Analysis of White Water Writers Camp costs

Today I’m looking into the proper costs of a White Water Writers camp.  I periodically do back-of-the-envelope calculations for quoting invidual camps but it was about time that I got some proper numbers involved.

I’m doing it publically for all the normal reasons and one extra one: it might help some organisations tailor their requests a bit and say things like “Can we have more books, but give you access to campus accomodation?”  (Campus accomodation is quite nice and we’d like to encourage this).

We quote for a wide array of camps – I’ve choosen five types here but most don’t fit exactly into these brackets.  I’ve put some examples for costs at the end.

Item 10 students in school 20 students in school 10 students in school with hotel/long distance transport 20 students in school with hotel/long distance transport
10 students lead by organisation’s own staff
Cost of printing books £197 £394 £197 £394 £197
Staff time £490 £620 £490 £620 0
Hotel 0 0 £625 £750 0
Remote support staff (publishing and so on) £225 £225 £350 £350 £350
Staff expenses/transport £80 £150 £250 £375 0
Cover art £50 £100 £50 £100 £50
Core costs £325 £325 £450 £575 £450
Total £1367 £1,814 £2,412 £3,164 £1,147

Some notes:

  • Hotel prices can vary widely – I’ve used a representative one.
  • Cover art is supplied by this system:
  • Core costs is worked out using the Randy Pausch Rule for the purposes of this exercise.  (
  • Leaders are paid £13 per hour, and this calculation assumes a secondary school. Adults would be another £130 because they work longer hours.
  • Some camps come in cheaper – schools we work with regularly need far less support and draw on less core costs.
  • We lose money on a fair few camps. Sometimes that’s because they were harder to arrange than others, and sometimes it’s because we took a loss for, say, our first camp in Africa or some of our work in special schools: we are a charity after all.
  • We are trialing colour books for Caesar Bond, this analysis doesn’t include that.

This could be worked out more thoroughly by going through QuickBooks and my own timesheets (I am the remote support staff at the moment) – but I doubt that would move the needle more than 20% in any direction.

Screenshot 2020-03-02 at 09.14.16 Screenshot 2020-03-02 at 09.22.36

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *