By Joy Fairchild
Top Five Ladies Retreat Tips
A lot of planning and preparation goes into a retreat weekend that you hope will be filled with fun, fellowship and spiritual growth for the women who attend. One of ways we strive to help you minister is to connect you with ideas and resources that enrich your ministry… so without further adieu, here are five of my favorite marketing tips and five great retreat resources. Enjoy!
Planning done well is a great thing! Let’s face it, in order to have a great retreat you have to have women there. Marketing is kind of like… fishing. So get your “bait” out there and catch their attention!
1. Make it all match! Your invitations, posters, registration forms, programs, devotionals, handouts, crafts, etc., should all relate back to your theme. Use the same colors, scripture, picture or logo on everything and find crafts and activities that compliment your theme.
2. Cast a wide net. Send your invitations to everyone in your church, but also ask permission to place them in local businesses, restaurants, dentist offices, etc. Do the same with your posters.
3. Don’t forget the bathrooms. One of the best places to put posters is in the ladies room of your church and community businesses. Sometimes a business may hesitate to put another poster in their window, but will agree to this “out of the way” place.
4. Create buzz. Involve many women in your planning. They don’t have to be on your planning team, but you can delegate tasks or small parts of the event out to many women. This benefits your event in several ways: everyone who is involved will attend and be more likely to talk about the retreat and invite others to attend; also, many hands make light work; and finally distributing the work makes the event less stressful on the team.
5. Be creative. If your retreat is in the summer, advertise the event to men as a great Mother’s Day gift. Do the same if your retreat is after Christmas. Find creative ways to make your retreat a “gift” to the women who attend.
Top Five Planning Resources
I am always on the lookout for great resources and here is what I believe are five of the best retreat resources available today:
1. HeartSpa Retreat in a Box by Group Publishing – Absolutely everything you need to do a spa themed retreat is in this box… really! Group has produced a great resource for planning a retreat using the gifts of women in your church. (The program is set up to use without any additional speakers.) There are books for the director, worship leader, and small group leaders that include CD’s packed with reproducible materials and presentations. All you need is the kit ($99) and a journal ($6 each) for every woman attending, but you can opt to buy craft projects, music CD’s and other goodies at very reasonable rates. If you plan retreats this is worth checking out!
2. Chocolate Boutique Retreat in a Box by Group Publishing – this is the second offering by Group that offers everything HeartSpa does, just with a different theme. Let’s face it, what woman out there would complain about a retreat themed on chocolate?! I sat down and figured out purchasing the journal, prayer box, sticker set, crafts, invitations, and follow-up cards and it added about $20 per person above the retreat center costs. Pretty economical.
3. Women’s Retreats: A Creative Planninq Guide by Sue Edwards. This book walks you through the retreat planning process. A good “nuts and bolts” tool.
4. Meeting & Event Planninq for Dummies by Susan Friedmann. One of the first “secular” books I bought on event planning, this book offers great basic planning advice that can be used across the board in your ministry as well as retreats.
5. Retreats that Work: Everythinq You Need to Know About Planning and Leadinq by Merianne Litemen, Sheila Campbell, Jeffrey Liteman. This is one of the best “business” retreat planning books I have ever read. It was released in 2002 and will soon be offered in an updated version. It could possibly be worth its weight in gold to those of us who regularly plan retreats.
“Ladies Retreats”. Written by Joy Fairchild.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”