Today's post is aimed more at parents of martial arts kids versus adults, but these tips will work for everyone.
Do you love your martial arts school? Do you think your teacher is the best? Want to help them be more successful and grow classes? Here's some ideas!
1) Leave Positive Referrals and Reviews Online
If you like your school, why not let people know it? Give them positive reviews on places like Yelp, Google Local, and Facebook. Offer to be a reference to potential students if needed, and offer to write a testimonial for the school's web site.
In today's world, online reputation can make or break a martial arts school - help keep yours positive to potential students checking them out online.
Don't underestimate how much impact taking a few moments to leave a positive review for your martial arts school can have.
2) Source your stuff (if possible) through your school
This is the one area where looking for the lowest price possible is not actually the better deal, necessarily. Many schools help keep the school running through merchandise sales - training equipment, weapons, uniforms, etc.
Sometimes this can make the difference between a school being profitable or not.
If you're going to buy martial arts stuff, why not have some of the profit go to supporting the school you love? Chances are, you can get it as inexpensively as you can online through your school anyway.
If you have a good idea for merchandise - like a parent's t-shirt, for instance - suggest it to the school owner; maybe she can get it made!
3) Provide free advertising
You can provide free advertising for your favorite martial arts school! Some methods include:
✔ Like, share, follow, etc. your school's content on social media channels.
✔ Post happy pictures of you and your family at the school and tag the school in the posts you make.
✔ Buy and wear school t-shirts out and about (even better, keep a few of your school's business cards on hand in case someone asks you about it)
✔ If they have them, some schools have yard signs you can put in your yard to advertise the school and that you or your child studies there (much like some communities do this with high school sports or extracurricular activities)
✔ If your school offers them, do take and display window clings and/or bumper stickers.
The more you can do to help spread the word about your favorite martial arts school, the less the owner has to spend time and money on paid advertising to keep the doors open.
4) Volunteer at extra curricular events
Your school might attend tournaments and seminars, or they might perform demonstrations, or they might hold school-specific events like promotion ceremonies and parties. Whatever the event, step forward to volunteer to help with these events. As they say, "Many hands makes light work", and your help can make events much more successful!
This could be volunteering to be a driver in a carpool to a tournament, helping out at a community fair booth for the school, helping out with admin stuff during a seminar your school is hosting (like registration), or organizing/helping out at a school event like a holiday party or a belt testing.
Like other activities, martial arts schools are very dependent upon the parents and family of students to help out at things like this. Plus, there's a benefit for you, too, as it builds community around the school. You might make new friends out of it!
5) Volunteer with school cleaning and maintenance
If your school is in a stand-alone facility (versus a rec center program), odds are, the owner is cleaning the school after class and on the weekends, plus, performing any maintenance (painting, repairs) themselves.
Cleaning and other maintenance - repairs, installation of new equipment, painting, and so forth - is a big job for your martial arts instructor to attempt alone. By pitching in, you help keep the school a comfortable and nice place to train, and you avoid the owner having to pay folks to do the work.
So there's five ways you can help your martial arts school, most of which are low to no extra cost on your part. Did I miss anything important? What other ideas do you have to help out your favorite martial arts school? I'd love to know!
PANDEMIC/ECONOMIC DISRUPTION EXTRAS:
Since many, if not all, martial arts schools were shut down during the COVID-19 outbreak, here's a few pandemic-specific things you can do to help your school keep going. These also apply to big-time economic disruptions, like major recessions.
Be Flexible and Forgiving
Online training isn't as easy to deliver as you might think. Most of us aren't trained in this specific medium, so we're having to do things on the fly the best we can.
Sometimes no matter what, the school can't survive in its current form/location and has to move, sometimes into a garage or in a park. Follow your school there, and keep with them until they can get back into a space they can afford.
If you want your martial arts school to be there when you can train again, you can't quit in the pandemic. This will pass, like all things, and the trick is to keep going during a period where training is extremely limited or impossible, but the rent, utilities, and insurance is still due in the dojo.
Keep paying your membership fees if you can possibly swing it. Buy merch through your school. Attend virtual and outdoor classes.
I know of one school that is doing fundraisers online and in person (where they can) to help pay the bills. Literally, they're doing things like bake sales! Participate if your school is doing this (or suggest it to them, or ORGANIZE IT yourself, including setting up a GoFundMe or similar campaign).