Participant Communication Schedule
Communicating with your participants is a huge part of a successful clinic. Clinics are normally scheduled several months in advance giving participants plenty of time to get it on their calendar. There's an excitement that people get when registering for a clinic. As a host, it is important to not only recognize this excitement but also to build on it. This can be done by simply communicating with each participant, letting them know you are excited to have them as a part of your clinic and keeping them informed with details. You don't need to swamp them with emails every week, but I would suggest following the schedule below for clinic communications.
When a registration is received, email the participant ASAP to confirm.
There is nothing worse than registering online for something and not knowing whether or not your information has been received on the other end. As you receive registrations, I strongly recommend sending a confirmation email ASAP. Click to read more about this is another article.
2 Months Before Clinic
Two months before a clinic, I email my participants to let them know how excited I am about the upcoming clinic and if they haven't already, to be sure to get their $50 deposits in to secure their spot. I also remind them of the cancellation policy:
Clinic Cancellation Policy:
If participant cancels prior to 30 days before the clinic, there is no penalty. If participant cancels after that time, no money is refunded. In either case, the participant has the option of finding a replacement. If a replacement is found, the participant must inform us of the name of their replacement and we will apply the initial payment to the replacement. Participant should receive reimbursement for monies paid directly from their replacement.
At the 2-week mark before a due date, I will start sending weekly email reminders to all participants who have not yet gotten their fees in.
As deposits are received
When you receive a participants deposit, it is a good idea to let them know that their check has been received and that their spot is secured. You should write a subtle reminder about when the final balance is due by. Another thing to solidify at this time is any additional charges that the participant may incur at your farm, such as stall or paddock fees for their horses. You can have the participants include this fee in with their final balance or you can receive it upon their arrival for the clinic.
1 Month Before Clinic
Thirty days before a clinic, ALL participants should have their deposits in. I always thank them for getting their deposits in on time and then remind them of when the final balance is due by, which is 2 weeks before clinic weekend.
As Final Balances are Received
As you receive each participant's final balances, send them a quick email letting them know that you've received their check and that they are all set. Again, participants like to know that their money has been received and not lost in the mail somewhere.
1 WEEK BEFORE CLINIC
The week before a clinic, I send out an email with ALL clinic details that they may need. Below is a sample of my "Week Before Email":
Email Subject: Robbie Potter Horsemanship Clinic - *ATTN. PARTICIPANTS*
Dear Clinic Participants,
It's finally almost time for our clinic that we've been waiting on! I've attached all of the information you will need for next weekends event to this email. If I've missed something and you have a question, please just let me know and I'll be glad to help you.
The first attachment is the clinic packet. In this document you will find directions, parking info, weekend schedule, and meal details. Please make sure to let me know how many of you would like to be included in the meals so I can get a head count. I need to know this by Tuesday, April 14.
The second and third attachments are liability forms for us and for Robbie. Please be sure to print, sign, and bring these along with you next weekend. I'll need to collect these before we get started.
The last attachment is a little map I made for our parking. If you've been to our farm before, you know that getting in the front pasture can be a little tricky pulling a trailer. If you haven't been here, don't be intimidated because it's really not that bad. :)
Let me know if you have questions! See you all next weekend!
Of course, this email will vary as each host has different directions, parking info, weekend schedule, and meal details. Also, be sure to attach your liability release forms and Robbie's liability release forms to this email for participants to sign and bring with them. You should also have printed copies of both liability forms on hand and easily accessible on the day of the clinic in case a participant forgot theirs.
Also, be sure to include multiple forms of contact (email, cell phone, barn phone) so that your participants can get a hold of you if they have questions.