Problems at SchoolYour school doesn't have a waiting list for enrollment. Your budget is strained, and you're finding that raising tuition doesn't actually raise revenues, as the enrollment slides when you do that. The parish subsidy is holding steady but may need to be reduced, and you need another source of revenue to stabilize your school's situation.
These predicaments are shared with a lot of other schools. Sad to say, there are no magic answers. But there are ideas that can help you move in towards a more stable situation. The point of this site is to share ideas that can help the cause of Catholic schools everywhere. Hopefully you'll have some to share as well. We can't save every school, but we're convinced that more can be saved by proactive leadership. We'd like to help you move from "analysis paralysis" and into a mode of effective change.
Areas we'd like to develop include:
Enrollment Management:One of the biggest obstacles for many families when they consider enrolling their children in a Catholic school is affordability. Many are simply priced out of the market. Yet 2/3 of our schools don't have a waiting list, i.e. they have empty seats. Clearly there is some middle ground. Our discussion on Net Tuition Management and Tuition Assistance outline possible ways to full enrollment and higher tuition revenues, truly a win- win situation.
Marketing:This is a real requirement for all schools today. It's not just advertising, and it's not a way to "trick" people into buying something they would not otherwise consider. Marketing is not really about selling something; it's about building a relationship. If you think about it in terms of relationship building, it's a natural extension of the mission of your school, as one key reason that Catholic schools are so effective is that they demand more of the relationships between teachers, students, parents, and supporting communities (parishes).
Managing your Admissions Funnel:Learn about the admissions funnel, and use the data from your admissions process to tune up the delivery of your message.
And it's not just the development person's job, either. It's an integrated approach to delivering the message about your school and the value that it returns, and potentially adjusting the value proposition (or relationship) that your school can offer to better align with the needs of your families. At some level everyone at the school potentially has an impact.
Advertising:As you try to deliver the message of your school, it will involve advertising at some level. Focus your efforts on effective delivery of your message, which will involve avenues that are outside the traditional realm that we think of as advertising.
Development:Here's an oft misunderstood term. Probably "Office of School Advancement" better communicates the mission of development. Not simply fundraising, but an extension of the total marketing effort, with an eye to bolstering the relationship with all stakeholders of the school, not just the current parent population. One natural outcome of that strong relationship would be the desire to support that institution, with time, treasure, and talent.
We'll start with these, and move on as you see fit. Let us know what you like, where more information would be helpful, and especially anything you have that would be helpful to others.