With the large number and variety of camp programs available to children in most communities, you’ll need an effective promotion plan for your shelter camp program.
The good news is we’ve collected some great marketing tips from your colleagues that can help; the even better news is you have something your competitors don’t: adorable, enticing animals!
Take advantage of the free marketing that social media can offer:
- Put your camp information front and center on your website
- Frequently post about camp on all your social media channels
- List on free camp websites like www.summer-daycamps.com
Heather Disher, education manager at Helen Woodward Animal Center, developed a clever social media marketing tactic – she reaches out to popular mommy bloggers in her area and asks them to blog about her agency’s camp. Disher says she occasionally offers a free camp session in exchange for an endorsement from trendy bloggers.
Donating a free week of camp can result in dozens of paid campers. Be strategic in selecting events that will prompt other attendees to want to sign up, including the following:
- Your agency’s gala
- School auctions
- Other high profile charity auctions
Also consider having a raffle or contest for a free week of camp – anything to get the buzz going about your program. Ask people to fill out a contact form in order to win. That way, even if they don’t win, you will have their contact information and can provide them camp details.
Ask other nonprofit agencies to promote your camps, including your local animal control or any other organization that you’ve partnered with in the past. If you are holding your camp at a partner agency, ask them to promote your camp to all its clients.
And reach out to local businesses. You never know what type of mutually beneficial arrangement you can dream up. Some shelters collaborate with t-shirt suppliers, restaurants and car dealerships to get the word out about camp programs.
Though summer will likely be your most popular camp, don’t forget about spring break and individual days off from school, like President’s Day. Most of your competitors will not have camps at these times and you can secure the allegiance of the kids and parents.
Make sure all shelter employees are informed about your camp programs so that they can promote them to the public. Keep flyers and brochures at the front desk for easy access and make sure to ask your PR person to include the camps in any press releases or TV/radio spots.
And if you will be allowing campers to interact with your animals, they are your biggest allies of all, so be sure to promote those interactions in all your advertising. The animals are what separate you from most other camps and will fill your roster quicker than anything.
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Humane Society
More in This Section
Return to Shelter Camp Landing Page
Read about Shelter Camp Basics
Find Camp Activities
More Lifesaving Resources
The Association of Professional Humane Educators has an active member listserv where shelter staff from across the country share ideas for creating successful camps.