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Improving your camp’s day-to-day operations is crucial, especially for providing the very best experience possible to your campers. However, monitoring and promoting the growth of your business is essential to continue to do what you love: making a difference in campers’ lives.

It’s never too early to strategically plan your camp’s growth, and a key component of building your business is having the right tools. That’s where camp management software comes in. The sooner you find the right solution for you, the sooner you can increase your camp’s reach, expand your operations, and take your camp to the next level.

In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of growing your camp, how a software solution can help, and the specific features you should shop for. If you’re ready to start thinking strategically about your camp’s future, let’s jump right in!

What does camp growth look like?

To expand your camp, you’ll need to improve your operations as a business. Effective growth looks different for every camp, but here are a few common areas that camp leaders focus on when growing their businesses:

  • Boosting revenue and profit: More revenue equals more opportunities for everyone in your camp’s community, from your staff to your campers. Part of being a smart camp leader and business leader is looking for ways to generate more revenue. For example, you could streamline your registration process to improve retention and drive future enrollments. Or, to see a more immediate bump in profits, you could add an online store to your website to sell branded merchandise.
  • Improving marketing strategy: Marketing drives acquisition and retention, both of which increase revenue. However, it isn’t enough to rely on word-of-mouth marketing to reach all of the potential campers who would love to be part of your next session. When expanding their businesses, some camp leaders focus on email, text, social media, and even SEO marketing to help potential customers more easily find their camp.
  • Honing fundraising efforts: For some camps, fundraising is a key part of the growth equation. You might brainstorm new fundraising campaigns (with ideas from lists like this one by Double the Donation!), make online donation tools easier to use, or hone your donor recognition strategy. Each of these fundraising tactics can help you expand your operations, whether you want to build a new lodge or provide scholarships to underprivileged campers.

No matter which of these areas you want to focus your efforts on, having the right tools will make all the difference.

How does camp management software help?

Luckily, there’s software for almost any business need now—from school fundraising to client relationship management. Camp management is no exception, and with the right solution, you can manage your business growth strategy in effective and sustainable ways. Specifically, camp management software can help you:

  • Save time on repetitive tasks for better camp management
  • Track financial data to drive more revenue
  • Engage customers with marketing features
  • Assess your success with key performance indicators

The bottom line is that camp management software solutions help you manage all of these tasks in one place, keeping your goals top-of-mind so you can meet them and get back to enjoying camp alongside your campers.

What camp growth features should I look for?

At this point, you may be thinking: camp management tools sound really helpful, but I’m not sure where to start looking. Not to worry—according to CIRCUITREE, these are eight key camp growth features you should look for to help you meet long-term business goals:

  1. Point of sale (POS) System: Your customers want a fast, easy, and secure way to pay, whether they’re registering campers for camp or purchasing merchandise. Look for camp management software with a PCI-compliant POS system that can help you manage all of the money flowing into your camp, including features that allow you to track inventory, accept all payment types, produce invoices, and match sales to camper accounts.
  2. E-Commerce Capabilities: Everyone loves to shop online, and your camp customers are no exception. A management platform that offers e-commerce capabilities will allow you to create an online store on your camp website so you can sell camp merchandise—from socks to t-shirts to water bottles—before, during, and after camp.
  3. Donation Portal: Without a way to give, generous community members who care about your camp can’t contribute to your efforts to provide a better experience for your campers. A management solution with an online donation portal can help you consistently pull in support, whether you’re running an official campaign or simply opening your scholarship fund to donations year-round. The right solution can also help you generate reports, receipts, pledge reminders, and thank-you notes, streamlining the donor journey.
  4. Membership and Recurring Payments Capabilities: Management software that enables you to offer memberships and accept recurring payments empowers you to retain customers. Your campers’ families will love being able to easily complete payments and registration through an easy-to-set-up membership account. By removing the steps that can slow down these processes (like entering camper or credit card information), your camp will stand out to your customers, who will return to sign their campers up or buy your merchandise again and again.
  5. Marketing Platform: The right camp management software will help you spread the word about your camp far and wide with a marketing platform. Look for a solution that offers easy branding and customization of all of your marketing materials, automatic email cadences, and camper prospecting tools that can help you plan a more targeted marketing strategy. These capabilities will help you connect with customers old and new, and guide them down the sales funnel.
  6. Data-Driven Reports: How can you know your business is growing if you can’t measure that growth? Customizable reports and dashboards are a must-have in your management tool, as they help you make data-driven decisions that will lead you to success with each of your goals.
  7. Streamlined Hiring Tools: With the right management platform, you can take the staffing process online to recruit top talent. Offer online job applications, send automated reference emails, and extend job offers electronically. Plus, the best solutions out there will offer human resources features to help you evaluate your current staff with feedback from your campers and their families, so you know who to invite back for future seasons.
  8. Customer Engagement Portal: A happy customer is a returning customer. Keep your customers satisfied by providing them with an engagement portal. Through this portal, customers can complete camp registration, make secure payments, receive news and updates from camp leadership, and view photos and videos of their campers having a blast. Some of the best customer engagement portal features we’ve seen even offer camper communication options, which parents can use to stay in touch with their campers throughout their experience.

Each of these features can help your business grow in effective and sustainable ways, whether you’re focusing on driving revenue, improving your marketing, or honing your fundraising.

Even if the camp season starts weeks or months in the future, the best time to start thinking about your camp’s future state is now! Planning for your camp growth allows you to take control of your success. With the right camp management tool, you can meet your day-to-day challenges head-on, increase your revenue, and reinvest in your camp to maximize camper satisfaction.

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