A "New Acquisition" HINT from Joanna Warren Smith


Too many camps rely solely on retention and ‘word of mouth’.  They assume that because they are doing good things for kids that new interest will naturally evolve.  Unfortunately, that kind of thinking has marginalized lots of camps and has led to compromised program and financial uncertainty.

A steady stream of New Acquisitions is critical to guarantee viability with capacity populations, but it takes an unwavering commitment to make it really happen.  That being said, I challenge you to make this time until the end of the year really productive.


  • Psych up the troops.  At the end of day today, call your team together for only 5 minutes.  Explain that for the next week, you are going to focus on identifying methods by which to increase New Acquisitions.  Make it fun, encourage true ‘out of the box’ thinking and identify ‘an incentive’ or 'bragging rights' to engender  enthusiastic participation.
    Encourage a new mind set.  Eliminate past restrictions.  Embolden the team with an attitude of ‘people are superhuman’ and that ‘money is no object’.
  • Keep it real.  Focus on connecting with families who can afford your programs.
  • Feed their imaginations.  Suggest that they look for new camper opportunities with schools, youth organizations, communities where you’re connected, zealots in your camp family, uncultivated geographic areas, alumni, pediatricians, vendors that moms frequent (e.g., grocery stores and gyms), membership connections, friends of the organization, donors, board members, mommy bloggers, previous inquiries and other clients of your business.  Encourage them to look for events in your service radius that are kid focused (e.g., athletic tournaments and community festivities).
  • Meet at 11 AM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for ONLY 20 MINUTES.  Set an alarm, start precisely on time (even if some folks are not there) and stop immediately when time is up.  Have a neutral 'scribe' take notes and at the end of each session, share them with all team members in a running format.  Encourage each participant to consider all ideas, identify those that have the most potential and determine a methodology by which to make the promotion successful.  The next day, ask them to bring their best new acquisition idea to the table and 'sell it' with a 2-minute promotion.
  • Empower individuals.  17 minutes into the meeting on Friday, stop the conversation and request that over the weekend, they consider all suggestions and zero in on the one that really has the potential to develop a solid base of new buyers of your camp product.  If your team is large, suggest that two or three like-minded folks join forces.  In a small shop, each individual must present.
  • Evaluate opportunities.  At 11 AM on Monday, December 14, team members should make short, but complete presentations, after which everyone in the room  votes for the 'best' new acquisition methodology.  Discuss the winners.
  • Make a commitment.  Identify only one or two promotions that can really be managed well and plan the details for the January launch.

Trust me, the process works and your enrollment will definitely be stronger with an intense focus on new acquisitions.

  Joanna                                     Let me know which New Acquisition strategies you implement.

Email campconsulting@verizon.net or call 310-451-1876.

(Note from Travis:   We are so thrilled to be posting the always brilliant HINTS from camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith!  If you don't already you should sign up to receive theses HINTS in your email - in the right-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)