Setting out your school events for the entire year can be a huge task, but it also acts as an opportunity to choose a range of events that will nurture all of the individuals that interact with your school. School events are one of the most effective ways to build relationships with prospective families and create a unique experience for your existing community.

An all-rounded events calendar should include a balanced mix of events for current students, prospective families, staff, teachers, and alumni. In this post, we’ll show you how to build an event calendar for your school year that will help boost enrollments, leverage your school’s unique selling points, and strengthen your school community. 

Working within your events budget

Before you start brainstorming and setting dates in your calendar, it’s important to gauge what your annual event budget will be. This will provide an indication of how many new events you can introduce, and approximately how much money you can invest in each event.  If your events budget isn’t part of your overall marketing budget, set your own limits and research to see how much money you’ve spent on events in previous years and add 5-10% to this amount to cater for new events.

Scheduling in your annual events

Once your budget is locked in, set out all of your annual ongoing events. These events might include open days, year level camps, inaugural masses, and swimming carnivals that take place every year at a similar time. After you have identified all of your annual events, start scheduling them into an online calendar. We recommend using Google Calendar or CoSchedule to create a shared space where your whole team can view, comment on, and schedule events. 

When scheduling these consistent events you will need to factor in the best day and time to host the event, the season, the date it occurred in the previous year, and any public holidays or conflicting dates. If the date and timing of the event were successful in previous years rebook the event for a similar time. After you have scheduled all of your essential yearly events, you will have a better understanding of how much time is left to dedicated to new events.

Generating new event ideas

Next, it’s time to think of new events that might benefit your school in the new year. Sit down with your team and brainstorm some ideas. Remember, you should create events that will cater to all of your school persona groups. It’s easy to create an abundance of events for current and future students, but don’t forget about your staff and alumni.  

Here are a couple of tips to guide your event brainstorming session:

  • Go through feedback from previous event surveys
  • Look through emails or website form submissions for frequently asked questions from prospective or current families
  • Research awareness days that will be occurring over the next year

Referring to feedback from families is a great way to find gaps in your past event calendars. There may be gaps of information that parents are seeking that aren’t covered in any of your current recurring events, so take this feedback and create an event that will close these gaps.

An awareness campaign is also the perfect opportunity to get your school involved in a new event that celebrates or brings awareness to a great cause. To find awareness days that are relevant to your school, perform a quick Google search for ‘awareness days 2021.’  A few examples that we’ve seen our schools celebrate include International Women’s Day, Jeans for Genes Day, International Day of Peace, and White Ribbon Day. The below example from All Hallows’ School, shows their participation in a sandwich-making event to raise awareness for the organisation, EatUp.

Choose a few of the stand out event options from your brainstorming session and schedule them into your events calendar. Be sure to keep a list of the event ideas that you don’t initially choose so that you have them on hand for future use. Don’t be afraid to also schedule additional events throughout the year as you go — COVID-19 forced schools to schedule a variety of unexpected events such as virtual open mornings, quarantine choirs, webinars with tips for remote learning, and even online workout events

Promoting your events calendar

Now that you have created a foundation for your events schedule, it’s time to get the word out. We recommend hosting your event calendar on your school website and Digistorm App, to maximize attendance rates. To make things simple, your existing calendar can be fed through directly to your Digistorm App, saving time, and keeping the information in one centralized place. 

Published January 19 2021