A good distribution strategy starts with our school administrators conducting a needs assessment to first determine the interest and need for certain after-school programs. The needs assessment will determine that first off the programs we’re offering are actually needed and that the proper resources are currently in place. This can be done by surveying the youth and finding out their interest or by meeting with the parents to find out what they would like to have their child learning or participating in after school.
In order to gain the trust of the parents, then we must build a strong brand. Content parents who are in support of these after-school programs can be one of our most powerful tools to help build the brand presence. Parents can take to social media outlets, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to spread and distribute the news on the positive effect that after-school programs are having on their children.
Fliers and posters will be posted at schools, local restaurants, and neighborhood stores in an effort to reach those whom the parents were not able to reach through social media.
Local media will also be a big help with spreading the message since almost everyone watches the news for the latest and greatest on what’s going on in today’s society. Another plan of action is to register the after-school programs with local and national volunteer matching and mentoring organizations, such as United Way, VolunteerMatch.org, and Mentoring.org because building connections is the name of the game.
The after-school program director may employ a few school-day teachers in the after-school program to provide continuity from school to after-school. These same teachers can then sit in school-wide meetings and share information about the various activities and opportunities offered to these kids. Participants of the after-school program can then demonstrate what they have learned in the program during exhibitions, school performances, and various other outlets. These child participants are going to be the most effective recruiters and representatives for spreading the word concerning after-school programs.
Many youths nowadays shy away from after-school programs because they are normally portrayed as a place where nerds go to play chess, participate in band, and various other activities that adolescence may find boring. After-school programs have also taken on a bad name due to the stereotype that it’s only a place for troubled youth or students not performing well in school. Our distribution strategy on selling these programs will rely heavily on current participants who will give their honest opinion on the activities offered and what future participants can expect if they decide to sign up. Not only are after-school programs being market effectively, but the youth are honing leadership and communication skills as well.
In order for current participants to give a good report then it is a must for our staff to leverage resources to ensure a quality program is in place. This includes access to physical resources, including the library, computer rooms, gym, outdoor areas, office space and, a few school-day classrooms, and a cafeteria. Not enough options and too little space can potentially cause students to grow bored and not participate, thus adding injury to our distribution strategy of spreading the word of adding new recruits.
Flexibility will also be of the utmost importance when promoting these after-school programs, especially to those living in low-income communities. Some of these students may have to report home by a certain time to watch younger siblings due to living in a single-parent household where the mother won’t arrive until later that evening. Other students may have to work part-time jobs outside of regular school hours to compensate for the lack of money amongst their household. Because of this, we must ensure that the youth are able to sign up and/or drop in as fits their schedule. The sacrifice must be made to even stay open late some evenings and giving up some Saturdays for students to have a safe place to congregate, play, and learn valuable life lessons at the same time.
In conclusion, our distribution strategy will have to conform and fit the particular community we’re marketing to at that time. Different variables like the age of the participants or whether they stem from an influential family versus a low-income family will play a part in how we will market the program. The most crucial step in helping the parents and their children understand the benefits of after-school programs; once that happens then the plan is for our young participants to be motivated to learn more even after the school bell rings.