May 19, 2022

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Non-Profit Summer Camp Budget

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Non-Profit Summer Camp Budget

You had many reasons why you decided to run a non-profit summer camp or sports camp. Your own summer camp memories probably top the list. But now, as an adult, you clearly recognize the benefits children get from attending camp, such as:

  • Developing social, emotional, and cognitive skills
  • Learning problem solving and communication skills and other skills from sports, art, and music, to science and languages
  • Making new friendships and becoming more independent

And don’t forget the smores! You want your program to stand out from the many summer camp options in your area, but as a non-profit, funds can be limited. You need a sharp focus and a sharper pencil to manage finances and support program goals. But what are the best ways to do that?

5 Ways to Manage Your Non-Profit Summer Camp Profit Margins

At A-G Administrators, we have great summer camp memories, too. Nowadays, we’re thrilled to work with thousands of non-profit camps (sports, educational, and recreational), organizations, and events. One of our favorite parts of the job is to help minimize financial risk through our risk management services. Here are five smart moves you can make now to maximize your camp’s margins.

Young girl camper wearing a life vest is paddling in a canoe on a scenic lake.

1.Examine the budget

Understanding your budget and expenses is critical. Even if it’s a non-profit, your camp is a business that should operate in the black.

As your main source of income, registration fees should cover your operating costs. Your budget should include:

  • Mortgage or lease payments for the facility (including field rental for sports camps) and utilities (technology, power, communications)
  • Number of staff needed, salary, uniform cost, training, and certifications
  • Program costs (supplies needed such as books, art supplies, or sports uniforms)
  • Expenses for food (if provided) and supplies
  • Repairs and upkeep of equipment, facilities, and grounds
  • Transportation
  • Insurance
  • Marketing/Advertising
  • Any federal, state, and local permits and licenses (such as food handling)
  • First aid/emergency planning

Increasing margins and decreasing losses is an ongoing, fluid discussion that never ends, especially when registration fees should cover your expenses. For instance, if you decide to increase enrollment to bring in more registration fees, you may also need to increase staff and program incidentals, defeating the purpose. Or, you may think a modest registration fee increase could cover expenses, but instead, it results in fewer campers.

All is not lost, however. Easy budget enhancements include:

  • An intern experience for college students
  • Shopping for lower liability insurance premiums
  • Changing utilities
  • Buying in bulk
  • Eliminating an unpopular program
  • Starting your advertising earlier to get the word out first

Offering an additional benefit with no real expense but gets an additional fee (Parents’ Night Out for a day camp, Camp Bakeoff, An extra hour of horseback riding)

2.Use technology

While software and websites cost money, they are necessary for your camp’s success and efficiency.

These days, no business should be without a professional website. It can be used for a wide variety of important tasks:

  • To explain the camp programs
  • In advertising/social media to direct interested campers
  • As a place to make easy donations
  • For registration and payments

Behind the scenes, the right software can help:

  • Eliminate red tape and paperwork
  • Arrange schedules and housing assignments
  • Track campers

You should also use bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks. This gives you real-time information on money coming in and going out, saves time, and reduces accounting errors.

3. Take advantage of grants and fundraising

Grants and fundraising are helpful to put money in reserve, start new programs, start capital campaigns, and offer scholarships.

How to find grant opportunities:

  • Research similar camps for grants they’ve received
  • Ask board members about opportunities
  • Look at the Google Ad Grants program that offers $10,000 USD of in-kind advertising every month
  • Ask companies you do business with if they would like to work with you on a grant or sponsorship
  • Subscribe to GrantStation for tools and news about funding opportunities

As additional sources of money, fundraising can run the gamut of candy sales, event sponsorships, and even mattress sales. And don’t forget to add your non-profit summer camp to the Amazon Smile program and tell your campers to use it.

4. Finetune your marketing

Marketing is essential to spread the word. Stretch your budget by using no-cost social media and encourage your campers to follow you. Also, use email marketing such as newsletters as a value-add.

Other strategies include:

  • Developing loyalty programs and referral programs
  • Joining your local chamber of commerce
  • Getting a booth at the local spring camp fair
  • Adding your camp to directories
  • Dropping information off at doctors’ offices and schools

5. Manage risk

Last on the list, a significant way to manage budget margins is through A-G Administrators’ participant accident insurance. This coverage plays a big role when accidents happen. It steps in to cover out-of-pocket medical treatment costs that can run to $8,700 a person and $17,400 a family in 2022.

When faced with these unexpected expenses, families may demand your help. But if you offer coverage from A-G, it helps eliminate the financial risk of litigation and ensures a worry-free recovery from medical expense pressures.

Accident Risk is A-G’s Business, Not Yours

Want to find out more about keeping your summer camp profit margins in good shape and protecting your camp and campers from accident risk? Request a quote and speak with an A-G representative. We look forward to connecting soon.

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