If April showers bring May flowers, what does March planning bring? April fun that engages your students for Financial Literacy Month. Start planning now, and you can have a positive impact on your students' ability to understand finances and make smart financial decisions to succeed on campus and in life.
To host a successful event in April, your planning should already be underway. If not, here are important things to consider as you get moving on it now.
- Choose your target audience. Identify student groups on campus who are most in need of financial literacy education. Is it incoming students, exiting graduates, students in at–risk groups, or others?
- Set goals. For any metrics you used to select your target audience, set new goals you hope to attain, post–event. Identify ways to measure the success of your event so you can find ways to improve it next time, or boost institutional support of similar events in the future.
- Find partners and additional funding. Based on the audience you target, you should be able to get support and cooperation from other stakeholders on campus. For example, if you're targeting exiting seniors, partner with alumni groups for extra help and funding.
- Event creation. If you know the types of events that succeed on campus with your target audience, build on previous success. If you're not sure what will draw them, think about key motivation and pain points for the group, and get creative with your ideas. Contact colleagues at other campuses to see what they've done.
- Select material. Do you have a financial wellness program, website, or curriculum in place? For additional ideas, attend a free SmartSessions™ webinar on April 3, Teaching the Teacher: What Students Need to Know about Their Finances. Other resources include existing programs such as GradReady® or financial wellness games such as Visa's Financial Football or Financial Soccer. You could research numerous apps and books that may work for your audience—or consider partnering with a local financial institution for help with educational material.
- Select an event date and site. Avoid choosing a day and time when students may be drawn to another big campus event instead of yours—or if there's some other event you can piggyback onto, take advantage of the extra promotion and traffic. If you're holding a physical event, choose a site that's easy for students to reach, and one where they'll be able to both learn and enjoy their experience.
- Event promotion. If you don't know the best way to reach your target audience, poll a few of them to see which promotional sources are most likely to work to get audience attention and drive traffic. Social media channels should be an important part of your promotion!
- Preparation Create a comprehensive plan for what you need to buy, provide, and do in order for your event to succeed—and identify ways you'll be able to measure success. Enlist help from support groups, and don't hesitate to get some key members of your target audience involved to help use their influence among peers.
- Event. Be positive and enthusiastic at your event, and make it fun for participants. Financial wellness knowledge and skills will pay off over a lifetime, but make sure students who participate realize this. It's to their benefit if they leave with a positive feeling and a desire to continue taking control of their finances going forward.
- Follow–up education. Review metrics you put in place to measure success. If you can, use follow–up methods (emails, etc.) to reach more of the audience by sharing what you know others enjoyed and benefited from. If your activity missed the mark in some way, identify possible reasons why and brainstorm ways to improve on your success next time.