Create a Written Plan

A written plan will help you and your team focused, especially if you keep it short. It should consist of:

Target audiences
What you need to achieve
Tactics and timeframes
How you will measure progress

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Target audiences: Identifying exactly who you need to reach

Broad descriptions of who you're trying to reach (e.g. "children who will benefit from a summer learning program") can make it difficult to focus your efforts and communicate with key stakeholders, such as principals. Be specific. Here are three examples:

Children at risk of retention
Children at the lowest level of reading proficiency
Children who have IEPs
Goals: Make sure you can measure

In your written plan, goals should be numeric so you can measure your progress. Here are some examples:

500 students register for summer learning program
    • 100 students from each grade, 1st through 5th
    • 90 percent of registered students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch
80 percent of registered students attend on day one of the program

Your own goals will be determined by a number factors, your budget chief among them.

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What you need to achieve

To reach your goals, what do you need to get done? Writing these steps down will help you determine the tactics to use.

Here are some examples:

Promote awareness among parents of the benefits of signing up their children for our program.
Create excitement about the program among children in our target groups.
Educate principals about the program's benefits and eligibility criteria.

Note that each of these statements starts with an action verb.

Develop a schedule and measure progress

Every successful recruitment effort has two common elements:

A timetable laying out specific activities and when they will take place; and
Metrics for determining success and identifying any potential problems along the way.

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A timeline or calendar is the only way to keep track of when activities like holding an open house or sending out registration flyers need to take place.

Measurement is the key to identifying problems and safeguarding precious resources. It can also serve as motivation: More than one district sent weekly emails on to principals and their supervisors listing the number of eligible children at each school and the percentage who had already registered.

Registration isn't the only important thing to measure. If your plan calls for meeting with individual principals to brief them about your program, track the number of meetings that take place. If it calls for direct engagement with students, consider tracking those contacts.