The ”Promotions” pillar is probably the most critical pillar in the success of a community centre.

Yet, for most community centres this is an area of low organization.

Promotions include all the activities to promote programs and attract new and existing users.

One way to think about Promotions is to treat each program as though it was a wedding event.

Here are some reasons to consider:

  • Weddings are usually planned months in advance.
  • Various people are hired to prepare different parts of the wedding.
  • Food, decor and program details are planned ahead.
  • A venue is booked and prepared well in advance.
  • Invitations are sent to all users.
  • Followup phone calls are often made to confirm attendance.
  • There is typically a clear intention to celebrate and entertain the guests.
  • Photos and videos are taken during the event.
  • After the event, often Thank You messages are sent.

Now, imagine if a similar structure was applied to each program that a community centre offers?

Would it be worth the effort if you knew that more people will enjoy the experience? And that improved experience will result in higher attendance and higher donations?

There are several ways that a community center can promote programs and attract new members:

  1. Social Media: Utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote upcoming events and programs.
  2. Community Outreach: Reach out to local organizations, schools, and businesses to promote the community center and its programs.
  3. Newsletters: Send out regular newsletters to current members and those on the center’s mailing list to keep them updated on upcoming events and programs.
  4. Volunteer recruitment: Recruit volunteers to help promote the center and its programs in the community.
  5. Collaboration: Partner with other organizations to co-host events and programs, which will help attract new members.
  6. Online Presence: Create a website or a web page that can provide information about the center’s programs, events, volunteer opportunities, and how to become a member.
  7. Referral Program: Create a referral program to encourage current members to bring new members to the center.
  8. Host Free or low-cost events: Host free or low-cost events or classes to attract new members and give them a chance to try out the center’s programs before committing to a membership.
  9. Publicity: Utilize local newspapers, radio and television stations to promote the center’s programs and events.
  10. Networking: Attend community events and networking opportunities to promote the center and its programs.

Keep in mind that expecting great results after one promotion is no realistic.

It takes time to build good attendance.

The best approach is to plan several promotions in advance.

Very often using a 90-day planning cycle works really well.