2 Ways To Add Revenue To Your Events Bottom Line

Your event is probably like anything right now.  You’re trying to max out every opportunity you can find adding revenue to your bottom line.

I’m in the middle of two big projects.  As part of that, I’m looking for help to spread the word on these two pieces.  In addition, I’m also looking to create additional revenue from products that I recommend that tie to my bigger product.

How I am looking to spread the word on my projects?  Well first I’m signing up affiliates.

Let’s say your event is a conference for writers. Research people who blog about writing by doing a simple Google search, and then work with them to promote your event to their community. You could ask the blogger for promotion help, you could give the readers of the blog a 10% discount to your event or some similar promotion.

I’m looking to pay my affiliates 25% of the cost of my product, and you can negotiate something similar with your affiliates.  In my book, this is “found money”, and what I mean by that is odds are these people may not be familiar with your event till reading about it on the blog.  Hence they “found” you.

I’ll setup a page in the backend of my website that will be an affiliate center for great resources for affiliates to use.  This will include banner ads, sample tweets and more.

The second thing I am looking to sign up is affiliate partners. I consider an affiliate partner a company with a product that aligns with your event and that you would want attendees to use.

Back to our writers event example. Maybe a desk is a product you would recommend to your community. Research a desk company, contact them telling them about your event and negotiate being an affiliate partner for their product.  You would then be paid a commission by the company adding revenue to your bottom line.

There are probably several items you can think of that your attendees would love to get their hands on. You can get as get creative on this one as you want as long as it aligns with your event.

Amazon is an easy way to setup an affiliate program.  They offer great tools for their affiliates, and signing up is easy.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to find ways to add revenue to your events bottom line.

Great Resources for Christian Meeting Planners III

When we started MinistryServingMinistry our desire was to partner with those whose job it is to plan Christian events, meetings and retreats by providing posts that are helping to make your job easier.   We also wanted to provide resources where you will find other articles and insight with this same goal in mind.  We are constantly adding to these resources and have decided to make it even easier for you to know what’s new, we will write a post with these new additions monthly.

Here is what we’ve added in March by category:

Budgeting/Cost Saving Ideas
8 Tips To Bullet-proof Your Meeting Planning Budget – Tips to help you plan out your meeting budget…

Marketing/Promotion
An Insider’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette – a brief set of ideas around social media etiquette…

Contracts
Checklist For Speaker and Entertainer Contracts – Ensure the following items have been…

Retreats/Meetings
Staying on Top of Tech –  survey unveiled five key tech trends for the year…

Working With Volunteers – realize that part of your job as a meeting planner is training…

Please turn on your cell phones – an announcement that more and more religious meeting planners will likely be making…

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more than might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

Great Resources for Christian Meeting Planners II

When we started MinistryServingMinistry our desire was to partner with those whose job it is to plan Christian events, meetings and retreats by providing posts that are helping to make your job easier.   We also wanted to provide resources where you will find other articles and insight with this same goal in mind.  We are constantly adding to these resources and have decided to make it even easier for you to know what’s new, by posting these new additions each month.

Here is what we’ve added in February by category:

Budgeting/Cost Saving Ideas
Region Conference Budget – A well planned budget and financial control system sets up an operating framework that will guide all elements and details…

Checklist: 10 Ways to Save (But Not Kill the Experience!) – The mantra of meeting professionals in this challenging economy…

Site Selection
15 Steps to Selecting a Site for Your Off-Site Meeting – A meeting for five to 100 people takes just as much time and effort as planning for thousands…

Retreats/Meetings
The Fundamentals of Planning a Youth Meeting – What are the fundamentals for planning youth meetings? We asked…

Refresh Your Women’s Retreat Tips – Are your women’s retreats in a rut?  Step outside those routines and experience a fresh perspective…

Meeting Planners
Meeting Planner Survival Guide – Whether you’re a novice planner or a veteran, this compilation of must-read articles…

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more that might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

Great Resources for Christian Meeting Planners

When we started MinistryServingMinistry our desire was to partner with those whose job it is to plan Christian events, meetings and retreats by providing posts that are helping to make your job easier.   We also wanted to provide resources where you will find other articles and insight with this same goal in mind.  We are constantly adding to these resources and have decided to make it even easier for you to know what’s new, we will write a post with these new additions monthly.

Here is what we’ve added in January by category:

Budgeting/Cost Saving Ideas
Use Meeting, Banquet Space to Help The Bottom Line – As we move into 2011, it seems there is reason to celebrate…

Marketing/Promotion
The ABC’s of Social Marketing Ethics & Etiquette – Find out about the importance of ethics and etiquette in Social Marketing…

Using Social Media to Promote Events – David Meerman Scott discusses how to use to use The New Rules of Marketing and PR to promote events.

