Free Ways to Incentivize Your Returning Staff to “Bring a Friend”

Camp Highland, GA
Photo Credit Camp Highland, GA

In a brainstorming conversation with a friend who is staffing for a camp with a smaller recruiting budget, we came up with some great ideas that camps can implement for free. Yes, Free! A great way to recruit has always been to ask your existing staff to bring a friend to camp with them. Many camps offer financial rewards to bring a friend to camp. However, if your budget does not allow for a financial payoff, consider the culture of your camp. There must be some popular, camp-specific rewards that you can use to entice your returning staff to bring a friend.

Here are some of the ideas that we came up with for you to use or to inspire you to come up with your own for your specific camp.

For every returning staff member that successfully brings a friend to camp, consider the following rewards:

  • special meal at the director’s cabin during the summer (very little cost to the camp. You can even serve what the dining hall is serving; the idea of eating at the director’s house without campers may be a huge incentive)
  • movie night with snacks at the staffing director’s cabin (again, very little cost involved but enough to make this group of referring returners know they did a great job by bringing a friend to camp)
  • Local ice cream or favorite bakery to send treats to these staff at camp

Consider this as another idea: drop all the names of the staff members who brought a friend to camp into a hat for a big drawing. Possible Prizes:

  • Be the director for the day (and yes, the director would be the counselor for the day…..can you think of a better way for the director to really see what happens on an average day?)
  • Best parking spot (some camps have staff parking lots that are a bit of a hike from main camp….the prize would allow one staff member to park in the best and closest spot to main camp all summer)
  • Use of camp technology for staff prom invite (if your camp has a staff dance in which staff ask one another out publicly, offer the use of camp microphone, Instagram account, newsletter, etc. for the winner to use in his/her date asking)
  • Night off with access to director’s house and refrigerator (be sure to stock your fridge first!)
  • Sunset Cruise (you’ll have to employ your waterfront staff to help on this one)

You get the idea. Think of your own camp culture and reward staff based on what is seen as desirable at your specific camp.

Make the reward system public. In front of your whole camp or at least your whole staff, recognize this awesome group of returners who are sharing the greatness of your camp with their own friends by bringing their friends to camp. If your new staff see that it’s a “thing” to bring friends to camp, more people will bring friends to camp next summer, and then following summer, and so forth.

Good luck staffing!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: