RYAN MILLER | CAMP BUSINESS

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Okay, so let’s talk camp…..finance.

 As we approach the end of July, many camps are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  For camp directors this is a bittersweet time; the end is near meaning the stress of making sure everything is running smoothly and the joy of camp are both soon to come to a close.  However, for many camp directors, they lie awake at night trying to figure out how to fill the remaining spots with gleeful campers this late in the season, no doubt compounding the stress factor.

 What better time is there to introduce the topic of camp finance and economics than late season?

 For those camps that run into late August, it might not be too late to consider fixed and variable costs.  All camps have fixed and variable costs.  Fixed costs, as I am sure you are aware, are those costs that you are going to pay regardless if you have one camper or 1000.  Variable costs, on the other hand, are those costs that go up with each additional camper you add.  If you are in a position of having those latter parts of August with open slots, perhaps it is time to figure out what the cost of adding one camper really is.  And, if you can do that, you can make some irresistible last minute offers that will get campers to come to camp and experience the reasons why your camp remains successful year over year.

 So what are the variable costs per camper and how many of you know this number for your programs?  Are your fixed and variable costs clear to your organization?  What is being done to minimize both fixed and variable costs so that you can maximize profit and increase participation?

 I welcome the contributions and feedback of the experiences related to finance and economics around your camps and look forward to continuing this discussion as we explore these and other business related aspects of camp.

Cheers,

Ryan Miller, MBA

Ask them to “Like” you

Most camps spend resources on marketing, often using traditional media sources such as local newspapers, magazines or direct mail campaigns, others will branch out and use their camp alumni to help recruit new campers.  (Camp Alleghany Best Practices)

As we are entering the new “Thank You Economy” camps should look to what opportunities are available to increase exposure and campers through their social media outlets such as Facebook.   The key here is not just to get them to see your Facebook page but to “like” your Facebook page.    This “like” will in turn allow you to share continued content with your new “fan” through their Facebook wall.  

Traditional media outlets such as direct mail or print have a one-time shot to grab the reader’s interest, Facebook allows you multiple opportunities to engage your audience with several mediums such as pictures, videos, stories and more.   Large companies such as Taco Bell have used free products to earn “likes” on Facebook recognizing that getting to reach out to a core group of customers over and over again for free has a very real value.

Camps can run “like us “ campaigns through their existing Facebook fan base by asking them to “share” the site with others, their mailing lists by encouraging “likes” on Facebook with offers of camp merchandise or discounts or by just word of mouth.  Be sure to run campaigns like these for limited times so not to fatigue your audience.   

By Anthony Owens

Anthony is a Social Media Advocate,  Account Executive for the Active Networks Camps division and Founder of LetsTalkCamp.com. Feel free to contact him @ anthony.owens@active.com