Site Selection
15 Steps to Selecting a Site for Your Meeting – Often the success of a meeting will relate directly to where it’s held…

Contracts
Checklist For Speaker and Entertainer Contracts – Ensure the following items have been…

Hotel Terms To Know – When dealing with hotels, it helps to know the lingo…

Retreats/Meetings
Refresh Your Women’s Retreat Tips – Are your women’s retreats in a rut?  Step outside those routines and experience a fresh perspective…

Meeting Planners
10 Tips to Get Started Going Green – tips below can help you create a foundation for environmentally friendly meeting management…

ServiceU.com – Software to help you manage your events online…

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more than might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

Don't Let Your Events Get Stuck In A Rut

Chris Adams recently posted an article entitled “RETHINK Women’s Special Events” (read here) on her WomenReachingWomen blog. Chris works in the women’s ministry area here at LifeWay and you may remember her from a podcast we posted last year on how to create a standout women’s event (listen here).

In her most recent post, Chris challenged women ministry leaders to RETHINK their annual events and decide if they needed to continue doing them, or try something else. After reading the post, I contacted Chris and asked her if she’d be willing to take that process a little deeper for our MinistryServingMinistry readers.

Below are her responses to our follow up questions. While her answers are specific to women’s ministry (her area of expertise), I believe the principles can apply to any meeting, event or retreat.

MSM:  Almost every event has its own traditions and people who say, “We’ve always done it this way”. While tradition can have tremendous value/equity, what advice would you have for planners who are striving to break free of repetition and reinvent new traditions?

Chris: Evaluate the last event. Look at what worked, what was effective, what wasn’t. Also listen to what attendees say, if there is a pattern to their comments, it will help direct future events. Did you see changed lives? If so, what elements led to that? Take a look at dates that you have ALWAYS done an event, are women still able and willing to attend those dates/times of days.

Having “dreamers” serve on your women’s team and especially on event teams will help keep from becoming stagnant and doing the same ole, same ole just because it’s always been done that way. Evaluate who you are not reaching and analyze what it might take to tap into those pockets of women not involved.

Include women of different generations, and especially young women, to begin to develop new traditions while still using those former ones that are still effective. Sometimes you may need to move slowly, changing a little at a time, to be sensitive to women who have been a part of the planning of events a long time.  Add only a few new things and then re-evaluate again to keep it fresh and relevant.

MSM: Just because something is working ok doesn’t mean it might not benefit from a closer look and evaluation. Sometimes you may even need to break something that’s not broken in order to make it better. What do you see as the downside risks for a planner who operates by the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” motto?

Chris: The down side is that you might not even ask the questions to discover the real results of an event. Perhaps you still have women attending in good numbers and no one really complains about the program elements. Everyone is happy doing the same things over and over, and not move out of their spiritual and relational box to experience deeper spiritual truths. It may take an innovative leader with a vision for “more” to move women out of their comfort zones and into those deeper walks with Christ. The purpose of any ministry event should include, in addition to fellowship and building relationships (and of course great food!), reaching the lost and helping believers grow in their spiritual walks. Is that happening in any way through your event? If not, the motto will truly be a hamper to helping women move one step closer to Christ in their journey.

MSM: Sometimes planners will add a new element to an event and the response the first year might be less than overwhelming. If that were to happen with one of your LifeWay Women’s events, how would decide whether or not to give it a “second chance”?

Chris: New things sometimes take a while to catch on. But if even a few women are changed because of that element, and they go back and tell someone else, the fire is lit! I remember the first time my former church offered the very first Beth Moore video Bible study. Many didn’t know her and not ever done an in-depth study. But when those women finished the study (and even as they were in the midst of it), they talked about it with others. The next time the study was offered, numbers grew and more women studied God’s Word together.

It may be that you just need to tweak that new element to make it even more effective next time. If you offer a ministry or missions project as a part of an event, the first time maybe only a few are involved. But for those few, and for the ones who received the ministry, it was so worth it. If it becomes a part of each event, it will be seen as “normal” and more may become involved.

Again, ask the women as you evaluate each event.  See what they say, keeping in mind, you will always have some who never like anything you do!  But watch for those “patterns” in the responses so you can get a picture of the effectiveness and lives that have been changed.

Think your event might be getting stuck in a rut? What can you do to get it back on track?

A Little Insight into Site Selection

At Ridgecrest Conference Center we host hundreds of events each year. In doing so, we get the pleasure of working with many excellent Christian meeting and retreat planners. Over the next several months, we will be posting a series of Q and A sessions where we ask some of these planners to share a little of their meeting expertise with us.

