As long as enrollment is the primary source of revenue for the school, the school board will be very interested in how to improve and grow it. When the board and the administration work as a cohesive team, growth is more likely to happen. So, how can board members appropriately contribute to the enrollment goals?
Here are Four Ways Board Members Can Maximize Enrollment.
1. Know the StoryWhen it comes to talking about their school(s), board members are often so close to the inner-workings of the organization that they struggle to figure out where to start when it comes to telling the story to a colleague or someone in the community. The board and administration need to reach a point of clarity and agreement about:
- Why the school exists
- Who the school seeks to serve
- How the school is delivering on the value proposition in a remarkable way
- Where the school is going short- and long-term term
- What the call-to-action is
Consistency of branding is key to marketing success, taking you to the next level in enrollment recruiting. When your story is consistently shared and is also consistent with the experience of your families, energy and awareness increase exponentially. Instead of freelancing through a myriad of points that may or may not be relevant, board members are wise to learn the story and stick to the script.
2. Know the Process
The Enrollment Office uses a planned process (ideally based on best practices for progressively building engagement) for receiving applications, collecting the required data, evaluating each student, and communicating in a manner worthy of trust.
We recommend that this process be reviewed by the board in detail at least annually in order to identify ways to improve and to gain commitment. Knowing the process will equip board members with the confidence and trust to refer people in their network.
3. Contribute to the Process
Board members can and should be expected to contribute to the enrollment process by:
- Always having a packet ready in the car or briefcase so that an invitation can be shared to schedule a visit.
- Sharing the story, including why they are investing their time and resources as a trustee.
- Personally bringing a prospective family to the school to introduce them
- Speaking about the school's story at a local organization (e.g., Rotary club, chamber of commerce, church, etc.)
- Sharing news items about the school on social media
4. Trust the Process
It’s too common for board members to seek shortcuts to the enrollment process after they have referred someone to the school. They want to feel like they have influence and can help the student(s) "get in."
Avoid the temptation to undermine the enrollment process and the school leadership by trying to bypass the thoughtful steps that have been established. The process is there for a reason. Trust it. Trust them.
Don't try to entice the school with the potential of a future gift nor with the pressure of the position. Personal integrity and the calling as a responsible board member should preclude one from going down this path because of the negative consequences on the school culture and organizational health.
Equipping board members to maximize enrollment requires commitment from everyone involved because enrollment is someone's job and it's everyone's job. A Leadership Retreat is an excellent venue in which to train board members on enrollment strategies and plans.