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Christmas and Retreats

By Heath

While the title and teaser of this blog may sound a little foolish, such a statement does have some truth if you really think about it. Both include scheduling and planning an agenda, setting a budget, and celebrating Jesus Christ. When it comes to creating a budget for your spending, this is where the two can become very similar. According to a recent survey conducted by MagnifyMoney, holiday shoppers reported that they spent over their holiday budget in 2017 after racking up an average of $1,054 in debt on gifts.1 Don’t want to follow suit and overspend as a retreat planner? That is where we come into play. Below are a few tips to keep guests jolly and help you budget for your next ministry event without excessive spending!

  1. Don’t procrastinate. Similar to a Christmas budget, it is essential for retreat planners to start making their event budget as soon as possible. Depending on the size of your event, establishing your budget may need to start as soon as a year in advance to a few months. Get the ball rolling on your budget by looking back on how much your planning team spent on previous events and see if your current funding will make that amount feasible for this year.
  2. Define the focus of your event. How do you want guests to remember your event? Was it the delicious food, an inspiring message, or the lively music? Determine the overall purpose of your event and how it will have a positive impact on attendees. The same is true for Christmas gifts. Rather than buying everyone junk, we tend to purchase something that people want or will be useful. Create surveys that ask guests what they would like to experience at your next event. Once you have your event goals in mind, begin allocating funds to those priorities.
  3. Ensure your team is on the same page. After you have created your budget and determined the purpose of your event, make sure your entire planning team knows your key number. As a leader, you will know how much will be spent, but your team could have other plans. The last thing you want is a team member spending most of your budget if he or she doesn’t know a figure beforehand. Prevent overspending by getting everyone on the same page.
  4. Research your venue options. If we want to be smart holiday shoppers, we rarely go to only one store or website to purchase a gift without doing our own research first. Most shoppers visit a few locations or browse the web to learn more about the features of products and their costs before buying. As an event planner, you should do the same! Had a bad experience at last year’s venue? Look into other options or express your concerns to your previous host venue. If you have been set on one specific property for all your events, that is great too. However, you might want to investigate the amenities that are offered. Enhance your guests’ experience by staying in motel lodging instead of dorms this year or book a new meeting space that seems interesting. After setting your budget, these are critical items to consider.
  5. Don’t be afraid to spend. Sounds crazy, right? Budgets are all about watching your money. What we mean here is that you shouldn’t feel the need to always purchase the cheapest items. We are also saying that you shouldn’t go insane with your checkbook or piece of plastic. Your budget is all about balance. While it is rewarding to find cheap deals that keep you well under your budget, the quality of your purchases can either leave guests happy or extremely disappointed. Allocating a little extra funds to this area or that area will make all the difference between a mediocre event and remarkable experience.

Planning an event is stressful enough, and finances can make it even harder. Alleviate the tension that comes with event planning and provide a memorable experience for your guests by creating your budget right now! Along with these great tips, we have additional how-to videos and budget tools to help you along the way.

1. Americans with holiday debt added an average of $1,054, a 5% Increase from 2016. (2018, December 28). MagnifyMoney. Retrieved from

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