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Finding other revenue streams for your camp

The bar continues to rise for summer camps—parents and youth expect updated facilities, top-level programming and amenities that are comparable with other camps. In the meantime, your summer staff members want equitable pay. How can you afford all the added costs of running a camp, while still adhering to your mission?

It’s time to get creative and think of other revenue streams besides camper fees. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Rent out your facilities – During the off-season, your buildings and beautiful setting may be lying dormant. Why not put them to good use by renting them out for retreats, family reunions, outdoor education programs, out-of-school time programs or holiday gatherings? Nonprofit camps may need to take special care that their rentals remain tied to their mission. Reach out to Risk Control Central for support in considering user group agreements and guidelines.
  2. Embrace fall time – The fall provides an opportunity to continue enjoying the outdoors while weather is still pleasant. Halloween and fall festivities are a perfect match for camps with access to beautiful outdoor spaces. From hay mazes to haunted trails, consider events that include admission fees and have the additional benefit of connecting the community to your camp in meaningful ways.
  3. Offer public classes – You likely have connections with counselors and others who can teach archery, outdoor skills, challenge course adventures, sports clinics, art and more. Rather than just stopping those offerings when the summer season ends, market the classes as a year-round affair. This also has the added bonus of potentially recruiting new campers for the following summer and keeping your camp staff and alumni connected.
  4. Host a yard sale – As your camp has made updates over the years, you likely have accumulated a lot of “stuff” that may just be taking up space in storage. Your excess could be someone else’s treasure! You would be surprised by how much money some of your old equipment could bring in—money you could then use to buy new equipment and hire more staff.
  5. Open a camp store – If you don’t already have a camp store, it can be a great way to bring in money during the camp season and even online year-round. Offer merchandise with your camp’s name on it, candy and other snacks, fidget toys and other items that would appeal to children and teenagers. As a unique gift idea, consider offering “Camp in a Box” to remind campers of the fun time they had during the summer. Fill a box with camp swag, activities, projects and mementoes that will bring to mind some of your camp’s traditions. Harness the power of social media and use your camp’s account(s) to market branded products to the families that follow you.

Leveraging your brand, the affinity you hold with campers and families, your facilities and more can help you support your camp’s finances, ensuring you can continue carrying out your mission for years to come.

NOTE: If you’re considering adding something new to your camp’s offerings, remember to contact your insurance agent to ensure your policy provides appropriate coverage for your changing needs. If you have questions about recommended guidelines or risk management, reach out to Risk Control Central. If your facilities are used for off-season activities, ensure they are properly heated or winterized for activities occurring outside of the summer camp season.

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