Retention: The Biggest Bang for Your Buck

Boosting retention is - by far - easier, cheaper, and has a much bigger impact than new recruitment. Numerically, the JCamp 180 ROI Analysis Tool shows how increasing retention by just ten percentage points for just 8-10 year olds has the same effect as increasing new recruitment overall by 50%. 
But how would you go about boosting retention? The first step is to really understand the problem. Many (but not all) camps can tell you what their overall retention rate is, but are you able to say what your retention rate is by age? By bunk? By counselor? Once you break down retention, you will see the patterns and weak spots, and you’ll be able to target precious energy and resources where it is needed most. 
Developing the data tracking and analysis capacity - including human resources and database systems - is a crucial first step. If you don’t yet have that capacity, this a great way to begin prioritizing retention. 
Here is a worksheet to help you begin assessing your retention tracking capacity.
This worksheet is part of the JCamp 180 Enrollment Program. Our next cohort will begin at the JCamp 180 Annual Conference in November 2018. Learn more here:
Bottom Line: Retention is on balance more valuable than recruitment, but make sure you have the data to be able to target your efforts.

Written by Aron Goldman. Aron is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Aron’s focus areas at JCamp 180 include camper enrollment, recruitment, and retention. He also directs our year-long Enrollment Program. Aron also has experience working as a consultant with grassroots, regional, national, and international organizations in the areas of capacity-building, strategy, and systemic change.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at