It’s a competitive world for private and independent schools, especially as more public school families look for other school options. While we know you have a long-term plan for marketing to new prospective families and students, it’s also important to keep retention at the forefront as well.
Retention is a strong value to your school revenue’s bottom line, as it costs more in time and money to recruit a new student than it does to keep students all the way through your K-12 program. The more students you retain, the higher the long-term gain.
Here are five strategies you can put in place today to maximize your retention efforts. The fundamental piece in each strategy is communication. Families and students want communication efforts to meet them where they are at and help them not only be more informed but feel part of a community of caring overall.
1. Expand your efforts in family relationship management.
Relationships matter more than ever. Schools must pay attention to enrolled families’ needs. Take every opportunity to make families feel a part of the school, valued, and welcomed. Create opportunities for families to feel a part of and contribute to the school’s overall positive culture. Ensure they feel respected, heard, and valued.
2. Have a primary point of contact for families.
Consider hiring a retention coordinator who can be the primary contact for families and let them know there is a staff member dedicated to resolving any of their concerns. If you cannot afford to hire a retention coordinator, see if there is a parent volunteer who can assist with retention efforts.
3. Update your retention plan to include social media, search engine optimization, and other online tools.
Search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and other online promotion efforts spread the word about your school. With more private schooling options available, it is important to ensure parents know why to choose you over the competition. Use your social media presence to highlight your school achievements and grow your followers over time. For retention efforts, share pictures and stories of how students are moving forward over time.
4. Form a retention committee.
Put together a committee of parents, staff, and teachers to create an actionable year-to-year plan with benchmarks to achieve your goals. This committee could also provide updates to your alumni, board, donors, and school supporters on retention efforts. Highlight achievements of students with your committee updates that can be shared on social media by your committee and those supporters.
5. Gather input and insight from a parent survey.
At the end of the fall semester is a good time to send out an online survey to parents to gauge their satisfaction with your school. Have your retention committee help create the survey so goals and results can align, and you can learn and adapt from the survey’s responses.
Each of the strategies above can help you keep families engaged and retain more students every year! Learn more retention strategies through our on-demand webinar, Retain to Gain.