Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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As I’ve gotten older, the refrain from one of my favorite songs has taken new meaning.  These days, I find myself doing some quick math on whether the fun I would have is worth the effort of dragging myself out of the house.  As summer ramps up, student recruiters across the country are looking at a calendar full of events and ask themselves the same question: should I stay or should I go?

Any chance to talk directly to families about your amazing school is worth considering.  But we’ve all been to events that looked great on paper -- or when the radio sales person was talking us into it -- only to have it turn out to be a waste of time.  Time -- your’s, your staff’s, and volunteer’s -- is precious during these critical last months before school starts.  

To make sure an event is worth your time, ask yourself these three questions:

1.     Is It Local?

In general, events that target the specific neighborhoods and families you serve are much more effective than the big (and often expensive), city-wide events.

2.     Is It Established?

Every year a new crop of events pop up and most of them are busts.  It's hard to build an audience for an event, so it’s usually best to go with ones that have become institutions.

3.     Is There a Give-Away?

Nothing brings out families like free school supplies!  A lot of families have already made their choices, but you can usually pick up a few, and it’s a great way to build long-term awareness.

To make the most out of the events you do go to, be sure and remember these three things:

1.     Stand in Front, Don’t Sit Behind

Your table can be a barrier for families coming up to you.  While it's less comfortable, it’s much easier to engage families in conversation if you’re standing in front of your table.

2.     Get Some Digits

Your goal isn’t to hand out as many flyers and goody bags as possible.  Don’t be afraid to ask for names and contact information to follow-up for a tour or info session. 

3.     Mingle, Mingle, Mingle

When the inevitable lull comes, don’t stare at your phone.  Walk around and meet the leaders from other organizations.  It’s a great way to build awareness and develop partnerships.

Hopefully these questions can help you answer Joe Strummer (or my wife's new theme song by Courtney Barnett)!