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9 Ways To Get Fired From Your Job As School Carnival Leader
School carnivals are one of the most popular ways to raise money for schools in the United States. While planning and organizing these types of events can be very expensive, the payoff can be significant. If you find yourself in charge of running your school’s carnival, take a few minutes to read the DON’Ts if you ever want to fill this position again in the future.
Repeat the same games, activities and entertainment year after year
One surefire way to reduce annual school carnival attendance is to find activities that seem to work and then use them year after year. It’s very easy to fall into the mindset that because an activity or event was popular a year or two ago, it always will be. However, this is dangerous. People are bored. It’s also no excuse to stick to the “same-old, same-old” because there are still some props left over from previous carnivals, and it’s cheaper not to have to build a new one.
The only exception to this is what is considered a local tradition. Maybe there’s a long-running talent contest or chili cook-off that’s responsible for really drawing people to the carnival.
However, these types of legacy events make up only a fraction of the carnival program. Most entertainment, activities and events need to be constantly updated to attract large audiences each year.
Bad food choices
Believe it or not, there are groups that place very little importance on the selection and presentation of food at school events. From baked goods to sporting events to school carnivals, food is important! No lazy effort should be made in choosing the products to sell. You can’t wrap rice crispy treats in cheap cellophane and walk away thinking you’re going to make money.
If you are in charge of organizing the school carnival, I suggest you find the most creative person on the team and put them in charge of selling food. This person is responsible for making sure that there are interesting and unique foods for sale and that all products are presented in a highly attractive manner. This will dramatically increase sales and revenue.
Don’t talk to a lot of people when choosing a theme for the year
The school carnival should reflect the tastes and interests of the entire school community. If the event is to be successful, it should appeal to a broad cross-section of parents, students and school staff. For example, I personally can’t stand SpongeBob SquarePants. I forbid my kids to own any SpongeBob merchandise and know to avoid this horrible, horrible cartoon even at friends’ houses.
Anyway, this is just my personal opinion, and if I wanted to organize a carnival, I should be open to incorporating the SpongeBob theme in some way if my community wanted it one year. The bottom line is that you need to seek out a broad cross-section of opinions when determining what theme you choose for your carnival, and don’t rely on your own personal likes and dislikes just because you’re the boss.
There aren’t many places for families to spend money
The school carnival is great because it serves so many purposes. Not only is it an amazing community builder, it’s also a great revenue opportunity for a school. It’s a huge mistake on the part of designers not to create enough places for parents to spend their money. Of course, there are the traditional options like entrance tickets and food. However, think twice and research other ways to make the cash registers ring. For example, I recommend using a space to create a small store and fill it with items from the Oriental Trading catalog. Kids love that kind of stuff.
Also, consider running a competition before the carnival for students to design the official school carnival t-shirt of the year. The winning design would appear on the front of the t-shirt, while sponsor logos could be placed on the back. Then these T-shirts could be sold at the event. I would charge a separate fee for any type of “tour” such as a moonwalk or other jumping type activity.
I also recommend not taking the cash from the carnival and instead doing everything based on tickets or tokens. This will save you and your family a lot of headaches at the event.
You don’t research school carnival information online beforehand
There are so many online resources these days to research anything before you take the plunge. Not only are there traditional sites that sell carnival-related products and services, but there are also blogs like this one that offer general advice. Also, there are many places like Yahoo Answers where you can ask questions and get answers from people about a particular question.
The bottom line is that there is no longer any excuse for not finding the best way to run a school carnival. The internet has given all of us a free and easy way to gain knowledge on many subjects. Use this amazing tool to help you in your planning process.
It does not sell booth space to local non-profits or other family-oriented organizations
This might be part of the topic of raising as much money as possible at your carnival, but I thought it was important enough to deserve its own title. Since you will attract many desirable demographics (families with young children), other groups will be eager to participate in this promotion.
I think you should set aside some of your carnival space for non-profit groups or other family-oriented organizations to hand out information about their own services. They should not sell anything or ask for donations from those in attendance, but they can provide information about themselves that could lead to future support. In addition, each group should be required to provide some sort of kid-friendly activity at their booth – even if it’s something as simple as fishing for prizes or a coloring contest.
Finally, I would charge these groups for booth space. Every non-profit I’ve ever worked with has a budget for advertising/marketing and attending school carnivals, you could easily fall into this budget category. Of course, make it affordable for them, but even at $100 per group, you can net a small amount for something that adds to the atmosphere of your event.
We don’t embarrass the school principal to raise money
As a former school principal I cringe at what I’m about to write, but it’s true – you should try to embarrass the head of the school in any way you can for cash. In a related article, I wrote that you should shave, drink, follow or go to jail to collect as much money as possible. Causing (imagined) pain to the school principal is something that appeals to the child in everyone, including parents and school staff.
Try selling tickets to a dunk machine or set a $1,000 bar to donate to the PTO and have the principal shave his head, there at the carnival, you could get a huge hit on your hands.
Does not provide special activities and supervision for younger siblings
If you don’t consider that many families have younger siblings (or even elderly grandparents) who can also enjoy the carnival, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. In all promotional information, you should emphasize that you provide supervised play areas and special activities and events for younger siblings that will be separate and protected from older children. It should also be mentioned that there will be plenty of seating for grandmas and grandpas to come and enjoy the fun.
By inviting the whole family, it eliminates the need (or barriers) for families to hire babysitters and increases gate receipts. It’s very easy for some families to decide that if they can’t bring their young children, they won’t bother at all, and then they lose.
Spend a lot of money promoting the event
Advertising can be very expensive and can drastically eat into any profit you hope to make from the carnival. There is no reason for your school to waste a lot of money trying to get the word out about your event. You can do a fantastic promotional job and only have to spend a modest amount of money to make copies of the flyer.
First of all, it is worth sending information about the carnival months home in advance, and looking for volunteers for all the necessary tasks. Keep the event regularly in the minds of parents until the day before. Posters and flyers can also be hung around the school.
Many businesses in the community post flyers for free. Likewise, churches often collaborate and write a small summary in their weekly bulletins. I would even write a short public service announcement and send it to local TV and radio stations. You should assume your ad budget is close to zero and work there.
Although managing a school carnival can be daunting, there are many resources available to help you succeed. Putting in some effort early in the process will greatly increase the likelihood of having the best carnival your school has ever seen!
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