Step 2: RallyCap Kickoff
Your RallyCap Kickoff will be a special moment in the history of your RallyChapter.
- Understanding RallyCap Kickoff
- Schedule it Out and Book Facility
- Raise Additional Funds
- Purchase Kickoff Kit
- Prep Website
- Recruit RallyPlayers
- Recruit Volunteers
- Final Prep
Step 1: Understanding RallyCap Kickoff
What Is RallyCap Kickoff?
RallyCap Kickoff is a two-hour FREE event held a few weeks prior to your first sport season. The children and young adults with special needs in your local community will get to discover what RallyCap Sports is all about! Your Kickoff will look like this:
- One-on-one Buddy to RallyPlayer system
- Three sport stations (with drills from varying sports)
- FREE and open event for RallyPlayers (and families) as well as volunteers to check it out
- Opportunity to become a part of your chapter and register for the upcoming sport season
- You will have a Kickoff each new school year
Why Your Kickoff Is So Important
Check out this video to find out why, in less than 2 minutes, your Kickoff is an important first step to a great year one!
Step 2: Schedule it out and book facility
Before you can book a facility and begin recruiting you need to have the event itself planned out. The good news is - we've already designed the Kickoff for you! Here are a few basic details to get started:
- The three sports for your first Kickoff are flag football, soccer, and baseball/softball
- RallyPlayers will be matched with a Buddy and will rotate between each of the sport stations
- This will be an open event, where RallyPlayers will simply jump in and start playing as soon as they show up
Okay, now you are ready for a more detailed look at the event. Download the RallyCap Kickoff Itinerary we have prepared for you so you can begin building your own master itinerary. This is a template, you will fill in the correct times and content as we move forward. Ready for the next step?
Book Your Facility
Now that you have a good feel for what your Kickoff will look like, it's time to find a place to have it! As an organization on campus, you should have the opportunity to book space for your event. Work as a team to figure out the best date, time and place for your event.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Book your facility as far in advance as possible
- Have your Kickoff as close to the start of your academic year as possible
- Find a date and time that will work well for participants (and families) as well as your volunteers (check with your RallyCoach for advice)
- Recommendation: Saturday morning/afternoon or Sunday afternoon are great times for your event
- Make sure you choose a facility that is large enough for your event and will be easy for parents/guardians to drive to
- Make sure your facility will be a safe environment for your RallyPlayers and is easily accessible for any and all special needs
- An outdoor event can be a great idea, but keep weather in mind (an indoor backup facility can put you at ease)
Important: All campuses are different, but we hope you will be able to find a facility that will be free of charge because of your organization status. If you need to pay for your facility, you can find a detailed look at how this process works in the Chapter Finances section of your Manual.
Step 3: Raise Additional funds
During Step One: Building Your Foundation you should have begun raising funds for your chapter. We won't go into detail about how important fundraising will be for your chapter (you can find that here), but you will need funds to have a successful Kickoff... so listen up!
- You may need to raise additional funds specifically for your Kickoff, so work with your RallyCoach to come up with ideas - he or she has experience with great fundraisers!
- We've placed this step early on because it's important to fundraise as soon as possible so that you can have what you need for your Kickoff
- It may be a good idea to bring on a new Core member to focus specifically on fundraising for your chapter
Important: If you haven't already, take a look at the Chapter Finances section of your Manual. This will go into detail about the way finances will work with your chapter. Also, check out the section on Fundraising if you need more details about how raising funds is an essential part of an impactful RallyChapter.
Step 4: purchase kickoff Sports Equipment
We have worked hard to find the right equipment for our RallyPlayers and to negotiate the best rates, so that you can be more focused on your RallyPlayers and less focused on raising funds.
Here are some quick details:
- You should order your Kickoff sports equipment at a minimum of three weeks prior to your event
- Once purchased, the equipment is yours! You will have it to use for future sports and activities
- You can purchase all your sports equipment needs through RallyShop
Head on over to the RallyShop (about) section of your Manual to learn more about the RallyShop and how to use it. To order your RallyCap Kickoff sports equipment, go to RallyShop in your RallyChapter Support Center.
Step 5: Prep website
Your chapter website will be your best tool for registering and organizing RallyPlayers and volunteers for your event, so it's important to get things ready on your site. You learned about your chapter website back when we started getting you set up at your campus, if you need a refresher hit up your RallyCoach - don't worry, it's easy to use!
