Back to School Promotions!

Now that the big summer event is over, it’s time to shift our focus onto back-to-school promotions. A lot of schools start mid-August so we need to have discussions with sales and programming now. Regardless of budget, there needs to be some sort of initiative directed to this milestone. Every format can get behind this, whether it’s a Stuff a Bus campaign, raising money for classrooms, or giving away gift cards for school supplies.

Talk radio and classic rock can rally with the Stuff a Bus campaign. IF you aren’t familiar with this, here’s how it works, or can work. Pick a store (Walmart, Target, Meijer’s, Publix…) Park a school bus in the parking lot. For a few weeks, ask for school supply donations to put into the school bus.  You can do weekly or daily remotes to gather donations. On the final donation weekend, you can do a 24 hour remote. We borrowed someone’s camper and used it to stay in while we were on break for the remote. This is a final attempt to stuff the bus. It was a lot of fun and a ton of people came out.

Sadly, teachers are responsible for a LOT of their own supplies. They get paid little, only to have some of their paycheck go towards their classrooms. This can run a few different ways. You can have people and students write in to tell you why their teacher deserves a complete classroom overhaul. They would win a gift card to the place they get their supplies from and a gift card to Target to decorate. You can also throw in a GC for a massage. Another route, find a few teachers to give GCs to for supplies and spread the budget around to give others opportunities to get help with the cost of being a teacher.

These days, with the cost of EVERYTHING going up, it’s a struggle for some parents to buy school supplies. You can do a Secret Santa type of thing…have promotions teams go out with the “company credit card.” They can hang out at the front of the store by the registers. If they see someone with a cart full of school supplies, have them jump in and pay for the supplies. Tell them it’s from whatever station they’re with. I know it would be great to video, but that looks tacky, kind of like those videos you see of someone putting a camera in the face of a homeless person and telling them they are there to give them money. Instead, get the first name of the person you’re paying for (not the last) and announce their name on air instead. Coming from a family who did not have money, I know how embarrassing it can be when you show emotion after someone has helped you out financially. Word will get around what you did, you don’t need to blast the face of the winner all over the internet.

Finally, and this will go on all year, pay for student’s lunch balances if they are in the negative. Get a list of all the schools in your listening area. I know, that’s a huge task but a promotions team member can do this for you. Each week, pick a school and call them. Ask if they have negative lunch balances, pay it off. It can be a weekly or monthly thing.

These are just a few, easy promotions to help you get started for the new school year! It’s going to be here quicker than you think.

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