HOW TO INCREASE ENROLLMENT IN YOUR SUMMER CAMP BY 34%

One of the first projects – maybe the very first – that I did when we first moved to the United States from Israel in 2010 was a Camp Morasha film.

How can you grow so fast?
We hear from so many directions that enrollment in Jewish camps is decreasing.  Each summer, about 18 percent of the beds at Jewish sleepaway camps in the greater New York area remain unfilled.  But not at Morasha.  Here are the numbers:

  • 2009: 514 campers
  • In 2010: 521 campers (a 7-camper increase)
  • In 2011, after Shmuel made his first video for them: 541 campers
  • In 2012, after continuing to recruit using Shmuel’s video: 660 campers
  • In 2013, after Shmuel’s second video for Morasha: 690 campers projected
Values Campaign Film

What is so important about early registration numbers?
Not only is the number of enrolled campers increasing at Morasha, but the early registration is too.  Early registration is super-important because it insures that the camp will exist come summer, and that the employees will get paid!  Early registration is particularly a good indicator of strong marketing because it means that families have no other camp competing in their minds for their enrollment.

Right now, for 2013, Morasha has over 600 registered.  Just to compare this with the past few years on November 1st of the year before camp:

  • Nov 1 2009: 210
  • Nov 1 2010: 183
  • Nov 1 2011: 380
  • Nov 1 2012: 550
That’s an increase of 201% in early registration.
The First Film We Produced in the US

What do they do differently?
Jeremy Joszef, Director of Camp Morasha, has five key ingredients that he uses in his marketing:

1. During the summer camp he posts every single week a self made video of the camp highlights
2. He engages parents, camp kids, potential parents and kids online via facebook, twitter and instagram
3. He built a specifeley dedicated app to engage iPhone users about the latest schedules, upcoming events, highlight videos, picture sharing etc.
4. He invests in professionally produced campaign videos (like the ones we did for him)
5. He is super passionate about the camp, moves marketing material quickly and comes up with out of the box ideas and campaigning

When I asked him what his success to his camp is, he wrote me the following 5 elements that work for him:

  1. Mission Driven: As discussed in the film we created together, we believe that camp is not ONLY about giving our campers the most fun time of their lives, but also an opportunity to instill Jewish values in each and every camper. We believe that every activity, program, event, or trip is an opportunity to inculcate life-long lessons and values. Having a program that is mission-driven is a world of a difference.
  2. Passionate Staff: We always say that a camp is only as good as its staff. Choosing the ideal staff has become a top priority of ours, hiring highly motivated staff members who come to us with spirit, a commitment to children, and love for Torah and mitzvot. The passion of our staff is contagious to all the campers around them.
  3. Creative & Sophisticated Program: We believe that summer camp is way too important to waste any second! Every moment of every day is jam-packed with cutting-edge programming, activities, and special events. We spend every waking hour crafting a schedule and calendar that is both enjoyable yet challenging for each and every child.
  4. Sharing the Magic: We truly believe that the camping experience is not only for the child, but also for those watching from home. We’ve invested lots of time (and money!) to share those amazing “Morasha moments” with all those parents, grandparents, alumni, and friends spending the summer at home. Whether it’s through videos and photos on our website, or through our mobile app. we do everything we can to “share the Morasha magic.”
  5. Living 10 for 2: Camp Morasha does not end when those camp gates close. We like to say that “at Camp Morasha, summer never ends!” We do so much to stay in constant contact with our campers. We have a constant presence on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and look forward to hosting over 400 campers this Sunday at our 8th Annual Winter Reunion! Creating this sense of “family” and positive buzz is certainly a key ingredient to our success.

Furthermore, this has earned Jeremy the key element of becoming probably the youngest director of any camp I know of. He got elected in 2011 and took the chair of camp director. I was so thrilled when I heard this because he seriously deserves it.

So, his marketing efforts have yielded phenomenal results.  But you can’t market something successfully if the product isn’t quality.  The winning combination of Jeremy’s marketing and the quality of Camp Morasha has made its numbers increase steadily and significantly over the last few years, and we are so proud to be a part of that success.

S.

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