Your most valuable building on campus is likely the one you’re not thinking about…
If I were to ask you “Which building on your campus is the most valuable?”..what would you say? Immediately, as camp owners and directors, we start thinking about our most recent building investment. You are likely thinking about that new dining hall, horse stables, staff cabin, or (in our case) expensive new boys bathhouse you just built. As crucial as those investments may be, NONE of them are as valuable as your…..website. That’s right- your website is your the most valuable building you have at Camp. How is that exactly?
- Your website is the one and only building that thousands of people see 10 months out of the year.
- Unlike your other buildings at summer camp, your website actually generates revenue (assuming that it’s well built and looks professional of course).
- Your website (hopefully) tells your camp story in an authentic and compelling way.
In 2009 our summer camp was in dire straights. In fact, we nearly had to shut our camp down. We weren’t generating enough revenue, we had major cultural problems, we had no summer camp online advertising strategy, and I wasn’t even able to pay myself a salary. In 2011, I attended a CampMinder Conference up in Boulder and sat in on a session by Nicholai Ronnigen (ronnigen.design). Thanks to that presentation and speaking with Nick soon thereafter, I realized that our website was vital to seeing and experiencing growth. Our website really was the building existing and prospective camp families saw 10 months out of the year! The $35,000 plus that we sank into the website all of the sudden felt like a drop in the bucket compared to other building projects at camp. In addition, we actually generated enough extra camper weeks to pay for the site within the first year. Our website was our summer camp online advertising strategy, and it worked. Several years later, that same website (camphuawni.com) is continuing to share our story in a compelling and genuine way, we have over tripled our revenue, we’ve been able to invest so much back into Camp (i.e. new activities), and I actually pay myself.
What does your most valuable building look like? If you have questions about how to prudently invest in your most valuable camp building, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.