Just as the engagement of faculty is important to enrollment, the engagement of current families is essential as well. These families act as a walking advertisement for your school. If they are not engaged, they won't promote the institution. If they are engaged, however, they will increase interest and enrollment naturally.
Engaging All Families
Research has shown that 85 to 95 percent of new families come to schools because of word-of-mouth marketing. In light of this statistic, the importance of engaging your current families is clear.
In order to increase engagement among the families of students in your school:
- Make sure that you have quarterly contact with every family.
- Let them know what is going on in the school, and openly enlist their support to increase enrollment.
- Encourage conversation among parents.
- Parents are going to communicate with one another anyway. Take control of these conversations by establishing groups for parents that can meet under the supervision and direction of the school. Be sure to provide an agenda for these meetings to ensure that the conversation benefits the school.
- Be clear when communicating with parents.
- When you don't give parents all of the information they need to understand a given topic or issue, they will often fill in the gaps on their own with negative and/or inaccurate information. Prevent this from occurring by keeping your communications clear and detailed.
- Encourage parents to volunteer.
- Give parents plenty of opportunities to get involved in school events throughout the year. The more time they spend at the school in an active role, the more likely they are to support the school and advocate for it.
Engaging New Family Ambassadors
New family ambassadors, which may also be referred to as "mentor families," are an exclusive group of families that you select to reach out to others in the community and mentor new families who have recently joined the school. Because of the importance of this role, the members of this group should be selected carefully. Make sure that the people you choose have wisdom about the school, discretion and a warm and welcoming nature. Equip these individuals for their important role by providing them with the information and resources they need to sell the school to prospective families.
Engaging Community Outreach Families
Community outreach families are those families that are not acting as new family ambassadors but have a high level of influence within the community because of their career, reputation or other characteristics. Solicit the help of these individuals to bring in more students and promote your school within the community. Ask these families to distribute pamphlets or admissions material, talk about the school to others and alert the school of any marketing or outreach opportunities available within the community.
Engaging Special Events Ambassadors
Special events ambassadors are those families that have the least amount of time available but still want to be involved with the school. Place these families on a mailing list and alert them of volunteer opportunities any time your school has a special event. Encourage them to participate as much as they are able to. Be sure to use special event volunteers to staff an admissions table at each event you host.
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