The Open House / Anniversary Party is something that you can try to do every year. It is a great opportunity to Promote your school, get new students, and make some money at the same time. I suggest not combining this event with a fund raiser, because it will take away from your main objective which is to gain more students!
How to start. First choose a date that is not around any holiday weekends or any other large events in the community. Then begin blanketing your town and the surrounding towns with advertising. Do what every you can afford (cable, radio, newspaper, mailers, fliers, posters, door hangers, cold calling,……). You need to make sure everyone in your town, and he surrounding towns knows about your event. Be sure that all your advertising has the same theme.
Now you need to give them a reason to come! There are a few ways to do this. The easiest is tohave a large cash or prize to give away ($1,000 cash, skiing package, weekend getaway, …..).
If you run the event correctly, you should make more then enough money to pay for the prizes and the advertising. Another way to get people to come is by dressing up one of the staff in an action figure suit, or a children’s show character (just be very careful how you advertise this).
What to do at the event: Face painting ($2 – $5 depending on size of artwork), Nintendo (play beat the staff (2 games for $1)), a great game for this is 007, 4 people can play at once, Carnival style games: knock down the cones – set up 5 cones or cups on a bench and have them try to knock all 5 off with only 3 throwing targets. beam the instructor – This is usually everyone’s favorite! Have an instructor sit behind any object so that only his/her head is showing (wearing a full faced head gear) the participants get 3 chances to try and beam the instructor with the pad ($1 for 3 throws), suction star throwing & pop the balloons ($1), Wood breaking ($1 – $2), Power Pad (measures force of a strike($1)), Sell food and drinks, hold a sale on merchandise, and offer a discounted membership to new sign ups as well as a discounted upgrade to BBC for existing members. Keep it all FUN and exciting.
Prizes: You can give away small prizes for the carnival style games or you can use raffles. You can find inexpensive small prizes from companies like — Smile Makers (1-800-825-8085) or great American Fun Corp (1-800-358-2969). To keep your overhead low, just give away raffle tickets as prizes, and then every 30 minutes call out 3 -5 winners (give away mostly small and medium prizes, save the large ones for the end of the night).
Demonstrations: Your demonstrations should be spectacular! Include as many of your students as you can. Develop 2 demos, 1 short version (15 minutes) and 1 long demo 30 minutes. Perform the shorter ones throughout the day, and save the longer one for the end of the day.
Motivating your current students: One way is by putting them in the demonstrations, another is by giving them some incentive. For example: offer a prize structure for bringing friends in to sign up that day (1 sign up = $25 gift certificate, 2 = Wave Master, 3 = 5 Private lessons and a Bo, ……………).
In addition offer a grand prize for the one who brings in the most new students (ex: free special events for 1 year, free 1 year membership, ……..). The best prizes for you to give away are ones that have no out of pocket expense for you, and something that your students would love!!!
What to expect: Tough question!!! It really depends on how much energy and promotion you put into the event. An example of what Eastern Freestyle Karate did in 1997 is: # of people through the doors 893. Money from games, face painting, nintendo = $1,925, $ Money from Sale = $ 634 (net), Food and drinks $462, board breaking $289, power pad $386, $ from new sign ups and upgrades = $1,455. New
students that day = 12, upgrades to BBC = 3.
The total amount that EFK (Eastern Freestyle Karate) took in was $5,151. The expenses for the event (including all prizes given away, advertising and staff), came to $4,165. Total profit was $986 plus 12 new students (with 6 more the next week).
1- Go all out, really give this all you got!
2- Start promoting this event a minimum of 4 weeks in advance.
3- Blanket advertising, and use your students to help!!
4- Organize every part of the event so that you come off professional!
5- And as always have Fun!! Enjoy yourself!!!