Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to Plan a Retreat: Using Your Resources

In the world of retreat planning, you often need to rely on the resources you have on hand. Lots of times, budgets are small, and the more you can stretch your dollar, the better! So, here are a few ideas on how to make the most using the things your team may already have access to, and all for FREE.

1. A Place for Team Planning Meetings - A church is a logical location for a meeting, if your team is affiliated with one. Our team can meet up at our retreat location, but that's not always the most convenient for the whole team.
In our years together, we've found a free place to meet at:
- member's homes / apartments
- the coffee shop owned by a team member
- the recreation room / business center at a member's apartment complex
- our retreat center

2. Retreat Location - We could probably hold a day retreat at that same apartment complex recreation room, but here are a couple of other thoughts:
- open space or parks during warm months
- one reader, Kim from Kentucky wrote in and told me that she was able to use her brother's farm and farm house to host a retreat! How cool is that? It all came about casually, and before Kim knew it, she was planning a retreat for her Prayer Shawl group in a lovely location without a big price tag.

3. Retreat Supplies - OK, we've all done it - made copies or calls from work to help with a volunteer project. But here are a couple other, more above the board, ideas on supplies:
- one of our team members has access to a lot of free magazines at work, and we've used them for a variety of projects including collages.
- another team member can donate some food items from his coffee shop to our retreat breakfasts.
- we've gotten donations from companies going out of business for things like notepads, pens, and other office supplies. They have an old logo on them, but no one minds at the retreat.
- some companies are excited to give pens or other branded items to organizations because it gets their name out there. I know an insurance company and a realtor that are always gung ho about this kind of thing.
- we once had a local nursery donate a tree for a gardening themed retreat. All it took was a call to a couple of places, and one of them was more than happy to make a donation, we just had to pick the stuff up!

So, it's really about using the resources you have on hand and getting creative with ways to make your budgets stretch further.

Do you have any ideas on how to make a small retreat budget go further? Spill the beans below, or drop me a note at welcomingspirit [at] gmail [dot] com.

2 comments:

Liz said...

Great info!

nowealthbutlife.com said...

That is a great list. The one retreat I ever planned (in college) ended up as a dismal failure. At least it felt like it to me at the time, but I guess sometimes one just has to be flexible.