So many times, we forget to do things; other times, there are circumstances that just get in the way of our ability to do things, such as when your computer crashes and you get it working a week later.

But there are just SO many things happening today, and today, faith-based and private school administrators and staff are asked to wear more and more hats – and that’s in addition to exploring things they REALLY don’t want to do, but for some reason, are forced into confronting it.

Ten years ago, Common Core Curriculum was that topic; five years ago, it was the potential fallout from the trust that’s been lost due to the actions of church leaders – and that fallout continues today with bankruptcy declarations and lawsuits.  Then there are the wars in Ukraine and Israel as well as increasing international tensions and political divisions that make the news all the more negative and frightening., as well as incidents involving harassment, abuse and hate.

ALL of these things are manifestations of evil, brought about by human imperfection and weakness.

While it’s never a “good” time to deal with these things, Scripture reminds us, “Now is the acceptable time.”

Just as there are significant problems that need to be faced and brought to light, there’s really never a good time for any type of change, extra work, different strategy, etc.

But there’s an African proverb that states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.”

I believe one of the problems we have with change is that we don’t plan for change.  We know it’s inevitable, but we listen to time management experts who say that everything is possible if it’s scheduled, and therefore we pack our calendars as if we win a prize if we can completely fill them.  There was a television in the mid-70’s called Tales of the Unexpected.  Actor John Houseman delivered the opening line of every show: “A wise man believes only in lies, trusts only in the absurd, and learns to expect the unexpected.”  I’m not too sure about the first part of the phrase, the second phrase has merit, but the third phrase can mean the difference between life and death.

If you’re packing your calendar, take about 20% of that time and reserve it for the unexpected.

Remember the phrase, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person?”   If you think that there’s never a good time for anything, then all time is equivalent.  So, while there’s never a good time, there’s never a bad time either.  Now is just as good a time as any.  It’s “acceptable.”

If we can pray and discern (finding out as much information as we can), then the next step is deciding what to do and doing it.  We can do everything that needs to be done, for with God, all things are possible.  But it’s also recommended that everything needs to be done in moderation.

Yes, all these phrases and verses fit together to work as a system.

So how does this relate to marketing?

I’ve heard so many people say that they’re waiting for the mid-year break, or, for Catholic schools, Catholic Schools Week, to start their marketing for the next year.

And that would be not just an incorrect, but a completely wrong strategy – because NOW is the acceptable time!

You might be thinking, “But we’re so busy with an annual appeal around Thanksgiving, and then Christmas comes, so we’ll start to get ready for the next school year in March because we have to work on budgets in February.”

And that’s the problem. We do things when it “fits” our schedule…and not when it’s the right time to do it.

If you’re not securing your enrollment for next year NOW, then January might be too late. After all, high school seniors (most of them, anyway), know what college they’re going to by the time the semester break rolls around. They’re not just applying at that time. Today’s parents know that, after having gone through the college process themselves, and have usually decided where their children are going to school next year based on what’s happening this year.

That said, the best possible time this year to plant marketing seeds for the upcoming school year was two or three months ago when the school year began; the next best time (the acceptable time) is now.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2008-2023 (Original Publication Date: 20081117)