“How Does Development Drive Enrollment?”

“How does development drive enrollment?  The other aspects of your DREAM model make sense, but I’m having difficulty understanding this one.”

Development dollars come from gifts made to your school by individuals engaged with your school, its mission and its vision.  Gifts from an annual appeal as well as major gifts go toward a school’s endowment fund.  The interest from the endowment fund can then be used to provide financial aid funds to those students enrolling in your school.  Some gifts come from grants for projects that can enhance the learning of the students, but these enhanced programs can also serve to encourage prospective parents to enroll their children.  Some schools treat these improvements as ways to market the school, but a school technology lab today is an expectation.  Once the parent has requested more information about the school, the marketing process is over and the enrollment process begins.  Invite the parents in to use the technology themselves, giving them a hands-on experience of what their children will experience.

Perhaps the most compelling way that development drives enrollment is through the use of alumni testimonials.  While testimonials today can be considered another marketing tool, they’re more effective as an enrollment tool.  The prospective parent has to be excited about the environment that will house their children first; then, a testimonial will help to solidify the decision to enroll their child.