Soon is the time of year when, “No more teachers, no more books!” is sung in halls and neighborhoods around the country. For many communities, the school year is winding down and the home-school communication folder is doing its last few weeks of work. The homework folders are looking worn and ready for a replacement. And don’t forget the special folders that are used in the front office for admin work, guest-teacher information, and staff meetings. Yes, the school year, and the fiscal year for many districts, is winding down. What does this mean for printers?
Time to Talk School Folders!
Many school districts run on a July 1- July 1 fiscal year. This means two things for those reaching out to sell print. 1) The budgets that aren’t fully spent, although rare, need to spend – and spend now! One of the perks of print is that, in many cases, there’s no expiration date, particularly for the folders and other printed products for the office. The school secretary and principal know they need these items year after year, and can spend down that budget on the items that won’t “go bad.” 2) Now’s the time to get in the bids for next year’s budget, especially when it comes to schools and folders.
Where should you begin?
Start close to home. Parent organizations often hope to support local businesses. Schools and school districts may have local, or at least Made in USA, incentives in the bidding. Plus, never underestimate the personal connections you already have with people involved with the schools in your community. Whether the private school associated with your church, the school your kids/grandkids go to, or your alma mater! People like to deal with people who have a connection, and you’re likely less than 2 connections away from at least 5 schools in your community.
A report by the ASI markets study, shared in Advantages Magazine in December of 2016, indicated that 76% of advertising specialty and print distributors surveyed have between 1 and 10 schools as clients. (53% having 1 to 5, 23% 6-10.) 24% of the distributors surveyed have over 10 schools as customers. Where the ASI study focused primarily on apparel and promotional products, and your shop can certainly help schools in these areas as well, there is strong demand for print in the school market, and that’s where you come in.
Create print solutions and make it easy. Anything that is less work for the teachers and admins will be welcomed. Both private and public schools in your area probably already use folders of some kind for more than one usage and purpose. In many cases, don’t be surprised if you immediately have ideas for better products that are still within budget. These folks have enough on their plate, if you can introduce any improvement in the ordering and delivery process, you’re the winner.
Most Common School Pocket Folders
Many schools provide a communication folder on the first day of school. TipsForTeachers.com calls this the Friday Folder.
Other schools and districts have a “Take Home Tuesday” folder.
There is actually a pinterest board called: “1000+ ideas for take home folders” (I’m not making this up!) and the RED folders, for Read Every Day, including goals and sign off information.
The Parent/Student communication folder is a solution based product that teachers clamor for. The concept is generally the same, one pocket is to “take home”, one pocket is to “bring back” and the parents can expect this communication weekly from the school. We suggest a pocket folder with reinforced edges and produced on a durable stock (14 or 16 pt. C1S). Sometimes schools prefer a gloss laminate to add to the durability, but other times no coating is the way to go because there may be a sign off sheet printed on the back of the folder.
Other pocket folders often used by schools include homework folders, special folders for the staff and guest teachers, and drug-free or bully-awareness information folders.
In fact, sometimes bully awareness and anti-drug programs are funded by grants that require take home information; a folder is an ideal way to fill this grant requirement while also serving the needs of both teachers and students by providing a homework folder to use school-year-round.
Also, don’t forget to talk to the Parent group (PTA/PTO). Often the parent group utilizes their funds to either pay entirely or supplement the communication folders. There may be special groups, events, or projects that require information distributed to the families in…you guessed it…a pocket folder!
Whether the Fighting Artichokes of Scottsdale (true mascot), or the Mustangs of a school near you (there’s at least one), now’s the time to start talking pocket folder solutions to the schools in your town.
*(c) Mardra Sikora, 2017, first published in NPOA News and Updates, June 2017