Each program your organization runs will follow a different promotional timeline depending on a number of factors, including number of participants, length of program, geographic area of outreach, etc. Here are two sample timeline templates, one for a larger one-off event/program and another for ongoing lessons.
Flyer distribution in a variety of formats (direct email to previous participants, posting on social media, placement in mailed newsletters, posting with various community partners) can be a good way to reach participants. A flyer should be a clear and concise expression of the program being offered, that helps you create energy and excitement about the opportunity. Do not include too much written detail or logo’s which may distract from the key information.
Things to make sure you include in every flyer:
- Photo/s that accurately represent the sport(s) offered and participants you’re serving
- Who the program is for, e. Veterans with a Spinal Cord Injury
- Contact information for a responsive individual
- Program dates and location
- Registration deadline
- Any required sponsor recognition
If you need more flyer templates, check out stocklayouts.com, which provides relatively inexpensive editable templates for flyer design, as well as brochures, powerpoints and other marketing materials, in a number of program formats.
Social Media is an effective marketing tool throughout your planning process.
Pre-Event: Begin promotion early to your social media followers in an attempt to gain attendees, volunteers, etc. You can also work with sponsors and other partners to cross-promote and help build some buzz for the program to a wider audience.
If you choose to have an event hashtag, introduce it early in the promotional timeline so that followers become familiar with it and are ready to use it during the event.
Day-Of Event: Post photos during the event of participants having a great time. One or two posts per-day is sufficient. Continue to use the event hashtag, and don’t forget to recognize and tag important sponsors. Photos that include sponsor banners/logos are great for sponsor recognition. Tagging sponsors in a photo to thank them for their sponsorship will go a long way to recognizing the sponsor and helping to grow your followers as your image will now appear to their followers, not just your own. Coordinate sponsor social media posts if requested.
Post-Event: Keep participants excited about your next program or next year’s event by posting images from the event in the days and weeks post-event. Keep up participant engagement by including dates for next year or where to go to find other programs as appropriate.
If you are looking to have media coverage of your programming, press releases should be distributed to media outlets approximately 1-2 weeks prior. Post-event press releases can also be created if your event was particularly newsworthy (i.e. you raised a record amount of money, you had the fastest slalom skier time ever recorded). Make sure you always include any appropriate sponsor recognition and press-contact information in your release.
Send the press release directly to local media contacts who have previously covered your events. Follow up with a phone call one or two days prior to the event to see if you can help coordinate coverage by providing pre-event photos, video or a quote from a participant.
The following websites can be used to distribute press releases nationally and regionally at varying costs:
If media do attend your event, here are some general guidelines:
- Keep the focus on a positive rehabilitative sports experience.
- Ensure that only those who have signed media waivers are filmed and interviewed by the press.
- Ensure interviews do not interfere with the participants sports experience
- In accordance with HIPAA, do not reveal any personal details of a participant’s medical history.
- Make sure to mention the support of any sponsors in press-releases and when speaking to media
Proper sponsor recognition and involvement helps build relationships for future donations. As mentioned in the topics above, it is important to include proper recognition on flyers, press releases and social media posts. Other ways you can recognize sponsors includes: strategically-placed banners at the event, logo on event collateral (program books, t.shirts, name badges, etc.), and verbal mentions during opening and closing remarks.
Another way to build sponsor relationships is considering having them volunteer or take part in another portion of the program. Seeing your program in action could help solidify the relationship and provide sponsors with a greater understanding of why adaptive sports are important to your participants. If you do utilize donor volunteers make sure that they feel as if they have a meaningful role in the program and that they walk away having had a positive experience and interactions with participants.
Having trouble recruiting from your usual participants, or looking to expand your outreach? Consider the following local partners.
Other Regional DSUSA Chapters
Rehabilitation Hospitals, Physical Therapists and other Therapeutic Medical Services
Special Olympics Chapters
State Disability Services Departments (i.e. Maryland Department of Disabilities)
Youth Sports Leagues
School Districts and schools for special populations, i.e schools for the blind
Colleges and Universities
Military Support Organizations (USO, Team Semper Fi, Etc.)