Using volunteerism and community service to grow martial arts schools

Your goal as a martial arts school owner shouldn't necessarily be to get people enrolled in classes, but to keep them coming back and see their training through until the end.

This largely depends on the relationship and comfort level that students have with instructors. So how can a martial arts school set itself apart and gain the trust and confidence of those considering taking self-defense classes? It must view relationship-building with the utmost importance.

Participating in community service or volunteer events is a great way for a school to generate more awareness and attract potential students. However, many owners may not have an idea of the best way to go about this or even understand what kinds of service or volunteer options that they can participate in.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Wissahickon School District in Pennsylvania offered a number of ideas and events that martial arts school owners can participate in or launch themselves:

  • Hold or participate in a charity auction: These events can be a great time for both participants and attendees. Owners can auction off free classes or even 1-on-1 instruction as a way to garner more interest and raise awareness about their schools.
  • Volunteer in a violence prevention program: In every city, there are always a number of organizations that fight against violence. A martial arts school can participate by letting people know that learning taekwondo and karate won't just help them to win fights, but also teach them how to avoid violent conflicts, which is the most important lesson of all.
  • Organize a food donation event: With the holidays around the corner, food drives are common. Martial arts school owners can give back to the community by encouraging students to donate non-perishable food items and help distribute them to those in need. 

Why volunteerism and community service works in attracting martial arts students
Generally speaking, given the popularity of martial arts and the fact that there are always people interested in learning how to master taekwondo and karate, school owners may take the importance of marketing for granted. There are many people who feel that by simply opening a training facility, people will automatically flood through the doors and sign up for classes. That couldn't be further from the truth.

There is usually a high level of competition between martial arts school owners in any given area. If a student decides to drop out of one school for whatever reason, he or she will have no problem finding another where they can once again pick up their training. Taking these things into consideration, it's important for martial arts school owners to do all that they can to set themselves apart from the other businesses.

Unfortunately, many owners are likely well-versed in teaching self-defense but have no idea how to market themselves or their schools. The good thing is that achieving these goals is possible at a relatively low cost. In fact, simply donating time can go a long way toward distinguishing your martial arts school. Using non-traditional advertising and marketing methods is a great way for a martial arts school to increase its enrollment numbers and set itself apart from other competing facilities in the area.

However, because these methods are so unorthodox and unconventional, it's certainly understandable that participating in volunteer and community service activities can be uncomfortable. However, the real benefits will be seen in a school that is always experiencing an influx of new students signing up for classes. This is the goal for any martial arts school and being seen as an asset to the community is one way to get there.