How Retreats are Costed

A core part of our retreat mission is to ensure that our retreats are as accessible and inclusive as possible. When we became a charity in 2018, we were able to take a huge step towards fulfilling our mission by reducing fees for all of our services significantly, and our intention is to continue to do so. We fully recognise, however, despite our best efforts, attending a retreat is still out of reach for some people.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is how we price our retreats. Our retreats are priced to break even and sometimes we actually lose money on them.

We strive to make our rates transparent and operate on an “all-inclusive” model so that there are never any extras to pay. For example, our residential retreat rates will include deposit, teaching, and full room and board. Other retreat providers, however, may operate on the ancient tradition of the “dana model” which respectfully asks attendees to make a voluntary thank you contribution to a teacher’s salary to be paid during the retreat. Dana isn’t usually displayed in the fee, however, since it is a voluntary contribution, so the overall rate will appear lower.

Although we try to keep costs down, this can be a delicate balancing act since it is our priority to offer retreats that are of the highest standard. We consider the following variables when we cost a retreat:

Venue. We increasingly offer retreats at venues located in different geographical regions across the UK. This can help reduce travel costs. In addition, having a range of venues to choose from enables us to try to accommodate different budgets since we can then offer some lower cost retreats with simpler accommodation. For example, some of our venues offer the option of a single or a less expensive, shared room, so that people can choose according to their budget.

Teacher salary. In line with our mission, we pay our trainers and retreat leads a fair wage as this is often their main income. Our teachers/trainers do not accept or expect “dana” contributions so there is no extra cost to attendees at the end of events they attend.

Reduced rates for certain groups. We offer a discounted rate on some of our retreats for certain groups, such as IAPT service members. In addition, we hope to offer retreat bursaries in future –in line with our mission to widen access – and are working to build up our bursary fund.

Length and type of retreat. We offer retreats of varying lengths (3, 5 and 7 days) to accommodate different timetables and budgets. Although people often assume a retreat has to be residential, non-residential retreats can be a great option for those who can provide their own accommodation. They are also less expensive.

Admin costs. It is impossible to run retreats without incurring admin costs to set up the events themselves, organise bookings and run our website. Our staff work hard in the background – often above and beyond their paid income – to ensure our retreats run smoothly and efficiently. We endeavour to keep these costs as low as possible and with minimal impact on the environment (e.g. we are a virtually paperless organisation and our staff work remotely).

We welcome questions about our retreats so please don’t hesitate to email our team at retreats@mindfulness-network.org.