Web Exclusive - January 2020
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Winter Fun: 10 Events and Activities For Cold Weather

By Joseph Oriente

If you're a part of the recreation department for your community, you likely plan events and activities constantly. However, as the months get cold, it can be tough to brainstorm and plan engaging events for the community. People tend to want to stay indoors and remain warm.

Though the cold weather can cause fewer individuals and families to attend outdoor events, there are ways to make use of your various recreation facilities and get creative with your programming.

It's a good idea to look at the trends from previous winter months in order to gauge what might be the best event or activity to plan. Even if you've had some success in the past, it's also a good idea to see what internal management processes can improve so your team doesn't feel as scrambled and rushed as the holidays approach.

As you streamline your operations, you can prep your team to start planning events for the winter. Engage your community members with smart programming ideas and make sure you keep these best practices in mind.

Best Practices for Event & Activity Planning

If you've been planning community events for a while, you likely already use software to help manage your different activities and store community member information. As your staff is gearing up for your winter programming, it's a good idea to review your software solution and see what can improve.

Even better, if your staff has been handling processes manually, now is a great time to look into tools that will make your lives, as well as your community members' lives much easier. If you're on the hunt, be sure to look for a solution that offers quick and easy online registration, facility management and communication tools.

Quick & Easy Online Registration

There are going to be times when community members want to attend an event or sign up for a program, but don't have the time to wait on line at the registration office. Providing online registration could very well change the game for your recreation organization.

Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Searchable program catalog. This gives individuals the power to scroll through the different events and activities that you offer. Find recreation management software that lets users search and filter for events and programs in multiple ways, and displays all the pertinent details.
  • Customizable online forms. No matter how many events you plan for this winter, you can customize each of your registration forms to the specific program or activity. Additionally, since all of your forms are hosted online, you don't have to worry about manually organizing paper or keeping track of loose pages!
  • Registrant profiles. Some recreation management software will save the information of each user and create an account profile. This way, personal information is saved for those who register for many programs and events, and they don't have to input the same information over and over again.

Let people register and pay for your activities online when it's most convenient for them—whether it's at 2 in the morning or on their mobile phones.

Facility Management System

If you help plan events and activities for your community, you likely also oversee the recreation facilities. When your community has rec centers, parks, fields, etc., how can your team juggle it all? With the right recreation management software, all your facilities and their availability is accessible through one centralized system. This means you can:

  • Filter through and approve online public requests for rentals of buildings, rooms, fields and more.
  • Access a master calendar to quickly and easily determine which facilities are available.
  • Schedule and adjust reservations as you see fit.
  • Create recurring time blocks for weekly practices or meetups.
  • Market your facilities with attractive and informative web pages.

Don't risk double-booking your facilities and ensure a smooth process with one centralized system.

Communication Tools

Being in charge of multiple activities and events for your community requires effective communication tools. In addition to marketing upcoming programs, your staff needs an effective way to alert the public about closures, cancellations, weather and other time-sensitive updates.

Your software solution should have text and email capabilities that enable you to effortlessly send out messages when they are needed to the right audience. With the management software, you should be able to:

  • Send targeted emails and texts to specific groups to keep your communications personalized and relevant. For example, say you want to send a wrap-up email to those who came to your last event. Specify the audience to be the recent attendees and don't bother those who weren't there.
  • Send alerts quickly and efficiently. This can come in handy when your team has to react to changing situations such as an emergency closing of a facility.
  • Schedule emails and texts so that you can plan your communications for a certain time and day. That way, you can pick the best time to be in people's inboxes.

Communication is key. Make sure nothing slips through the cracks and everyone is on the same page with your recreation management software tool.