Much to the delight of parents everywhere, it’s time to send the kids back to school. That’s not to say that you don’t love your children but absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Along with all of those first day of school handouts, there sits a familiar brochure: The fundraiser. Everything has opportunity to the savvy business owner so take a second or third look at it before you buy a candle and send it back with your child. That brochure may give you clues as to an area of the school that you could help.
It’s easy to think of schools as something other than a business. After all, they’re government institutions who receive the bulk of their funding from state and local taxes. They aren’t going to be interested in striking a deal with you, the local small business. Not so fast.
If your school has sports teams, music programs, or any other club that requires funding, there is probably a booster club associated with it. Often they raise money with a patron drive or other vehicle where you pay money in exchange for an advertisement in a program that is sold at football games or other event. If you’re forming an LLC or your business recently opened, sponsor a program ad. Not only does it get the word out but you also make contacts where other opportunities may exist.
If you’re new business is a food service, apparel, or other type of business that appeals to school age kids and parents, offer to set up a booth at school events and donate a large portion of your profits to the school. It’s a tax write off and if you see it more as an outreach activity rather than a way to make money, you can drastically up the amount of business your new business generates.
If your business is more service based business, offer your consulting services. If you’re a financial advisor, spend the day at the school and offer to meet with teachers at lunch or during their planning periods. If you run a computer business, offer to help them put a technology proposal together to present to the board.
Beware though. You should never market directly to children without the school officials giving you permission. Laws differ greatly from state to state but one rule is present in every school: You are not allowed to be on school property without signing in and stating your intentions at the school’s office.
The best way to use a school to advertise your new business is to do it with a heart for charity. Go in to it wanting to be a positive part of your child’s school and your business will naturally benefit. People like to help those with a heart for charity.