Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies support families in finding quality early care and education programs that meet their individual needs, such as location, schedule and transportation. It’s important that you keep your program information, including your open slots, up to date by filling out your annual Business Information Form and contacting your local CCR&R when your enrollment changes. This way when families are searching for care, they are able to find programs with vacancies and when you have vacancies, they are finding you! Find your local CCR&R now.
Have Strong Policies
- Family Child Care Center Policy
Use the sample licensed family child care center policy handbook to ensure that your policies meet Wisconsin licensing requirements and to guide policy planning and implementation for your program.
- Family Child Care Center Policy En Español
Purchase SFTA’s Spanish family child care center policy template. Call 1 (888) 713.KIDS.
- Group Child Care Center Policy Template
Purchase SFTA’s group child care center policy template. Call 1 (888) 713.KIDS.
Build Effective Budgets
Building a budget plan for your business is essential to ensuring you know everything about your money coming in, what you need to spend, and that your projected income outweighs your expenses. For ideas:
Access Training & Consultation
Visit SFTA’s Sharpen Your Skills page to learn more about the trainings/trainers we offer to support you as you build your business.
Promoting your Program
Having some sort of an online presence in today’s marketing world is an essential step towards promoting your business on a wider scale. Keep in mind that child care is a specific type of business and the marketing strategies you choose should reflect that. For ideas on how to focus use of the marketing tools and strategies listed below, visit the Child Care Aware Marketing page.
The following are a few online tools you can use to help raise public awareness about your business, and resources to help you build and use these tools most effectively. Pick and choose what will work best for what you are trying to achieve, and look at what other people and businesses are doing for ideas.
- Business Website
Having a website that showcases your business and what it has to offer is one of the most useful marketing strategies out there. It allows potential participants to know what your policies, qualifications, philosophies, and background is like without a lot of effort on their part. It is also a great chance to feature photos of the program and environment you are providing, as well as offer testimonials from people who are familiar with your program. Have someone build your site for you, or visit these online resources to start building your business website for free: Top Ten Best Website Builders of 2013 and How to Make Your Own Website for Free.
Set up a business e-mail account to provide updates to parents of children in your care, send mass e-mails to potential clients about your program, or to alert the community about up-coming events or fundraisers. Don’t have an e-mail account yet? You can set up a free account today. Out there. Remember to choose an email address that reflects your program’s philosophy and professionalism. Here are a few email hosts to choose from:
Use Facebook to connect and interact online with other programs, providers, and potential customers. Read Tom Copeland’s blog to learn how to use Facebook to promote your child care program. Visit the Facebook Marketing Tips page for advice directly from Facebook administrators, on how to use the tools available through your Facebook page to advance your business.
This can be a great visual medium to connect to parents of current children in your program, network with other educators, and to build new clientele. Read about Pinterest business best practices. Visit the Pinterest Business Page to create and build your own account.
Blogs are a way for you to post happenings at your program, such as stories, events, or even a daily activity journal parents can read to know what their children are up to during the day. You can also post media such as photos, video, and audio. There are many places out there to start a blog. Two of the most popular free platforms are:Wordpress lets you build a personalized blog for free. Learn more about features, and sign up on their website.Blogger is operated through Google and can be connected to any other Google accounts you have. Visit the Blogger site to get started.
These options are not often free, so they should be used only when you know it will be the most effective method of getting a message across. Mailings can include anything from donations asks and program brochures, to program updates. Advertisements can be placed in local newspapers and magazines, online venues, or even television.For some ideas about how to design and manage your own ads and marketing materials do the research. Look online and in print media for effective examples. To get started, visit: Design and Create Essential Print Materials for Your Business and 13 Free Design Tools for Visual Marketers on a Budget. Sometimes local printers and media are willing to donate the cost of some of these items to a good cause. Get to know the vendors in your area and see if any would be willing to make a product donation to cover marketing costs.
This is a great place to build your professional profile, connect with others in your field, and promote your program. Join now.
- Build Word of Mouth
Look to local professional organizations, events, and opportunities to promote your business in person and make connections to others in your field. Join committees, clubs, or take part in events that are relevant to your field. Get yourself out there! Do the research to find some of the best resources in your area.
- Professional Connections
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families offers an extensive list of statewide organizations and resources to help you start your search.
- Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association (WCCAA)
The mission of the WCCAA is to support each other as Child Care Administrators in providing quality programming for Wisconsin families. WCCAA offers an annual conference, regional support group meetings/trainings, and represents Child Care Administrators on a number of Boards and committees.
- Wisconsin Family Child Care Association (WFCCA)
WFCCA is a statewide organization of Family Child Care providers and their supporters, formed to provide support, involvement, and communication with others in the profession. WFCCA offers an annual conference that focuses on the unique aspects of operating a family child care program.
- Wisconsin Afterschool Network (WAN)
WAN is part of a national network of statewide afterschool networks that brings together established statewide afterschool networks in their collective mission to build partnerships and policies that are committed to the development and sustainability of quality afterschool programs. Currently 40 statewide afterschool networks are funded to coordinate and influence the systems that support the success of children and young people. The mission of WAN is to support schools and community partners in delivering high quality school-age afterschool programs to diverse children and youth that increase academic achievement, enhance youth development and encourage family involvement.