The Latest from CourseStorm

  1. 10 Ways for Busy People to Get the Word Out

    When your program has an important announcement to make, it’s helpful to have an advance plan for getting the word out. (For example, the launch of a new, easy-to-use class registration process!) 

    Because we all love saving time, this list uses the same basic information in many different ways. This efficient plan uses elements of your core content to suit each use, letting you get the word out in lots of different ways — and without lots of extra work.

    You’ll start by writing down the basics including what you want people to know (your key message) and any details that will help your audiences. Explain why it’s important, who is affected, and how someone can learn more. You can add details like quotes, benefits, and descriptions for different versions.

    Once you have that, here are 10 ways you can get that news out to the public! 

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  2. Shuttered Venue Operator Grants 

    Update: SVOG applications open April 8, 2021. The SBA has provided a sign up form for access to the electronic application. 

    The SBA is hosting a webinar 2:30 to 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 to review the application process. To participate, register here by March 24th.


    If your organization is a live venue, performing arts organization, cultural institution, theatre, or make your living as a live venue promoter or talent representative, you may be eligible for an upcoming federal Shuttered Venue Operator Grant. The SBA has provided a preliminary application checklist.

    The Small Business Administration will allocate and distribute $15 billion through the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) program to eligible persons and entities who experienced at least a 25% drop in revenue. Up to $10 million may be granted to an entity. You do not need to repay these federal grants. Interested parties may also wish to consult the SBA SVOG FAQ.

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  3. New Financial Support from the Federal Government

    UPDATE: SBA is currently offering PPP loans until May 31, 2021.

    The SBA also has announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.


    Most organizations offering in-person educational classes and workshops have been affected by the pandemic. While many organizations have increased their online opportunities and have worked hard to provide in-person experiences as local rules allow, it’s still been a hard year.

    Fortunately, some organizations may find financial relief available as part of recent COVID relief legislation.

    Many educational providers are considered small businesses, and we encourage such organizations to look into these programs. Additionally, eligibility for the PPP has been expanded to include 501(c)(6) organizations, so you may be eligible now even if you were not during the first round. At least $25 billion is being set aside for Second Draw PPP Loans to eligible borrowers with a maximum of 10 employees or for loans of $250,000 or less to eligible borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.

    While funds are not as scarce as in early rollouts of these programs, if you are eligible it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible. 

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  4. Software Integration Basics

    Ever notice how software sometimes seems to make everything move just a little faster? 

    You check your calendar and invite someone to a meeting via email with the click of a button. You visit a website and pay for something online with no waiting. You check your fitness tracker results in an easy-to-read chart in an app. You log into your credit card website to pay a bill and see your credit rating. You support a cause and seconds later invite your social media followers to do the same —without even leaving the thank you screen. 

    If you’ve ever observed perceived how smoothly these applications work together, you can probably thank an integration. If you’re noticing it more often, it’s likely because we’re surrounded by software applications which we use for everything from online meetings to records management to getting takeout delivered. And if you’ve never really thought about it, well, that, for an integration, is a job well done.  

    In fact, while on your way to this article you probably used several software integrations, some without even knowing!

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  5. CourseStorm Welcomes New Board Members

    Michelle Paul and Debbie Hodin Join the CourseStorm Board of Directors in Q4 2020

    CourseStorm, a Maine-based class registration software company, is pleased to announce that Michelle Paul and Debbie Hodin have joined its Board of Directors. They, along with Jerry Weissberg (Senior Program Officer, VentureWell), Brian Rahill, CEO and Matt James COO of CourseStorm and observers from Maine Venture Fund, the Maine Technology Institute, and Coastal Ventures provide experience, wisdom, and accountability to the CourseStorm management team.

    “We are excited to add two incredibly driven and engaging leaders to our Board during this time of challenge and opportunity at CourseStorm. The addition of their expertise in growing and scaling SaaS companies and deep experience with CourseStorm’s market will increase our ability to serve educational organizations across the spectrum of lifelong learning,” said CEO Brian Rahill.

    Michelle Paul is a smart, motivated leader with 16 years of experience as an early employee and eventual Managing Director of PatronManager —a ticketing and donor CRM platform for arts organizations. During her tenure, Michelle guided PatronManager to impressive profitability while becoming the leading non-profit fundraising and ticketing platform for the arts. (Michelle is also a two-time Jeopardy! Champion and co-author of Breaking the Fifth Wall: Rethinking Arts Marketing for the 21st Century.) Michelle’s background in scaling technology products will help inform CourseStorm’s growth plans.

    Debbie Hodin is an expert in marketing across the spectrum of EdTech organizations, from large international organizations to early-stage startups. Debbie is a founding member of the EdTech Advisory Group, a team of experienced and results-driven leaders who drive educational technology companies’ success. Her skills in strategic planning, branding, positioning, database analytics, and campaign effectiveness will help CourseStorm better communicate with existing markets and approach new ones while honing the messaging of the unique benefits of CourseStorm. 

    CourseStorm is the developer of an intuitive and user-friendly online registration and class marketing platform. CourseStorm’s robust software suite for education providers has helped streamline access and grow enrollments for thousands of local classes at community organizations, higher education programs, libraries, hospitals, and museums across the country.  

     

  6. How To Sell “Big Ticket” Courses with Payment Plans

    If you’ve been offering classes for any length of time, you may have considered whether it’s time to offer your students payment plans. We’ve considered this too, and our answer is a resounding, “Yes!” 

    Over the years, we’ve seen classes ranging from very inexpensive —$5 to $50— to substantial —hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. These “big ticket” courses are wide-ranging: professional credentials, certifications, camps, trips, and longer-term or specialized personal enrichment opportunities.  However, these “big ticket” classes can also be financially challenging to students, even if they may be more valuable.

    More expensive classes don’t have to decrease your enrollments! You can still fill your classes at the rate you’ve set by offering payment plans to your students. 

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  7. Getting Started with SMS: Marketing Your Educational Program via Text Messages

    Educational programs used to using paper catalogs are experiencing extra challenges this year. Concerns over changing classes, postponements, cancellations, and the loss of public reading spaces like libraries and waiting rooms have presented a new marketing challenge. How can programs get their catalogs designed, printed, shipped, and in front of the learning community in a time like this?

    Now imagine sending your whole class catalog to someone for just five cents, and then knowing almost instantly if they’d looked at it. Seems almost impossible! Yet there’s a simple, accessible, and affordable way to get your community to your digital catalog — and you’ve probably already used it several times today: text messaging.

    Using text messages, your program can connect to students easily right where they are. And research indicates that it’s a preferred communication method for most mobile phone owners, who typically check their mobile phones 47 times a day! If you want to motivate an audience to check out your new class catalog or register for a new class, sending a text is a great way to elicit a response. 

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  8. CourseStorm Case Study: East West Players

    CourseStorm helped a professional theatre improve its educational program registration process, allowing staff the time to create new programs and focus on growth.

    The Background

    East West Players is the longest-running theater of color in the nation, occupying its own space in Los Angeles since its inception in 1965. They raise the visibility of the Asian American experience by presenting world-class theatrical productions, developing artists of color, and providing impactful youth education programs. 

    It also serves as a pipeline of talent to the mainstream theatre and film industry, and its education program plays heavily into that. The classes offered by East West players include everything from playwriting to professional presentation skills and acting classes for people of all ages.

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