Closing the Deal | Getting People Signed up for your Trip
One of the greatest challenges for an outdoor ministry is to “close the deal.” It’s one thing to get a group excited about the possibility of a wilderness adventure. But quite another thing to get everyone to sign up, pay their deposit, turn in their permission slips, and get in the van to the trailhead. We know that once we get people out into the wilderness that the trip will be one of the best experiences of their lives. But there is a ton of work involved in getting someone from point A (“I’m interested in going on the trip”), to point Z (in the van headed for the trail head).
A Well-Designed Flier is Crucial
Our greatest motivation for outdoor ministry is that we want people to have an opportunity to meet Jesus and grow in their faith through guided outdoor adventures. As we pray toward that end, there are a ton of practical steps involved in actually getting people to commit to a trip, prepare for a trip, and get to the trail head. There are a zillion obstacles that can end up derailing your great idea of doing a wilderness trip with people.
In my experience, one of the most crucial elements for successfully communicating your vision and getting people to commit to your wilderness trip is to design a great brochure that 1) casts vision, 2) provides information, and 3) removes people’s fears of doing something they’ve never done before. In short, fliers are both a vision document, and an informational brochure. First you have to cast vision that this trip is worth their while, then you have to give them all of the necessary information to make a decision and successfully sign up for the trip.
Here is the Basic Anatomy of a Good Outdoor Ministry Flier:
- Name & Logo of your Outdoor Ministry Program
- Pictures that Tell a Story (what are your desired outcomes for your trip? Include pictures that tell that story without words)
- Outdoor Quotes | Use compelling outdoor quotes to inspire their imagination.
- Camper Quotes from previous trips to lend credibility to your program. Don’t go a step further without reading these two blog posts: 1) 5 Questions that Focus the Scope of your Outdoor Ministry Marketing, 2) Jaw Droppers: How to Get Testimonials to Promote Your Outdoor Ministry?
- What is the trip about? Include a simple description of what they can expect to experience on your trip. Paint a picture with your words and choose a few words carefully so it’s not too wordy.
- Who is this trip for? Tell your audience what ages or level of experience the trip is for. You need to make it very clear so that people feel “welcome” and “personally invited” to be on this trip… they need to read this section and say, “Oh, this trip is for me!”
- Dates of your trip (be clear when they need to arrive for departure and what time you will return)
- Cost of the trip (don’t be confusing, just state the price clearly and tell them what that includes. Also, don’t offer variations for people who want to bring their equipment, etc…. just have one price for everyone)
- Gear You Provide (a list)
- Gear Your Participants Need to Bring (a list)
- Optional Gear You Suggest they Bring (a list)
- Trip Leader Name (Who do they follow-up with if they have questions or want to sign up? Include phone number and email address at a minimum)
- When is a Deposit Due to Reserve a Spot? (Pick a date and tell them how much of a deposit is due to reserve a spot on the trip)
- Safety Information (Clearly state what safety measures are being taken by the guides that will insure that the trip will involve adventure but that safety is your priority. You can state what training level your guides have, whether you carry a satellite phone or “Spot GPS”, etc. You need to convince your audience that whoever is guiding the trip is competent and trustworthy. This is especially crucial with youth ministry trips).
- Registration Form (This is Crucial!) Here is the minimum information to include in this form:
- Name/Logo of your organization or church
- How to register online (if you have this available)
- Website or Facebook page for further information
- Name, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, Email
- Date of Trip (have your trip leader write this in on the form)
- Trip Leader’s Name
- Specify Special Dietary Needs
- Ask them if they need to take part in a fund-raiser to raise funds for the trip?
- Deposit (Check or Credit Card or Cash)
- Date to return the form by, and where to send it.
- Questions? Put name and contact information of person to contact
If you would like to look at a couple of Sample Fliers, here are a few that give you the basic idea of the anatomy of a good outdoor ministry flier:
- Mountain View Backcountry Flier (Backpacking)
- Mountain View Backcountry Registration Form
- Waterstone Church Expedition Flier (Backpacking, rock climbing, snow shoe trips)
- Yolo Backcountry Flier (Backpacking)
- Band of Brothers-Peak Challenge 2012 (Front Page | Back Page)
- Commit a couple of hours to design a brilliant outdoor ministry flier for your program using the above ideas as a skeleton for your brochure.
- Once you’ve designed your flier/brochure, please email me a link or copy of it to share with others as an example and to promote your program in my online outdoor ministry magazine.
- Comment Below! What do you think makes for a brilliant flier? Would you add or subtract anything that I’ve mentioned above?