Making Waves: A Swimming Programme for Kids with Developmental Disabilities | Skillshare Projects

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Making Waves: A Swimming Programme for Kids with Developmental Disabilities

Your Business or Brand:

Making Waves Canada is an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of children with developmental disabilities by providing quality swimming and water safety instruction.

- 12 chapters exist across Canada, each affiliated with a University

- Instructors are student volunteers

- Accessibility is very important, so we strive to provide lessons in central locations, and keep prices affordable

11 Questions:

1.) What is Marketing for? What does this department/function/budget exist to do?

- To create something worth sharing.

More specifically for us:

- To connect with the parents, families and communities of children with disabilities, and inform them of our services

- To encourage students with the skills and passion for this cause to volunteer

- To connect with other organisations with similar goals

- To connect with corporate partners, grantors and sponsors who can help further our mission.

2.) What are we allowed to touch?

Almost everything. What happens in the pool is best left to the experts, but anything else...

3.) What can we as marketers measure?

- How much we are being talked about

- Whether people are "buying in" and getting behind the cause

- Signups, donations, likes/follows/shares, familiarity with the brand

4.) What can we change?

- The idea of nonprofits as unprofessional, unslick or unsuccessful

- The notion that university students can't have a real impact

5.) What promise are you going to make?

- We will make you and your child happy

- We will provide a safe environment for your child to learn water skills

- We will provide recreational activity once a week for your child where they can connect with a caring, careful human.

- We also promise students a fulfulling outlet for their swimming skills, a tried and tested training curriculum, and a respectable resumé-booster.

6.) What’s the hard part?

- Portraying swimming as a major force for good in the lives of kids with disabilities:

a) Why swimming?

b) Does this really work?

c) What is the "happiness metric"?

7.) Should your organization be making trends or following trends?

- We should be following the trends set by modern nonprofits

8.) Where is the risk?

- To the organisation: a kid could get hurt

- To the customer: their child might not live a happier, more fulfilled life

- To the marketer: I might do or say something insensitive and offend someone.

9.) Who is in charge?

We have a board, of which I am a member. About 8 of us call the shots

10.) Marketers spend money. Where are you spending the money? What is it for?

We have very little, but are willing to spend it wherever it is best used.

- Equally, if we can justify it, our grantors will approve our budgets

11.) How should you be spending your time?

- Recruiting and empowering the people in the pool to tell their stories

- Making sure the right people are hearing about us

- Creating systems that generate their own momentum

The P Words

Choose three or four P’s you will prioritize to be the backbone of your marketing plan:


We want to build a culture around our volunteers and our families, and ultimately create a sense of community. It takes a special kind of person—especially for university students, with everything else they have going on—to do what our volunteers do, and we want to highlight that.

Equally, we want our families to know that they are not alone, especially the parents that may feel a bit overwhelmed raising children with certain disabilities. We want them to know we admire their courage and dedication, and that there are many "people like them" they can connect with.


This kind of ties in with the first one. If we can create an atmosphere of coziness, acceptance... basically a space (physical or virtual) where people feel comfortable, empowered and "warm and fuzzy", hopefully that is how people will think and talk about us.


I hesitate to include this, but as an organisation committed to lowering the barriers to access as much as we can, one of our principles is to charge only what we require to cover pool rental costs, and to find ways to subsidise tuition for people with financial needs.

An Action Theory of Marketing

Of the 50+ concepts covered in the lessons, what are the top concepts you'll use to generate Emotion, cause Change, earn the privilege to Alert and encourage people to Share?

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Marketing Point of View

What do you stand for and what are you trying to accomplish? Include what you don’t and won’t do, what you believe in and what works for you and for your customers.

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What’s Your Story?

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