Cathy Payne is the International Director for the Church of God of Prophecy and we asked her to give us her top 3 list for each of 3 questions related to selecting a destination and site for her meetings. Here they are:

MSM – What are the top 3 reasons you select a particular destination?

  1. Location
  2. Price
  3. Service

MSM – What are the top 3 reasons you select a specific hotel/conference center at that destination?

  1. Self contained/all under 1 roof
  2. Close to shopping
  3. Availability of fellowship areas

MSM – What are the 3 most important details to you when negotiating a contract with the event venue?

  1. Free parking
  2. Free meeting space
  3. Free sleeping room upgrades for staff

What about you? How do your top 3 differ from Cathy’s? Please feel free to share by commenting below.

What Are You Doing To Help Maximize Your Attendees' Experience?

Rally to Ridgecrest

As a meeting planner, you can do a great job planning and marketing your event, but if your attendees don’t have a good experience your event could be seen as a flop. So, the question is: What are you doing to help your attendees maximize their experience?

This morning I came across an excellent article dealing with this very topic. It was directed to those attending the upcoming Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference at Ridgecrest and was titled, Maximize Your Conference Experience. The post, written by Michelle Cox (a member of the event’s faculty), was an excellent example of trying to help event attendees maximize their time and experience.

Based on her post, the following ideas and tips could help your attendees maximize their conference experience:

  • Travel directions – Help to take away any concerns attendees may have related to how to get to the conference location.
  • Home away from home – Tips on the conference facility and what it has to offer your attendees.
  • What to bring – Let them know what items they should bring to help them get the most out of your event.
  • Clothes/Weather – Answer the questions, what should I wear and what will the weather be like.
  • Homework – Is there any work that needs to be done prior to the conference? If so, be sure to spell that out so your attendees can come prepared.
  • Prayer – Don’t forget to ask your attendees to help pray for the conference and the role God would have them play in it.

What else have you done to help your attendees maximize their experience at your events? We would love to get your additional suggestions!

Creating A Standout Women's Retreat

Recently I had the opportunity to record our first podcast for Ministry Serving Ministry with Chris Adams and Betsy Langmade. Chris and Betsy both work in Women’s ministry here at LifeWay Christian Resources and are experts when it comes to planning events for women. Hopefully you will enjoy what they have to share.

5 Tips For Planning A Golf Retreat

I recently read a good post for planning a golf retreat from a friend, Scott Lehman. Scott is the founder and president of In His Grip Golf and we have partnered with Scott on several Pastors Masters golf events at Ridgecrest and Glorieta. In fact, if you’re going to be attending the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando this June, be sure to stop by our booth as Scott will be there giving a series of putting lessons.

Anyway, if you’re considering planning a golf retreat, here are some great tips from a golf pro!

I have been playing this great game of golf for over 40 years and have been on my share of golf retreats.  In fact, I am just returning from our In His Grip Golf Retreat that I hosted at Limestone Springs in Oneonta, AL.  A great course with a golf cottage on site.   Experience has revealed a few “best practices” and I would love to share them with you.

1.  Define your Purpose: You may want to talk to your guys first to see what would be their ultimate golf retreat experience.  I am starting to learn that guys want to play A LOT of golf, BUT, they also want some DOWN TIME.   We always try to use our In His Grip retreats to have a message in the evening or make it available for certain prayer requests.  This past weekend we spent time praying over our Senior Pastor who is battling cancer.

2.  Date and Location: Most of the golf retreats I have been on are either in the spring or in the fall.  When booking your date and location remember to stay away from course maintenance weeks and you may want to consider daylight savings time.

3.  Determine Your Budget: Hey, we are in challenging economic times and that means that our personal budgets are more sensitive than ever.  Searching the Internet for deals is still a great resource and most golf facilities need the business so don’t be afraid to ASK.

4.  Define your Formats Upfront: I like to send out the formats and teams ahead of time.  I also like to switch it up.  For example, we started out with a two-man scramble, then we had a two-man best ball and finished with a four-man scramble.  It’s a great way to build new relationships and allows for all playing ability levels to have a good time.

5.  Caravan to Build Camaraderie: We always try to have a central meeting point, like our church, and then load up the vehicles so we don’t have anyone driving solo.  It is amazing how many memories are also on the ride to or from the course.

I hope one or two of these keys will help make your next golf retreat experience more memorable.  You may even want to consider a survey from the guys to get their input.  Let me know what some of  your golf retreat experiences have been and what is your favorite golf retreat location and why?

I hope to see you on the course.  Scott