Are you looking for new methods to reach families for your camps?
Have you exhausted your list of “standard” marketing tactics?
Here’s an idea you might want to further explore: Building community partnerships.
These days, expanding your reach means turning your attention to where kids and their parents spend their time, and finding creative methods to offer value there. For families, that can include schools, preschools, daycares and churches.
In this paper, we’d like to share 5 ways to use community partnerships to grow enrollment in your camp.
It’s no secret that public and private schools are always in need of additional revenue. In the United States, more and more schools depend upon advertising and sponsorships in their print material, websites and apparel sales to fund expenses the budget doesn’t cover.
Consider paying the school a small amount – or making an in-kind donation – to sponsor a school’s parent-facing material.
Place an ad on a school’s web portal or email communications:
Imagine your ad being viewed every time a middle-schooler’s mom checks her child’s attendance or grades on the portal of the school. Or when she scans the football program every Friday night. Or when a parent reads a school’s enewsletter.
Sponsor team jerseys or t-shirts:
Get your camp’s logo on apparel that will be seen every time children wear them. Or when a mom folds her kid’s clothes in the laundry…
Schools regularly plan assemblies for their students and they usually have slots to fill with interesting activities that are patriotic, athletic, artistic, educational, or entertaining. Think of an interesting activity or workshop you could lead at a school. This would cost you nothing, except a few hours of your time, and you would have the possibility to promote your upcoming camps to the parents of those children.
Contact school administrators in your area to find out guidelines for programs, as well as when and to whom proposals should be submitted for your demonstration. These are usually approved near the end of the previous school year.
Come up with a fun, unique and valuable activity you could offer each school. Think of the age groups, school focus, etc.
Put together personalized flyers of your camps that you can then drop in the kids’ backpacks. Specials and coupons can make your flyers even more appealing!
In addition to assemblies, schools often look for activities to offer students during off days like Parent-Teacher Conferences. Use that time to introduce kids to a new skill, meet parents and hand out information.
North Shore Taekwondo recently offered a half-day of reduced-fee training and fun for an elementary school during a teachers’ professional development day. No experience or commitment was required, and kids got the opportunity to try out a new sport while Mom and Dad were able to remain at work. Kids went home with a flyer advertising the studio’s upcoming camps and documentation about martial arts.
The First Tee Junior Golf Program currently works with more than 4,700 schools, introducing "Golf, 9 Core Values and 9 Healthy Habits" in physical education classes. This is a fantastic way to “recruit” kids for their other programs.
Faly Soccer Academy hosts soccer coaching sessions and games during a school’s annual spring fair, reaching hundreds of kids and families in the process. The Academy’s logo is prominently displayed in the fair’s marketing material and each participant gets a promotional flyer to take home. The cost to Faly? A small donation to the school’s silent auction.
What kind of specialized unit could you offer to your local schools or churches for little or no cost?
After-school programs are often supplemented by activities sponsored by outside organizations that provide both the program and assistance with the supervision of kids.
Beach Club connects churches in seven states with local elementary schools to provide a once-a-week Bible club aimed at introducing kids to Jesus. Churches supply the volunteers, curriculum, and snacks, and make contact with parents who may need assistance.
Girls on the Run helps third- to eigth graders with self-confidence through training for a 5k. A look into Girls On the Run’s partnerships reveals such diversity as Athleta (apparel), Secret and Skintimate (toiletries), Goody (Hair accessories), Horizon Fitness (exercise equipment), and Garmin (technology).
Can you find creative links between your camp and other kinds of organizations?
Major marathons and runs of all lengths are increasing in popularity, as are themed fun runs. Leveraging the reach and appeal of these events to offer race training programs at local schools or churches makes participation easier for families.
Also think of piggy-backing on major league sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Series or Stanley Cup playoffs to offer mini events for kids. These can be used as an avenue to promote your camps or can even become a brand new source of revenue if you decide to make the activities more extensive and charge a fee.
The Seattle Marathon runs a program where coaches train kids at a specific school over a period of one month to prepare for the kid-sized marathon.
Identify a major league event being held in your area and contact schools to offer an activity with the same theme. Get kids excited to be part of the event and drop off flyers for your camps in their backpacks!
Every state and school district has its own guidelines, so contact administrators to find out restrictions or possibilities for partnerships that may exist and the requirements that must be met in order to work with children in the school or church setting. Perhaps the advertising or sponsorship opportunity doesn’t exist yet so don’t be afraid to suggest a new initiative to them!
Choosing to partner with schools and other organizations in your community not only gives you a new avenue for reaching kids but it benefits everyone:
There’s no limit to the results you could experience when you expand your thinking to schools and churches and reach out to build partnerships. Remember that the gift of introducing a child to a new skill, or providing them a new kind of fun may be all it takes to put kid-pressure on parents for your camp or clinic. Personal contact with parents gives your enthusiasm and expertise an opportunity to shine and keeps your offerings top of mind when it’s time to select camps and activities for their kids. Parent camp choice is often an emotional decision based on fun and personal connections. Take advantage of that fact!
Camp forms are perfect for managing all camp types from summer camp registration to sports camps, church camps, and more. Let ACTIVE Camps help you efficiently manage your campers.