Here's what you need to do:
- Log into your chapter website
- Click "Manage" then "Events" and "Create New Event"
- You will then be walked through the process of creating your Kickoff event
Work with your RallyCoach if you have questions about setting up an event on your website properly. He/she will walk you through the steps and make sure you are ready to go.
Now we're rallying! (we like the word "rally" around here)
- Quick Break -
Don't forget, it's important to follow up a great Kickoff with your first RallySeason! If you haven't started already, you should begin mapping out and planning your first season alongside your preparation for Kickoff. RallyPlayers will be so excited after your Kickoff and ready for the first season, so you'll want to have things ready to go.
If this sounds like a lot, don't worry - we've built a step-by-step guide for your First RallySeason too! So give it a scan and start delegating tasks... and don't forget to reach out to your RallyCoach with questions.
Time to get back at it.
Step 6: Recruit RallyPlayers
So you've worked hard getting everything ready, now it's time to recruit RallyPlayers! It's your goal to engage your local special needs community and to let them know that RallyCap is a safe and welcoming place for children and young adults with special needs looking to give sports a try.
Here's what you need to know:
- Understanding the RallyCap Core Messages is the best place to start when recruiting
- The special needs community is tightly knit and protective, it's going to take a team effort to connect
- It's never too early to start recruiting RallyPlayers, but we've found it's better to have an event scheduled so that you can invite them and begin talking about what we do at RallyCap
- RallyPlayers will get registered through your chapter website, you will provide a link to registration on recruiting materials
Now head on over to the RallyPlayer Recruitment section of your Manual to get a detailed list of ideas to connect with your local special needs community. Even better, we've put together some marketing tools and templates for you to download and use (available in your RallyChapter Support Center). When you see the child you invited to the Kickoff score their first soccer goal... you'll realize how important recruiting is!
Step 7: Recruit Volunteers
Your RallyTeam is all of the passionate volunteers that make it happen and you are the lifeblood of your chapter. Recruiting RallyTeam members started on day one when you began building your Core and if you're as passionate about RallyCap as we are, then you've probably had little trouble growing your RallyTeam.
Some things to remember:
- Your main RallyTeam recruitment efforts come through your once a semester event, Rally-in-the-Alley, which should take place in the first few weeks of the start of school (learn more here)
- To become a member of RallyTeam (and to volunteer for Kickoff), a student must register on your chapter website and complete any requirements
- When registering for the Kickoff, RallyTeam members will choose whether they want to be a Buddy or serve in a different role (it will be important to have one Buddy per one RallyPlayer) - check out details about different volunteer positions here.
- The Kickoff is meant to attract all levels of interested volunteers. You may have students who are just checking it out or some who are ready to roll with you into your first RallySeason... as long as a student has registered for the event as a RallyTeam member than you should welcome as many as possible
We have built an in-depth RallyTeam Recruitment guide in the Manual, so check it out for details on core messaging as well as ideas for recruiting (just click here). Again, we have developed marketing tools and templates for you to use, so check those out in your RallyChapter Support Center.
Follow our recruitment guide and use our downloadable resources - it won't take long to recruit a RallyTeam who is ready to change lives at the Kickoff!
Step 8: Final Prep
You're almost there!
Great job. Let's review what you have accomplished so far:
- You have an itinerary for the event, with every minute planned out
- You booked a facility that will hold as many RallyPlayers and RallyTeam members that could potentially show up
- You have purchased your Kickoff Kit and anything extra you need
- You prepared your website for registration and opened registration for the Kickoff
- You recruited RallyPlayers to register for the event
- You recruited RallyTeam members to register for the event
Depending on the timeline you developed with your RallyCoach, you should be approaching the big day. Here are some last minute reminders:
- You should be having Core meetings consistently throughout the planning process to delegate tasks
- You should host a PepRally during the week before your Kickoff (learn about PepRally here)
- You should take a look at your numbers on your website and make sure you have enough space and equipment (contact your RallyCoach right away if you think you are in a sticky situation)
- Your Kickoff Kit should have arrived and should be ready to go (check all equipment and prep it for the event)
- You should send out reminder messaging to your registered RallyPlayers and RallyTeam members as you near the event (easily done through your website)
- You should have a detailed itinerary ready to go, we suggest printing it out for your Core members
This will be the start to an adventure that will change many lives. Be proud.
Check out this video for final thoughts and a quick story from my first Kickoff.