Double Your School’s Enrollment – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, the Marketing Matters TM entry spoke to giving each of your families an assignment for the summer – bring in one more student in order to double your school’s enrollment.

One school has taken that suggestion to heart and has given it a catchy program title – “Each One Reach One.”

If you decide to take it to heart for your school, remember that a program must be adequately funded – or else you start to operate in deficit spending (and let’s not follow that example which has led many schools to merge and close, Other non-profits, such as governments, are finding themselves in that position as well).

Be sure to create a budget line for this program if you are planning to put it into action.  If you’re going to give a $100 incentive to a family for every child that’s enrolled, and your goal is 150 students, that amounts to $15,000 that you should build into your budget.

Now you may be saying, “Wait a minute…the $100 would just “come off” the tuition of the student that’s been enrolled.  Why do I need to create another expense?”

Because the incoming student may require financial aid.  While it’s true that ANY tuition that a new student pays could be considered to be “gravy,” that mindset should only happen AFTER school has been in session and your enrollment figures for the year are official (usually around October 1st).  The other consideration is that the child will become a part of the regular re-enrollment process for the next school year, and you really don’t want to set up false hopes for a family once they’ve been enrolled in the school and the student has been enjoying the educational experience your school offers.

While your parents’ assignment is for each of them to bring in a new student, your a priori summer assignment is to make sure you have a valid email address for EVERY parent in your school.

And here comes the question – “Yes, but what about those families that don’t have Internet access?”

Um – get it…or, at least, find it.  Free email accounts (like a gmail account) are available at a variety of sites.  Public libraries have public computer access.  Netbook and Chromebook computers are now under $300 each and a wireless ready.  If parents have an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, make no mistake.  They have a handheld computer.  The “We don’t have Internet access” excuse is now officially invalid.  Why?  As we prepare for and enter the 2015-2016 school year, let us finally realize that students will have to be computer savvy in order to compete in the marketplace they’ll enter when they graduate.  If we are to prepare students for the world they’re going to enter and yet, permit them to enter that experience without the necessity for the family to be connected online, we are providing a disservice to those students and their families.  Many parents are now making tuition payments online.  Internet access helps keep postage costs down for the school, and allows them to be “more green” by not wasting paper. Schools are posting homework online, and grades are being delivered online.  While the circumstances of the family certainly need to be considered, we also need to plan for how to be effective 21st century schools.

How do we do this?  Perhaps your school’s next technology grant is written for $300 x the number of families in the school.  If you have 200 families, that would be $60,000 – and buy an iPad mini or Chromebook for every family in the school.  Not only would that make your families connect, but THAT is a strategy that screams “remarkability,” and will distinguish your school’s marketing efforts!

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2010-2015 (Original Publication Date: 20100607)