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What Does Your School Do?

To increase the enrollment of your parochial school, ensure you include three important elements when you tell people what you do. The word school in your name tells the world you educate children. The public school down the street does it also and it is free.

Of course, your school provides a warm, loving, and safe learning environment staffed by caring teachers. Those are important features of your school. They may be a tiebreaker when a family is making the final decision but there needs to be some other reason to come and look at your school.

There is something more that you are doing that sets you apart from the public schools. Because your school is a Christian school, you also provide faith development.

If the majority of the public were aware of the value of faith development, churches would be full on Sunday morning. Therefore, telling the world that your school provides faith development is unlikely to increase enrollment.

Here is an excerpt from an actual mission statement, “… grow to be energetic, servant leaders …”. This part of the mission statement promises something that many families want for their children. It is unlikely to be embraced immediately by many of those families. Replacing ‘servant’ with compassionate, selfless, understanding, or empathetic is likely to engage more families.

It is a great promise. However, it is impossible to tell from that school’s website how they grow those leaders. It is important to have evidence that demonstrates success and the standards used for defining success. The third missing piece is the life-long benefit of being a leader.

The tuition associated with that mission statement is about $4,000. That amounts to $36,000 (K – 8th grade) in total tuition. That is a significant sum for most families. Without a durable benefit, proven process, and evidence of a high probably of success, it is very hard for a family to justify the cost. When it is hard to justify the cost, it is unlikely a family will take the time to investigate your school.

Next Step:

Determine if the promise in your mission statement is clear and relevant to the average family

Ensure that your website and all other marketing materials clearly demonstrate success, explain how success is achieved, and define the life-long value of your promise

Remember, marketing material is written for the outsider who knows nothing about your school, mission, processes, success, or value

Your school is unique. Your mission statement expresses your uniqueness. Your processes make your uniqueness valuable to families. However, it is your ability to inform families (prospective and current families) that provides sustainability.

Each of your empty chairs in each of your classrooms is a visible reminder that there is a family out there looking for what you have to offer their children. How will you change your marketing so that those families better understand the durable value you offer?

Take It Further:

Your donors, like your current and prospective families, need to better understand all you have to offer.

Read the article about what parents want.

Read the article about how to justify your tuition.

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