Are you worried that it’s already too late in the year to start planning a summer retreat for your group? While the warmer weather is fast approaching, that does not mean that you can’t start planning an event right now! Many event planners are just recognizing that their church or organization is in need for a retreat, or they have been approached by another person about going on an off-site gathering.
As they begin the planning process, most planners realize they should have started this journey months and months ago. The evidence is unfortunately clear. Most successful off-site retreats take anywhere between six months and over a year, but that does not mean that you can’t plan a successful short-term event for your group. Here are some great tips on how you can keep calm and plan accordingly:
Plan an event that will be beneficial for a specific need your group has. As an event planner, booking an event with the idea that your group simply needs time to get away and have a little fun isn’t the best scenario on such short notice. There should be a more concrete need that others would like to address by having an event. For instance, a church’s youth group of twelve teenagers could be deeply interested in furthering their faith through team building activities and listening to a guest speaker but have not said anything to their congregation until last week. With such a direct need and smaller group, there is a strong likelihood that this type of off-site event can be a success if scheduled on short notice.
Keep your short-term planning simple. No matter the demographics of your group, it is easy for event planners to get carried away with the amenities that come with an off-site retreat. High-end lodging, large meeting places, and an abundance of recreational activities are fine and well. However, your group may not need to book such extravagant options, especially when planning an event in a tight window. On top of the features, some retreat centers require groups to fill out complicated forms and pay hefty deposits to utilize their space. Since you are trying to plan an off-site event on short notice, it is important to consider facilities that are all-inclusive. These types of retreat centers offer groups per person packages that include lodging, dining, meeting, and recreation. Not only will these facilities and their packages help save money, they will additionally make life easier for a planner and allow groups more time to concentrate on how an off-site event will help with their certain needs.
Forget about the unnecessary tasks. Do you want to have a worship service by performing a few songs or deliver a powerful message to your group? Ask the retreat center you are planning an event with if they provide and set up AV equipment. There’s no need to load your own equipment and spend time setting it up if your retreat center is willing to do it for you. The same can be said with snacks and lodging arrangements. Many retreat centers are willing to include added snacks and linens in your group’s package for a minimal fee. When planning an event with little time, a few extra dollars can save your group from worrying about any unnecessary tasks, such as running down the street for pizza at 9:30 PM or reminding everyone to bring pillows and blankets!
With effective communication and planning, it is still possible to have a successful off-site retreat when there is not a lot of time. If your group wants to plan an event, never instantly tell them no due to time constraints. In the long run, a last-minute event could provide an opportunity for your group to attend other retreats in the future. However, the most impactful events are usually those that have been thoroughly planned out many months in advance. Take charge now and plan accordingly!