 180 campers sign up for our Winter Camp in January! Yes, camp is still over 4 months away but we have almost 50% of our camp capacity filled…and here is how we did it.
It started a few years back with a desire to better partner with parents in my ministry. I wanted a place to bring together my parents, small group leaders and students to talk about our ministry philosophy of a small group culture and the events. So, first let’s answer this question: How do I get all of my parents, students and leaders/volunteers to one place? THE ANSWER for my first year of doing this was FOOD. Food brings people together, and in Texas there is no better way to do than offering a BBQ to families and leaders. Though this worked the first year, we needed a bigger reason to invite them back the following year…some parents may not seem willing to come to an event where “they already know what you are going to share” even if you have new content or vision for the year.
So, now let’s answer this question: How do I get all of my parents, students and leaders/volunteers to show up in one place year after year after year? …and not make it feel like pulling teeth? I have used a phrase this year that seemed to go over well and somewhat contagious among my staff, “We bribe our parents/students to the BBQ, it is a bait and switch method and we don’t apologize for it, because in the end EVERYONE wins!” Let me explain in bullet points (to keep it brief) how this works.
THE BAIT AND SWITCH
- Invite all parents/students to the annual BBQ.
- REQUIRE that all small group leaders and volunteers attend.
- Incentive: All who attend the BBQ will receive a promo code for $50 off camp registration. (Adjust your camp budgets accordingly so this doesn’t tank your budget, we plan to go into the hole a bit on the front end and compensate that with our “regular rate” and “late rate”)
- Promo code can only be used by those that attended BBQ and must be used on opening day of registration.
- On opening day we had 180 campers register for camp.
The other BAIT AND SWITCH
- Remember the initial reason for the BBQ? We want parents to mingle with small group leaders.
- After our large group program together, the parents must go meet and talk with the SGL for the meal ticket to get their BBQ.
Each year our NextGen team is refining this process but we have some BIG momentum from it. Don’t underestimate that there is a lot of planning for an event like this. However, it does generate lots of interest for your upcoming event or program along with creating a space for your audience to hear vision from your staff.