Think Fast!

Even though many communities of our country are experiencing a tremendous cold wave with ridiculous amounts of snow, this has been a time of celebration!  Saturday the 14th was Valentine’s Day; Today is Presidents’ Day, Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, and Wednesday, the season of Lent will once again be upon us.

After all that celebrating, Lent is an excellent time to examine who we are and what we’re doing.  The Church invites us to change our hearts, and you know that marketing and development are all about change!

It’s interesting.  The word “repent” comes from the Latin root which means “to think” (like the word “pensive”)…not to apologize and be sorry for…although that comes only after rethinking. Therefore, this is a time to re-think, or think differently, about what we’re doing, who we are, and what needs to be done.  And when it comes to our schools, that’s some great advice.  Not only think differently, but do things differently, since doing the same things over and over and expecting different results is Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Perhaps this would be a good time to “talk” a little differently too…and here’s why:

I keep hearing phrases from parents, pastors, principals and professionals in the business world that send the wrong message. Phrases like “lowering tuition,” “reducing tuition,” and, yes, our beloved “providing assistance” all connote the feeling that the cost of faith-based and private schooling is too high, and we need to apologize for those rising costs.

If you’re looking for something to “give up,” this Lent, may I encourage you to no longer use phrases such as this.

This Lent, let’s examine our lexicon and expand our vocabulary to include phrases like “manage” tuition rather than lower it; offer “financial aid” rather than tuition assistance; and offer “options” to parents in order to make our schools “affordable.”

Here’s a little more re-thinking, too.  Consider eliminating the word “discount.”   In our current economic climate, the only companies offering substantial discounts are the ones with surplus inventory (and we certainly don’t have that), those that sell somewhat flawed merchandise (and we certainly don’t do that), or those that are going out of business (and we certainly don’t want to do that).

Can you still offer a reduced tuition?  ABSOLUTELY!  It’s not a “discount;” it’s an “incentive.”  Here’s an example: “If you’re thinking about paying the full amount of tuition before the school year starts, we can offer you a 2% incentive to do so.”  Same effect, yet different, and more positive, language.

As our mothers would say, “Watch your language!”  And while you’re re-thinking this Lent, it might even be a great time to “Think Fast.”

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2010-2015 (Original Publication Date: 20050216)