If you are running a children’s activity business, making connections with schools is a great way to build customer trust, increase your enrollment numbers, and find new families in the community. If you are just starting up, school connections can help you get your first batch of students.
Working with local schools is also important social proof for potential families. If they see that you are endorsed, whether officially or not, by the school, they will feel more comfortable signing up for your classes. In this sense, it is on the same plane as user-generated content, where consumers look to reviews from like-minded people as a way to make purchasing decisions.
In the free Sawyer Guide to Growing Enrollment, our team outlines a variety of tools and resources that can help children’s activity businesses find new families. Given the importance of school partnerships, we wanted to dive deeper into the topic, and outline our top tips to help you make connections with schools and get the most out of your community.
How to make connections at schools
How to find contacts at schools
“Making connections with schools” sounds like a great idea, but when you drill down into it, you might start wondering how you can even break into the large entity that is a school. There are so many different people who work in schools, including teachers, aides, principals, administrators, PTA members, and more. How can you find contacts and who are the right people for your outreach?
The school board
XQ Institute offers a free school board lookup site where you can type in the address of your business to find the local schools in your neighborhood. Then, you can click through to get the contact information for the members of the school board. Since most school board meetings are open to the public, you can also find their meeting schedule and attend a session to speak with them in person. According to OSBA, which is a governing body meant to help school boards, the school board is a “vital link between community and school.” That means they are a great asset for your business.
Schools look to administrators to manage operations on both the small and large scale. Principals, assistant principals, superintendents, directors, program coordinators, and educational leaders are all examples of the many administrators who work each day in local schools. These staff members are responsible for budgets, curricula, extracurricular activities, student transportation, and so much more. They are great connections for children’s activity businesses, especially if you are interested in starting an after school program. Working with the school to manage location and transportation, if necessary, is essential to making after school programming as accessible as possible to families.
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
According to GreatSchools.org, “The Parent Teacher Association, or PTA, is a huge and very influential nationwide organization with state and local affiliates throughout the country.” The goal of the PTA is to build strong relationships among parents, teachers and schools to support the students. They often deal with fundraising, especially in schools with tight budgets. Therefore, when the PTA is responsible for raising a significant portion of the school’s money, they have a lot of influence over which programs are funded. Making strong connections with the PTA can help your after school program, camp, or extracurricular activities become part of the school’s programming.
Partnership outreach email
If you are planning to reach out to these connections via email, it is important to make a good first impression. In your outreach email, you should be straightforward and polite. Use a subject line that catches their attention but gets your point across. Start by introducing yourself and what you offer. Let them know why the students would benefit from your activities and how you can make their lives easier, too. End your email by thanking them for their time and let them know how they can get in touch with you to continue the conversation.
You can use our editable email builder to create your own partnership outreach emails and send them out for success!
Partnership outreach email template
Subject line: Is [school name] looking for a new after school partner?
Hi [name] or [organization name],
My name is John Smith and I am a certified art educator and owner of After School Art, a K-12 art education program. I am reaching out to connect with [local school] to build a partnership and help your students discover their inner artist.
After School Art is a Montessori style mixed media art program where students gain opportunities to explore new techniques, interact with art history, and grow their passions. I have a studio and supplies for my programming, however, I am also happy to bring my activities into a classroom and do my programming at the school.
Some students who have participated in After School Art have gone on to major in fine arts while others have developed interests that led to success in STEM, writing, and more. Parents have reported that their children leave programming enriched and ready for more art education. You can read more about After School Art, including testimonials from families, on my website [link].
Thank you for taking the time to consider a partnership between After School Art and [school name]. I am looking forward to the opportunity. Feel free to respond to my email or give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
All the best,
Making connections with schools might feel daunting , but it is important to grow your business. If you are looking for more support and guidance on the administrative side of running a children’s activity business, Sawyer is the best class registration and after school management software for both in-person and online activities.
With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves business owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo.