How to Plan a Retreat: Making the Flyer

It’s week three of the “How to Plan a Retreat” series, and this week, we’re tackling: The Flyer. We’ve already looked at “The Beginning,” and “Coming up with a Theme” which are worth a read as we move into this third step.

You’ve got a lot of hard work behind you, and now you’re ready to put that work to good use. A flyer should give your potential audience an idea of what they’re going to do at your event. And here’s the great thing about a well planned flyer; you don’t need to have everything planned before you create it. First and foremost, your flyer is a marketing tool to draw people into your event.

So, pull out your notes on your theme, if you would. You should have jotted down:
1. A single word that defines your event
2. A sentence that describes what people can expect from their experience
3. The Hook (aka a tag line) that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to read more
4. A quote or passage that relates to your theme and helps center your message

To finalize this awesome flyer, I’m going to recommend you hunt down a couple more things to round out your content. Let’s dig into that now.

Find a picture that conveys the message or spirit of your day
Outcome: a non-copywrited image that you will place on the flyer.
There are many good places to look for images for your retreat flyer. I highly recommend starting close to home in your search for this image or images. You or a team member may have taken a picture that fits with your theme just perfectly. Or, you may want to ask a church member (or group member) to submit a photo for consideration. If you have time, why not make it a contest, and open it up to everyone in your congregation? You’re likely to get a lot of submissions and you can probably use most of the photos, somehow, in your day or weekend.

There are a couple of great reasons I’m suggesting finding photos from a known source. First, it builds in excitement. People who are engaged and have submitted a photo are likely to be more excited about your event, and attending your event. The second reason is a practical one; every image, no matter if its taken by a professional photographer or not, that image has a copyright on it, and the copyright is held by the person who took that photo. While it is highly unlikely that anyone would be upset at the use of their photo for a retreat, its best not to put yourself or your church or group in the position of having to worry about it. So, if you find a photo on the internet, on a site like Flickr, please ask if you can use it before putting it on your flyer. And, regardless of where you find the photo, be sure to credit your photographer.

Find or take a picture of your retreat leaders or keynote speaker
Outcome: a photograph of the people leading the retreat
This one’s pretty simple; take a picture of your team, including any clergy that might be joining you on your retreat. This will help put faces to names for people, and make them feel comfortable with the leaders.

Have everyone that will be leading write a brief biography
Outcome: a personal or team bio that details everyone’s credentials
The bio can be a tricky thing; some people are happy to keep a bio short while others, either because of experience or writing style, can be quite long. Ideally, you should ask that everyone write their bio in the third person, and ask them to keep it to two or three sentences.
An example would be “Carrie Barnes is an accomplished pianist and has been the choral leader of St Alban’s Church in Concord for four years. She holds a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt, and feels that singing is a sacred form of prayer.”

Once you have bios, you’re ready to dig into the flyer itself. And, to help you out, I’ve found a couple of free templates, all courtesy of Hewlett Packard, which can be seen here. I like a single page format since it can be hung on bulletin boards and easily folded and mailed, but I think that the tri-fold one would work nicely too if you’re primarily doing hand outs. I’m going to play around with this layout, using some of the examples we’ve already discussed.

So, about 20 minutes later, I’ve come up with a flyer (which I will post soon, just having technical difficulties for right now). I didn’t have a picture of people to include, but just about everything else is there. Or, to see an example of a “real” flyer for a retreat I’m leading, click here.

Check out the rest of this “Plan a Retreat” series:

How to Plan a Retreat: The Beginning
How to Plan a Retreat: Coming up with a Theme
How to Plan a Retreat: Putting Together a Timeline
How to Plan a Retreat: Making the Flyer
How to Plan a Retreat: Using Your Resources
How to Plan a Retreat: Marketing the Retreat

If you’re working on planning a retreat, check out this podcast episode:

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